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Workout Know-How: What to Wear to the Gym

Slimming down before the almighty Christmas binge? You’re not the only one, with gyms up and down the country witnessing their annual pre-Christmas rush. If you’re new to the workout world and, like me, have used the ‘but I don’t have a gym kit’ excuse for not getting in shape sooner, then this guide is here to help.

The gym might be becoming an increasingly fashion-conscious place, but don’t let that put you off. When it comes to working out, whether you’re wearing the latest Stella McCartney range for Adidas, or your favourite battered old t-shirt, you’re going to come out of their drenched in sweat anyway. That doesn’t mean that all gym clothing is equal, however.

As well as well-designed activewear helping you to look good – and, by extension, feel good, and maybe even train harder – today’s gym gear is built to make your workout sessions more successful. From providing the right level of support, to making sure you aren’t drenched in sweat, modern high tech fabrics can work wonders.

If you’re looking to get your first gym kit together, here’s our guide to basic essentials, so you won’t have any excuses for not hitting the gym and improving your health this season.

Performance fabrics

A baggy cotton tshirt might be comfortable at the start of your gym session, but cotton absorbs rather than repels sweat, so once you get your heart rate up, your t-shirt will be drenched and heavy. Instead, opt for fabrics that contain polypropylene or that are designed to wick away sweat, like this Dri Fit t-shirt from the Nike fitness range. These t-shirts allow sweat to evaporate more easily, keeping you dry, cool and comfortable. In the cold weather you’ll need a jacket like the Nike Run Shifter Jacket available at JD Sports.

Trousers and shorts

The type of trousers and shorts that you go for depend on the kind of sports you’re going to be participating in. For aerobics, clothes that are soft and loose will be most comfortable. If you’re going to be running or cycling, stick to close fitting fabrics that won’t get tangled up in the pedals or your feet. Stretchy fabrics will allow you to stretch more comfortably too. In general, you want to avoid any clothing that might get in the way of your activity.

Outdoor workout gear

If you’re going to add outdoor sports to your routine, your workout gear needs to be more versatile, adapting to the changing seasons and temperatures.

Hot weather

In the warm summer months, what you wear needs to be able to wick away sweat. Not only will this keep you dry, the evaporative properties of the fabric will help keep you cool too, allowing you to work out for longer.

Cold weather

As temperatures start to drop, you’ll need extra clothing for warmth. But don’t forget, once you get moving and get that heart pumping, your body temperature will rise, even in cold conditions. So rather than wearing heavier workout clothing, it’s best to invest in a series of thinner layers, so you can add or remove an extra layer as you need to.

Wet and windy weather

There’s nothing worse than working out while you’re soaked to the bone, so it’s worth investing in a lightweight, windproof waterproof. Make sure you go for a fabric that’s breathable, so that sweat won’t get trapped next to your skin.