How to Work Out With a Mask

August 6, 2020

Times have changed, which means we have to adapt to the "new normal." What does that mean exactly for a gym? Well, we have to get used to working out with a mask. Like learning how to do a pushup or a burpee, it gets easier the more you do it. Here's a few pointers to help ease into your workout.

Start Slow

A workout with a mask is certainly attainable. When you're starting to work out with a mask, you want to start slow and understand what your body can handle with a mask. This means you may need to lower your reps and take longer rest time in between sets and slowly progress. Be mindful and be aware of your breathing. You don't want to overdo it!

“It was tough at first especially when you’re doing high intensity workouts so I found myself gasping for air sometimes but now I usually give myself breathing intervals between workouts. It also gave me a chance to work on my breathing techniques during individual workouts.”
Jeff, Chelsea Piers Connecticut Member

Focus on Your Goal

When wearing a mask, some tend to focus on the mask on their face and that's all they think about, causing their workout to be less effective. When you focus more on the end goal and the results, you tend to think less about the face covering and will achieve a better workout.

“When I first started back at the gym with a mask I thought it was going to be difficult and annoying. Very soon I found out that this wasn’t the case. I was actually able to have fantastic workouts. My breathing wasn’t affected and I had peace of mind knowing that I was in a safe and clean environment. Trust me when I say this you’ll appreciate working out with a mask.”
Leo, Chelsea Piers Connecticut Member

Water Breaks

It is always good to stay hydrated but having a sip of water also allows you to take a quick break from your mask. Be sure you are at a 6-foot+ distance when drinking your water, and of course during your workout too.

Find Your Fit

There are many different types of face coverings out there and just like finding the perfect workout pant or sneaker, fit is personal. It might take a few tries to find a style you feel comfortable in and fits securely for a workout. Ones made of athletic fabric help wick away moisture more than traditional cotton or medical masks. There are some great options out there including this "Made to Move" 3-pack from Athleta, this Under Armour Sportsmask, a pack of 8 "Family Unisex Facemasks" from GAP. For more, check out this comprehensive list from

Purchasing a few masks that you can rotate is best, so that you don't have to wash your mask every day!


Things may get a little heated (read: sweaty) during your workout. Bring an extra that you can swap out after your workout to be more comfortable and hygienic.


While our CT club is able to offer mask-free zones at this time, our Chelsea and Brooklyn clubs must abide by the NY state and NYC city guidelines, which state that masks must be worn at all times in the clubs. Per NY state guidelines, bandanas, buffs, and gaiters are not acceptable face coverings for use in gyms and fitness centers.

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