Gym Gear Checklist

Fitness

because that shit has to be squat proof.

Since jumping belly first into the world of fitness l have become obsessed with getting as much active wear as possible. You know l gotta have a different combo for different days, being a gym bunny and all. Ha! I am always happiest perusing huge racks of neon, patterns and prints but for the longest time l was just picking whatever l thought looked good as opposed to good enough for the workout. l have since tapered down to a few investment pieces because l know what l need from my workout gear. Form, fit, function and fashionable.

BRAS
My boobs are my greatest problem when buying active wear. Bras are an area of active wear that should be invested in because wearing the wrong bra size or a bra not suited for exercise can not only lead to problems like back, neck and breast pain, but also affect the appearance of the breasts, both short- and long-term. Make sure you wear a well-fitted sports bra to ensure you are getting the support you need. The bra should be snug but still allows movement without digging into your skin. Try a few arm swing exercises and simulate a few back exercises in the changing room to see if it restricts movement or not. To assess snug-ness, make sure you can fit no more than one finger under the band and that there is easy putting on and taking off. Check for scratchy seams and joins as these might become irritating when mixed with sweat and cause chafing. The other extreme would be a loose fitting bra which offers very little support and has your breasts wobbling about. There has to be minimum jiggling or swinging of boobs when you are doing high intensity workouts. Do a few jumps to assess jiggle factor, try upside down movements to make sure nothing pops out, you do not want to be flashing anyone unless you are ready to change gyms. The bra band should be the same level right round, if the band rides up at the back it might be too small. For a fashionable workout you can’t go wrong with mesh detail, high neck and criss-cross bands in the font or back. My favorite brands are Adidas and Lululemon.

LEGGINGS
Gym bottoms are little easier to shop for. Leggings and shorts should be high waist, these will keep your belly in and remind you to suck in your stomach during the workout. When trying out a pair of leggings be sure it sits on the waist not on the hips, the latter tends to ride down and you DO NOT want to spend the entire workout hiking them up. They should be opaque there is no reason why people should be seeing your underwear through your legging. You can either bend over in the changing room and take a look in the mirror or ask the shop assistants for their opinion. They should be stretchy enough such that putting them on or off isn’t a workout in itself, l actually have a not so stretchy pair, l break into a sweat whenever l think about putting them on but they are so good at compressing everything in. You also want them to have just enough room around the groin so that it is not too tight or too loose… because no camel toe allowed. Choose a sweat wicking/ dry fast fabric so that even if you encounter any sweat patches in the crotch area they dry quickly. If they are not labelled sweat wicking then opt for black or patterned leggings as these do a really good job disguising sweat patches. If you want something that ticks both the fashion and function boxes then invest funky prints and mesh designs, because bunch is life!

TOPS
Now these you are most foolproof and low budget active wear pieces you can ever purchase. A few things to remember though. It is important to get tops that are light and breathable, heavy fabrics can get irritating and chafe when you get sweaty. Length is also a huge factor. You do not want an oversized top that is too baggy and gets in the way of your workout, one way to deal with that is to tie them up at the side, front or back. Form fitting tops do not ride up or get in the way when you are doing up side down movements. Hello, mountain climbers and push ups. Baggy cuts are great for when you are going to be doing a lot of standing exercises or running. For my active in style gals, this is the one area you can go wild on. Cut out backs, halterneck styles, graphic tees, those with a bra attached, etc. The sky is the limit. I usually alternate between Adidas, Reebok and generic store tank tops.

TRAINERS
With footwear the important decision is hinged on what training you want to do in them. For pilates and yoga, trainers are as useful as a pair of heels on a wildlife hike. I have been known to weight lift in socks, do not try this at home. Get something sturdy enough for cardio and strength training. Running, however, requires a lot more support so you will need something fitted properly. Trainers are one area which l do not buy a lot of. I find a pair l like, wear it to death then get another one and do it all over again. Right now l am working my New Balance 737 trainers to death. I have been eying an Adidas pair l saw recently, l will keep you posted. Trainers are a bit more expensive so l buy only when l am sure l will get my money’s worth.

Note: Black is a safe option for people of all shapes and sizes. Black tights or shorts and a sports bra can be softened with a looser-fitting brightly colored top. A short-sleeved top and mid-thigh shorts with a relaxed (but not baggy) fit are a good option as well, while bigger people can wear compression shorts underneath to relieve chafing.

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