Over the last few years I have seen thousands of different fitness outfits on many women of all shapes and sizes. Some of these outfits are super expensive and come from high end brands whereas other outfits cost much less and are sold at non-specific fitness retailers. Either way, I have seen both types of clothing look great and work great for these women as fitness clothes. With the age of internet shopping and the popularization of working out upon us, there are a lot of different options available now. With all of the options available here are some important factors to keep in mind when shopping for your workout wear.
The first thing to keep in mind is what type of classes you are going to use your clothing for. Once you know this, you can then pick out the fabrics that will work best for you. Certain fabrics blends made from cotton may be super soft; however, these fabrics do absorb a lot more moisture than synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester. As a result, cotton fabrics may be preferable for lower intensity classes in which you sweat less. This will help you avoid leaving your workout feeling soggy and also make sweat stains on your clothing less visible. If you are looking for fitness wear that will be used for outdoor activities such as running, hiking etc. you may want to consider fabrics that not only have sun protection benefits, but also keep you warmer. Generally bamboo fabrics have good sun protection due to their tight weave and you can also find other clothing which has a UPF rating telling you how much UV protection it gives. Wool is a good fabric for keeping you warm and does a good job of not absorbing odours whereas polyester can be a bit on the smellier side.
Once you decide what fabrics you are looking for you can then start looking for which styles of clothing you like best as well as how much you want to spend. When deciding on style make sure you pick something that you like and is also something that you will be comfortable working out in. For example, a top that is shorter in the torso may look great on your body, but may ride up in the instance that you have to do an exercise requiring you to bring your arms overhead. Depending on your preference/type of exercise, you may also want to choose a top that has a tighter/higher neck in the instance that you have to lean down for an exercise such as a plank, pushup, down dog etc.. There is nothing worse than coming to an exercise class, being ready to exercise and then spending the whole class adjusting your clothing so that you are comfortable.
In terms of prices, there are many types of nice fitness clothing available for a wide variety of prices. Specific more expensive brands that I have seen a lot of individuals wear are Lululemon, Prana (which is sold at MEC) and Inner Fire (online). While all of these brands in my experience wear well and look really nice I have also seen great fitness clothing for a lot less from Fabletics (an online store), Old Navy and Gap, (which both now have their own line of fitness clothing) as well as Marshalls/Winners. In Calgary, I like the Chinook Mall Gap the best when it comes to buying fitness clothes. Overall, I find that the less expensive brands are more size inclusive and also offer a wider range of styles for different body types which is great. One thing that I like about Marshalls/Winners in particular is the fact that they carry many recognizable leading fitness brands such as Nike and Adidas for good prices. Inner Fire is a Canadian based company that makes high quality durable clothing which often includes positive and fun messages. For example, they have popular shirts that say, “I’m just here for the Savasana” which if you are not familiar with yoga terms essentially translates to in this context “I’m just here to lay on the mat”.
To keep your fitness clothing clean and odor free I wash my workout clothing as soon as possible after working out (i.e. I try not to leave my sweaty clothing in my laundry hamper for more than a couple of days) as well as sometimes I will use special laundry detergents. There are special detergents available for wool fabrics, as well as for controlling odor. If you find that your workout clothing requires more than one wash due to odor an appropriately chosen detergent can make a big difference. I also try and open the tounge of my runners and loosen my laces so that the inside of my shoe can completely dry out before my next workout. One of the best ways to prevent bacterial growth is to prevent your items from remaining damp for an extended period.
Remember, the thing that matters most when choosing your workout clothing is that you feel good in it and that it doesn’t hinder your ability to workout. Happy Exercising!
*Pro tip: If you want to start swimming a lot or join an Aquafit class try to choose a swimsuit that has minimal spandex in it. That spandex might give your suit good flexibility and fit; however, spandex does not go well with the chlorine that is in many swimming pools. As a result, a swimsuit with spandex material loses its shape much quicker than one made primarily of polyester.