There are some pretty official ‘gym gear’ lines out there by the biggest brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, and UnderArmor. Does it matter what you wear to workout, and are there any benefits to having these high-tech, swagged out kits when stepping into the gym?
-Support: Some items can assist in supporting different parts of the body while in motion, such as specially structured sports bras, trainer shoes built for specific types of activity, or spandex ‘sliders’ (tight-fit bike shorts). These don’t have to cost a fortune, but some of the bigger brands like Nike and Adidas invest lots in their research labs to ensure the structure, special features like clips, new weaving patterns or hidden pockets, are superior to what else is available on the market. Always try things on when shopping for gear, as each body is different and some brands may suit your needs better than another.
-Breathability: Cotton, while breathable, does not allow for quick evaporation from its surface. This causes cotton workout shirts/shorts to get heavier as you sweat more. Breathable material is important for hygeine, as stagnant sweat left in clothing is breeding grounds for bacteria. Breathability is also ideal for preventing chafing and rubbing, which is more likely if you’re moving around in heavy, wet clothes. The best materials for cooling are polypropylene, spandex, polyester blends and wool (in cold, outdoor conditions).
-Measuring Progress: Lots of sports brands have their own line of watches, armbands, and other such gadgets which help quantify all areas of progress while working out. Now, the old fashioned mentality of pushing yourself (as we all know our capacity for workrate and the difference between ‘easy’ and ‘training on the edge’) and counting your pulse via wrist or neck are still viable. However, for those wanting more data and metrics for gaining that more of an edge, tech that calibrates this as you workout will save time and guesswork when making decisions about training regime, rest periods and even diet.
-Final Thought: The classic Gatorade slogan ‘Is it in you?’ applies in this case, as the ultimate key to a successful fitness regime lies with the person enacting it. With workout gear, the slogan definitely isn’t ‘Is it ON you?’ – whether you’re decked out in the latest Nike dayglo ‘fit or rocking the same XL tee you bought at Walmart years ago, the real difference is what you’re doing physically to earn the fitness. Gear is an advantage, but it doesn’t transform your body by merely being worn.