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An Open Letter to Those Who Poorly Mix Fashion and Fitness

No workout is suited for denim.

Every year I get the same question from my taxman.  

“Do you provide a product or a service?” he says.  

My answer is always the same: “On some days, a little of both.”  

Today is one of those days, folks. I’m going to tell you how to appropriately mix fitness and fashion.  

During my long tenure of Swedish supermodel status, I have encountered any number of dressed-up disasters. From the gym guy who lifts weights while wearing sunglasses, to the gym girl on a cell phone during an elliptical workout, to the trail joggers donning denim, I’m here to change your life.  

I’m a major fan of sunglasses. They certainly have a place in my life all year, regardless of season. But I’ve never found them to be necessary in a gym. In fact, they’ve just been one more thing I could lose while perfecting my superior athleticism.  

So I’m always perplexed by the guy who can’t seem to complete an upper body workout without them. This same guy is usually wearing a fluorescent Body Glove tank top, too much spandex for any man and, in the most precious cases, a fanny pack. Loud grunting usually accompanies his every rep, and his hair is strikingly similar to that of Scott Baio’s, circa “Charles in Charge.”  

While I can usually appreciate a thing for what it is, I struggle with that particular style.  

Chances are, no trainer will ask you to destroy aliens with Will Smith, so you can put away the Ray-Bans. If a medical situation requires protective eyewear, I’d trade the sunglasses for a sexy pair of Rec Specs. At least then you’d be dressing for function if not for fashion. Instead of the tank top and mandex, try a more laidback T-shirt and gym shorts. I promise the latter won’t hinder your ability to someday bench press a car.  

As for the grunting, it’s time to lighten the load, pal. Rocky Balboa didn’t grunt that much while he trained to fight Ivan Drago (And anytime you want me to quote every line from “Rocky IV,” just ask).

To my ladies on cell phones while using cardio equipment: Hang up. Regardless of how cute you and your smart phones are, you look stupid when you talk during a workout. Yes, you’re already thin and gorgeous, but don’t let this mom of three outrun and outlast you simply because you’d rather talk than reach your target heart rate. If you’re not sweating, it’s not because you’re small. It’s because you’re not working hard enough. Seriously, 90-pound, avid runners break a sweat.  

Also, if you’re the triple threat—sporting a cell phone, Ugg boots and full makeup during a workout—email me immediately for an in-depth lesson. You definitely don’t want to be That Girl.  

And, finally, to my Friends in denim: At what point did that ever become a good idea? Sometimes I have to photograph you and share the image with my contacts list. What causes you to go viral is when you’re jogging up my hill while wearing cut-off denim shorts, tube socks, a tie-dye shirt, and matching orange headbands and wristbands.  

I have a favorite pair of jeans too, but I’d never dream of exercising in them. I question the choice as both a matter of comfort and style.  

I’d recommend a lower-body approach that shows a little less leg hair and an upper-body approach that doesn’t induce seizures.  

It’s not your fault, though. I blame the people who saw you and let you make it that far up the hill to my house. I won’t be that enabler. Toss the denim in the trash, and don’t look back.  

But definitely keep the tube socks. Those are hot.

Kathy Gillen June 10, 2011 at 11:57 PM
Oh...too funny! Love it. Just last week I was on Gilfillan trail early in the morning. I'm goin g to put it out there: to "the middle aged flabby man": Just because you CAN jog with your shirt off doesn's mean you SHOULD!
JoAnn June 11, 2011 at 03:47 PM
I love the people who sit on equipment and watch television or socialize. Very little exercise is done. I am all for being social, just let me use the equipment while you do it.

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