Gym Style Guide: 5 Gym Style Mistakes

In Part 1 of our gym style guide, I’m going to talk about the biggest style problems I see at the gym. We’ll outline 5 major gym style mistakes I constantly see guys making and how we can avoid them to look our best at the gym.


Obviously, we’re at the gym to workout and not walk down the runway so the function of our workout clothes should have priority. But by the same token, with a little thought, it’s not hard to put together your gym gear to have you looking your best without affecting your performance.

Proper Gym Clothes
Here’s an example of properly fitting gym clothes showing off an impressive physique

Why Should I Care?

So you might be asking yourself, I’m at the gym to work out why should I give a shit about how I look.

  • Those with good looking physiques are often on rigorous programs in the gym multiple times a week and putting even more effort into their recovery and diet. Even those just starting their lifting careers that don’t quite have the jacked physique yet can still massively increase their attractiveness at the gym without out at all affecting their performance.
  • In short, it’s just like any other place you go looking better is going to raise your confidence, raise your social market value and it really doesn’t require much effort.

5 Gym Style Mistakes

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been at the gym and seen guys with great physiques wearing horrible fitting clothes. For guys that put so much effort into looking better it blows my mind they throw so much of this hard work away with terrible outfit choices. At the same time, I always see new gym goers with similar problems wearing clothes that don’t at all fit their proportions and have them looking fatter or less muscular than they really are!

In this section, I’m going to outline 5 flat out bad outfits I constantly see guys wearing that you should avoid!

1. Wearing Shirts That Are Too Tight

Man wearing a shirt that is too small and too tight
The risk you run of wearing a gym shirt that is too tight.

I feel like this one should be obvious to all sane gym goers, but every day at my local gym I see at least one guy rocking his new Under Armour shirt which I can only imagine he picked up from the children’s section. This one is the most common of the gym style mistakes I see and it applies to everyone, those with muscular physiques, skinny beginners as well those that are a little heavier set.

If you’re jacked, this may be surprising to you but wearing shirts that don’t restrict all blood flow can still show off your muscle. I know crazy, right? I’ve fallen into this style sin myself thinking I need to show off my arms in my Batman Under Armour shirt which fit me well back when I was half rep benching 135lbs. The truth is already jacked dudes wearing overtly tight spandex instantly leads to people thinking you’re a douchebag. If you’re like me and this only partially true, put on a shirt that actually fits and you’ll look better without all the judgment.

On the other side of the coin wearing skin-tight spandex when you are a heavier set individual is only going to hurt proportions showing off your larger waist and removing any hint of a V-taper with your physique.

If you’re just beginning your lifting journey and finally starting to see some noob gains it’s tempting to wear that tight spandex shirt to show off your progress. The problem is that when you are skinny and wear a skin-tight shirt, you can often end up magnifying the fact that you don’t have the muscle to fill it out and look skinnier than you really are.


Wearing shirts that are too tight for your own good seems like a great way to show off your hard-earned gains but choosing a properly fitting outfit that compliments your physique is going to do a much better job at having you look your best.


2. Wearing Tights

Let’s be honest we’ve all see that guy wearing a pair of spandex leggings. I can picture him now, he’s rocking a fresh undercut, doing obnoxiously loud clean and jerks. If you were to talk to him he’d certainly tell you all about his vegan diet and how you too should eliminate the toxins from the food you eat.

Don’t be this guy!

Guy wearing leggings and too-too looking like a ballerina
To avoid looking like a ballerina at the gym, avoid the tights.

Let’s be honest when we’re at the gym the only butts we want to see in spandex pants are women’s. The last thing I or anyone else wants to see is some guys ass shoved into some skin-tight leggings when we’re working out.

Caveat, on this one…

I wear tights.

I know, I know I’m a hypocrite. The reason I wear them is when I pull sumo deadlifts when my hands go over my legs at the top of the lift, my shorts will pull up and my nails will scratch the ever-loving hell out of my legs. Now to counter the awful sight of me in tights, I ALWAYS wear a pair of shorts on top.


