Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Underwear Conundrum

When writing my blog posts I often debate whether or not I should broach certain subjects which are slightly indecent, moderately suggestive, offensive, superficial or kinda stupid. Yeah. Well, most of the time I write about them anyway. Today's post is certainly no exception. In all honesty, its a perfectly reasonable question and since we're all adults here (hopefully) I figure I will throw it out there. I don't mean to be naughty or crass, but this subject matter is something I think most of us are curious about, myself included. And something most women have probably thought about or dealt with while either running or working out. Maybe other women will read this, answer my question or have advice. So at the risk of being labeled an attention whore, here's my post and question.

What do you wear under your gym clothes?

I'm not asking this in a kinky, sleezy, breathy "hey there sexy, tell me what you're wearing..." sort of way. I'm asking this in a human to human lets talk reality sort of way. Really. And guys... feel free to throw in your two cents here, if you feel so inclined, because for all I know, you may have the same problem.

So what's my problem? I think I've mentioned it before...

Ass burn.

Yup. You read that right. It happens almost every time I do sit-ups. Usually if I do more than a hundred. I had no idea this was possible until I started doing workovers that included copious amounts of ab work. Its nice that I have abs now, however, I could do without that scar on my butt.

The first time I experienced this it was pretty painful. I was doing some kind of circuit of push-ups, kettlebell swings, sit-ups and air squats. About halfway through, I stood up to do the squats (after the sit-ups) and noticed a stinging pain right at the top of my crack. Seriously. It felt like someone sliced me with an exacto knife. It stung pretty bad. I had no idea what it was. At first I thought I pulled a butt muscle, but couldn't figure out why it would sting like a cut. I had no clue.

Funny thing is about a week earlier I had a conversation with a girlfriend of mine who had the same thing happen to her during her crossfit WOD. She told me one of the guys at the gym called it "Ass Burn." We called it "Scab Ass." That's what it is for almost two weeks after a workover. Apparently, this "condition" is well known in the Crossfit community. We laughed about how my friend had to sheepishly explain that dubious rub mark to her husband. Seems like there are a lot of strange "burns" you get when doing these high intensity workovers and they are suspiciously similar to the marks one might get during a spontaneous fuck fest, say, for example, on the carpet, or against the side of a pool or hot tub, on a tiled countertop...etc. You're probably thinking "Did she just say fuck fest?" Yeah. I did.

So I investigated and even laughed a little to myself when I realized that the stinging pain right above my crack was the infamous Ass Burn. I still had to explain it to my husband. Thankfully, my friend's experience helped to verify that my "abrasion" was, in fact, due to too many sit-ups and not a gym fling.

So the mark hasn't gone away. In fact, it left a scar. Nice. My ass now has a scar on it. Great.

So what was causing this? Was it just the friction of the movement on the mat? Or was it the friction of the movement combined with the wrong underwear and shorts? It got me thinking. Maybe if I wear different underwear it won't happen. So I tried different underwear. I usually wear a thong, but since the thong I was wearing during the first incident (don't get all sweaty over the details here) had lace trim I thought that the lace is what caused the slicing and burning. So for the first experiment I wore a different panty. One without the lace.

The result: Still another burn. What the hell? Maybe it was the thong. Damn. Do I have to resort to wearing the granny panties? Here's what bugs me about those. For starters, there's an awful lot of fabric on the granny panties and adding that layer under my gym shorts seems like it would be way too hot. Secondly, panty lines are so unattractive and distracting. Its like taping a big sign to my butt that says "Look at my ass!" Lastly, well... granny panties...they just aren't as fun as a thong panty *wink*. I'm just sayin'.

Today, I had another ab workover that included 3 sets of 40 sit-ups. I decided to go completely sans the panties to see if I would finally be rid of the burn, but I was a little weirded out by this. I don't know why, but not wearing underwear to the gym makes me feel a little, I don't know... exposed? Does anyone else not wear underwear to the gym? Is this an acceptable practice? Is this even hygienic? I mean... straddling a weight bench (which I do a lot) or sitting on a rowing machine with only a thin layer of polyester separating me and the surface I'm sitting on seems a little... oh I don't know... icky. I wipe down the surfaces when I'm done, but sometimes my workovers are timed and I have to go do a bunch of pullups or box jumps without stopping. When that's the case, I don't have time to clean up my sweaty cootchie spot. OK. I know that sounded totally gross and innapropriate, but hey...we all sweat. And we all get sweaty "down there," right? It seems that when I wear underwear, no matter what kind, it provides a little more protection. You know?

