Can Our Workout Clothes Really Improve Our Workout Performance?
Are you still coming up with various excuses why you’re not working on getting rid of the muffin top you got from those delicious holiday muffins? We understand you must feel demotivated and defeated by the bad weather that prevented you from leaving your home and hitting the gym; that’s why we’re here to send you shopping!
Seems a bit strange, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, the fact is that numerous studies have proven that what you wear affects your workout motivation. In fact, Northwestern University researchers claim that simply putting on exercise gear will get you into the right mind frame for exercising, and will significantly boost your performance.
1. Motivation: Dress For Success
Quite commonly, we hear people say why bother dressing up when you’ll be all hot and sweaty anyways? But it actually makes a difference whether you are in your old, worn-out cotton T-shirt, or a trendy crop top.
Confidence is the power word, and it actually stems from what you are wearing. Consequently, more and more people started taking their gym gear out for a walk in the street, to show off their physique and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Thankfully, athleisure has become a part of our everyday lives – it’s the new casual look, and it’s not reserved for Friday only! Do you plan on grabbing a lunch after an early yoga class on Tuesday? Put on a super-supportive top, so you can just throw on a hoody and be ready to head out to the nearest lounge bar.
Athleisure was commonly defined as gym clothes meets street look; still, in time, with the incorporation of Lycra, spandex and other synthetic fibers into work-appropriate attires, we’ve witnessed the creation of an entirely new fashion category.
Nowadays, workout clothes are not just a gym workhorse – they have the power to motivate you to get moving, show off your sense of fashion, and give you a confidence boost – in a gym, at work and in the street.
2. Performance: It’s All About Comfort
Did you know there are certain outfits banned in professional swimming, as they proved to shave time off a swimmer’s lap time? That’s right – more often than not, it’s not all about you working to the best of your abilities – it’s about the quality of the equipment you are using and clothes you are wearing.
If you opt for a top made from non-breathable material, it is going to stop the release of heat, what will result in excessive heating, sweating and discomfort, ultimately cutting your exercise time short. On the other hand, 100% cotton tops will absorb the sweat and hold it against your body, making your morning jog more enjoyable.
While we’re talking about specific fabrics, we advise you to stick to the kind that wicks moisture away from your body – nylon and spandex-based clothing items are a must, since they move with you and help reduce resistance.
Also, when trying on clothes at the store, get out of that cabin and stretch to see whether there are any transparent spots, as this means they will get loose after only a few wears.
Furthermore, you need to ensure the clothes you are wearing provides you with enough freedom of movement. Even if you are able to spike, swing or dunk, a t-shirt that is just too tight restricts your movement and affects your overall performance.
That’s why deciding on the ideal fitness wear for men, the importance of wearing a well-fitted pair of shorts cannot be stressed enough – they shouldn’t ride up or slip down when you jump, and shouldn’t be too big in the crotch, as you don’t want them to come in a way when you perform more complex movements.
3. Safety: It Stems From What You Are Wearing
While we’re on the topic of the adequate workout equipment, we have to emphasize that an improperly-fitted workout gear is one of the most common causes of sports-related injuries that disrupt your workout routine. For instance, if you’re a lifter, you’ll need quality gloves to protect your hands from developing calluses on your palms.
However, all gym-goers need to focus on getting the right shoe – if they are a bad fit, you might experience a number of injuries, like blisters and cramps, which may slow you down. If you have weak ankles, you’ll have to go for high-tops, and depending on the arches of your feet, you might need orthotic inserts for support when you’re running and jumping.
4. Smart Phones, Smart Homes, and now… Smart Clothes!
Lately, we are seeing new technologies taking the fitness world by storm. Many of us have already incorporated smart wearables into our regular workout routine, like smartwatches and activity trackers, and now it’s time to up our game with smart clothing items.
MyZone Sports Bra is made of quick-drying fabric and is an extremely comfortable top that offers support and ability to share heart rate data with a Bluetooth connected device.
The Lumo Run shorts are filled with sensors which track running metrics, like cadence, ground contact time, braking, bounce and pelvic rotation, and they even offer a real-time audio feedback via the app and your headphones.
Athos line features tight-fitting shirts and shorts that can detect heart and breathing rate, as well as muscle activity. These are excellent for professional athletes and muscle-focused workouts.
Radiate shirts are tight fitting and change color as your muscles get hot. Thanks to these, you’ll be able to track muscle use in your reflection in the mirror.
The Bottom Line
According to psychologists, it’s all about the symbolic meaning of clothing. The clothes you wear associates you to a particular activity, a specific state of mind; thus, when in your gym clothes, you’re likely to get motivated to go to the gym.
Remember: this doesn’t mean you should rush to get the most expensive athleisure pieces out there; start with a couple of basics and invest in more clothing items and equipment as you go along. Just don’t wait too long before getting the motivational benefit!
*** Nicole is a lifestyle blogger at HighStyleLife passionate about yoga and healthy living. She enjoys sharing her experiences and ideas on how to lead a happy and healthy life.