Nobody wants to see your ass, period. If you’re like me and wear the tights to save your legs or for the compression factor, make sure to wear a pair of shorts over top!

3. Wearing Shirts That Are Too Loose

The first of our gym style mistakes was wearing clothes which were too tight, on the other side of the spectrum, however, is another common style mistake which will have you looking worse at the gym.

Guy wears 5XL shirt which is too big.
If your gym shirt could fit two of you inside it, it’s too big!

When it comes to style the golden rule is all about finding the proper fit. When something fits right it highlights your proportions and brings out your best features. However, when something fits wrong it can highlight less attractive parts of our physiques or cover up some of our best assets.

When I see a muscular guy wearing a shirt about two sizes too big it kills me a little inside as wearing a properly fitting shirt would accentuate his physique rather than leaving him looking like a D.Y.E.L (Do You Even Lifter) swimming in his XXL Miami Dolphins t-shirt. The same problem arises for larger individuals and especially in beginners with less muscle mass, where wearing a shirt that’s too big brings out your lack of muscle and leaves you sadly swimming in what I can only assume is your dad’s shirt.


A shirt that is too loose will leave even bodybuilders looking small. If you want to avoid this style mistake wear a shirt that fits properly to show off you’re well-earned muscle mass and doesn’t leave you looking like you’re wearing a parachute.

4. Wearing Clothes That Should Have Been Thrown Out Years Ago

Now this one is a bit of a blurred line. I’m all for using your old t-shirts for gym clothes, hell I do it myself. But there are definitely some red flags to watch out for when wearing old clothes to the gym.

Rule #1 If your shirt has any large hole or more than a couple very small holes, just throw it out. You’re not going to look good wearing a shirt that looks like you pulled it out of a garbage bin.

Rule #2 If the shirt is badly stained it’s time to throw it out.

Rule #3 If the shirt hits gym style mistakes 1 or 3 and is too big or too small, throw it out. I know that shirt you got back in middle school for being the MVP at your hockey game brings back great memories, but you don’t need to wear it to the gym.


If you don’t want to look homeless at the gym avoid wearing ripped and stained clothes. And for the love of god don’t combine these gym style mistakes and let these old shirts look like their trying to suffocate you with how tight they are.

If you have to ask if it’s too old….it probably is.

5. Wearing Gimmicks like Oxygen Deprivation Masks or Jawzrsize Balls

Nothing screams I don’t know what I’m doing like chewing on a dog toy while curling 10lb dumbbells for sets of 30. Gimmicks like oxygen deprivation masks or the Jawzrsize ball have very limited research behind them and aren’t going to improve your performance. Now if you’re a legitimate high-level athlete oxygen deprivation masks MIGHT have some carry-over for athletic performance. However, if you’re trying to get bigger biceps, masks and chew toys are only going to make you look like a tool.

Here’s a great video on how oxygen deprivation masks or elevation masks are a waste.


Unless you’re an elite level athlete you don’t need an oxygen deprivation mask and even then you probably don’t. As for Jawzrsize you’re not going to spot tone your face so save yourself the $50 and the mocking that will surely come with walking around the gym with a dog toy in your mouth.


As a bonus just last week at my university gym I had the unlucky experience of spotting a New Year’s resolutioner wearing his old and gold, yes gold, spandex shirt. Not only did the outfit have some appalling coloring selection, and more than a few holes,  but the shirt could have been no larger than a small, while the guy certainly needed a large.

The result was this guy walking around looking like a sausage. I was honestly surprised his arms were receiving any blood flow let alone enough to work out with. To top it off the shirt only made its way down to his belly button leaving his gut sadly hanging out.

Once gaining the attention of everyone in the gym with his out, this guy proceeded to start doing his back workout wearing an oxygen deprivation mask. This outfit amazingly managed to hit on three of our 5 major gym style mistakes.

I fully appreciate the sentiment of trying to show off your gains but this gentleman showed a prime example of taking it too far!

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