When it comes to workout clothing, there is SO MUCH to choose from. So which brand comes up trumps on their products? Which is most comfortable? Which looks good? Which feels good?
So many questions, variables, styles and colours?
Personally, I do not have a true preference when it comes to my gym kit… it all comes down to the material, fit, comfort when working out & my mood… and you really do not know much about any of these things until you step into the gym with it on.
But ten years as a personal trainer and, heck, I don’t how many years as a gym bunny has given me a good idea of what I like and what I don’t!
Honestly, for when I am teaching classes, I like something that stands out, so people can see my movements and positioning clearly. These funky monochrome tights from Nike are great for this, but they are not my favourites.
In fact, I think I have only ever worn these once or twice… and one of those times was when I went to the gym, not teaching. The material needs to be thin, but not so thin that you can virtually see through them. The last thing you want when you step into the gym is a VPL (Visible Panty Line), let along visible panties!
These “Just Do It” Nike leggings are great, really comfy and bold. But I found the material to be just a little bit too heavy for a BIG workout. My legs were getting really sweaty and hot. They were also just a fraction too long for my short legs! But I do like them a lot, so I tend to keep these leggings for when I am doing low impact classes like Pilates or maybe a weights session in the gym.
Tights & Leggings need to have a good fit and strong waist band…. you really don’t want to be spending half of your workout pulling your leggings up, do you…. or pulling them out of your arse! Nothing worse than a wedgy when you are running on a treadmill or deadlifting your personal best!
Sportswear can be REALLY expensive, I have seen some Nike leggings/tights that are the best part of £70-£80 quid, and damn, I am not paying that much. Try and shop around for what you like, and what feels/fits you best.
I LOVE these funky leggings from Reebok, and if you have ever attended one of my fitness classes, you may think they are my only pair. I love teaching in these. Super comfortable, super light and they wick sweat really well.
And as you can see, they are quite loud… a few of my clients told me I should put a sunglasses warning out for when I wear them.
But in truth, everyone can see what I am doing and follow my movements really well!
Similarly, I LOVE this Adidas vest, light, loud and really fine material at the back, so it wicks sweat and is super comfortable when training.
Speaking of vests, Racer back vests are great for when you are training, they offer you ease of movement through your shoulders and as the straps & neck line come in really close to your, erm… neck…. they don’t ride up during a workout as much, if at all.
Personally, I do not like tight fitting tops, whether I am working out or day to day! So I tend to order a size bigger than I actually need, this prevents them from bunching and rolling up around or above your tummy…. How uncomfortable is it when you have your midriff on show?
I suppose, if I was on the spot and I had to pick a favourite brand, I would probably have to say Reebok for clothing! They are funky, wearable, breathable and comfortable… everything that I look for!
But when it comes to footwear…. thats when I start getting all brand specific… I am super loyal in my footwear! I have tried everything from Reebok to Nike, Adidas to Asics, but have never found a better trainer for general training and classes, as the Saucony brand.
Trainers are scarily expensive, you are looking at anywhere from £50 to £150 for a good pair of trainers and they are all different.
Some have increased arch support, some additional heel support, some even come with support for your achilles tendon.
When it comes to trainers, we all need something different.
Me for example, I require a higher arch support, as when I broke my metatarsal, it collapsed the arch in my right foot…. Dare I say it, this injury was sustained when wearing the wrong trainers to teach a class. So I have first hand experience of how important good trainers are.
If you are unsure, then get yourself down to a GOOD sportswear shop, and ask if you can have your gait analysed in order to determine the best trainers for you.
Personally, I always go for Saucony’s now for training & teaching. And I reserve my Nike, Adidas, Reebok AND Asics trainers for when I am working with my PT clients.
Yes, I have A LOT of trainers, but I live in them, work in them and train in them, so I rotate my footwear regularly to ensure that they stay in good condition.
Look at the soles of your trainers, and see where they are wearing most, this will give you a good clue as to how your gait is possibly affecting your movement and muscle gains/toning.
If your trainers are badly worn, invest in a new pair. This is crucial… regardless of your preferred training type!
These awesome Saucony Grid trainers >>>> set me back about £85.00. I LOVED them! But I trained in them too often and wore them out too quickly. Then there is my Purple Asics… these are REALLY comfy for standing in and demonstrating exercises, but not so good for training or teaching in. If I am completely honest, I brought them because I like Purple 🤔 Not the best rationale for buying trainers.
More recently, in the January Sales of 2017, I stumbled across these really cool retro style Saucony Trainers (below), in a store not too far away from where I live. Reduced from £90 to £35, I saw a bargain that I wasn’t prepared to miss.
These funky trainers are comfy, with high arch support and great stability through the sole. In fact, I have been to the gym about 6 times in these already and will be putting them through their paces this evening at BodyWurx. But I have high hopes for them!
I will be honest with you, in the past month, I have spent probably £300 on new sportswear, which may sound a lot! But, I have got my moneys worth in the sales. So I actually have got about £600 worth of kit.
I haven’t even touched on Sports bras, because to be honest this is a tough subject, and I am still trying to find the best brand or style.
I have LOADS, some are good, some not so good. My 4 favourites are all different brands, so this makes it even harder to give an opinion. Under Armour Sports bras are well made, and the one I have is zipped up the front so it makes it super easy to get off when you have trained shoulders/arms or got a sweat on, more recently though the zip has been failing me, and mid class or session I find myself trying to do it back up (Could just be overuse, but still not cool!).
I also have a Reebok one which is really comfortable, a Nike one and a Shock Absorber. All three are good, but with small overlook-able flaws. The reebok one is a little too low at the front and can occasionally gape when you lean forward, the Nike one sometimes gives me a headache if I have it on for a long time and the Shock Absorber one…. well, if haven’t found a flaw yet! So maybe this should tell you something?
As I mentioned above the Nike sports bra does “occasionally” leave me with a headache (but I am wearing it for 8+ hours). I have tried a number of sports bras that put too much pressure on the back of my neck & shoulders giving me the same problem in less than an hour. The last thing you want when you are at a class with loud music and jumping around, is a headache!
Some are just way too low cut and gape massively at the front when you are doing a bent over row or plank…. they don’t leave much to the imagination for others in your gym or class…. a sports bra’s one and only job is to keep your bangers held in and covered! Not a good look when you are scooping your puppies back into your over shoulder boulder holder mid-workout???!!! 😫
My biggest gripe with sports bras isn’t how they feel on though, it is how easily they come off after training. On a number of occasions I have had to ask my boyfriend for help pulling it off, because it has stuck to my sweaty skin. If he isn’t around… I have been incapacitated by the tight fitting bra that just refuses to come over the top of my shoulders leaving me half naked and stuck….😳 It kind of kills your cool demeanour in the gym changing rooms….. 😂
Sports bra’s come down to how big your baps are, and your own personal preference. Trial and error!
Don’t buy loads of different ones at once, and try them on before you buy them if you can. They, again, can be quite an expense. But a good bra will make your workout much more comfortable. And ladies, please do wear a sports bra…. risking a black eye is not good and in truth, having them flopping around isn’t good for them or your back… You don’t want saggy boobs & you don’t want to have to hold them down!
This is definitely an ongoing subject though, and I will no doubt change my opinions on things as I buy new stuff, try out other brands and vary my workout styles. But for now, thats my opinion and advice on what is the best workout wear to buy & try!
If you have a favourite product or brand for your workouts, or you think there is something better out there to try, then please let me know… I can’t try everything, as there is too many, but I am happy to take recommendations 😁
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