After spending a good two decades in the fitness world, I’ve seen all sorts of gym fashion trends come and go. I’ve even spotted people hitting the gym in their PJs! On the flip side, I’ve chatted with folks who were hesitant to join just because they didn’t have the right workout gear.
For those of us on the larger side, finding the right-sized gear can be a real struggle. Many fitness stores seem to forget that we exist! Sure, there are cheaper options for bigger sizes, but the quality often leaves a lot to be desired. T-shirts that fit like they were designed by aliens, and pants that just won’t stay put – it’s a real challenge.
Not everyone is on board with the whole “tight fit” trend either. Some of us just want to feel comfy during our workouts. We get it – choosing what to wear to the gym can be a real headache. Trying to balance comfort, style, and appropriateness is enough to stress anyone out.
But fear not! In this post, we’re here to debunk misconceptions and ease those wardrobe anxieties. Let’s get you on track to pick the perfect gym gear once and for all!
Why Is Appropriate Gym Clothing Important?
If you ask me, I’ve got to tell y’all that rocking the right gym gear is more important than you might think.
Sure, gyms might not hand you a dress code at the door, but trust me, wearing the right stuff makes a world of difference. Opt for clothes that let you move freely, covering you up just right, and feeling like a second skin. Think breathable, lightweight, and comfy vibes.
Why does it matter, you ask? Well, besides looking fab, it’s all about fitness and safety. No one wants itchy skin or unexpected rashes, right? Plus, wearing the wrong gear could lead to serious injuries – and that’s definitely not the kind of flex we’re going for!
Picture this: you’re in the zone, lifting, running, doing your thing, and your clothes decide to do their own little dance. Not cool, right? That’s why we say, choose gear that stays put, so you can focus on slaying those workouts.
Whether you’re pumping iron or conquering the treadmill, picking the right gear is the first step to unleashing your workout beast mode. And here’s a bonus: it’s not just about the physical stuff. Feeling good in your gear has this proven psychological power of boosting your motivation. Seriously, when you look good, you feel good, and that’s the secret sauce to a killer workout!
“So Tell Me What To Wear To The Gym Then?” Good question, but first, let’s talk a little about what not to wear at the gym.
7 Things You Should Not Wear To The Gym
Let’s talk about what NOT to wear to the gym – because, let’s face it, not all outfits are workout-friendly.
First things first, think about your workout game plan. If you’re diving into a high-intensity sweat sesh, go for gear that’s breathable and moisture-wicking. You want those threads to keep up with your hustle! On the flip side, if it’s a low-key workout day, comfort is key.
While I’m an advocate for wearing what empowers you, let’s touch on a few garments that might hinder rather than enhance your fitness journey.
1. Tight-fitting clothing that is too tight – Why You Should Avoid Tight-Fitting Clothing at the Gym
While tight-fitting clothing can be stylish and flattering, it’s not always the best choice for the gym. In fact, wearing clothing that is too tight can actually be harmful to your health and performance.
Tight-fitting clothing can restrict your movement, making it difficult to perform exercises properly. This can lead to injuries and muscle strain. For example, if you’re wearing jeans that are too tight, you may find it difficult to bend your knees or lunge. Similarly, if you’re wearing a top that is too tight, you may not be able to raise your arms overhead.
Tight-fitting clothing can also reduce circulation, which can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and even tingling or numbness. This is because tight clothing can constrict blood vessels, making it difficult for blood to flow to your muscles. For example, if you’re wearing pants that are too tight around the waist, you may experience leg cramps. Similarly, if you’re wearing a sports bra that is too tight, you may feel tightness in your chest and difficulty breathing.
Chafing and Irritation
Tight-fitting clothing can also cause chafing and irritation, especially in areas that rub together, such as the inner thighs, armpits, and groin. Chafing can be painful and can lead to skin infections.
3. Why You Should Avoid Super-Baggy Clothes at the Gym
While comfort is crucial for a productive workout, super-baggy clothes might not be the best choice for your gym sessions. While they may seem comfortable and conceal any self-consciousness, they can actually hinder your performance and safety.
