Running a half-marathon sans clothes or practicing a few yoga poses in the buff might not be high on your to-do list, but if you’re struggling with self-love or insecurities about your body, working out naked might just be the trick you need to start loving your body.
In this article, we take a look at the physical and emotional benefits of working out naked and tips for getting started.
Exercising naked at home may offer some great benefits for your overall well-being.
While naked workouts won’t help you get stronger or lose weight quicker than fully clothed workouts, Ashlee Van Buskirk, a personal trainer and the founder of Whole Intent, says nude exercise routines may help you feel more comfortable in your skin.
“Nude workouts allow you to examine your body and come face-to-face with yourself, exactly how you are,” she says. With consistent practice, Van Buskirk says, you’ll get to know your body and slowly become more comfortable in your skin.
And another recent study involving 27 men and 24 women suggests that communal nudity in a safe setting may improve body image (
Research and experts say that working out naked may help boost self-esteem and promote a positive body image.
How does working out naked benefit you? Let’s break down specifics.
It’s easier to correct form
From an instructor’s perspective, certified yoga teacher Colby Smith, who primarily teaches men’s nude yoga with a few co-ed classes mixed in, says there’s simply no hiding behind baggy clothing and bright patterns when you’re nude.
“Our bodies are so incredibly clever at compensating for misalignments that it is very easy to miss much of this in clothing,” he says.
Smith says that when a student exercises in the nude, he knows exactly what their body is doing at all times, what’s aligned or misaligned, and what’s engaged or not engaged.
He also says students in his nude yoga classes hold their bodies quite differently. “Students relate to the poses from a new perspective of full engagement,” he says.
Since there’s no hiding, you can see yourself and your body as an entire structure and understand how your whole body works together.
It helps foster body positivity and appreciation
The main benefit of nude workouts is self-love. Although the first few workouts may feel strange, over time, Van Buskirk says, you’ll slowly build up your confidence and feel increasingly comfortable in your skin.
“This can help you overcome your own self-conscious thoughts and feel more liberated from your personal insecurities,” she says.
Smith believes there’s a magic that happens when we practice nude, especially if we start from a place of intent.
He says the intent is to peel away the fears and misconceptions you have about yourself and discover a new understanding. This is an excellent way to seek authenticity, both physically and emotionally.
Seeing other nude bodies cultivates acceptance
Smith also says there is power in seeing other bodies — the scars, bellies, and body hair. “As a society, we’re continually sold this idea of body perfection that simply never exists in reality,” he says.
By exercising nude, we connect with reality and with real bodies. One recent study involving 27 men and 24 women suggests that communal nudity in a safe setting may improve body image (
“We can look over at another body and truly appreciate it with ‘flaws’ and all,” he explains. When this happens, he says, you begin to realize that if someone else’ body is beautiful and lovable as it is, then your body must be as well.
“That scar is a place where healing happened, and that belly may have carried a baby,” says Smith. In essence, he says, that perceived flaw is really just a beautiful piece of our body’s story — our body’s miracle.
Exercising in the nude, whether alone or in a group, can help you overcome a negative body image, maintain proper form, and feel more liberated from personal insecurities.
If you’re considering exercising in the buff but still not sure if it’s right for you, Van Buskirk says you may want to start by doing research and then write up your own personal pros and cons list. This can help you make a decision that’s right for you.
She also recommends doing your first few workouts in a private space. If you decide to venture out of your house, make sure to find a location that has an approved naked class.
When it comes to the workout, Van Buskirk suggests starting with bodyweight exercises to avoid injury. Then, you can slowly start to integrate equipment.
Smith’s advice is a little more forward. He recommends diving in. “Start Googling ‘nude classes,’ and when you find one, message the instructor,” he says.
And don’t worry about the questions you may have about attending a naked fitness class. Smith says there’s a good chance the instructor has already answered every question you’ll ever have about your body or ability to exercise nude.
He also says it’s critical to put down your defenses and refrain from comments like, “No one wants to see me naked.”
“People are on their own journey with their body, so let go of needing perfection, because you’ll never reach it,” he explains.
Instead, he says, start enjoying your body for what it is, what it does for you, and how amazing each breath and movement feels.
Private sessions may be the way to go when starting a naked exercise routine. If you decide to take a class, contact the instructor first with questions or concerns.
Working out naked, whether alone or in a group, can be liberating. Moving freely, without clothing, can help boost self-esteem, promote body positivity, and foster self-acceptance.
If exercising in the buff is new to you, remember to take it slow and do only what is comfortable. It’s also OK to reach out to an instructor and ask questions before you decide to try a workout sans clothing.
If you try a nude workout and feel better afterward — not just physically but mentally and emotionally — then maybe you’ll gain more than just physical fitness from the experience. Maybe you’ll gain a new sense of self-love too.