This is a guest post from Juan Pablo Hernandez, story teller and learner
6:50 AM. The Athletic Club locker room. Post workout.
I spied my bleary, vein riddled eyes in the mirror. The tiny borrowed towel about my waist gave way one jagged twitch at a time.
Around me echoed the clank of toilet stall doors and flip flops slapping across puddled concrete. Naked, wrinkled bodies shuffled en masse behind me. The bottoms of my feet massaged the course, sand-like floor—I prayed to avoid a case of athletes foot or something much more perfidious.
But the worst of it by far, I held in my hand: a dull Mach 3 cartridge razor—no shaving cream, a cold dry face, and there were 10 minutes before I had to be clocked in at work.
I took a hard swallow and commenced the hatchet job… the memory of which, even the grave is unlikely to grant me reprieve from.
For the remainder of my 10 hour work day, I punched the keys and watched the monitor, my face burning like Persephone’s fire.
I relived it over and over, the slap of those flip flops, the clank of the toilet stalls, that chipped machete grating over goose pimpled skin. It was a razor burn the pain of which the English language has not yet invented words for. To this day, the memory of it shakes me.
This vicious cycle was my penance for being an unprepared traveller in a foreign land I did not understand. But it doesn’t have to be yours. By following this simple list of Dos and Don’ts, you’ll be shaving at the gym like a seasoned veteran your first time out.
The Absolute Dos
Do: Set aside an entire half-hour just for the shave
The first time you try and do a full lather and shave with a DE safety razor, in a place with bustle and a lot of commotion, things will go wrong.
All the showers will be full. You won’t be able to mount the mirror quickly. You’ll accidently wash the lather off your face. You’ll drop your traditional shaving cream tin. The list is endless. Give yourself plenty of time to deal with speed bumps. There shall be many at first.
Do: Pack everything the night before
While you may be great at managing your time while at work, time management at the gym is a whole different animal. If you forget something—your towel, toothbrush, deodorant, sandals—it wreaks havoc on your schedule and you get in a rush. Be like Santa Claus, make your lists and check them twice.
Do: Check your lists, both Gym and Dopp
Don’t use the same toiletries at the gym that you use at home. The biggest problem I ran into was toting my toothbrush and deodorant back and forth.
At one point, I inevitably left both at home. Luckily I asked a co-worker for some Listerine breath strips. As for the deodorant, I just tried to hang out at my computer and avoid building up a sweat and stink.
But for jobs that require you running around a lot, misplacing your deodorant could be absolutely disastrous. Make the monetary investment to have a dopp kit that only opens at the gym for the sake of your time, sanity, and the nasal passages of your co-workers.
So Without further ado, the gym bag and dopp kit check lists.
The Gym Bag checklist:
- A towel
- Shower sandals
- Body wash
- Extra: socks, underwear, and undershirts
- A couple of wet bags for sweaty clothes storage (grocery bags are fine)
- Gym Shoes
- A can of Febreze
- Phone/headphones /carrycase
- Combination lock
- A banana (good for cramps)
- Blow dryer
- Deodorizing shoe spray
The dopp kit checklist:
- Toothbrush & paste
- Fog free travel mirror
- Shaving cream
- Your best DE Safety razor with leather carry case
- Travel size shaving brush
- Nick Stick (you will cut yourself at some point)
- A empty, absolutely unopenable, childproof vitamin bottle (blade bank)
- Nail clippers
- Hair styling products
- Band-Aids (you never know)
Do: Keep your bags tidy
2-4 times a week, depending on how often you frequent the gym, take the wet bag out of your gym bag and toss those clothes directly into the washing machine.
You’ve poured sweat into them. They’ve been sitting for at least 24 hours. And they absolutely stink.
I always leave my gym bag on the back seat for convenience. I got busy and forgot to do the above. Three days past with the bag knocking around the seats. At some point, the wet bag popped open.
The next morning I picked up my date, nothing seemed odd because it was still cold inside the car.
I parked on the street, and we went downtown to enjoy the city. For the next 8 hours, the sun beat down relentlessly on that open wet bag in my car.
Much later that day, we came back to the car. But when I opened the door to let her in… it’s a stench that cannot be unsmelled.
So for the sake of your social life, clean out your wet bag regularly.
Additionally, once a week, take 5 minutes to tidy up your gym and dopp bags. Empty them. Shake them out into the trash. Run through your inventory. Spray some Febreze in there. Repack. Done.
Now that you know the absolute dos to be successful at the gym, it’s time for the absolute don’ts. Doing anyone of these don’ts, will at best, absolutely destroy your time management. At worse it will result in slicing yourself open with a razor.
The Absolute Don’ts
Don’t: Get in a rush
I’ve been in a rush three times. Once, I skipped my shave and shower all together. That was gross, and I smelled bad all day.
Once, I skipped my shower but took my shave. I got a wicked razor burn because my beard wasn’t softened and my pores weren’t opened.
And the last time I got in a rush, I took the shower but rushed the shave. I had a clump of gym-issue toilet paper stuck behind my lower jaw for an hour.
To avoid being late for work in the morning, you rush. But remember, you’re only allotted one face in your lifetime, cut into your workout time, not your face.
The pleasure of the ritual is half the reason we wet shave in the first place. So slow down and enjoy yourself.
Don’t: Forget to take the blade out of the razor
It’s an easy habit to get into. You can either put it back in its wax paper for reuse or toss it into the blade bank for recycle.
Even if you use seven blades in a week, you can buy 100 Astra blades for $10. Your convenience, time, and safety are worth so much more than 12¢ a blade.
Don’t: Give into the urge to use a lather bowl and shave in front of the mirror
Splitting up your shave and shower is the biggest way to cut into your workout time, especially for the morning gym crowd who has to be work-presentable within the hour.
I know it can sound really appealing to sit in front of the mirror. But, if you spent just 10 minutes in shaving—that includes grabbing your dopp kit after your shower, setting up your tools, shaving, and putting everything away—and you only went to the gym 3 days a week, you would spend a full 24 hours a year in front of the gym mirror.
Don’t do it. Save those slow luxurious shaves for when you’re at home and can really enjoy them.
Shaving at the gym with a DE safety razor can be a horrific experience for the uninformed.
But now that you know the major dos and dont’s for wet shaving in a land that is hopefully not so foreign anymore, you can literally roll out of bed in the morning with whatever you’ve got on, make the drive, get your energy up with some cardio and iron pumping, and absolutely crush your day!
About the Author: Juan Pablo Hernandez is a story teller and a learner. He loves Boise. Hates tinkering with his car (unless it works). Despises bottle necks. Hearts going fast. Aspires to punch a great white right in the mouth. Yearns for a Ferrari which he can drive the absolute wheels off. Listen’s to his heart while climbing. And can hear his soul when listening to Lana Rey. He figures if you get up every morning and chase the fox… you just might catch the damn thing one day. For more information about Juan Pablo, can visit his website Insidejuanpablo.com and follow him on twitter @juanpabloinside.
Image Courtesy: flickr.com/flattop341