Super-baggy clothes can get caught in gym equipment, which can lead to serious injuries. They can also restrict your movement, making it difficult to perform exercises properly. For instance, if you’re wearing oversized pants, you may trip and fall while doing squats or lunges. Similarly, if you’re wearing a loose-fitting top, your sleeves might get caught in weights or machines.
Improper Form and Technique
Baggy clothing can also prevent your trainer or instructor from observing your form and technique. This is important because proper form is essential for preventing injuries and maximizing your workout results. If your trainer can’t see your body position, they won’t be able to provide you with the feedback you need to improve your form.
Lack of Support
Super-baggy clothes often lack the support that you need for certain exercises. For example, if you’re doing a chest press with loose-fitting shorts, your legs may not be able to provide the stability you need to lift the weight safely. Similarly, if you’re wearing a baggy top while running, your breasts may not be properly supported, which can lead to pain and discomfort.
3. 100% Cotton Clothes
Yes, cotton apparel are less stinky than synthetic textiles, but cotton absorbs every drop of sweat, making you feel like you’re wearing a wet towel.
The more moist clothing is, the more likely bacteria will grow—especially if you’re wearing it for long periods of time, says Navya Mysore, M.D., a physician at One Medical in New York. And “if any open areas of skin are exposed to bacteria-filled workout clothes, it can lead to a fungal infection at the site,” she explains. Instead of cotton, opt for sweat-wicking fabrics made for exercise.
4. With a Face Full of Makeup
This should go without saying, but makeup has its place and time, and the gym is not one of them. Dirt and oil can accumulate under makeup when you sweat, which causes irritation and induce acne breakouts.
So begins a vicious cycle in which you apply more makeup to conceal the flaws caused by make-up use. Ugh. If your objective is to workout at the gym, it’s ideal to wear only a tiny amount of sunscreen and nothing else.
5. Worn-Out Sneakers
There’s a common rule of thumb that says you should wear your sneakers for about 300 miles before tossing them. However, determining how much use your gym shoes have gotten might be difficult if you aren’t tracking mileage.
When the treads or designs on the bottom of your sneakers begin to wear down, they’re too old. If the bottoms are flattening in certain parts and the design of the tread is no longer visible—not to mention if there are any holes by the toes, or any other obvious indications of complete disrepair—“it’s time to get new sneakers.”
The issue with old shoes is that they offer less cushioning and shock absorption, and as the soles deteriorate, the alignment of your feet and knees can be thrown off.
6. Regular Bras or Stretched-Out Sports Bras
Wear a sports bra to the gym instead of a regular one, for the sake of your breasts. Old saggy sports bras with stretched-out elastic are also not a good idea. If you don’t wear a sufficiently supportive bra to work out, bounce isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. If you have a moderate to large chest, the movement may trigger upper back and shoulder discomfort after working out.
Not to mention that it may stretch out the breast tissue, damaging it and raising your risk of sagging in the future.
If you’re too scared to leave your jewelry in the locker room, don’t bring it with you—it’s not a good idea on the gym floor. Let’s begin with necklaces: If you’re jogging with a long necklace, I hope you like it hitting your chest and smacking you in the face, or getting caught in your earbuds or elliptical arms. You may think rings are wonderful, but wearing them while exercising might affect your grip on the weights and put you at risk of a serious injury if the weight falls out of your grip.
The pressure of a weight against your ring for extended periods of time can cause deep indentations and, in extreme cases, even break the skin. And keep in mind that a 25-pound weight might dent the metal or scratch the gemstone.
Now that we know what you should chuck from your workout wardrobe, lets move on
WHAT TO WEAR TO THE GYM – WORKOUT ESSENTIALS
Even if going to the gym isn’t a fashion show, it is still important to look stylish. Furthermore, when you feel good, you look better. Wearing clothing that you feel comfy in and that allows for ease of movement can help you feel better about your workouts and maybe even keep you more motivated. If you’re just getting started with an exercise routine, this feature will answer any questions you have about what to bring to the gym or what to wear there. If you’re presently active, this will act as a refresher and offer you some suggestions on how to improve your comfort level while exercising.
When it comes to working out at the gym, you should feel dry, comfortable, and confident in the apparel you’re wearing. You should focus primarily on giving your all during exercise and shouldn’t be self-conscious or uncomfortable in what you’re wearing. Different attire is necessary depending on the sort of workout you are doing. The style of clothing you wear to the gym should allow you to move freely without restricting your movements.
