Does what you wear to the gym affect your performance or is it all just a waste of money? Good question, and one that hasn’t really been answered properly yet. But here are 5 pros and cons of getting the latest workout gear.
A lot of what goes into getting in good, consistent workouts depends on playing mind games with yourself. Almost anyone can do a few good sessions after making over-enthusiastic New Year’s resolutions. But staying consistent week in, week out, is a completely different story. Having specific clothing that you only wear when working out can help get you in the mindset that it’s time to get busy as soon as you put them on. In the same way, if going out and buying some cool, new work out gear
that makes you feel great and gives you a renewed sense of motivation to work out, then it is worth the money. But don’t feel like you need to go out and spend money on that. If an old t-shirt and shorts work for you, then there’s no reason to change.
Recent studies have begun to look into whether compression clothing assists in your training or whether it’s people’s mindset and expectations that are doing most of the work. Compression clothing supposedly aids in blood circulation and therefore helps to bring more oxygen to your working muscles. The garments are also supposed to improve your proprioception – which basically aids an athlete’s perception of their position in space (most people don’t need to worry about this). It is also suggested that compression clothing helps in recovery but aiding circulation and getting blood to sore muscles and flushing excess lactic acid and other exercise-related biochemicals.
The evidence to support all of these claims though isn’t exactly solid and there have been a number of more recent experiments that return results suggesting that compression clothing does nothing at all. So again, if they make you feel good and boost your motivation to work out, then great, otherwise don’t bother.
If you’re running or cycling pre-dawn or late at night, wearing exercise clothing that has reflective panels
on them is a great idea in terms of safety. We’ve all heard stories of cyclists being hit, so anything to increase safety and visibility is definitely worth the extra expense. Runners also need to ensure they can be seen, especially if you are in the habit of wearing headphones and listening to music or podcasts while you run.
This is especially important for women – you want a well-fitted sports bra that gives you all the support you need while working out. This will help you avoid feeling self-conscious or generating back pain from an unsupportive bra. Cyclists will probably also want to wear pants that have to pad on them to improve comfort on long bike rides.
Exercise clothing gets punished, more so than your regular casual or work attire, so it’s not a bad idea to invest in some decent quality workout clothing that will last you for years and still look good. Cheap clothing will need to be replaced more often and will start to look shabby after a few workouts and washes, so may end up costing a similar amount over the span of a few years if you are having to replace the cheap clothing every few months. This doesn’t mean you need to go and break the bank on a huge range of big brand clothing, we all know how over-priced some of it is, but getting yourself a few pairs of essentials isn’t a bad idea. It’s also all about confidence, and for most people – if you look good, you feel good.
Anything you can do to give yourself the mental edge in your work-outs is worth investing in. Just don’t go overboard. Quality clothing will help boost your confidence, but in the end, all it comes down to is you putting in the work. A few decades ago no one had any idea of all the new technology there is in exercise clothing, but people still trained hard and got the job done, and that’s what it’s all about.