Why I Leave My Shirt on During a WOD

To shirt or not to shirt? That is Jamie's question. I recently saw an online article about “Why I Take Off My Shirt During a WOD.” It was a good read. As I read the title and...
By Jamie Toland, CF-L1,

To shirt or not to shirt? That is Jamie's question.

I recently saw an online article about “Why I Take Off My Shirt During a WOD.” It was a good read. As I read the title and subsequently the author’s humorous take on tossing off his shirt in order to give himself the mental boost he needed, I thought, “I should address the opposite side of this statement” for those of us who cling to our shirts both as wearable sponges and protectors of our self-esteem.

I saw a quote on Twitter that basically said something to the effect of “90% of CrossFit athletes should leave their shirts on 100% of the time.” For me, that is completely true.

Don’t get me wrong — I have no problem with anyone who is confident enough to peel off the extra couple of ounces of cotton in order to get into that “turbo/beast mode” level during a grueling WOD. But I am not now, nor have ever been that guy.

For those of you with whom I train with daily, you’re welcome.

At 40, I am unequivocally in the best shape of my life. There is no debating that. But regardless, I think there are several reasons that leaving my shirt on is in my best interest (and mostly appreciated by my fellow box-mates).

Sweat Absorber

I am a world-class sweaty person. In our affiliate, we have anywhere from 10 to 25-plus people training in each of our classes throughout the day. That being said, if every dude (and lady, too, if that’s your deal) trained shirtless, then that would be one damn sweaty floor by the end of the day. Leaving that shirt on helps our members take some of that mess home with them and keep it off the floor, bars, balls and mats for the rest of the folks.

A Time and a Place

It’s one thing to be at a pool or water park with the kids and peel off the shirt to catch some rays and jump in to splash around in the water with the family. Odds are that I look as good if not better than most of the general public anyway. Now if I am surrounded by a group of a dozen 20-something athletes who are already kicking my ass in the workouts, what would be the advantage if we all took off our shirts and everyone could see what I “had under the hood.” I’ve seen myself topless. While I wouldn’t think it would send people running from the room, I know my two-and-half-pack probably isn’t going to strike fear in the heart of my fellow CrossFitters, either.

Role Model

Here’s the thing, I’m a teacher, coach and also a dad. I think that people seeing me with my shirt off (besides not impressing anyone) might not be the best idea in terms of the social presence. You never know who is watching or taking pictures, and I don’t really want my students, athletes or children to have to see that. I feel this would be more embarrassing for the spectators and me and might not serve as an inspiration for others to get in shape. I’m not saying that coaches or teachers or parents can’t take off their shirts in the right setting. I am simply stating I will not be the person who does it.

While one of the most popular sayings in CrossFit is “look better naked,” I would only be able to state that I don’t look worse. If you are someone who looks good (I’m using society’s words here) and is comfortable to rip off that restrictive cloth anchor known as your shirt, do it. If you look over and see me grab the bottom of mine and lift it up, rest assured I am simply mopping off brow sweat, which is most likely already happening during the warm-up for the day.

So shirt or no shirt and why? Let us know in our Facebook comments.

Stay on the Grind.

Jamie Toland
CFL-1 Trainer
Twitter @JTolgrinder
JTolgrinder@gmail.com

Loading ...