7 Tips for a Functional and Practical Gym Outfit

This is a Guest Post by my friend Megan Howard

When it comes to exercising, what you wear is almost as important as getting the right nutrition and hydration. Your kit can have a major impact on how you train, and how well you run.

You need to find the right balance of comfort and functionality.

Confused? We’re here to help.

All it takes is a little bit of early preparation to find the right clothing for your workout. If you’re looking to refresh your gym wardrobe, look at these tips. We’ll guide you towards finding the most practical and motivational gear for your exercise regime.

  1. Be Fanatical About Fabrics

Who would’ve thought advancements in technology would have such a huge impact on activewear fabrics?

These days, you’ll find a range of natural and synthetic fabrics designed for specific sporting activities. They all offer their own advantages, comfort levels, and functionality.

The first factor to consider is the breathability of the fabric. You want something that allows your body to sweat and stay cool as you exercise, but won’t get weighed down, or retain moisture.

Moisture wicking fabric is ideal for runners or those who build up a sweat, as it draws moisture away from the skin and encourages evaporation. This high-tech polyester fabric dries faster and lets air circulate, allowing the body’s temperature to regulate better.  It also limits chafing, which can help reduce the chance of ‘jogger’s nipple’ and other painful conditions.

For those who prefer natural fabrics that are breathable and moisture-absorbing, bamboo provides a great alternative to manmade fibers. Bamboo is better than cotton because it doesn’t retain sweat or become heavy when wet.

  1. Focus On Fit

Support is everything in workout gear.

Both tops and bottoms should fit correctly, and allow you to move around with ease. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to stop exercising to rearrange your clothing to get a full range of motion. This can slow you down and affect your performance.

When trying on workout gear always move around to check whether not it’s restrictive. Do a few squats, burpees, sit-ups, and lunges, or mimic lifting weights. If something doesn’t feel right, cuts into you, or doesn’t have enough stretch or support, it’s not a viable option.

Certain brands have designed sportswear with built-in support. This is a great option if you’re looking for extra comfort and a really good fit.

  1. Dress For Success

Always consider the type of workout you’re going to be doing before getting dressed. What you wear for a run should differ to what you wear to a step class, or weightlifting session.

In general, high-intensity cardio activities require clothing with a far more robust support structure than lower-intensity exercises, such as yoga or Pilates.

It’s always a good idea to think about what movements you’ll be doing.

You want to get the full range of motion without any restrictions. By dressing appropriately you’ll also perform better, as you’ll be 100% comfortable.

  1. Stay With the Season

If you’re working out in the gym seasonal changes won’t have as much of an impact on your choice of clothing. However, it’s essential you ensure you keep your body at the proper temperature—both in a climate-controlled environment in the gym, and once you’re outside.

When the weather gets colder, you’ll want to make sure you can keep your body warm before you exercise, and again when you stop. If you don’t do this, you risk injuring yourself by working out cold. Plus, you risk getting sick if you head straight into the chill while your heart rate is up.

On the flip side, it can be dangerous to wear clothes that are too warm in hotter weather. Your body can overheat, or you can sweat too much, and become dehydrated.

If in doubt, wear layers you can put on or take off as you warm up and cool down.

  1. Go For Quality Not Quantity

Activewear is now highly fashionable as every daywear. Luxe sportswear or luxury athleisure has even become a trend in its own right.

This means that there are bargains galore on sportswear. However, with so much choice and competition, you need to keep an eye on the quality of the garments.

There’s plenty of activewear that’s been designed just to look good, and won’t stand up to your exercise regime.

Check that whatever you buy is well made, and that the fabric will stand up to movement and stretching, sweating, and regular washing.

  1. Put Footwear First

Out of everything you wear when working out, your footwear is the most important.

Your feet take the brunt of your weight and movement, especially in a high-intensity workout, or when running. Without shoes that protect and cushion your feet, you leave yourself wide open to injuries of all kinds.

If you’re on a budget, don’t skimp on your shoes.

Rather spend less on your kit and invest in footwear that’s designed to provide proper support for your feet.

  1. Focus On Function Not Fashion

So many people get trapped in the notion that they need to look good while at the gym.

Yes, there’s definitely something to be said for your confidence levels when you wear clothes you know you look great in. But if the clothing isn’t practical for the exercise, it has no business being worn for a workout.

When deciding what to wear, look for clothes you feel comfortable in, and allow you to perform at your optimum. You’ll look far better if you’re giving it your all and can perform at your peak rather than awkwardly making allowances for an outfit that’s not suitable.

Don’t believe us?

Check out the research done on enclothed cognition. Studies have shown that wearing the right clothes influences our behavior and attitude.

If you dress for the sport or exercise you’re taking part in, your brain and your body gets a boost.

Getting dressed for success applies not only to the working world. It carries over into your workout wardrobe and the clothing (and footwear!) you wear to the gym.