Friday, May 29, 2009

Athletic fashion, from bees to bunnies

I was not 10 steps into the Broomfield 24 Hour Fitness when I pivoted and walked back out. I didn't even make it to the locker room.

There was no way I was sweating here, in sweatpants and an old tank top.

This was not a gym. This was a nightclub.

As if the booming hip-hop music wasn't enough (was that a fog machine in the corner?), the girls seemed to be wearing the same outfits that they would wear to the club, except with clean, pink sneakers instead of stilettos.

Well, wait. I think a few ladies going 1.2 mph on the elliptical might have been wearing wedges.

This fitness center was a-swarm with "gym bees."

The gym bee species, a direct descendant of the barfly, joins a gym as an extension of her profile, and always announces it on her Facebook status update: "Going to go work out! Xoxo!"

Because the gym bee places her iPhone on her treadmill while she stands there reading Cosmo and not exerting whatsoever, she can update her status in live time: "Headed to the weights! Xoxo!"

This is especially useful if a male gym bee across the room has his iPhone perched near the mirror, because, well, what if amid posing and flexing, he lost track of the hottie on the treadmill?

Problem solved. Xoxo!

As a fashion columnist, I'm the first to give a thumb's up to pride and cleanliness. I like designer clothes and hoop earrings and fishnets and fur.

Just not on the bench press.

The she-bee spends more time picking out her perfectly coordinated brand-name top, bottoms and matching shoes than she does getting her heart rate up.

And the he-bee sports (if you can even use that verb in this context) hair gel, one or more necklaces and an Affliction shirt on top of an Ed Hardy shirt on top of an Affliction shirt on top of an Ed Hardy tattoo covering up an Affliction tattoo. And jeans.

What happened to Colorado's true athletes? And how do these posers (literally) stay so fit, when we all see them not working out? Do they chase their evening lines of coke with 1,000 push-ups?

In search of these secrets -- as well as a little sports cred -- I consulted Boulder's Kevin Wendling.

Wendling, 30, a Fairview High and University of Colorado grad, is an expert on sports attire for two reasons.

First, he is a freelance producer for TV sportscasts, from football to golf to speed skating to car racing. In his words: "I see Spandex being worn to its perfection, in all levels of sport."

Second, he was the dude who wore the oversized bunny head, tights and a fannypack to the Bolder Boulder this week.

I know, mega cred. The only catch: On this particular day, both Wendling and I had lost our voices -- completely.

So we conducted the interview via modern day note-passing: Facebook instant messaging. Note: Neither of us was on a treadmill.

Here's how it went down:

Kevin: (Obligatory small talk) How are things at the Cam today? Are you writing about our voices eloping?

Aimee: Yes. And I wanted to write about workout clothes: dressing designer d-bag to go to the gym.

K:Maybe I should change then? How did you know what I was wearing?

A:No, you're wearing a bunny head, right?

K:I work out in any number of costumes. Or mustaches.

A: That is why I love the Bolder Boulder. People loosen up and have fun with exercise; they don't try to make a fashion point. So what is the story of the bunny head?

K:I wish there was a tale. I think I just go for the funniest outfits possible.

A:Have you dressed up every year?

K:Second year. But I dress up a lot for events, as often as possible. Last year I was a gladiator.

A:Where did you get the bunny head?

K:The Ritz. I rented that bad boy. A bunny was the most outstanding costume there. The rest of the outfit was American Apparel: fanny pack, leg warmers, spandex, wristbands, gloves.

A:Outstanding indeed. Was it also hot?


A:Not hott with two t's. Like temperature-wise.

K:I don't remember, really. I was fed a lot of cocktails during the six miles. I would say we stopped 100 times for pictures.

A: Did you train for the race?

K: To walk? No. And maybe that is why my ankle is mysteriously sprained and my big toes are black and blue.

A:Did you find that sweatbands improved your fitness capacity?

K:Absolutely, except it added to my wind resistence.

A:OK, so tell me: Why the tie? And what did you store in your fannypack?

K:Matched the leg warmers. The fannypack was full of adult beverages.

A:My friend Brittany recently met a guy at a club who was wearing a fannypack, and she asked him "What's in the pack?" And he said, "Fruit Roll-Ups." Apparently his friends were like, "Dude, stop wearing your fannypack to da clubs, you're ruining our game," but then he was the only one of them picking up girls. So then it was like, "Who's cool now, haters?"

K:That. Is. Awesome.

A: So back to business. Do you work out?

K:Ew, that was nasty. Sounds like a cheesy pick-up line.

A:Except I am looking at a picture of a dude wearing a bunny head, so my emotions are very complex.

K:I do work out, but not like a meathead.

A:What do you wear to work out in?

K:You'd think I'd wear Spandex, but I don't. I would love me to be in Spandex 24/7.

A:Do you like it when guys flex in the mirror excessively?

K:I don't like it, unless it's me. Which it usually is. Thats 60 percent of my workout, I'd say.

A:What do the pros wear to work out? Mandex? Do they wear necklaces and hair gel?

K:Some do, certainly. Big earrings on some.

A:Is that how they get so strong? By hooking weights into their lobes?

K: Lol.

A:You lolled. How did "lol" even become a word? What's wrong with the good old-fashioned "Heh?"

K:I might start a clothing company called Lol.

A:An athletic clothing company, that makes clothes that double up for working out and working it -- on the dance floor. Your insignia: a massive bunny head. Do it.

K:Just do it.

A:I have a feeling this is how movements are made.

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