You’ve made the decision to get healthy.
The fruit, vegetable and whole grain grocery shopping is complete and now it’s time to get some much-needed exercise in. You find a suitable gym, an accountability partner and reach for your favorite T-shirt and sweats.
Stop. According to some exercise experts, what you wear to workout in is just as important as the workout itself.
“When people first started going to the gym back in the 1980s – when it first became fashionable to go – you could just throw on whatever,” says Allegra Feamster, personal trainer and group fitness instructor for Bally Total Fitness. “Now we are realizing what you wear does add to the activity, and there should be some thought (into attire choices).”
It may appear that workout apparel is simply another piece of clothing, however companies are using technology and niche marketing to not only appeal to consumers, but enhance the workout experience. Nike and Adidas, for example, spend millions of dollars developing cutting edge technology, while Fila fuses technology with quality fabrics.
“We use the latest technology in wicking (to keep one cool and dry in the summer and warm in the winter), anti-microbial or odor control and ultraviolet ray protection in all of our clothing,” said Freya Tamayo, director of apparel, Fila. “We also have fibers that are more friendly to the Earth. We mix science with going green.”
Athletic apparel is continuously evolving due to consumer needs, but despite “enhancements” individuals should choose clothing based on how the body moves. For both men and women, there has to be the ability to flex without the body getting caught.
It is possible to incur injury stemming from improper workout clothing.
Trainers recommend clothing made out of materials such as cotton or a cotton/lycra combination when bending or stretching. Shirts and shorts should be well fitting, breathable and most importantly comfortable. Clothing should fit the activity.
Furthermore, women should wear a good, supportive bra.
Clothing is important, but active wear’s supporting cast is imperative to a workout as well. Socks shouldn’t be too thick or thin. The key is preventing blisters. Shoes are also an integral part of the workout.
Fitness experts recommend spending the money on the proper shoes that fit your activity. If you’ll be doing a general fitness program, a good pair of cross trainers is appropriate. For those who like to walk around the block or mall, there are even shoes made specifically for walking.
Spring is upon us, however for those cooler days, layering is suggested to keep you warm. When exercising outside at night, clothes and shoes should have reflective material on them.
“You don’t want to feel your clothes hurting you,” laughs Tamayo. She believes suitable active wear enhances performance, but also that looking good adds to positive self-esteem and can directly impact athletic performance.
Fila recently debuted their Personal Performance Spring 2010 collection aptly advertised as “The Beauty of Sport.” Fila’s workout clothing is fashion driven.
This year’s line evokes vibrancy, femininity, city/country life and clothing that can transition into everyday life.
“We’re filling a niche that no one is filling. It’s about balance,” said Tamayo. “It’s good to have your active clothes and every day clothes, but the way we approach it, it could be the same.”
Fila also has a full spring line for men and children.
Some may think that buying special clothing for working out is expensive and unnecessary, however, Tamayo says looking for clothing made with quality fabrics, such as Fila’s Supplex brand, is an investment that can last forever.
African-American fitness gurus
Donna Richardson Joyner®
Harvey E. Walden IV
Indianapolis health clubs and gyms
Bally Total Fitness
Invoke Yoga and Pilates
Lifestyle Family Fitness
Life Time Fitness