How to choose the right equipment and clothing for your workout
When it comes to a good workout it doesn’t really matter what you’re wearing. It all really comes down to your performance, how hard you try and how dedicated you are. It is not about looking fashionable or stylish. It’s about giving your best and feeling great.
Of course there is nothing wrong with having a nice outfit when you work out but the priority should always be to feel comfortable; looking trendy comes second.
If you only work out occasionally, less than once a week, it’s really enough that you make sure that your outfit is comfortable and appropriate for the type of workout you are going for. There is no need to invest too much in your outfit and gear.
However, if you exercise regularly and you are serious about your chosen type of workout, after a while (when you know it is not just a phase that might pass) it might be a good idea to think about buying good equipment and proper clothing.
Why should you invest in new clothes and equipment?
At this point, you might be wondering why should you buy all that stuff when your workout has been going great without it so far. There are a few reasons why you might consider investing in some new equipment, but remember － as long as you feel you are making good progress with what you’ve got, there is no need to buy more!
If, however, you do feel you are ready to buy some proper activewear, here’s why it’s a good idea:
- It’s long lasting － obviously, you need to wash your workout clothes after each session, which means that they end up in the washing machine all the time. Normal clothes are not designed to be washed so often, sportswear, on the other hand, can handle all of this. So if you buy proper clothing, you can avoid having to invest in new clothes every few months.
- It helps you to avoid injuries － there is a reason why you shouldn’t cycle in loose trousers or do CrossFit in running shoes. Each sport has some specific requirements and affects your body differently. In order to avoid injuries, you want to make sure your clothes and accessories are not getting in the way. You don’t want your yoga mat to slip or your pants to get caught in your bike chain. Having appropriate clothing and gear can really help you avoid some serious injuries.
- Best performance － good sportswear is made of fabrics designed to help you regulate your body temperature and to dry quicker. When exercising, you want to make sure you are completely focused on giving your best rather than thinking about being too hot or too cold, soaked or sweaty. Appropriate, professional sports clothing will give you this comfort.
No matter what sport you choose and what type of workout you prefer, whether it is a slow and relaxing yoga class or extreme CrossFit sessions, there are a few items you will find useful during any workout:
- Smartwatch/fitness tracker － if you really want to know how your body is performing, investing in a decent smartwatch or a fitness tracker can be a good idea. You can keep an eye on your heart rate to make sure you are exercising at the most effective intensity. Smart devices like this give you all the data you need to better understand your body and adjust your workout program accordingly. What’s more, you can download some great additional apps too.
- Gym bag － yet another obvious one. No matter what your favorite type of workout is, you will probably need a bag to carry all your gym or workout things in. Find one that will fit all your clothes, equipment and additional items, such as your water bottle, phone or shoes. Choose a bag that can be easily washed and is either waterproof or is made of materials that dry quickly.
Yoga － what you’ll need…
If you have been doing yoga for a long time, you might be considering investing in your own equipment. Most gyms and yoga schools offer all the necessary equipment but you might feel it’s time you use your own gear, chosen especially for you and used only by you.
- Yoga mat － if you are looking to buy some yoga equipment, a yoga mat should be the first thing on your list. First of all, no matter what type of yoga you practice or how advanced you are, you will need a mat for every single type of yoga practice you will ever do. Secondly, a yoga mat is not just for yoga. You can use it for many other classes, and at the gym for a number of exercises or even for some stretching after a run. It is probably one of the most useful things you’ll ever buy when it comes to sports.
When you’re looking for a good yoga mat there are a few things to consider －stickiness, knee support, travel- and eco-friendliness.
Make sure your new yoga mat is sticky enough and stays where you want it to. It is the most important thing to look at － you want your mat to stay put so you don’t slip and get injured as a result!
Thickness depends on how advanced you are, generally the more advanced the thinner the mat. But you need to be comfortable too. Medium thickness mats are the best option when looking for your first yoga mat. They give you comfort but are not too thick for you to lose your balance in standing positions.
When buying a mat, check how much it weighs. If you’re going to carry it to every yoga class, several times a week or take it with you when traveling, you don’t want it to be too heavy!
- Yoga pants/leggings － when you start practicing yoga, you quickly realize that what you really need are very comfortable clothes. There is a lot of stretching involved so you want to make sure that whatever you are wearing can stretch with you to avoid any embarrassing surprises during your practice. Usually, leggings are the best option since they are stretchy and tight. There is a great selection of colors available these days, so you can choose some really great ones! It’s usually a good idea to buy two pairs to start with － short and long ones, so you can practice no matter how hot or cold it is outside.
- Sports bra － if you are a woman and decide to start working out, a sports bra is a must. It will give you proper support during any exercise you do. Especially with yoga, when you arrange yourself into some weird positions, you want to make sure everything is in the right place. It’s much more comfortable and gives you peace of mind too!
- Yoga block － a yoga block can be really helpful especially when you are not too stretchy yet. This little helper can make a big difference to your practice - especially when you are just starting. You can use it to facilitate many yoga poses. If you are not sure how to use it properly, you can ask your yoga teacher for help or look up some tips online.
Remember that the most important thing is for you to feel comfortable. If you don’t want to invest in any clothing or equipment just yet and you feel alright with what you’ve got, that’s absolutely fine. Just make sure that whatever you are wearing is appropriate for your chosen type of workout, so that you don’t get injured.
When you feel it is time to buy some proper sportswear, do your research first. Make sure that the type, size and materials are right for your needs. If you don’t want to spend too much at once, make a list of what you think will be most useful and choose the most important things to start with.
If you are unsure or need some professional advice you can always ask your instructor or trainer to advise you. They know your needs and are almost certainly familiar with most sports clothing and equipment brands, so they will be able to help you to find the best gear for you.