You would never go scuba diving without a wet suit and you wouldn't walk into a snowstorm without boots. Yet on any given day at the gym, I am bound to see at least one ambitious jogger on a treadmill with flip-flops and jeans on! This post is dedicated to you love, as I wonder how anyone could workout without the appropriate dress?
When it comes to addressing certain conditions or settings, clothing plays an important role in ensuring both our safety and maximizing our performance. However, at times we skip out on the very clothing that is supposed to endure mass amounts of motion, impact, and sweat from our workouts. Though you don't need to invest hundreds of dollars in gym attire, it's important to note how clothing is a matter of function and not just fashion when exercising.
I learned my lesson about gym wear the hard way. Back in my undergrad and even recent grad days, funds were too low for checked marked tanks and tees. Instead, all of my stuff was recycled from high school. Ya girl was making it work with old 100% cotton volleyball tees and P.E. gym shoes until I was able to upgrade to Champions tanks and leggings from Target (clearance only though).
"So what? You're saying I need brand name clothing to be fit?!" No, no, no, not even. But I am saying there is a noticeable difference when you skimp out on attire that is meant to support your physical needs.
Out of college I was still using 4+ year old shoes to run indoors, outside, and do HIIT exercises 6x a week. My shoes racked up miles quickly and wore and tore to a degree not entirely seen by the naked eye. Weather, moisture, stretching, impact absorption etc. were aging my shoes faster than I thought. It wasn't long before I started to develop injuries. Sharp pains across my shins, tightness along my quads, and finally aches at my hip. Past experience would tell me I just needed to ice and rest but these injuries would persist. I would spend months trying to rehabilitate myself by working out less frequently, foam rolling, stretching, you name it. It wasn't until a running friend took notice of my prolonged struggle that he inquired whether my shoes were the culprit.
I never thought my shoes could be the source of so many issues. After just a couple Google searches, I learned about the relatively short life span of gym shoes, it's impact to running form, and that most running shoes are designed to provide the appropriate foot support for different exercises. Bruh, I felt like an idiot! But doing this research was a game changer for me.
That week I went to a running store for the first time in my life. I went to a store called Runner's Gate in Minneapolis and had no idea what I was walking into. At Runner's Gate they watched me walk naturally, run naturally on a treadmill, and asked me what I tend to experience when I run. 40 minutes later, I walked out with a pair of ($150) running shoes that addressed what they identified as wobbly ankles, inward collapsing feet, and toe running. I PROMISE YOU, my injuries subsided within 2 weeks of running with my new shoes.
Throughout the years, I experienced similar moments with other articles of clothing. When I was training for a 10K, I struggled with managing the heat and sweat from my body with the cold winter temperature outside until I got hyperwarm pullovers and gloves. When it started to get darker earlier in the Fall, I used reflective clothing and wearable lights to make myself more visible to bikers and cars. And when I started to lift more, I got weight training gloves to help me keep a stable bar grip and avoid callouses.
So today, I truly believe that the clothing you choose to workout in has a greater impact than you may think. Spanning from managing injuries to increasing comfort, the right attire can help maximize your performance. Just be sure to keep things within budget through employee friend discounts, binge shopping during holiday deals and season shifts, and shopping at outlet stores.
Do you have old shoes or tanks that are due for a replacement? What workout clothing malfunctions have you experienced?