How to choose the right workout clothes

The sportswear market is booming. Not only has it crept onto the catwalks and taken over street style, it is also becoming more technologically advanced, as our obsession with everything fitness heats up. The best workout clothes are designed to make working out as comfortable as possible.

Wearing the right clothing can make the difference between an enjoyable workout and an hour of misery. And investing in some stylish yet comfortable workout clothing is the perfect motivation to get you moving, whether you’re hitting the gym, walking the dog, running, cycling or exercising in the comfort of your own home. I already had enough excuses not to exercise—my workout clothing didn’t need to be one more of them.

No more discomfort due to clothing!! Here is what I look for when purchasing new exercise clothing.

1. Comfort
Avoid any rough fabrics that could chafe or irritate your skin during repetitive movement. Choose materials that let you move and don’t constrict you. Pay closer attention to fit than size, as some workout clothes tend to be smaller and more form fitting than regular clothes. Look for items that have a small percentage of spandex listed on the label. This allows for a greater range of motion during exercise and can provide a very comfortable fit without being skin-tight.

One of the fundamental aspects of selecting sportswear is that it is specifically designed enough to prevent you from sweating through it and thereby feeling irritated; achieving this helps you to exercise and not feel restricted. Wearing the right outfit allows you to focus on training without distractions. The technical detailing within the apparel, such as sweat-wicking fabrics, will help with your performance.

In addition to this, the right kit will support you in the right places. Sportswear should be compressive in the right areas so you are supporting your muscles. So think about what you are going to be doing and where you will need support. The right design will help you to feel comfortable and supported – I like to wear leggings with a high waistband for this reason.

2. Wicking ability
Some fabrics are designed to pull sweat away from your skin during exercise and others absorb it. When it comes to workout clothes, some choices are better than others.If you’re going to be perspiring a lot, make sure your base layer will keep you dry and comfortable. Look for a polyester/ Lycra blend or another synthetic material. These materials keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer—even when wet—and dry quickly. If you prefer natural materials, wool and bamboo exercise shirts naturally wick away moisture, too. 

3. Perfect fit
While you might be tempted to hide beneath baggy layers, you will feel more confident and sure of yourself if you wear an outfit that looks good on you and plays up your assets. If you feel good about yourself, you’ll be inclined to exercise more often. Clothing trends change for workout wear too, but the basics never go out of style. Add one or two more trendy pieces to your wardrobe (such as a performance shirt in this season’s “hot” colour) but keep your classic black leggings that are timeless.

My main tip for choosing the right outfit to exercise in; don't just put it on in the changing-room and stare at your reflection. Move. Walk. Lunge. Jump. Squat. See how the outfit feels and how it functions, it will make it easier to decide.

4. Layerable
Your workout wardrobe should be versatile, carrying you from the hottest months to the coldest months. To avoid overspending during the changes of the seasons, keep this in mind when shopping, looking for items that can easily layer during cold months. Start with a moisture-wicking dry layer, such as a wicking shirt or tank top, then add a warmer layer such as a jumper. Finish with a protective outer layer (for waterproofing and wind proofing) such as a jacket. Shop during the off-season or during online sales for the best deals.

5. Technologically advanced
Having clothes specifically created for exercise can make a huge difference during your workout or even post workout. We have work clothes, specific swimming clothes and PJs for sleeping. Choosing the right clothes for your workout will put you in the right mindset to start and enjoy your next workout.

You don’t need a lot of technical workout wear, an outfit or two will work. Let me cover the basics, including; the benefits of wearing technical workout gear, what to look for when choosing clothing to work out in and how it can help you perform better the next time you get sweaty.

  • Regulate body temperature

Sweat wicking fabrics use microfibers to wick sweat away from your skin and bring it to the surface of the fabric where it can evaporate. This helps you regulate your temperature while working out and keeps you cool. Staying cool will help you work out harder. 

  • Prevent itching, rashes and chaffing

Once you’ve sufficiently crushed your workout, you don’t want to feel lingering sweat for the next few hours. When you stay in wet, sweat drenched fabrics, like cotton, that don’t wick moisture away from your skin you are more prone to itching and rashes associated with staying in damp workout clothes. Wearing performance fabrics can help prevent breakouts during and after your workout.    

  • Keep stinky sweat at bay

Do I even need to mention the smell factor? Some fabrics tend to hold onto smell. Others are created to reduce or eliminate odours altogether, do your research, and choose the best fabrics suited to your needs. Odour eliminating fabrics are great for wearing to those workouts where you can’t shower afterwards. They also help keep your clothes from stinking even after you wash them.

6. Activity appropriate
Everyone knows you shouldn't wear your yoga bra to a HIIT class and that certain types of trainers are better for different work-outs, however the type of gear you're wearing goes far beyond this. It is something that we take for granted as amateurs, and yet it is a tool that is at the core of how athletes choose what they wear. If you want results, wear kit that is not going to set you back.

Make sure that your gear is correct for the type of training you are doing. Good brands will signpost this for you with workout gear categorized for specific work-outs. So make sure to check the labels.

Baggy pants aren't great for cycling or Spinning, and flowing tops won't keep you covered when you do downward dog in yoga class. Consider the activities you do most, and make sure the clothes you buy are comfortable and appropriate for that activity. Most people can't go wrong with fitted workout leggings and a fitted performance top, but always try on clothes before you buy—and try a few of your signature workout moves in the dressing room to be sure.

The more frequently you exercise, the more important it is to wear the right kind of clothes. Aside from keeping you comfortable, dry and cool, the right outfit also makes you feel like a million bucks, so find pieces that flatter your figure so you can hit the gym in style.

7. It should make you feel unstoppable

Your sportswear should make you feel exactly how the exercise does – strong, powerful and unstoppable. Nowadays, looking good in sportswear is a given, but you should also ensure it ticks all the functional boxes. Good sportswear will achieve both.

Fashion and fitness go hand-in-hand these days, so you can look and feel great when you're working out!

K xx