I am often asked by my students for recommendations on attire for working out since, let’s be honest, I basically live in my workout clothes. Over the years, as both a consumer wanting clothes to workout in to being an instructor and needing clothes for teaching I have collected what works and doesn’t work for me. While every body is different and what works for one person’s shape may not work for another – there are some underlying principles that I think could be useful that can be taken from my experience. Since it is the start of the new year and that means many people are venturing on their resolutions of a healthier year – now is the time to introduce these principles.
Comfort: You want to workout in clothes that are comfortable to move in. Look at the fabrics and cut. Make sure you can move freely in them and they aren’t too tight that you’re loosing circulation or too loose that you are lost in your clothes.
Awareness: I strongly believe in the principle of being aware of your body. Everyone is beautiful and should love their bodies and not hide them. Now, I’m not saying that an obese person should go out in booty shorts with a skimpy bra to workout but that they should wear clothes that go with their form. For resistance training (with weights whether free weights or machines), for Pilates, for yoga etc. it is really important to maintain proper alignment. To be able to see your body allows you to monitor your form – you are the best judge of what hurts or not.
For example, Range of Motion is different for everyone. If you are bending over trying to touch your toes you don’t want to force yourself down which could cause an injury – rather you want to increase your flexibility. Fat could be obstructing your reach, or you could have tight joints, or poor form. For one such stretch you want your knees straight, not locked, but not bent. So if you wear form fitted pants then your instructor and you can see if you start losing your form when you try to reach further, thus reducing your quality of the stretch because of the incorrect form.
Functionality: Is the item something that will help you? Is the fabric breathable, moisture-wicking, heat-reducing? These will help you during your workout.
Looks: I think this is so important. It is not vapid. You should care how you look. The majority of people who workout do it to maintain or improve their health and are concerned with their appearance on some level (whether to get rid of a beer gut or work towards abs of steel). While you work on your appearance (which can’t happen overnight) you should look good doing it. If your clothes are cute, then that can help motivate you to want to put them on and use them!