Choosing the right workout clothes

There’s something rather exciting about shopping for new exercise clothes. Whether your old ones don’t fit quite right, you’re starting a new exercise regime, or your fitness wardrobe just needs a revamp, remember that your new gear needs to not only look great, but help you to feel comfortable while you’re breaking a sweat.

Here are some of our top tips to help you choose the right workout clothes:

Pick a good fabric

It’s important that the fabric of your workout clothes is breathable and helps to pull the sweat away from your skin. It may be best to stay away from 100% cotton, as it has a tendency to absorb sweat which means you may feel heavier, wet and uncomfortable while you exercise.

Look for the words ‘moisture wicking’ and ‘quick dry’. These terms mean your sweat will evaporate quicker and the item of clothing will help keep your body cool.

Make sure the item fits well

Overly baggy t-shirts may be great for hiding any lumps and bumps while you’re working out, but they may also get caught on exercise equipment (or fall down around your head if you don’t tuck it into your pants while in downward dog during yoga!). Those low-rise cropped shorts may look fantatic on the clothes rack and while you’re standing upright, but you want to make sure that they’ll stay up when you’re bending and stretching otherwise you’ll find yourself thinking more about hoisting them up every few minutes rather than focusing on your training.

Sports bras should fit correctly, feel comfortable, and provide adequate support for the kind of exercise you’re doing – especially if you are doing high impact activities such as aerobics. Most good sports bras should show on the label what kind of exercise they are for, if not don’t be afraid to ask the shop attendant for assistance.

Think about the activities you’re going to be doing

If you’re doing pilates or yoga, choose fitted workout gear that has a bit of stretch in the fabric and has good coverage – due to all the different positions and poses, these activities are notorious for making clothes ride up and slide down! As we mentioned before, make sure your clothes fit well so they won’t get in the way of your exercise. Remember that if you’re riding a bike (indoor spin bikes or outdoor), wear relatively fitted pants otherwise you’ll find the bottoms of them may end up getting caught in the bike chain or pedals.

If you’re exercising outdoors and it’s cold outside, layer up. For the layer closest to your skin, pick a breathable fabric, then pick an insulating layer for the outside. For the wind and rain, make sure you choose a jacket that is waterproof/windproof otherwise you’ll end up either soaked or cold, or worse – both. Also remember to opt for brightly coloured clothes to maximise your visibility if you’re going to be out training at night.

Good workout shoes need to be suitable for what you’re doing and fit well. See Picking the Right Workout Shoes for more help.

Do the bend test!

Some exercise tights look great on the shelf, but can go thin to the point of being seethrough when you’re doing a squat and the fabric is pulled taut across your glutes! Problem is, if you don’t do the bend test with your butt to the mirror while you’re trying them on, you may never know they go transparent mid-workout… Peek a glimpse at your rear in the mirror while trying a squat, and also reach down and try to touch your toes – if the fabric still looks the same you’re safe!

Image / Flickr – lululemon athletica

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