Trigger Warning: The following anecdote includes references to bullying and spandex.
About five years ago was the first time I experimented with wore compression pants. Before ten years ago, the only experience I had with such garments would have been watching an 80’s fitness VHS I found hidden away under my TV (TVs often used to have built-in storage).
However, after knowing about Under Armor and seeing NFL player Terrell Owens look super cool, I decided to wear some compression pants for a morning run on a cold winter morning with the sports team I was on.
Upon return, one of the coaches attempted to mock me, or the very least thought I was pranking everyone by wearing them asking if I was serious. As his jokes went unlaughed at, there seemed to be a generational gap whereas everyone knew about compression pants being useful except him.
Here are some reasons you might see guys wearing compression pants (hopefully not patterned) at the gym, so you can refer to this list before you start making fun:
So You Don’t Have to Sit in Their Sweat
Sometimes compression pants are worn out of courtesy. If a guy has hairy legs and he plans on sweating a lot, sometimes he’d rather save himself and you from the wet mop his legs become. Especially if said legs are going to be wrapped around a pad or sitting on a machine, one can prevent the inevitable puddle with compression pants.
How? They soak up all the sweat and it evaporates. Not being drenched in sweat is the primary reason these clothes were invented.
As my anecdote mentioned, they are especially good for staying warm in cold weather, keeping you dry and covered.
If you see a guy at the gym on a cold day that could be the reason why, maybe he’s cold outside and inside you have no idea. But, compression pants and shirts are great for exercising outside, that is a fact.
Sometimes the boys don’t just sit right…in other words your junk needs security and compression pants can help make them more secure. For any ladies reading, you may not know, but going up and down stairs quickly, running or playing sports in traditional boxers as opposed to boxer briefs can be incredibly painful.
Imagine some billiard balls in one of those cash grab booths and that’s essentially what it feels like.
Compression pants do the trick quite well preventing you from wearing multiple layers, as well of course I say again, keeping you dry.
To Show Off
As per being super form-fitting, let’s not pretend there aren’t guys out there concerned with vanity, and let’s not completely lose our minds and suggest you wouldn’t find them at the gym.
Some dudes just want to show off their muscles, and whilst I disapprove of any man doing this so flagrantly, you asked me why men would wear it at the gym and I’m telling you.
If you’re wearing a compression shirt on its own you better be running outside or just training, a lot of the time it’s easier to not have to wear an extra shirt. Wearing compression pants in the gym without shorts on top could get you arrested, though.
To Sweat (More)
While their primary job is to absorb sweat compression pants and materials are great for turning up the heat on you in a simple way. You can throw on some while running or any other high-intensity training and expect to sweat more which of course will help you lose more weight.
This is likely also why you’ve seen guys wearing an old track hoodie while working out, they probably want to sweat more.
So if you see a man wearing compression shorts at the gym remember; he might be cold, he might be sweaty and he might be full of himself. People are ultimately free to look however they like at the gym and it shouldn’t bother you, however, you are also free to say: What are thooooose?!