For women, the gym is a real-life obstacle course. Like the haunted mansion ride at a theme park, around every corner lurks another nasty surprise. There's the man who openly gapes at your sports bra-clad breasts, the sticky bike seat that obviously wasn't cleaned and, gratingly, the woman who counts her reps audibly.
You may have already stocked your gym bag with high-tech running shoes and a charcoal-filtered water bottle, but there's an all-important asset you’ve consciously neglected to pack: your eyeglasses.
Frames might be in style at the office, but you’ll rarely see women sporting their specs while pushing through squats.
Instead of flashing back to memories of being called “four eyes” on the playground, try thinking of glasses as a heroic accessory – much like Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth or any of Batman’s fancy rides. As Superman probably knew quite well (judging by his bulky muscles), spectacles are the real key to getting in and out of the gym without any unfortunate incidents, dirty machines included.
In complete honesty, putting on glasses to exercise is a humbling experience. Modern media tells us we need to look sleek and sexy in order to burn calories, but thick spectacles make me feel like the biggest nerd in the room.
I'll do almost anything in the name of giving my eyes a rest, however, so I tried the technique out for myself.
Early morning workouts are a breeze when you don’t have to put in contacts.
Every month, you make the commitment to set your alarm an hour early and sneak in a pre-work yoga routine.
It never seems to actually happen, though, probably because the idea of forcing contacts into your sleepy eyes that early -- and then wearing them to the office all day -- sounds like the legitimate definition of torture. No eyes deserve that.
If you switch to glasses, there’s theoretically nothing stopping you from taking on the morning and popping in lenses at a reasonable hour.
This theory especially applies to workouts done in the comfort of your own tiny box (aka your apartment). Although I struggled with my lenses slipping down my nose a bit mid-downward dog, it was still preferable to stabbing contacts in my squinting eyes.
If you’re practically blind, you’re more likely to push yourself.
Working out is all about connecting with your best self, no matter the exercise. In colorful gyms bumping the latest house tracks, it’s too easy to be overstimulated.
Instead of forcing yourself to sprint another interval, you’re too focused on the “Real Housewives” marathon playing on the overhead TV.
For those with high prescriptions, wearing thick-lensed glasses instead of contacts creates the illusion of working out in private fishbowl: you can't see anyone and as far as you're concerned, they can't see you.
With glasses hooked behind my ears, I find the common running strategy -- focusing on a point in the distance -- becomes quite literal. I can see the road in front of me with perfect clarity, but distractions to the side are fuzzy.
It's like the best kind of tunnel vision.
Glasses say, “I’m here to work.”
The 250-pound men in the free-weight section don’t always react nicely to a female on “their” turf, but glasses are the perfect way to prove you mean business. Frames bestow an air of authority upon their wearer, and I know because I've done it.
Sure, you may not know a bicep curl from a chest press, but no one has to know that.
With your glasses across the bridge of your nose and a look of determination on your face, you could have the skills of a professional bodybuilder. Thanks to the confidence that comes with your newly-earned respect, you might just get there.
I'm entirely aware my lenses are about three times thicker than those of the average human, so there's a certain no-f*cks given attitude that happens when I put them on.
Gone is the sweet, contact-wearing girl in running shorts; much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, she's been replaced by a short-sighted exercise fiend.
Creeps can’t bother you if you can’t see them.
Pounding out the fastest mile you’ve run yet triggers a surge of endorphins and a feeling of immense success. The only thing that can ruin the moment is turning your head and realizing the bulky man on the treadmill next door has been enjoying the view while you’ve been hustling.
Instead of letting him crash your workout, rely on thick frames for limited peripheral vision -- so yes, it sucks he's checking you out, but at least you don't have to see it. He won’t knock you from your workout groove, and you can go on killing those personal goals without giving gym creeps the satisfaction of getting upset.
Since my glasses are roughly the thickness of an airplane window, I have the benefit of something I lovingly call "tiny-eye syndrome" – the lenses make my eyeballs appear about half their actual size.
Combine that with resting b*tch face strong enough to wither even the most confident ego, and I'm always left to pursue my workout in perfect tranquility.
Say goodbye to dry eyes.
In a room packed with dozens of sweating people, the air can feel a bit like a sauna. As humidity builds, not to mention the steam from showers in the locker room, contacts start to feel as if they’ve been applied with crazy glue.
No one enjoys peeling off contacts after a tough workout (those lenses are like $10 a pop!), and putting in more drops just doesn’t cut it.
Skipping the lenses in favor of glasses means doing something kind for your poor, tired eyeballs. After long days in front of a computer and a phone, they'll surely thank you for the impromptu vacation.
In my own experience, glasses aren't the perfect choice for high intensity intervals or plyometrics. I don't always swap my contacts out for them, either. But, on the occasion I need a little extra "me time" or my eyes need a break, glasses are an easy way to feel a little pampered at the gym.