Workout Clothes That Work

What you wear to the gym isn't as important as actually getting there and working out – but the right gear can help you feel more comfortable and confident as you exercise. "You see a lot more style on both sides of the coin now," says Jason Carter, Fitness Manager for Club 406 in Federal Way, Washington. "People are trying to make a fashion statement when they come to the gym."

Carter says, for women, he sees a lot of sports bras and snug fitting apparel such as Capri fit pants or shorts. "Usually it's something aerodynamic; you don't see a lot of baggy T-shirts any more," he says. He has also noticed fashionable workout clothing such as stretchy pants with flared legs.


Workout Fabrics

In the last five years, there's been a proliferation of workout clothes made with fabric blends that wick, or pull, away moisture from the body. These blends also have the advantage of drying very quickly. Many active-wear designers have their own proprietary brand of synthetic fabrics such as Nike Dri-FIT® or Champion Double Dry®.

"These fabrics are great for medium to high intensity workouts – for example weight training or kickboxing, any activity that generates a lot of fluid loss," says Carter. "They keep moisture away and also breathe to keep you cool."


On Your Feet

A good shoe is important for working out. Carter sees a lot of Nike Shox – cross-training or running shoes that look like they have shock absorbers on the sole – in the gym.

For low-impact activities, consider a cross-training shoe. Cross-trainers also provide the lateral stability required for lifting weights. For cardio activities, it's probably best to have a running shoe, but a cross-training shoe can work as well. Other sports-specific footwear is recommended for activities such as basketball or racquetball, because these shoes offer the best traction for your respective sport.

Workout socks, most people wear anklets, shouldn't be too thick or too thin as they can cause blisters.

Sport-specific Gear

Cross-training clothes that take you from a weight class to the treadmill are the most convenient and economical. But in some cases, it helps to have sport-specific clothes and accessories. For example:

  • Spin Class – Wear padded shorts for comfort and bicycle shoes that clip, which can give you a better workout.
  • Weight lifting – Use gloves that give you a strong grip and protect against blisters, or wrist straps that tighten your grip on heavier weights.
  • Swimming – For swimming laps, women should wear one-piece suits. Men should wear briefs, not board shorts, which can give too much resistance in the water. All 24 Hour Fitness stores with pools sell goggles and bathing caps.
  • Yoga – Wear yoga pants that allow the lower body to move freely.

Remember, when looking for workout clothes, make sure that clothing isn't so binding that it limits your range of motion.

This information and other information on this site is intended for general reference purposes only and is not intended to address specific medical conditions. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.