So for today's "sans panties" experiment the result was: No burn. I did also opt to wear the tighter fitting shorts thinking that there would be less movement of the fabric and less chance of rubbing. I also didn't want to give any free shows while I was straddling the weight bench. It seemed to work. Except... that I felt like I was getting a whole lot of camel toe going on without the underwear, which is pretty annoying. I really don't know of anything that is more embarassing than camel toe. Right girls? Which reminds me... I have always wanted to be Sally O' Mally for Halloween... you know... Molly Shannon plays her character on SNL. "I can kick and I can stretch... cuz I'm 50!!" I would love to dress up as her character, but I haven't had the guts to do the whole camel toe costume. It is so awesome though!

My dilemma? If I go sans panties I risk leaving snail trails and invite camel toe. If I wear the panties I get the burn. Which is the lesser of two evils? Or is there another way? Should I resort to granny panties? Maybe I should just become a nudist and go to a nudist gym where it just doesn't really matter anyway. Maybe not. And maybe this whole conundrum is just stupid and I should just get over it and buck up to the burn.
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14 comments:

  1. Have you concidered spanks? Our cheerleaders used those and they fit tight, no lines, and shouldn't rub or ride while protecting. And when I run I rock boxer briefs for containment and to prevent thigh chafe.

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  2. I don't do gym stuff, I just run. But last winter I started going without panty. I either wear the running shorts that have the built-in stuff or I wear tight shorts.
    Regarding hygiene,I don't think there is much difference between 1 thin layer of polyester and 2 thin layers. Just shower well right after the gym and don't worry about it.
    And I had to look up 'camel toe' in Urban Dictionary to know what you meant: I don't think people at my gym would care, they should be too busy exercising. anyway, one of my pairs of short tight shorts has some sort of thicker lining in that area that prevents camel toe. Thanks for expanding my english vocabulary.

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  3. Wool underwear from icebreaker works wonders for me. Funny, their website does not display it but I got it from another online vendor (can't remember now which one) before my JMT trek. Love it!

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  4. This may not be the answer you want to hear. Why do you feel the need to do 100 + push ups, body squats, whatever ? Have you considered your workout ritual maybe the root of the issue ? The "abs" is like every other muscle in your body. never really is any reason to do so many reps for one muscle group. I would argue this is a unnecessary excersice plan.

    If I were training you I would offer much more dynamic movements that would work your abs, but surrounding muscles as well. You would also do it with a normal range of reps. These could be body weighted, light weights, med weights whatever your level of fitness allows.

    Really the sky is the limit as far as body movement options. It is a shame to see folks following that conventional plan of 100 push ups, or whatever. Though I understand you can not look outside the box if you, or your trainer only have conventional fitness trend training.

    Cross fit is a great example of a alternative, but they do a super high rep count on everything they do. I don't really have anything good to say about crossfit. Only that it is not surprising how often folks complain off this issue you speak of.

    I would consider replacing your workout with new moveemnts to replace the 100 sit ups, etc. Girl you could be having soooo much more fun with other stuff instead of those 100 sit ups, and you would not have these issues you speak of ! Take a turkish get up for example a movement that has become more popular more recently. You can actually add a bunch of variables to that one movement, or add other movements with it as one seamless movement. Doing standard rep counts, and way more effective then 100 sit ups.

    I'd also suggest when you think "abs". Change your mind set on that tern. Think "trunk", or "mid section" when you work on this area focus on the entire area front, sides, back side. So what is a good movement for all of this in one movement ? A deadlift is a perfect example. Then you could do it speed work style, max effort, or light mixed into a drill.

    I think you get my point. You may need a different trainer. If the trainer has learned this type of development you may need to insist he trains you in a new way. I'm just saying it is not what you are wearing it is what you are doing.

    If you insist on your current rituals. Have you considered something like the zensah focus boy shorts(female product) ? Not sure if that would ultimately fix your issue. I'd rather see you change up to a much more fun workout rituals !

    You seem like the perfect fit personality for the type of rituals I speak of. Obviously I don't know what sort of space you excersice in, and tools you have access to. I know I suggested a great source to you in your area back when I suggested weight training. You went with the weight training, but opted for a trainer you tracked down on your own. Certainly you should do what is most comfortable for you.

    Whatever you decide to do goodluck !

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  5. Have you ever used Body Glide? I use it anywhere I get hot spots on my body when I'm working out. I use it on my feet, between my thighs and definitely in and around my butt crack. Any time I use it, I never have problems with rubbing or chafing. You can usually find Body Glide at athletic stores and definitely at your local running outfitter.

