Read these 8 Sports Apparel for the Gym Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Sports Apparel tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you're going to sit on an exercise bike, smooth, fitted shorts will be the most comfortable exercise clothing item that you can choose. Shirts are more forgiving; you could even wear a classic cotton t-shirt if you are just pedaling easily while reading a book. But choose fitted shorts and you won't end up with chafed thighs from where extra fabric has bunched up on the seat. In addition, if you feel comfortable in a low-waist style of fitted short, you'll reduce the potential for chafing at the waistband that sometimes occurs when you lean forward on a bike for a long period of time.
You can wear anything to an aerobics class, but if you're serious about your workout, look for exercise clothing that's not only moisture wicking, but breathable for extra ventilation, since a crowded aerobics class can get hot and stuffy in no time. As for your bottom half, the same principle applies; shorts or sports pants with mesh insets can keep you comfortable, even when you look at the clock and realize that you're only 15 minutes into the class.
Caution: Be mindful of long pant legs if you are taking a step aerobics class; you don't want to catch a flared pant leg on the step.
Some sports apparel manufacturers have designed sportswear specifically for boxing and kickboxing workouts. Nike, for example, offers a “cardio combat” pant with articulated seams at the knees for those flying drop kicks and other moves that require knee flexibility. Any sports apparel can be worn for boxing classes, but the key is to choose sportswear that lets your knees move freely.
As an alternative to pants, choose fitted shorts (to avoid flashing your boxing buddies while doing those kicks).
Sleeveless tops are often the sportswear of choice for serious weightlifters because they allow a full and unrestricted range of arm motion. Sports apparel manufacturers offer sleeveless shirts in a variety of styles, and some shirts have mesh panels or added compression. Some sleeveless tops for women include built-in shelf bras, which is usually enough support for weightlifting. Or, looser-fitting styles accommodate any sports bra. Men can find sleeveless tops in tank styles, racerback styles, classic sleeveless, or cap sleeves. Cotton sleeveless shirts are OK for weightlifting, but if you mean to sweat, find a sleeveless shirt made from moisture-wicking fabric.
Ease of movement is the most important factor when choosing sportswear for yoga. Some yoga practitioners prefer fitted tops and pants, while others feel self-conscious in these styles of women's sports clothes. But there is something for everyone, and just because certain styles are labeled “yoga clothes” doesn't mean that you can't wear any exercise clothing that you like. Fitted styles have the advantage of not bunching up when you're twisting and not falling over your face when you are bending forward. That said, if you feel more comfortable in a loose-fitting t-shirt and shorts for yoga, that's what you should wear. Just be sure to tuck your shirt into your shorts before going upside-down for a headstand or shoulder stand.
Are you addicted to the StairMaster or elliptical trainer? Or are you just starting to use these machines? In any case, using a fitness machine involves more repetitive motion than running or walking outdoors because the terrain underneath you doesn't change. With that in mind, look for exercise clothing, especially bras, that are seamless, because even though you aren't bouncing, you are engaging in a repetitive motion that can cause rubbing, especially if you are working out for more than half an hour.
A full range of motion is important for a Pilates workout, and most Pilates practitioners wear yoga-style sportswear, although any comfortable sportswear will do. Moisture-wicking tops and cropped pants with leg slits for extra movement are good choices for a Pilates class. Since Pilates is low-impact, any sports bra or bra top will provide enough chest support. And bring a light layer to put on after class if you feel chilly.
When choosing sportswear for walking or running on a treadmill, apply the same principles that you would to running or walking outside on a room-temperature day (68 degrees Fahrenheit). If you will be running on the treadmill, shorts and a short-sleeved top, tank top, or full-length bra top should keep you comfortable and prevent overheating. If you specifically want to sweat, wear long-sleeves and an extra layer. Speaking of layers: Whether you're walking or running on a treadmill, bring a light jacket or top with you in case you find yourself positioned uncomfortably close to a fan or air-conditioning vent and you start to feel chilled. Tie the jacket or top around your waist or around the treadmill railing for easy access.