The Awkward Adventures of Exercise Girl*: Smell The Victory

"Perspiring Young Woman Boxer". Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography /

I started Boxing & Muay Thai training at a local gym with my siblings in September 2013. The gym is a foreign place to me as a self identified introvert and lover of the indoors so awkwardness will inevitably ensue. Being a writer, I obviously had to document it. These are my random reflections, tips and insights. Enjoy.

Febreze The Pain Away-ay-ay

The one thing that’s for certain when doing physical activity is that everybody sweats. I go to the gym at least 3 times a week and attend at least two 45 minute classes a day so I’m sweating profusely by the end of it. What I didn’t realize by the end of my second week is that

you. have. to. clean. your. gear.

The boxing gloves, shin guards, sash, hand wraps, head gear, and mouth guard all need to be cleaned or they’ll stink and bacteria will fester AND GROW. That alone should be terrifying but don’t worry! I’ve done the research for you in this easy to follow list with accompanying gifs!

1. Wear Hand W(rap)s When Putting On Gloves

The hand wraps will absorb a lot of the sweat you’ll be secreting which leaves the inside of your boxing gloves significantly less wet and gross. Otherwise, your gloves will be slippery due to the sweat which makes it difficult to train. Also, you should have your hand wraps whenever you’re training to protect your knuckles and wrists anyways.


2. Don’t Keep Your Sweaty Gear in Your Dark, Airless Bag

Your gym bag is not The Dark Knight. It doesn’t thrive or pummel superstitious and cowardly criminals under the cover of night like Batman. Bacteria loves the dark and that’s not the place you want to have your sweaty gear so get a mesh gym bag so that your gear can breathe on your way home from a great workout.

3. Disinfecting Wipes and/or Sprays Are Your Friends

So you’ve worn the hand wraps and aired out your gear, now what? It’s time to freshen it up! Get some disinfecting wipes to wipe down your head gear, gloves (outside AND inside of it), and shin guards. This’ll clean up the sweat, and smell a whole lot better. You can also buy an anti-bacterial/disinfectant spray but make sure it’s meant for your hands and face so that you don’t end up getting irritated skin. If you’re going to apply the wipes/spray, make sure your gear is dry first otherwise wipe it down with a dry cloth or just leave it out before you disinfect anything. When that’s done, let your gear dry out and get some fresh air.

Another option is to wipe down your gear and then immediately seal it (individually) in a clear plastic bag and place it in the freezer overnight. Next day, take it out and let it dry out for a few hours.

Disinfectant spray can leave your gloves feeling stiff so another option is to get a glove dog which’ll make your gloves smell great and retain their shape.

You can also stuff your gloves with newspaper if you’re not using it. It’ll absorb humidity and moisture during inactivity.

4. Sash and Hand Wraps Aren’t Exempt

You need to clean these too! Put them in the wash like the rest of your fabric stuff but remember! Don’t mix the colours with the whites. I recently found out the my brother’s blue and red hand wraps could stain my beautiful yellow ones (they were Mexican style hand wraps). This broke me inside. Don’t do what I did!

6. Clean Your Mouth Guard After Use!

I don’t really have to say this, do I?

So that does it for my tips on cleaning your gear. Isn’t cleaning fun? It’s definitely relaxing when you’re in the zone so I suggest doing it when you feel anxious. In the meantime, I’m going to figure out if my new disinfectant spray will make me go blind. Ciao!

Ardo Omer

Ardo Omer

Former WWAC editor. Current curmudgeon and Batman's personal assistant. Icon art by Diana Sim.