We debunk the most common gym beauty myths

Does working out with make-up on REALLY cause spots?

The start of a new year means only one thing, half the population of the UK will have signed up to their local gym to work off the sins of December.

As any avid gym goer will know, when you take up a regular workout regime you’ll find yourself inundated with horror stories about the negative effects exercising can have on you. For example, do you really know how much bacteria is on gym equipment? Or that you could suffer from traction alopecia depending on how you style your hair during your workout?

Seriously, the rumours are endless. Which is why we decided to debunk them once and for all with a little help from Emma Frain, a personal trainer and the head of fitness at Protein World. Let’s begin, shall we.

Does exercise improve your sex life?

We’ve heard that having sex is actually better than going to the gym, but can working out more really improve your sex life in the long run?

‘There are two ways of looking at this,’ explains Emma. On the one hand there’s the mental boost we get from working out, ‘as exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happier so you’ll be more inclined to have sex.’

Then there’s the physical side, as well. ‘Working out makes you fitter, which results in an increase of confidence in a bedroom setting,’ says Emma. Of course, ‘being physically fitter results in an increase in stamina,’ as well. And that’s never a bad thing.

Can exercise make you look younger?

This is a tricky one. ‘A one-off HIIT session isn’t going to make you look younger, it’s going to make you glow from sweat but that’s the extent of the anti-ageing process,’ Emma explains.

‘However, long-term exercise does increase the production of collagen within skin cells, which helps to plump out the skin and make it appear younger.’ Another bonus? Overproducing collagen also helps ease joint and muscle pain!

Is body acne caused by sweating?

So, the good news is that any breakouts you may be suffering post workout aren’t caused by sweating. The bad news?  It’s likely caused by how long you’re sitting around in gym clothes afterwards.

‘Acne that appears on the body after a workout, most commonly found on the back, shoulder and neck area (usually referred to as bacne) is actually caused through restrictive clothing blocking your pores,’ explains Emma.

Does running make your boobs saggy?

Again, another tricky one as two factors can contribute to this.

‘The first is the activity you’re taking part in, says Emma. If you’re constantly taking part in HIIT workouts then ‘you’re putting your breasts under more stress’.

This then leads nicely to the second factor; are you wearing the right sports bra? ‘You need to ensure your sports bra of choice fits properly and supports you throughout all types of exercise,’ says Emma. ‘Most sports shops will be able to advise you on the type of sports bra you need.’

Does wearing make-up at the gym cause you to get spots?

Ah, one of the biggest beauty myths out there. We’re constantly told we need to stop wearing make-up to the gym, but then along comes athleisure beauty, which encourages the opposite. So, which one is it?

Training without make-up allows your skin to breathe more easily and makes wiping away sweat a less messy job, so ultimately ‘it’s always going to be better to train without make-up,’ says Emma.

That being said, if you do feel naked without it then Emma does have some advice to avoid post-workout break outs.

‘If you have to wear to make-up to the gym, try to keep it as minimal as possible – three products is enough. For eyes stick to waterproof mascaras and a decent brow gel. Avoid heavy duty foundations, instead sticking to a lightweight tinted moisturiser or minimal concealer spot treatment.’

And the number on tip? ‘Once your workout is complete, remove the make-up on your face as quickly, and as thoroughly, as possible.’

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