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Why Sweat Stinks...And 5 Ways to Prevent It

What is Sweat?

That glistening, sexy look is something lots of us aim for when we're working out. Sweat can be a sign - some say a badge of honor - that our body is working hard. 

But what's up with that smell?

Believe it or not, sweat itself doesn't typically smell. It's only when bacteria feed on sweat that some nasty odors happen. 

"Sweat by itself is virtually odorless. But when microscopic bacteria that live naturally on your skin mix with sweat, they multiply quickly and raise quite a stink." WebMd

So even though most of us can get a little funky after working out, there are things you can do to avoid dirty looks from your workout partner for stinking up the gym.

Here's 5 ways to smell fresh even when you're working out hard. 

sweating

1. Trim Your Pits

If it looks like you've got George Clinton in a headlock then it may be time to break out the hedge-clippers. Excessive armpit hair can trap bacteria (and scent) onto your skin. Keeping your armpit hair trimmed - or shaved all the way - will allow your skin to stay cooler and help keep your sweating to a minimum. 

2. Eat Right

The foods you eat do a lot more than fuel your muscles for your workouts. Your diet affects the way you smell, too.

Certain foods are known to make your body odor stronger, so stay away from red meat, eggs, dairy, garlic, alcohol, caffeine, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, asparagus, fish, spicy foods and processed foods if you're concerned about the funkiness your sweat is giving off.

Bonus tip: add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or cardamom for a sweeter smell and more pleasant aroma. Men's Health

3. Choose the Right Clothing

Loose fit, breathable clothing can increase airflow to your skin so you'll be less likely to sweat excessively. Some artificial fibers can be too restrictive so make sure you're wearing natural, wicking fibers like cotton to stay cool and fresh. 

4. Stay Clean

Most people shower after a workout, but what about before? Washing away bacteria before you even start exercising can make it less likely you'll have the post-workout stank.

When you do shower, along with using anti-bacterial soap, make sure to towel off after you're done - it's harder for those pesky bacteria to breed on dry skin. And remember what your mother said...don't forget the deodorant!

5. Relax

We all have 2 types of sweat glands - Eccrine and Apocrine (you're welcome for the science lesson). The first type - Eccrine - are what secrete sweat during normal exercise. Apocrine, on the other hand, are more likely to produce sweat when we're nervous...so even though exercise can be relaxing and stress-relieving for most people, if it's getting your nerves cranked up, your Eccrine glands may be kicking up some extra funk. Medical News Today

So relax, do some deep breathing, and find your happy place. Exercise is supposed to fun, after all. 

So there you have it, you sweaty, sexy human. Use these tips to stay fresh, clean, and smelling great.

And remember - when you're done working out, the sweat you leave behind in your car can breed bacteria similar to the sweat on your workout clothes...so invest in a post-workout car-seat cover like Dry Rub® to keep your ride as fresh as you. Because smelling great during your workout doesn't really matter if your car smells like you ran over a skunk covered in turpentine. 

28 Killer Resources for CrossFitters

Functional fitness programs like CrossFit combine strength training, high intensity metabolic conditioning, and mobility work to get you strong, shredded and in the best shape of your life.

Whether you're just starting out or have been training at a box for years, here's some resources that can help you take your CrossFit game to the next level. 

On Etiquette

13 CrossFit Gym Etiquette Rules You Need to Know (Box Life Magazine) because you don't want to be rude, do you? 

Our favorite: "Rule 13: Introduce yourself to newcomers"

5 Pieces of CrossFit Gym Etiquette You Need to Know

Just do it: "1. Respect the Platform"

Podcasts

Here's some great listening on your way home from your next WOD...

Barbell Shrugged 

Check out Episode 250 on NeuroHacking 

WodcastPodcast

Check out Episode 266 featuring Nutritionist Matt Walrath 

CrossFit News + Updates

Crossfit.com will keep you up to date on all the latest and greatest news in the world of CrossFit

TheBoxMag.com for training tips and motivation...

BoxLifeMagazine.com for news and reviews...

BoxRox.com offer training tips + competition info

Diet/Nutrition

MacroNutrients for CrossFit - Everything You Need to Know Why and How Flexible Dieting aka MacroNutrient Planning Works

MacroNutrient Calculator  so you'll know how many grams of fat, carbs and protein you should be consuming. 

Supplements

7 Supplements for CrossFit Athletes because we all want that extra edge...

Fitness/Programming

Box Rox Training Plans offers something for everyone 

CrossFit Invictus WOD's are WOD's from one of America's most well-known, and effective, boxes

Gear

WOD SuperStore

Rogue Fitness

No Bull Project

Our favorite: Vintage Flag Trainer

KNTKC a curated selection of gear for CrossFitters

Gainz Box because that's what we're all in this for...

Doughnuts and Deadlifts because one without the other would be extreme, don't ya think? 

Wags and Weights your dog, and your gym. What else do you need?

Dry Rub® because a sweat-proof car seat cover will prevent stains, smells and general nastiness on your drive home from your WOD (yes, we just linked to our own product. How ya like them apples!)

Recovery

RomWod.com it's yoga for CrossFitters...but it sounds a whole lot cooler. 

The Ultimate Workout Recovery Guide this blog post offers a comprehensive guide on keeping your recovery game strong

Competitions

CrossFit Games for the best of the best

Wodapalooza is like a party for you and your favorite, fittest friends

SuperFit Games are well organized, fun events through the Mid-atlantic and Southeast US

RX Competitions is your guide to local events near you

WODRocket will help you find local events so you can get bragging rights in your 'hood

 
If you think there's something missing from this list, send us a note here and we may just add your favorite resource to it.