When exercising, you will be shifting and bending frequently, so your clothing should be flexible. Look for clothing constructed of synthetic materials, such as nylon, acrylic, or polypropylene, for a suitable balance of usefulness and comfort. Cotton is a popular workout fabric because it is cheap, breathable, and comfy.
However, if you perspire, it tends to trap moisture and grow bulky.A fitted T-shirt or tank top (made of the materials listed above) worn with comfortable pants or gym shorts is a good combination depending on the climate and your comfort level.
When it comes to choosing a shoe, try on several pairs before deciding on the one that feels perfect. While at the shop, test out the potential shoe by walking while wearing it and jumping up and down. It’s also critical to wear socks while exercising in order to find the perfect match. Also, be sure to select a shoe that is appropriate for the activity it will be used for.
For your runs, you’ll want a pair of running shoes that provides stability, motion control, and cushioning. You might require a different sized arch depending on the shape of your foot. To discover your ideal fit, speak to a salesperson that focuses on running shoes.
Walking shoes: An ideal walking shoe should allow for a good range of motion and proper cushioning.
Cross-trainers: The most common sports shoes are the ones designed for the gym. These shoes are ideal for those who only run, walk, or take fitness classes on occasion. They should provide flexibility, cushioning, and lateral stability.
When choosing socks to wear to the gym, don’t make the dreaded mistake of sporting dress socks with running shoes. Choose white or gray socks that allow your feet to breathe and are comfortable to train in. Wear socks constructed of acrylic or an acrylic/cotton mix. This stuff doesn’t retain moisture like cotton and wool, which can cause blisters and other foot issues.
A good sports bra is required for support and to prevent excessive movement. To assist sweat evaporate and keep odor in control, the bra should be composed of cotton with a “breathable” material like Lycra mesh. Try on different bras until you find the one that provides the most support and comfort. To test the support of a bra, stand in front of a mirror and try putting on different styles until you find one that fits properly.
Also, bounce up and down or run at the spot while trying on various types to assess their support. The bra you pick should be tight-fitting yet supportive, allowing for full range of motion without restricting it. Make sure the straps don’t irritate your shoulders or the band dig into your rib cage. It should fit properly but you should be able to breathe comfortably.
Remember to bring a shower towel, bath sponge, shampoo, conditioner, and soap to freshen up after your workout.
When you’re lifting weights, keep your hands soft and free of calluses by wearing gloves.
HAIR TIES OR CLIPS
Don’t forget to bring hair elastics or clips if you have long hair or bangs that fall into your eyes. Nothing is more frustrating than attempting to work out when your hair keeps falling in your face.
Towels are not only a comfort measure, but also a necessity. You’ll be glad to have one with you after working up a sweat.
Wearing your flip-flops in the shower will keep them clean and prevent athlete’s foot.
Water is essential throughout the day, and it’s especially vital to stay hydrated while exercising.
Bring a gym bag that can fit your essentials at the gym while remaining small enough to fit in your locker.
Invest in a quality lock that you can take to the gym with you each time to secure your valuables.
MP3 PLAYER OR PERSONAL STEREO AND CARRYING CASE
It’s always exciting to come up with new ideas for fitness motivation, but bringing an MP3 player or personal stereo with your favorite songs is a fantastic method to push yourself. High-energy music – or whatever you like – is an excellent approach to pique your cardio session and get you started. An armband or waist-belt carrying case (available at many department stores or specialty exercise shops) is a fantastic way to transport your MP3 player or personal stereo.
To stay motivated, keep a training log to document your development and help you stay focused.
Wear a heart rate monitor during your cardio activities to ensure you’re in your fat-burning zone. Use the following formula to calculate 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate: Subtract your age from 220. Multiply the remainder by 0.50 for the lower end of your target zone, and multiply it by 0.70 for the high end of your target zone.
As you become more experienced, you might wish to start timing your rest times between each set. This will ensure that you are not resting for too long or taking breaks that are too short, depending on your objectives.
So folks, that brings us to the end of this guide, now that you are armed with the knowledge of what to and what not to wear to the gym, we hope your workout sessions would be far more enjoyable and rewarding.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.