Whether you are doing acrobatic yoga or beating your cardio on the running machine, your fitness game needs to be tip top. So it better fit you right, ventilate in the right places, support all the wobbly bits and so on and so forth. But working out with a bunch of fitness fanatics who know what they’re doing can be intimidating at first.
To take one thing off your mind, read on for a quick primer on what you should — and shouldn t — wear while exercising.
1. DO buy true performance fabrics.
Fabrics that are flexible, moisture-wicking, temperature-specific or otherwise engineered will help keep you dry and comfortable as you exercise. But not all performance fabrics are created equal, so make sure you are getting what you pay for.
2. DON T pick a cotton T-shirt.
It s tempting to grab one of the ten thousand big cotton t-shirts you got, but 100% cotton clothing isn t the best choice for a sweaty workout. Cotton absorbs moisture easily, so you ll be stuck with a heavy, sticky shirt that can cause irritation and will get cold as soon as you are done exercising. Plus, baggy clothing is actually a safety risk since it can get caught in a machine.
3. DO test your clothing before.
Just because a pair of shorts looks good on the rack or a top fits well in the dressing room doesn t mean it s cleared for dead-lifts in the middle of a public gym. Before you take your new workout suits out, do some test exercises in your room to make sure they don t ride up too high or fall down too low as soon as you bend over in downward dog.
4. DON T leave your jewelry and/or watch on.
Many people have one accessory that they never take off — whether it’s a class ring, keepsake necklace or family watch. However, you risk damaging jewelry by banging it against a weight or snagging it on a machine, and perspiration can dirty up the metal or cause an allergic reaction, so leave it at home.
5. DO consider your workout.
Different workouts call for different clothes, so think about the kind of exercises you ll be doing before you change. If you re headed to a yoga class, grab some leggings or yoga pants, while loose shorts with a compression lining are better for a rigorous cardio routine that involves a lot of jumping.
6. DON T re-wear your clothes.
It s tempting to re-wear things to go even longer without washing clothes, but when it comes to workout wear, don t do it. It probably has your Body Order and sweat thoroughly soaked into it, and nobody wants to smell that.
7. DO choose your socks and shoes wisely.
It s critical to choose shoes that fit you properly and provide the support you need for different workouts. For example, running shoes are a bad choice for cross-training because they don t have any lateral support. Ill-fitting socks can also compound the problem by rubbing your feet and causing blisters.
8. DON T forget to change clothes.
Whether it s the guy lifting in jeans and flip-flops or the girl in spin class who obviously left her sports bra at home, nothing screams "I don t know what I m doing" like wearing everyday clothes to the gym. Since they re not usually stretchy, you can rip everyday outfits if you wear them while exercising, and even injure yourself if you don t have the right footwear or supportive clothing.
9. DO keep your clothes on.
This seems obvious, but there s usually that one guy or girl at the gym who strips down as soon as they get the slightest bit over-heated. Don t be that person. You might or might not be in the gym to get a great body, but that does not make the gym the place to show off said body as well. Plus, taking off your shirt means you ll get other people s germs all over your skin instead of your clothes.