Human bodies are beautiful and disgusting. For all the amazing things we can do with the mystical meat cages our souls inhabit, we also excrete a lot of gross, stinky substances. Unfortunately for jiu-jitsu practitioners, we’re also likely to get up close and personal with other people’s sweaty, smelly bodies, and that means we owe it to ourselves and our teammates to reduce our own personal stench as much as possible.
If you’re concerned about being The Stinky One on your BJJ team, remember to take these basic precautions to protect your training partners from your natural biological odors:
1. Apply deodorant liberally. Don’t just put it on in the morning before work and check it off your to-do list. Treat yo’self to an extra application right before training, and if your pits are particularly ripe, find a way to wash them entirely and start anew. Keeping a travel-sized deodorant in your gym bag is a great way to ensure that you’ll never be stuck smelling vaguely of raw onion when it’s time to roll.
2. Wash your gear. All of it. You are not going to wash all the experience and knowledge out of your belt, and if your stripes come off in the wash, I promise you can reapply them without any harm done. Even a “light” jiu-jitsu session will still see you coming in contact with other people’s sweat and germs, and even though you may know that you’ve just been chilling in an air-conditioned office all day, you don’t know where everyone else (and their gis and rashguards) have been. Wash your stuff after every class and you’ll avoid having your gear smell like diluted corpse water even when you’re freshly showered.
3. Go all-out and clean your whole body if you need to. If you work a dirty job or are just a stinky person by nature, there’s no shame in needing to wash off your filth of the day before stepping onto the mats. If your gym has showers, take advantage of them. Otherwise, shower at home. If it’s absolutely not a possibility to do either, keep body wipes in your gym bag and give yourself a once-over before you change into your gear.
4. Don’t overcompensate with artificial fragrances. I’m so sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but spraying lilac Febreze over your sweaty, B.O.-saturated rashguard is only going to make it smell like lilac B.O.. Don’t subject your teammates to both your smell and the smell of a thousand frat boys by dousing yourself in body spray. Focus on cleanliness and hygiene, and your odor problem will take care of itself.
5. Get your gross gear out of your bag ASAP. If you only wash your sweaty gi a week after you got it sweaty in the first place, don’t act surprised when it still smells like, well, sweat. The longer you leave your used gear contained in a small, cramped space, the more likely it is that all the funky smells will weave their way into the fabric and never come out. Even if you can’t wash your stuff right after you get home from training, take it out of your bag and hang it up so it can air out.