Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.


How Ugly Do We Look After Exercising?

Reaaaaaaaaal ugly.

We all know we aren't at our most attractive after working out. But how bad could we possibly look? I mean really?

Bad. Extraordinarily bad. Like we-shouldn't-go-out-in-public bad. Nick-Nolte-on-a-bender bad. Snooki-on-a-Tuesday-night bad. Our proof: French photographer Sacha Goldberger snapped images of joggers in Paris immediately after a sprint, then again a week later in their regular clothes, in roughly the same pose. Place the portraits side by side, and the evidence crystallizes into incontrovertible fact: Running is an invite to the ugly tree.

"I wanted to show the difference between our natural and brute side and our representation in society," Goldberger tells Co.Design. "The difference is very surprising.? I'll say. On that note, I'm off for a run. But first, someone find me a paper bag to put over my head.

[Images courtesy of Sacha Goldberger; hat tip to]

Add New Comment


  • Organick44

    Sorry but I disagree. I really think people look much better after they had exercise appart from pictures 3 and 7. But on the other hand imagine how they would look like without exercising at all...

  • Elise

    I think it comes more from how we personally think we look; the ugly factor.  We are our worst critics and there is no doubt about that. But as an artist and runner myself, I find that after exercise, when we wake up in the morning or when we get out of the shower, sans the make up and hair products and nit-picky things we do to make ourselves "presentable", we just look human, the way we were made to look. There is something intriguing about the raw version of human beings. And despite what society has deemed beautiful or ugly, the simplicity of looking like our true selves is something we take for granted, a hidden nature that only those closest to us are allowed to see, and sometimes we don't even allow loved ones to see us that way. When I run I feel untouchable.  I feel healthy and full of life.  And I like to think that is how I look to people.  Health and fitness is an attractive thing. It means we take care of ourselves and we care. It doesn't mean we are ugly, it only means we are sweaty, a more common human function than we like to admit to. 

  • George I

    Is there ONE reason you guys posted this in CoDesign?  What da heck does any of this have to with design in any form?  This post is kind of disturbing, and I wish you remembered what the name of your blog is.

  • Wize Adz

    Not ugly at all, it turns out.  Just more like real people.

    Why is this even news?  Does anyone seriously think that people wearing suits and/or makeup look normal?

    Makeup and suits have always looked strange to me, and it's only a decade after entering the working world that I'm mostly used to it.  I realized early on that being able to put on a suit and the manners to match only show that you know how to dress up and play a role -- which is a very useful skill at work.  But being able to dress up and play a role is not to be confused with real life.

  • Lauren King

    I think I look hotter when I am all sweaty and looking red in the face :)

  • Emily Tan

    I'm with the rest of the commentators on this thread. Some of the women looked younger and fresher after their exercise and some of the men more attractive. 

  • nikolai

    Really missing the point! Not sure if you are getting edited or not, or perhaps too much to drink the night before??

    but think about what you are writing.

  • Andrew Berglund


    I think you really missed the point here. The images are a juxtaposition of our raw natural self with our societal representation, as explained by Goldberger. I think the fact that running transforms us in such a way is nothing short of beautiful. Maybe you wrote this entirely in jest, or solely for the shock value in the headline, but don't be so afraid of a little sweat and its impact on our appearance.

  • Karyl Gilbertson

    It just looks like the "normal" people are wearing more makeup. Even the guys.

  • Rick Hill

    I must disagree with the ugly comment.  Having run marathons, half-marathons, 10-milers, 10ks, and 5ks through the years, I find that we are more our true selves after exercising - bared souls, open, honest and more socially connected - than the dressed-up versions we pretend to be in general social situations.