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  6. Hey guys! Thanks for all the input. I know its a subject seldom talked about and I appreciate your ideas. Thank you!

    Butner - thanks so much for your feedback. I looked into the gym and even contacted the guy you had referred me to, but I've worked with Seth before and since he was willing to program my workouts where I could just use a local gym it worked out better logistically and financially for me. I have to say that my sit-up circuits aren't very often and I really enjoy the stuff he programs for me. I've been doing a lot of full body strengthening (its not crossfit, but similar in nature and very customized to my ability) He's planning on opening a gym close to me next summer so I will be able to work more directly with him. For now, it hasn't been optimal, but its been really good and the workovers have really empowered me as a woman. I am much stronger overall and its good to know that I can lift the heavy stuff without a man's help. So I think I will keep him around for now. ;) But I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and ideas here. Thank you.

    Whitney! Duh!! I should totally try that!! Nice! Thanks a ton!

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  7. I understand convenience is important. I actually do all my workouts outside now, and own a bunch of my own equipment. I find this is most empowering for me.

    I mentioned the zensah since it is seamless, thin, breathable, wicks away sweat. I would think your undies have seams, and a defined waist. Which is causing friction with those really high reps. I would think the boys shorts would have very little friction. Those could be worn alone, but could certainly be worn under shorts. Then not causing friction is a guess on my part. I suppose your husband would like you to wear them around the house though.

    Surely body glide would work, but not the greatest long term solution. Could certainly get kind of messy.

    Glad the rituals work for you. These activities are empowering for women, and men alike. The results of just how you feel speaks for itself.

    Rest assured if the opportunity presents itself. You have many options potentially for replacing the 100 stuff with other things. You may want to consider the sat workshops at that other gym we discussed. For someone looking for new ideas those workshops at a easy price can be very valuable, and it is a great group of folks. Or look at the gyms you tube videos. They have a strong internet presence, and Chip has a book you may appreciate. May seem like I'm advertising that is not the case. It's just a special place with really good info. You may see something you like then plant seeds with your trainer to incorporate it. None of it is new stuff. Though your ideas may trigger new ideas on your trainers part.

    Good luck with your butt !

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  8. I don't do gyms. I have weights at home and a treadmill. I mostly run, cycle and swim. Obviously, no panties required for the swim:) Anyway, I NEVER wear panties under workout gear. That's what the built in underwear is for! If you wear panties, you just sweat them up & eventually they stink like sweat. That means you should keep separate "workout panties" to avoid stinking like a gym at other times. Too much effort for me. Go bare:)

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  9. Janice - I hear ya! Maybe I'll have to try those again, but I really don't like the built in underwear shorts. They are very uncomfortable to me. I do, however, have a collection of underwear dedicated to the gym and running.

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  10. I wear under armor boxer jocks underwear. I had issues with chaffing when I would go on runs and our long movements so I started wearing these

    http://resources.shopstyle.com/sim/ca/f0/caf0e40083c6277247d7ee6ac94135a7/under-armour-nordstrom-athletic-clothes-boxerjock.jpg

    I have never had any chaffing in them, as long as they stay tight on my skin. After one mission of wearing the same pair for 9 days and then having to walk for 2 hours back to where we were getting picked up, still no chaffing. Its all I wear anymore.

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  11. Google "running skirts". The actual runningskirts.com store has models that either have capris, compression shorts, or mesh briefs attached and the camel toe and "look at my ass" problem is gone. No panties required. They seem a bit pricey but the fabric and workmanship is really nice.

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  12. Eric - wow! One pair of underwear that can last nine days?? That's some serious underwear, man!

    Anonymous - I looked into the skirts. I'm still considering them for running... not so much for bench pressing and situps. I probably wouldn't get the ones with the capris or compression shorts attached as I hate a lot of fabric when I'm working out. The least amount of fabric, the better. But they might DEFINITELY be an option for running and winter running.

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  13. wear under armour compression shorts under your gym shorts.

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  14. I've been doing the Beachbody Insanity program and have found the Cardio Abs workout to be a good alternative to crunches. Though you can probably track down a copy by doing a search for "Insanity Cardio Abs", here's an abridged version of the workout (starting at 0:32):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddsqO05J3o8

    Each move is done for about 30 seconds with a 30 second break between the c-sit stuff (0:32-0:54), single leg pilate (0:54-59 repeated w/other side), two leg pilate (0:59-1:03), high/low oblique legs (1:03-1:12), and high/low plank tucks (1:13-1:20, 8 reps each, alternating 4 sets of each). I find I really feel the burn the most with the c-sit moves and the high/low plank tucks (which definitely look suggestive!).

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