We’ve all seen it – a ripped guy walks into the gym like he owns the place, and you can tell it’s him as soon as you catch a whiff of his cologne from across the room. If you want to find the best gym cologne of 2023, picking the smell is only half the battle.
There’s a little something called workout etiquette: treat the equipment well, avoid making unnecessary noise, and whatever you do, don’t prep for the gym like you would for the club or the office. Workout cologne is meant to make you feel invigorated without bothering any of your gym bros, so restraint is key.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered on that front. There are loads of great cologne picks for young men out there, and some of the very best are also good for hitting the weights. From fruity and sweet to fresh and clean, there’s a cologne brand out there for everybody, and you can find yours here.
Buckle up and scroll down to find the best workout cologne for you.
To make a long story short, I’ve agonized over the top names in the cologne industry to come up with a list of the 5 best picks. The always-reliable Coach For Men comes out on top for me with its amber aroma and gorgeous packaging.
If you’re looking to save a few bucks, Adidas Moves for Men is about as safe of a pick as you can get. It’s got that smooth yet masculine tint we all know and love, plus a price tag that’s hard to say no to.
Why it’s great: How could a brand called Coach not make a list of best gym cologne? One look at the fancy bottle should be enough to let you know what you’re dealing with here. This thing is gentle yet masculine in all the right ways, and it’s fairly priced for how reliable it is year-round. It’s no surprise that it would be one of the best workout colognes.
How it smells: The soothing mix of pear and coriander is pretty unique in the cologne industry, especially when you throw amber wood into the mix. A lot of guys are afraid to experiment with smells like kumquat, but I say forget all that and give it a spritz before your rep.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Smaller Coach bottles sell out like hotcakes (no thanks to gym lovers, I bet), so if you have to get a bigger one, you may not get to use it all up before the recommended date. Small price to pay for that incredible smell, though!
Top Notes: Pear, kumquat, bergamot, lavender, grapefruit | Middle Notes: Cardamom, geranium, coriander | Base notes: Ambergris, suede, amberwood, Haitian vetiver | Size: 0.5oz, 2oz, 3.3oz, 6.7oz | Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Spring
Why it’s great: Adidas Moves for Men is a tried-and-true pick for guys who want to smell good without overspending. Subtle enough to keep you smelling classy yet just long-lasting enough for a workout, this is by far the best budget pick on the market.
How it smells: I’m a huge fan of the green apple and mandarin smell, and you can’t go wrong with a musky undertone either. The earthy sandalwood is what really drives it home, for me though. Put it all together, and you have a delicate yet masculine fragrance that exudes confidence and bravado.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The downside with this one is that it’s pretty much just gym cologne since it doesn’t last too long. You can hardly call that a drawback since you’d want something fancier for your main cologne anyway.
Top Notes: Green apple, anise, Italian parsley, peppermint, mandarin, black peppercorn | Middle Notes: Cedarwood, musk, lavender, jasmine | Base notes: muguet, sandalwood, oak moss, thyme | Size: 1oz| Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Summer
Why it’s great: This is a bigger investment than our other picks, but it isn’t on the list of the best gym cologne for nothing. Calvin Klein Eternity is bound to get the ladies’ heads turning with its unassuming yet appealing scent. You don’t have to worry about the smell going away mid-workout, either, easily making it one of the best men’s colognes for gym use.
How it smells: The secret sauce here is the sage-galbanum-mandarin mix, which guarantees you won’t smell like anyone else in the gym. If you can hone in on the smell, you can really sense the moss too, which I’m all for.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Besides being a bit costly, Eternity falls under the eau de parfum category, meaning the smell will be stronger and a bit longer-lasting than most others on this list. Either way, as long as you don’t overdo it, no harm done!
Top Notes: Mandarin, sage, galbanum | Middle Notes: Basil, geranium, lavender | Base notes: Moss, cedarwood, amber | Size: 3.3 oz | Type: Eau de Parfum | Season: Spring
Why it’s great: Leave it to Cristiano Ronaldo to hook us up with one of the best (and most popular) gym cologne picks in recent years. They really captured confidence in a bottle with this one, true to the legacy of its brand ambassador.
How it smells: I can’t say I know what Ronaldo smells like on a night out, but if it’s anything like the CR7, he knows what’s up. There’s a distinct aquatic note to this cologne, beautifully accentuated by a touch of lavender. Bonus points for that tinge of spice, too.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: 1 ounce might be a bit light if you want something that’ll last you a while. At the same time, the price is pretty fair, so you can always restock if needed.
