Six Factors to Consider When Purchasing Athletic Wear
● By Kimberly Boney
Work It Out
By Kimberly Bonéy
You know what time it is. It’s January – the month of new beginnings, a time to set new goals, a chance to make a firm commitment to a new you. It’s always the time of year when the gym is most crowded, because, well, we all have the intention of living a healthier lifestyle (and perhaps dropping a few extra pounds) thrown in somewhere in our mixed (gym) bag of resolutions.
The problem with resolutions is that they often fall by the wayside before the dawn of February. The best way to make - and keep - your commitment to reaching a designated goal is to make a significant investment in it. The investment doesn’t need to be a huge financial commitment, but you will need to invest in the necessary tools to get the job done. In much the same way that you can’t make a commitment to a new diet without purchasing food that aligns with your new meal plan, you can’t commit to a new workout regime without the proper attire. Keep these things in mind while investing in your active wear.
Function – There is something to be said about choosing pieces that are well-suited to the type of exercise you will be doing. If you plan to incorporate running into your regime, invest in a good pair of cross training shoes. The style and color will be solely up to you, but the design concept should support your legs and feet in a way that will make your routine safe and effective. If you are planning to ride a bike, a good pair of biker shorts or leggings is ideal. Are you an aspiring yogi? Invest in a good pair of yoga pants (or 10). Bonus: They are comfortable enough to live in even when you aren’t in a downward dog pose.
Comfort – What’s the best way to ensure you won’t dread putting on your workout gear every day? Make sure it is comfortable. This begins with making sure your gear fits you well. Yes, you may lose weight on your journey to a healthier you, but while you get there, it’s important to have a full range of mobility based on the kind of exercise you’ll be doing. If you are riding a bike, you’ll need an ensemble that fits tightly, so you aren’t blowing in the wind (and thereby creating unnecessary resistance) as you pedal your way down the trail. Try on any pants or shorts prior to buying them to see if the waistband is comfortable. Walk around for a few minutes in any athletic shoes to be sure they feel good on your feet before making the purchase. Just because they are made for a particular form of exercise doesn’t make them ideal for you.
Support – There is nothing – and, we do mean nothing - that makes exercise more difficult than failing to have the proper support where you need it. Ladies and gents, this goes for both of you. Make the investment in whatever support system you require before attempting your first workout, particularly if running or jogging is your thing. Trust us on this one.
Moisture-Wicking – Ever heard of the phrase “never let them see you sweat”? It’s never been more fitting than at the gym. Let’s face it. You will sweat during a workout (and if you don’t, you likely aren’t doing it right). Feeling drenched is the quickest way to have you cut that workout short in favor of a hot shower. Stay comfortable longer—and power through a few extra laps or crunches—by investing in moisture-wicking fabrics. Your body and your fellow gym goers will thank you.
Reflection – Whether you are exercising inside or outside, safety is paramount. If you plan to do any of your workout outdoors, make sure some part of your ensemble is reflective. As a runner, biker or rollerblader, this is of particular importance, as your ability to be seen by motorists is quintessential in keeping you safe. And we can’t lie – aside from the safety factor, there’s something fun about an element of shine on your workout ensemble. If glimmer isn’t your thing, however, do consider clothing in light or neon-inspired colors, as these are sure to show up best during twilight or dusk.
Style – When we look good, we feel better. Don’t think for a moment that style goes out the window where workout attire is concerned. With so many fun colors, prints and textures available, you have free reign to express yourself with color, cut and style. We love the new mesh paneling that is appearing in athletic style leggings, not only because it’s stylish, but because it’s like having a built-in breezeway. Let your inner ballerina come alive with toe-shoe inspired leggings, which are a fun and expressive way to combine style and comfort. Floral workout gear is all the rage this season. Layering is a good idea during cooler months, and can work wonders to transform a ho-hum “I just threw this on for the gym” ensemble into something that you’d be happy to run a few errands in after your workout.
17 Things That Should Be In Your Gym Bag
1. A bpa-free water bottle
3. A sweat cloth
4. A bath towel
5. Body wash
6. Shower shoes
7. Face and body wipes
8. Disinfecting wipes (for use before and after use of gym equipment)
9. A music player (good tunes can make for a longer, better workout)
11. Extra socks
12. A clean change of clothing (don’t forget the underwear)
13. Plastic bags (a perfect place to store sweaty clothing until you get home)
14. A healthy snack
15. A small first aid kit (don’t forget any medications you normally take)
16. A gym lock
17. A heart monitor or Fit Bit