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The Lenny Kravitz case: What is a celebrity doing at the gym in leather pants and sunglasses?

The video that went viral on social media is just one more example of the fitness culture of celebrities, where being an actor or singer is not just about the craft, but also about physical appearances

Lenny Kravitz attends the 2024 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, showing off the effects of his training.
Lenny Kravitz attends the 2024 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, showing off the effects of his training.Lester Cohen (Getty Images for The Recording A)

Lenny Kravitz’s Instagram has become a box of surprises — one that can cause uproar on social networks while making the fitness community throw up their hands in distress. Last March, the 59-year-old singer posted an image of himself shirtless, showing off his ripped abs.

But the stir sparked by that photo was nothing compared to the response to a video of him working out, a clip that’s so over-the-top, it seems like it might be a gag. What’s most striking about the video (along with the fact that everyone in the upmarket Equinox gym in Hudson Yards, Manhattan, seems unperturbed by the scene) is the outfit Kravitz is wearing while he trains: leather pants, ankle boots, a mesh top and sunglasses.

His trainer, Dodd Romero (who has also trained former baseball players Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez), appeared to be satisfied with the workout, as he has proudly uploaded the video to his profile: every time he posts an image of Kravitz, Romero reminds his followers that “there are no shortcuts” to achieving results.

Proper gym clothes

Is it really a good idea to train in leather pants? “It’s crazy,” says Manuela Acaso, personal trainer. “You need clothes that allows you to breathe and have full range of motion, something that is impossible with leather pants.” “I always recommend training in comfortable clothing, and although I do not indicate what type of clothing to wear, training in leather pants is neither comfortable nor suitable for doing the technical part in the best way. It is even a question of safety,” says Rubén J. Jiménez Delgado, CEO of RJ Personal Trainer Fitness Boutique.

Seeing celebrities training in inappropriate footwear causes less surprise: famous people such as Victoria Beckham and Mariah Carey have posted videos and photographs of themselves walking in a treadmill in heels. But heels aside... are Kravitz ankle boots a good idea? “Boots are not appropriate footwear, and as if that were not enough, the ones he wears have heels, which is something I totally prohibit,” says Rubén J. Jiménez Delgado. “Footwear must be flat or with little sole, so that the foot adapts and can feel balance stimuli, as well as for the motor and position receptors to work. The boots also fix the ankle too much and do not allow it to properly flex and extend.”

Manuela Acaso says that more and more people are training in Crocs, a shoe that, she warns, is not fit for the gym. “It is an even worse idea to wear them on the treadmill, since they do not hold the foot securely or allow quick leg movements without falling off. In fact, they are dangerous both for those who train and for others,” adds Jiménez Delgado.

And training barefoot? Acaso says that she herself often trains barefoot. “It allows for greater stability when lifting weight, because the flatter the footwear and the more direct contact the foot has with a flat surface, the better. It helps to concentrate the movements towards the muscles that are working, especially when working the lower body,” she explains.

Jiménez Delgado clarifies that it depends on the type of training: “Training without any footwear makes sense when working on different balance tasks, proprioception, core or even yoga classes. However, when going to the area where exercises are practiced that require working with weights and machines, it is not a good idea, because someone who goes barefoot could be hit and even runs the risk of the weight falling on them without any type of foot protection.”

What clothes should you never train in? “I would never wear jeans, a shirt, a skirt… nor would I choose footwear that doesn’t adapt to my foot and my training. I don’t think boots, dress shoes, flip-flops, or Crocs are appropriate, and when it comes to clothing, I wouldn’t choose designs that are too wide, as they could catch on the material or machines or not allow easy movement, as with tight and rigid clothing, since all exercises must be performed safely and correctly.”

While many people praise Lenny Kravitz’s physical form, many others agree with the trainers that his attire is inappropriate, and also pointing out that the exercise he is doing in the video is not recommended either. Kravitz’s trainer — who clarifies in the comments of the video that the singer is lifting a 45-pound bar with a 10-pound bumper plate on each side — believes that although the execution of the exercise is not perfect, it is an appropriate practice for the singer. “He should be hinging more at the hips. but [...] after 25 years of training together, at least three times a week we’ve had so many battles together that I understand his body very well, and know when he’s in danger and when he’s not,” Romero said in response to an Instagram comment about whether Kravitz was arching his back too much.

“It seems crazy to me and, above all, dangerous. You are more likely to end up injuring yourself with that exercise than improving your fitness. Nothing makes sense in that video, and promoting it on social networks seems to me to be a bad example for the young people who follow him, for those who have just started training or for those who are encouraged to do so because they see their idol in the gym. If I could talk to him, I would recommend other exercises and appropriate clothing for training,” says Rubén J. Jiménez Delgado.

Aside from Kravtiz’s questionable outfit and training exercise, Olivia Craighead explains in The Cut why she believes that this video is a perfect example of what celebrity-created content should be like. She writes: “It’s completely bizarre, really funny, and somehow still winds up being charming. There are so many parts of it to love: the way no one in that Equinox is paying attention to the patently nuts thing happening right next to them; the fact that both Kravitz and his trainer are wearing indoor sunglasses. But most of all it’s the outfit, which is a pure encapsulation of famous-person nonsense. It’s not functional, he looks hot in it, and no civilian would dare try to pull it off. God bless you, Lenny Kravitz.”

Athletes and singers

“Sometimes I feel more like an athlete than a singer,” said Pink, one of the pop stars who — apart from singing in her concerts, dances, jumps up and down, and hangs from the roof and flies. If — as in the case of Kravitz — performers’ workouts and sculpted bodies spark more and more comments, admiration and attention, it is because singing is now just one of the dozens of things a pop star is expected to do.

Taylor Swift told Time magazine that she prepares for her concerts by singing her entire repertoire while running on the treadmill. Madonna, 65, is about to end a tour with 78 concerts, in which she is constantly dancing and moving around a gigantic stage. The intricate world of celebrity workouts is unlike any other because it requires massive workouts in limited times: preparing for a tour, putting on a superhero costume, or simply appearing in a nude scene that the entire world will scrutinize inch by inch.

If celebrity workouts capture the world’s attention, it is because certain celebrities have long been forced to be, as Pink is said to have said, athletes. Maybe that’s what Lenny Kravitz is doing in the gym with his leather pants and sunglasses: training without letting anyone forget who he is.

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