Let’s be real: you can get a great workout in whatever junky outfit you have lying around the house. I’ve had clients come to me in baggy, oversized college T-shirts, flannel pyjama pants, and all manner of odd gear from reflective soccer shorts to collared polo shirts to an actual full-length unitard.
But let’s be real. Even though you don’t have to dress like you’re straight off the lululemon runway to work up a sweat, there is something about dropping down into a burpee with perfectly-in-place high-waisted capri or taking a jog in a strappy-but-secure stylish sports bra that makes the whole exercise experience a bit…nicer.
And why wouldn’t you want your sports gear to be damn cute as well?
Already I can hear the snores from the less-interested male clients and hey, you’re right – the selection of red/black/blue shirts and black/grey shorts at your local Big 5 might not be super inspiring, so if you’re looking for more stylish stuff, check out these brands.
But for my ladies, we are in a veritable wonderland of gorgeous, stylish, and somehow still functional fitness clothing at every price point – so let’s embrace it, dammit. I’ll be the first to admit that I have some fairly wild taste when it comes to gym clothes, but for the sake of this post, I’ll stick to the basics: key pieces I wear every day, and general stuff I think the average fit female would like to wear herself.
Let’s start from the bottom up: shoes and socks. I am a die-hard, can’t-be-swayed, own-the-same-pair-in-six-colours Nike Flyknit Free fan. I didn’t always wear minimalist shoes; in fact, for the first eight years of my running career, I couldn’t be swayed from Asics Gel Nimbus (though now if I put them on they’d feel like cement blocks).
However, my point is this: find a shoe that you absolutely ADORE (you get excited to actually put on, doesn’t cause you pain while working out, and is comfy) and buy it in at least three colors – no, not (just) for vanity, but so you can rotate between the pairs and prevent injury. So many of my clients wear a single pair of way-too-old shoes to the grave and then wonder why they have shin splints or knee pain all of a sudden.
As for the socks, some simple guidelines: skip the cotton (tend to get soggy and stretch out); go for compression and arch support if you’re running in them; and make sure they’re cut higher in the back to avoid slippage in shoes. From there, the world is your oyster. My fave sock picks?
Feetures High Performance Cushion No-Show Tab Socks
Nike Elite Lightweight No-Show Tab Socks
Balega Enduro No Show Arch Support Socks
Now that we’ve got our feet sorted, how about we talk lower half? I live in probably one of the most inhospitable running climates on Earth in that it is always hot, always humid, and more often than not, either blazing sun or pouring rain. For this reason, I favour a nice compression short for lifting and an easy breezy lightweight split short for running. The best of both? See below:
Affordable compression shorts that you can buy in a thousand colours: either the Nike Pro 3″ Training Shorts or the Cotton On Gym Short. The high waist, thick band, and tight fit of the shorts makes them stay put on your upper thigh and stay comfortable throughout even a longer workout. In terms of the running shorts, there is one INCREDIBLE product by Salomon that takes the take – they are literally like you’re wearing nothing at all. Behold, the S-Lab Light 3 Short (not cheap; worth it):
Onward and upward to the top half of the bod – again, my apologies to those of you with “seasons” as you probably need things like “sleeves” and “jackets” in your life, and I wont’ cover any of that business here. But again – in terms of dealing with heat, Nike does it again with their collection of well-fitted and ultra-lightweight singlets. Some top choices?
Nike Breathe Elastika – love the choice to tie up or leave down depending on the day
Nike Breeze Cool – my current count is four; in teal, nean yellow, cobalt, and black
Nike Breathe Tank – like you’re wearing nothing at all…nothing at all…
Should you not be as unilaterally obsessed with the Nike brand as I am, I’d be remiss to not mention lululemon’s amazing line of built-in bra tops (the only brand I trust to actually hold ’em in, if you catch my drift), the standout of which is the Fresh in Mesh Tank that I will eventually own in every colour possible:
One last note on accessories, despite the fact that I am actually a pretty simple gal when it comes to things like gym bags (whatever I toss my stuff in becomes my “bag”), watches (don’t wear one), and gadgets (I’m definitely not the one to ask about things like copper balance bracelets or knee straps or anything like that) – but I love a good, sporty hat or visor, and my absolute fave are the ones from Headsweats. Comfortable, performance-oriented, and unbeatable for hot weather whether you’re running, golfing, or heck, just standing outdoors for 4 minutes in Singapore heat:
That’s it for my list of raves and faves when it comes to performance gear (special thanks to Nike, Cotton On BODY, lululemon and Amazon for making it even easier to get my fave picks ordered online) – but I’d love to hear what YOUR favourite choices are when it comes to all things exercise.
Tell me, readers – who are YOU wearing (in the gym)?
Nothing fancy, just loose workout shorts and old Big Brother T-shirts. Workout shoes (probably too old but I don’t run in them so no knee or foot issues) & socks of course. I’ve never been a style hound and have always been frugal, so workout clothes tend to be old, overused, and are only replaced when they wear out. But I do try to keep my shoes up to date if I sense the support has gone.
Shoes are the important things, of course – which is why I’m always on my dad’s back about changing his given all his running!!!
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