Most of us want to look cute while running on that treadmill or heading to that spin class because you never know who’s looking, but your main concern should really be getting the best workout possible. Luckily, what you wear matters. Generally, your workout clothes should be form fitting and stretchy, so that they move with you. If you choose wisely, you may look just as a good leaving the gym as when you entered, and you will definitely feel better. Take a look at a few of our workout apparel do’s and don’ts.
Don’t wear your favorite cotton t-shirt. It may fit you to a “T” or be emblazoned with your college alma mater, but by the end of your workout, your t-shirt will be a clingy, sweaty mess. That’s because cotton absorbs sweat, making you wet, cold and chafed after exercise.
Do wear wicking fabrics. Try exercise tops and pants made of polypropylene fabrics like COOL-MAX or Dri-FIT that “wick” sweat away from the body, helping moisture evaporate more quickly and keep your body cooler during workouts. You should look for this wicking material in all layers of your workout clothes. It also prevents those unsightly underarm sweat rings.
Don’t wear that fancy push up bra or thong underwear. Regular bras don’t provide the support needed during a workout, possibly making exercise painful. And, you may be tempted to wear a thong to avoid showing your panty line in those stretchy workout pants, but the sweat and movement during exercise could lead to infections.
Do wear a proper fitting sports bra and appropriate underwear. Make sure your sports bra fits. Bend over too far and your workout may become X-rated. Sports bras come in two varieties, compression bras that press breast against the chest to control movement and encapsulation bras that are more like regular bras with cups to provide extra support for larger breasted women. As for underwear, opt for seamless undergarments in a moisture-wicking fabric.
Don’t wear a lot of make-up and jewelry. Avoid wearing heavy cosmetics during a workout, since foundation can clog pores and eyeliners and mascaras can run and irritate eyes. If you simply can’t live without make-up, try a tinted moisturizer and lip balm. Similarly, if you have to wear jewelry, stick to small earring studs. Dangling earrings, long necklaces and bracelets can get caught on equipment or snagged on clothing during exercise.
Do accessorize. The best workout accessories are head and hair bands to keep sweat and hair off your face when you exercise. If you are working with weights, you may want to invest in weight gloves and if yoga is your thing, you may want your own mat. Finally, you can’t go wrong by adding a water bottle to your ensemble. You want to stay healthy and hydrated during every workout.
Robin Bennefield loves to travel, write and go dancing.