By Michelle Magnan
Much to the ire of tanktop fans, the RAC has banned the sleeveless shirts.
On average, James Eaton, a part-time gym employee, warns one arm-baring exerciser every 45 minutes that “repeat offenders” must leave the gym.
Nino Robles, the fitness centre co-ordinator, says there are two reasons for the ban.
The first is for cleanliness. Apparently if gym goers wear t-shirts, the sweat is more contained and less likely to get on equipment. He says it also prevents the spread of germs and bacteria.
“Sweat is not the big issue, it’s skin contact,” said Dr. Allison McGeer of the University of Toronto. “The transmission of viruses and bacteria is more of a worry in contact sports, like wrestling.” Medically, there is no evidence to suggest the tank top rule is logical.
According to McGeer, more bacteria may be transmitted if someone sweats more, but it’s also possible that less bacteria is transmitted because sweat itself contains chemical agents that prevent bacteria from growing.
The second reason why the RAC prevents tank-tops is that they don’t want people to be intimidated when they see someone in a tanktop with a good physique. “When people wear clothing that exposes more skin, many of our members feel intimidated, embarrassed, and uncomfortable.” said Robles.
“I usually show a lot more skin than this,” said first time RAC visiter Julie Brisset, who was wearing a red hooded shirt sans sleeves and grey spandex pants. Brisset said she normally wears just a sports bra when she works out.
With so many people disobeying the rule, who supports it?
“Older people,” said Eaton. “They don’t want youngsters flaunting their bodies.”