Walking into a sports store can be overwhelming. There are so many different types of workout clothing. When you’re new to exercising, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Realising later that you’ve bought the wrong things can also make it an expensive shopping trip.
Are we all being played by clever marketing? You probably already own a ton of cotton t-shirts and gyms shorts. No doubt some kind of athleisure wear, too. So why not just use them? Or do workout clothes make a difference to the way we exercise?
Do Workout clothes make any difference?
Workout clothing can be important. For example, women working out should wear a good sports bra and runners should buy good quality running shoes. Cyclists, late-night joggers and walkers should wear clothing that makes it easier for others to see them. Sometimes workout clothing can make exercising safer.
So yes, workout clothing can make a difference but often we’re not sold the safety features. It’s far sexier to sell the performance enhancing qualities of a shirt or pair of shorts instead.
That’s where things can get confusing both for the beginner and the seasoned gym rat.
Gym Clothes are Tighter
Workout clothes often have a tighter fit. Unless you’re a hardcore cyclist or competitive bodybuilder, you won’t need a skin tight ensemble to boost performance but that’s not to say there aren’t advantages to wearing something on the tighter side.
Tighter clothing shouldn’t ride up when you’re working out (although, sometimes poorly fitting shirts and shorts do). You’ll lose focus if you have to keep readjusting. Your performance will suffer if you’re irritated at the t-shirt that’s bunching up at the back. Concentration and being in that flow state during a workout is everything. You can't do that when you’re distracted.
Loose clothing when you’re lifting or in a spin class can also be dangerous. Some forms of exercise do require looser clothing: yoga, Pilates or deep stretching for example, so dress accordingly. No one wants to be doing one-legged pigeon pose in bum-busting leggings.
Exercising in non-workout clothes can also irritate the skin. It depends on what you’re doing, how heavily you’re sweating and how sensitive your skin is but you can buy shirts, shorts and leggings without seams. Discomfort will cause a drop in focus so buy good quality sportswear to reduce irritation and chafing.
Heavy sweaters need sweat-wicking fabric. Its designed to help the moisture on your skin evaporate more quickly, leaving you feeling fresher, more comfortable and less self-conscious. Useful both in warm and cold weather, it’s ideal for layering so you can exercise in optimal body temperatures both in and outdoors.
Big Strong Stiches
We put our gym kit under considerable stress: the lifting, lunging, running, pedaling and jumping all takes a toll. Buy good quality clothing and you shouldn’t need to replace or repair it so frequently.
Your gym kit is a costume. You’re like the actor that puts the outfit on to get into character. If you feel good about what you’re wearing, then you’ll work out harder. This isn’t narcissism but what scientists call enclothed cognition. If you’re feeling self-conscious or unhappy in the kit you’re wearing, how can you do your workout justice?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money. It’s not about wearing the latest brands but about feeling comfortable and confident in what you have on. You’re there to get the job done, so dress like it.
Compression clothing looks good on gym bodies. Compression has been used in the medical industry forever but now we’re seeing it more in the gym. There’s some evidence that it helps athletes recover from tough sessions. It’s also sold for its performance enhancing qualities but the science for that is a little patchy. It does tick a lot of other boxes though: it’s usually sweat-wicking, tight-fitting, and looks good on the body.
Don’t Go Sheer
Good leggings will save you a lot of embarrassment. Cheaper brands or ones you’d wear under a dress won’t have enough thick material around the bum. They’ll go see-through when you bend over.
This has happened to countless people in yoga and Pilates classes or during lifting or spinning. This can be embarrassing and hugely distracting if you notice yourself in the mirror mid-session. Workout clothing can make a difference by supporting or covering you when necessary in different postures or during challenging poses. It’s always worth checking your bend or squat in the mirror before hitting the gym our public classes.
Workout clothing can make a difference. You may need to be careful of the marketing claims of some items but a good quality outfit can make exercising safer, more enjoyable and more comfortable.
Of course, if you’re just starting out then hitting the gym in your old college T-shirt and cycling shorts is completely fine if that’s what works for you.
But as you progress, exercise clothing can make for a nice reward or for a way to show off what you’re achieving. And anything that helps us maintain our focus and feel good in ourselves is worth buying.
The GymHugz workout clothing range has dropped. Come and check out are amazing ranges.