In a world where there are as many types of leggings as there are flavors of protein, it is possible to narrow down the options and purchase your workout clothes without feeling overwhelmed by choices. Save the sweat for the gym and keep your cool with the following tips.
What kind of material is this made of?
Speaking of keeping cool, regardless of the time of year it is important to shop for clothes that allow your skin to breathe and dry quickly. Performance fabrics that are breathable, moisture wicking and quick drying will prevent bacteria growth, chafing and rashes. Look for fabrics made of polypropylene, spandex, nylon, polyester blends or wool. Another advantage to technical fabrics is even if you don’t go home immediately to shower, you will be less likely to feel “sweaty” while running those errands, also reducing the risk of irritation to your skin.
Is this piece designed for a specific sport or purpose?
There is a difference between apparel that is designed for function and apparel that is designed for fashion. Athletic apparel that is sport specific usually boasts features that have been requested and tested by athletes. As sport specific apparel lines increase, so do technical features such as key-sized pockets, compression fabrics and fabrics that reduce UV rays. The result of the athletic and leisure lines colliding has resulted in the arrival of “athleisure,” which means those jogger pants you’ve been eyeing can be worn in the gym—and to get groceries. With that in mind, if you plan to wear that sports bra or those leggings on a regular basis (in AND out of the gym), it’s more important to invest in a quality pair that will have longevity, coverage and support. Likewise, that crisscross, braided back yoga bra you’ve been eyeing might not be the best choice for bootcamp.
Does it fit?
Just as there is no “one size fits all” workout, the same theory applies to workout clothes. Whether you’re tall or petite, size 2 or size 22, it’s important to consider that what might “fit” in the store, might feel different once you’re on your spin bike or throwing battle ropes. Many brands are offering additional size options which, similar to a sport specific apparel piece taking your activity into account, takes your body size into account. Experiment with different brands and be sure to reference the size charts AND your reflection in the mirror, not just your boyfriend’s opinion of your running skirt. The clothing should fit your body, your sport and your personality.
Where should I be shopping?
If you’re anything like me, you’re easily distracted by bright colors, wild patterns and countless varieties of tops, bottoms, socks and even performance undies. The best brands offer functional apparel pieces that are fashionable as well.
While you might be wearing the best apparel and have a shaker bottle full of pre-workout, your goals won’t work unless YOU do. Regardless of where you are or what equipment you have access to, start somewhere. Run/walk laps around the block. Incorporate full body, equipment-free moves like push-ups and squats. Alternate those moves with plyometrics like jump squats, burpees and mountain climbers to increase your heart rate, burn fat and improve full body strength. For more ideas, read Stay Accountable to your Home Workout Routine.
What are your favorite workout moves and fitness apparel brands? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you.