While I don’t normally think fashion is important, at all or especially in the gym, there are some definite benefits to the type of clothing you wear when working out and what it does for your performance. So for this blog we’re going to review some of the best pieces of tech gear for all workout conditions, as well as some of the most epic fashion failures you could imagine.
1. Clothes for the Sweaty Beast
The grey cotton Russel team shorts, while epic for showing how hard you like to party, is probably not the best best especially is you have a touch of the SWAS. Same goes for running shorty shorts for anything except…RUNNING. I still don’t understand why there are so many old guys that decide it would be a good idea to do a dangle from their shorties rather than buying something with a bit more than a two inch inseam.
Darker colored shorts will tend to not show off the crotch sweats as easily, and if made from a tech fabric, like Luon or dri-fit, will actually pull moisture from the surface of your skin and allow airflow over it easier, which speeds up cooling and de-swas-ifying. One problem with some tech clothing items is that since they pull and hold on to moisture really easily, they also tend to hold on to odors really easily as well, and will tend to stink like a hockey bag after a few wears. Try to wash them as soon as possible to prevent the moldy bacterial smell from developing too strong, and never re-wear without washing again.
Dark clothing tends to hold on to heat, regardless of what it is made of, so using light colored material does help in cooling and can prevent overheating pretty easily. Wear a few layers, a base that is very breathable, and a top layer that has some wicking properties to it (see above) so that air movement can hit the skin easier and evaporate more heat. Also, as great as it is to show the skin you’ve been working hard for, if you are susceptible to the heat and it’s negative effects (like most pasty Canadians out for a jog in the three months of summer), the direct sunlight on your skin while working out can actually speed up heat exhaustion, so wear a light layer that covers the skin to prevent overheating. For those tough stock who love the heat (yours truly), try to have some decency when showing it off..
Under Armor, Nike and Adidas all make great lines of heat wear, as well as cool wear, and have lots of options for what type of activity you are looking to do. Try to match the clothing purpose to the activity you are going to be doing (heat wear for hot days, cool wear for cold days, running clothes for running, etc) and you won’t look like a tool running around the gym.
Some gyms have dress codes (like all white, collared shirts, no sandals). These places can pound salt. Exercise should be individual, but there are those who decide to push their fashion limits, and the patience of those around them. Basic gym clothes should allow you to move, absorb moisture, speed heat loss (it’s indoors, you can always replace it), and attract the ladies (or guys, whatever floats your boat). While the shorty-shorts and nipple-hanger tank tops look good on certain people, they definitely do not look good on others…
The sweaters in the gym don’t really do much, as most gyms are climate controlled, and most sweaters will do nothing but absorb all the sweat and hanging on to it, making your clothes heavy and wet. If you want to have some baggy clothes to lose yourself in, opt for a long sleeve shirt that is made of a tech material or cotton or something lighter that won’t hang on to heat as much, so that when you step off the elliptical after doing 2 hours of steady-state you don’t black out from heat exhaustion and dehydration. If you’re in a freezer pounding some beef, go nuts.