Pants that ride up, leggings that fall down, bras that crush your boobies, tops that can’t contain them. If clothing is getting in the way of focusing on an awesome workout, then you need to be more practical when it comes to choosing workout gear.
I have found that if I don’t have supportive gear that matches my workout, I firstly don’t enjoy it as much, and secondly find that I might not give it my all.
Case in point. My husband and I run together fairly regularly, aiming for every second day. A few days ago I joined him on a run, starting off with a 500m warm up walk. I wear racerback sports bras to run in because I feel like they give me the best support, but some of the ones I have are too thin and not supportive enough for anything more than yoga. Needless to say, the moment we started running I immediately regretted my decision to wear the sports bra I had chosen. My boobs were bouncing around like balls on the back of a tractor and I was in so much pain! I ran for about 20m and stopped and told my husband I couldn’t go on. So I walked a shorter route and went home. Pretty bleak with myself because I didn’t get my runner’s high!
As a working mom and wife, it’s so difficult to carve out the time to exercise as it is. So when I finally get to it, I don’t want anything to get in the way of my fitness fix, certainly not something as trivial as clothing.
It might sound rather obvious, but the right gear makes exercising so much easier and even more enjoyable. To some, a perfectly placed fitness outfit might even be the motivation that gets you out there everyday, doing your thing. That is awesome. But others don’t feel that it’s necessary to spend any additional money on clothing that you’re simply going to sweat in, and ultimately soil over time. This is fair, but good gear doesn’t have to cost a bomb.
My two cents on this? Do the research. Find options that suit you, your body, and your budget. They exist! In South Africa alone, there are so many options for affordable, decent exercise gear. These are my tips for choosing the most practical exercise gear:
Spend The Bulk Of Your Money On Good Shoes
Your feet are the point of impact for running, walking, workouts etc. For everything except yoga, Pilates, and water-based workouts, you need a great pair of shoes to support you. Look out for sales on good brands, or go to factory shops.
I am a Nike whore, but I won’t pay full price for a pair EVER! There is a Nike factory shop in Woodmead, JHB, that almost always has specials on shoes. You might have to dig around to find your size, but you can pick up a primo pair of Nike sports shoes for a few hundred rand.
Invest In A Great Sports Bra
Like I said, I wear racerback bras because I feel that they are the most comfortable support for me. But you might be different. I find that there are a lot of sports bra type of exercise tops being sold at the moment by major fashion retailers that don’t actually offer adequate support. They look great, but they also aren’t made from breathable fabric, so after a few sweaty sessions in the gym, they start to develop an interesting, lasting aroma. Not sustainable for exercise in my opinion.
Rather shop around for bras that have been engineered for breast support. They should have built in panels or really thick elasticated bands that hold everything in place. Interestingly enough, Mr Price Sport sells racerback cropped tops that are often supportive enough for my running needs. There are a few different varieties though and some are too thin. I always go and try them on and then literally jump around in the change rooms. If there is any indication of bounce or movement, it’s not going to be good enough. It will wear over time and lose support quickly.
Choose Pants That Stay Put
If they ride up your crack, or slip down and show your bum hole, you’re not going to feel confident in them. I find that the best options in this department also have strong and thick elasticated waistbands that stay in one place. This is such a win when you’re on the open road or bouncing around in a gym studio. Currently trendy high-waisted exercise pants are always a win.
When trying on a few pairs, do 50 high knees in the change rooms and see where your proposed pants are once you’re done. This is a great test of endurance. Again, my favourite pair of exercise pants are Nike running leggings. Nike whore. They do not move even on the longest run, and they are fully breathable so I don’t get wonderfully-placed sweat patches.
On that note, as a woman, you might want to choose dark colours or patterned fabrics that don’t show sweat marks. It’s always fun walking out of the gym looking like you’ve peed in your pants.