Top Notes: Mandarin, bergamot, pear | Middle Notes: Lavender, Cardamom, Marine Accord | Base notes: Amberwood, tonka, musk | Size: 1oz | Type: Eau de Toilette | Season: Spring
Why it’s great: This isn’t just one of the best picks for gym cologne – the Guess 1981 Los Angeles can be used at work, at a fancy restaurant, and just about anywhere else. It’s been on the shelves for about 5 years now, and it’s still one of my go-tos to this day.
How it smells: One thing’s for sure, LA is one of the best “wintery” colognes I’ve come across. The smell of bergamot, plum, and ginger always reminds me of the Christmas holiday season, and there’s no reason not to bring some of that with you to the gym. It’s hard to get that oriental scent without straying into feminine territory, but it genuinely pulls it off.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: A lot of people have called this one out for smelling suspiciously like the timeless, more bougie Versace Eros. But hey, for the price of a single Andrew Jackson, I’d call that a good thing!
Top Notes: bergamot, black pepper, plum | Middle Notes: ginger, geranium, mint | Base notes: vetiver, sandalwood, tobacco, amber | Size: 1.7oz, 3.4oz | Type: Eau De Toilette | Season: Fall, winter
Buying Considerations for the Best Gym Colognes
A lot of dudes don’t think too hard about which soap or shampoo they use. I’m sometimes guilty of that myself, but I think you should hold your perfumes and colognes to a different standard. Here are some of the things you may want to think about before making a purchase:
When it comes to cologne, 1.7 and 3.4-oz bottles are by far the most common. The exact size you should go for depends on whether you plan on using it outside the gym. The best way to use gym cologne is sparingly, so you likely won’t ever need more than two 3.4oz bottles a year. Any more than that, and you’re probably doing it wrong.
Splurging on cologne for the gym isn’t the best way to spend your money. After all, you don’t need anything too fancy while lifting weights. Workout colognes can range from around $10 to $100, with some exceptions. There’s no need to go much over unless you want something you can also wear during outings.
How long your cologne lingers depends on the kind. Eau de toilette pretty much dissipates 3 or 4 hours in, while Eau de parfum can get you through an entire shift at work. The latter might be overkill for the gym, but the former can get you through an entire workout plus the trip home.
This part mostly comes down to personal preference. Warm and minty smells are a good match for fall and winter workouts, respectively. Most people opt for fruitier cologne in the spring or summer, but it’s not set in stone by any means.
The only catch is that some of the fall and winter fragrances tend to vaporize quickly in hot weather. Just keep the air humidity in mind if you opt for a “late-year” cologne, and you should be fine.
Why you should trust us
Beyond my tenure at FashionBeans, I’m also a guy who likes to smell good. Nothing irks me more than a cacophony of scents that should be pleasant in theory but wind up making your nose itch. I went over a long list of picks for this list, including many of my personal favorites – I guarantee that gym colognes don’t come much better than these.
To summarize, I think Coach for Men offers the best value for money out of any gym cologne out right now. If you’re not afraid to fork over a bit more, Calvin Klein Eternity offers an eclectic mix of spring scents in a sizable bottle.
For guys who like to keep things simple, there’s no wrong time to throw on the Guess 1981 Los Angeles, in or out of the gym. If you just want to get the cleanliness ordeal over with, Adidas Moves for Men is the best affordable gym cologne out there.
You can definitely wear cologne to the gym, but mind the quantity and the strength of the fragrance. Naturally, you don’t want to stink up the place, but don’t have every corner of the gym smelling of Versace, either. Before and during your workout, you should only wear enough cologne to smell presentable for the people in your personal space. Eau de toilette is usually a safer pick since it contains less perfume oil, making it lighter than eau de parfum.
One thing that tends to take people out of zen mode at the gym is an overpowering scent from two machines down. This is especially true for unisex gyms – the mix of masculine musk and nose-burning fragrances doesn’t always go over well with the ladies. One or two sprays of cologne is the golden standard before you start working out. Once you’re done exercising, you can spray at your own discretion.
Unless you’re in a real hurry, you can’t rely on a bit of cologne (even if it’s the best gym cologne) to keep you smelling fresh after a workout. A shower, a change of clean clothes, and a deodorant stick should be your number one priority after a particularly rough chest day. And no, dousing yourself with an entire bottle of cologne isn’t the way to go. Remember that cologne is the cherry on top of the hygiene sundae, and not a substitute for soap and hot water.