“The way we dress affects the way we think, the way we feel, the way we act, and the way others react to us.”
– Judith Rasband
What you wear to workout matters. Period. Some people out there are going to argue that it doesn’t matter what you wear to workout, as long as you’re comfortable, but I just can’t agree. Or rather, perhaps I feel that what people typically think of as “comfortable” might not be the most comfortable to workout in in reality. Now, you may be one of those out there who find it terribly annoying when people dress up and try to look cute when they go to the gym, and I get where you’re coming from. I am NOT suggesting you slather on the makeup or that you should be so concerned with how you look that you don’t actually workout hard and sweat (THAT ladies and gentleman is what drives me up a wall. You come to workout with me, you best be dripping by the end). But I am saying there is a happy medium, and there are enormous benefits to being thoughtful about what you wear.
- You want to dress for the kind of movements you are going to perform. I get that a lot of women out there are comfortable just throwing on baggy sweats and a loose T-shirt. I have never been that girl, but I get that. However, as a fitness professional thinking about the type of movements performed in classes, these garments typically just aren’t practical. I just took a PIYO class the other morning and made the mistake of wearing one of my looser workout tees. The whole class, in addition to focusing on my body’s muscles and movement, I had to deal with the frustration of my shirt falling up around my face when I was in positions such as downward dog. Not only was it a distraction from the workout (having to come out of a move to pull it down), but man, having that shirt all up around my face when I was already out of breath and sweating was darn near suffocating. NOT a pleasant experience to say the least. Moreover, unless you’re one of those women out there who have beautiful 6-pack abs and want to share them with the world (if that’s you, you GO girl), if you’re expecting to be going into positions such as downward dog or a bridge, you’re going to want to wear something tight enough that you won’t have to continually pull down your shirt to prevent sharing your lovely belly with everyone else. For that exact reason I DID remember to wear a tight tank under my looser shirt thankfully. Along the same line of thinking, if you’re expecting to do a lot of cardio and jumping, you’re going to want to make sure you’re wearing pants tight enough that they’re not going to be falling down or getting in the way. Loose pants create additional friction that makes something like mountain climbers, which are already plenty hard on their own, just that much harder. And if you’ve ever done a workout like kickboxing, boy oh boy let me tell you, you’re going to be KICKING yourself (no pun intended) for wearing those slightly loose pants after struggling to get your gloves off and pull those puppies up for the millionth time. Experience is the best teacher my dears, and there are several of my workout pants that have made it onto the “Never Wear to Kickboxing” list through less-than-enjoyable learning experiences. Lastly, ladies who are, um, well-endowed in some areas like myself, don’t be afraid to double up on those cheap sports bras. Comfort is essential and we don’t want any unfortunate bouncing to get in the way. Basically what I’m saying is your workout clothes should FACILITATE your workout, allowing you to totally focus on your body and perform the moves with comfort and ease, not DISTRACT you from it (which is often times what ends up happening when people wear the typical baggy sweats and loose T-shirt).
- Clothes, and how you look, affect how you feel about yourself, and in turn, how you feel about yourself affects your workout. Again, people may try to argue with me on this one, but from personal experience and talking with others, I have repeatedly found it to be true. This especially matters if you know you’re going to be working out in a place with mirrors, as many gyms have. If you are looking into the mirrors and feeling dowdy and ugly, that self-hatred is going to ooze out of you and into your workout. We should be working out because we LOVE our bodies and want to take care of them and transform them into the best they can be, not because we HATE them. You may not realize it but if you feel body-hatred as you workout, your workout is going to suffer. You’re going to struggle to put your all into the exercises, and you’re going to get discouraged from doing or completing things more easily. When you wear something that allows you to look into the mirror feel GOOD about yourself and your body, this is going to have a positive effect on your workout. Having a sense of love for your body in the back of your mind is going to allow you to believe in yourself and push the limits of your body more. You are going to keep going and push through the discouragement that comes with physical exhaustion with more ease, whether you realize it or not. Additionally, many women who have body issues (as we ALL do to some degree) often make the mistake of thinking that the bigger and baggier the clothing, the smaller they will look. ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. If anything, it’s often quite the opposite. The big and baggy clothing is usually going to make your body look exactly that, big and baggy, whereas something more fitted (especially with all of the different types of flattering stretchy fabrics they have out there now) is going to better flatter the shape that you have, whatever that shape may be. Now, I’m not saying that you have to go out and buy all spandex workout clothing, or even all brand-name Lululemon. Goodness knows I wish I could, because that stuff is cahhh-ute, but on my budget that just isn’t happening. However, I always make sure I feel good in what I am wearing before I workout, which is something everyone out there should do as well. What those specific clothes are is going to vary from person to person, and probably even from day to day. For me, some days this is definitely harder than others. Some days this means that I have to wear all black (no joke here girls, black will make you feel a million times thinner I promise) and pants that hold everything in (YES they have those genius things out there!). Other days I’m feeling happy and fit enough that I can wear any of my workout clothes and feel good to go. But I pay attention to how I feel that particular day because I know that it DOES affect my workout, and what is the point of exercising if not to love my body and get the most out of every moment? If you’re nervous about buying those tight yoga pants, my advice is to buy them first in black, there’s truly nothing more flattering. Also, you may want to avoid extreme patterns on the bottom to begin with. Try as I might to change my mind, my patterned leggings always make me feel bigger, which is why they inadvertently end up spending more time in the bottom of my closet than being worn.
- Workout clothes have the power to serve as motivation to workout. All of us clothing lovers out there know that when we buy new clothes that we like, we want to wear them. Right away. I personally am a HUGE proponent of instant gratification when it comes to clothing. I can’t count the number of times I have changed in the car at the mall after shopping, doing that whole fun how-can-I-put-these-new-clothes-on-without-ever-actually-taking-my-clothes-off maneuver (if anyone has ever been paying attention to my car in the mall parking lot after I shop, you’re welcome, I’m sure that was an entertaining sight). Therefore, if you are struggling with finding the motivation to get yourself to go workout, go buy yourself some new clothes that you’re going to be excited to wear. You’re going to want to have an excuse to wear them, which is likely going to lead to some good old exercising.
This evening’s workout clothes are as follows: basic black leggings by Zenana from Jules Boutique (the donuts my family bought for “Fat Tuesday” are like the gift that just doesn’t stop giving, creating “Fat Wednesday” and “Fat Thursday Morning” for me as well, so there was no way I was wearing anything but black on the bottom tonight), reversible Champion sports bras from Target (this similar one is on clearance right now for $8, cue happy dance), Nike dri-fit racer back tank top that I’ve owned so long I don’t remember where I got it, but you can find similar here, and short-sleeved hooded sweatshirt (for layering warmth in this wintry Twilight Zone) from GapFit (can’t find similar sorry!).
In general, I have a lot of workout clothes from Target, GapFit, and Athleta (which I get when they go on sale). I love neon colors when it comes to workout wear, shoes included (for those I’m addicted to Nike LunarGlides). I also love to reuse old racer back tank tops that used to be dressy but I never wear anymore, and give them a new life by wearing them to workout.
Oh and I forgot to bring socks to workout tonight (amazing how often that happens) so I took the opportunity to buy some new grippy socks for barre. L.O.L. just got cute new colors in ladies (and BABY ONES whose cuteness is off. the. charts.), so grab them up while you can! #begreat
Hugs and love,