I was chatting with a friend the other day; she's a runner who absolutely depends on early morning miles for her sanity. But I had to laugh as she described her "morning laziness." How she literally has to drag herself out of a stupor to get started with her workout routine ─ a routine she knows will pump her with endorphins and literally have her running down the street smiling.
"So how and when does your transition occur?" I asked.
"When I step into my closet." she responded. "As soon as I put on my running clothes, I am energized. I have a pile of workout clothes ─ that I love ─ waiting for my run. And just the feel of them, makes me want to move!"
The psychology of dressing for success ─ whether it's in the office or the gym ─ is powerful. It seems obvious that if we are experiencing the blahs and we spend the day in old baggy sweats and a messy ponytail we will probably extend those doldrums; but if we put on an outfit we love, we might be tricked into feeling more confident, more upbeat, until... we actually do!
So, it isn't surprising that dressing for a workout will have the same positive, transformational effect. Workout clothes aren't just a money making gimmick (though some can be pricey). They are designed with fitness-smart materials (to keep you cooler, safer, and efficient) as well as fun fashion angles that boost confidence and mobility.
I am a big fan of lululemon ─ they have some amazing clothing (all designed to hold up well through five years of use). My recent purchases have included two swank tanks, a scoop me up tank, and a festival bag (did I mention I'm a big fan?!)! I love the tanks... they are super soft and hold me up well. The fabric is great. And the bag is fabulous for long walks (and holding all the essentials). And their designs? Totally clean and hip.
Here are a few workout clothing tips:
1. Cotton: Often, people think cotton is the best material for everything, but it's not great for a workout; it does absorb sweat and moisture... but what it doesn't do is purge that moisture via evaporation. So you are left with a very wet workout! This can lead to chafing, chills, or other skin irritations.
2. Big & Baggy: Some people choose the potato sack look as a misguided modesty effort or actually think they will achieve a greater range of movement in oversized clothing. However, we lose ourselves in all that material; this, in turn, means we are out of synch with our bodies. Additionally, there is real danger in terms of catching material on equipment or tripping over excess fabric. And instructors cannot get a sense of your body lines, a salient concern as they monitor your motion for safety.
1. Wicking Fabrics: Try CoolMax or Dri-FIT. Moisture is pulled away from your skin and drawn to the outside of the fabric ─ leaving you cool and comfy.
2. Solid Sports Bra: Support matters. Consider a shelf bra for smaller frames and a bra with individual cups for large breasts. Remember that the band, the straps, and the cups all contribute to support. Wash in cold water and then line dry. Spandex breaks down with heat.
3. Comfortable Gear: No matter how much you love the look, if it isn't comfortable (move your arms, do a few squats, bend over) you will not achieve a great workout. Ensure that your workout gear feels great (fitted without squishing or pinching)!
Whatever your style, it's all about being safe, staying cool, and feeling great. See you at the gym... and remember, you look mah-velous!