My Secret to Maintaining Natural Hair While Being a Gym Rat


Here’s my secret to maintaining natural hair as a gym-rat: PROTECTIVE STYLES! When I say “protective” styles, I am referring to hairstyles that I wear to protect my natural hair against any heat, sun, or chemicals. Heat was a huge factor behind my previous hair damage and I am now proud to say that I do not use flat irons or blow dryers anymore. In fact, I got rid of them. I am all for any style that I see that doesn’t include any source of heat! My best advice to everyone is to not be afraid of braids, twists, or buns. You can pull off almost hundreds of different looks from any of those three categories. Of course you have many other options such as weaves, wig/customized units, simple ponytails, or afros, but these three are my go-to styles.

My pictures below are just a few of the styles that I’ve rocked in the past six months that have done wonders for me:

Hitting the gym three to four times a week with natural hair and no protective style can almost be a nightmare. As you know, once opting out of relaxers (for me since 2008), keeping those roots under control becomes one of your biggest priorities! The amount of sweat and secretions our bodies release during a workout is very high, and they come straight through our pores and roots of our hair.


While working and being a graduate student, time is never in my favor. My day to day life is filled with hustle and bustle, and I often do not have time or energy to deal with hair during the week. Besides heat and chemical protecting, CONVENIENCE is the second most important reason why protective styles are now my way to go. I get wear out of my styles for 2-3 weeks, sometimes even a month at a time! Hair is rarely ever in my morning routine (besides snatching my scarf off on my way out). This makes my life so simple. No matter how much I sweat during my workouts, all it takes is a quick brush for my buns. With my braids or twists, it takes nothing at all! Buns are also very professional and simple for those who work in an office setting. My hair style for the week or next two to three weeks, does not have to be ruined every time I go to the gym. Surprisingly, I prefer braided styles and twists over weaves, simply because weave maintenance can sometimes take just as much time, money, and energy as natural hair.

Healthiness and Growth Through the Sweat

Between my protective styles, I make sure to get my protein treatments and my ends trimmed every 6-8 weeks. This helps to even out any dead ends or shedding. My natural hair grows faster when my ends are trimmed and I keep my Marley Twist styles in for about three to four weeks. I double up on my green vegetables to maintain the strength of my hair. My love for greens is almost insane. Every chance I get to add a salad to my meal, extra spinach to my pizza, or drink a green smoothie, I take it. This makes up for my lack of time to actually make home cooked meals often. I still make sure to get those greens in! Buns are essential between braided and twisted styles to give your hair and edges a break from tension. Be sure to constantly drink water during your workout!

Check out my previous green smoothie blog post to get my insight in-depth about how important greens are to my life.

I also take my daily hair vitamins; click here for more info.

Since I’ve began my journey with Mielle Organic vitamins, I’ve seen the difference in the strength of my hair and the constant new growth. This is a great source to amino acids and minerals. It also strengthens the immune system. I always make sure to stay stocked with these vitamins, in addition to chugging down as much water and green smoothies as possible.

My Stylist:

Shawntia Barringer

District Heights, MD

Natural Hair and Weave Stylist

6316 Marlboro Pike

Check out another exclusive video I’ve done featuring Shawntia, addressing the challenges of African American women with natural hair.


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