Get fit in style

Plenty of thought goes in while buying formals, casuals, party wear, daily wear etc., but not many think about gym wear in a fashionable way. Most often, gym wear is considered monotonous and uninteresting, as people do not understand the outfits,” says Patricia D’souza, freelance fashion designer. While it is important for gym wear to be comfortable, you need to look at more than comfort while picking your outfits.

So if you are gym freak who takes workouts seriously or if you are a beginner looking for a meet-cute at the gym, it is time you “trained” to look fashionable. Let’s throw some light on the many fabrics available and the best materials that one should opt for while buying gym wear:

Nylon

Known for its stretchability and softness, nylon is usually used to make stockings for women. Sheetal Raj, director (product) at Strawberry Lencerial informs that most gym wear and sportswear is made of 87% nylon. Its ability to dry fast and absorb sweat makes it the optimal fabric for workouts. Sankesh Ranka, founder, Uniqa, a clothing store for menswear and a fitness enthusiast states that nylon also has the distinct ability to take the shape of one’s body and come back to shape after all the stretches. This makes nylon a go-to material for gym wear.

Cotton

Cotton is light, airy and does not leave behind the post-workout odour. While it may not be the best material for heavy workouts since it absorbs moisture and causes the material to dampen, it still is the best choice for low sweat activities. “Try going with cotton blends. While cotton may not be suitable for all occasions, it definitely is a fabric you can turn to, to beat the odour,” Sheetal suggests.

Polyester

Patricia personally loves polyester as most of the renowned brands use this fabric for all gym wear. She thinks it to be the best of all fabrics. “It is a low maintenance fabric. Although it doesn’t soak up the moisture, it still has a mechanism that gives the moisture an outlet. To avoid sweat from getting trapped, fabric engineers use PET fibres with a cross-section of hollows or outlets. The minute outlets allow the moisture to reach the outer surface, thus causing them to evaporate,” Patricia states. Sankesh also recommends polyester for its ability to repel UV rays apart from being non-hygroscopic.

Bamboo

Sheetal speaks of natural fabrics and bamboo, she says, is the best bet. “Light, breathable and moisture absorbent, it’s certainly my pick. It allows you to stay fresh throughout. For those who understand how fabrics affect the environment, bamboo is the top pick.”

Lycra

Our trusty spandex is the most sought-after by women not just for gym wear but for daily wear as well. Sankesh states that the material stretches to about 400% and allows for free movement, irrespective of the wearer’s size and shape. It also regains shape quickly allowing men and women of any size to use it. It gives maximum comfort, as there is less chafing and it absorbs moisture well.

While there are plenty of options to choose from in terms of fabric, there is still is a notion of monotony among the common masses with regard to gym wear. “There are plenty of ways you can style sportswear to make it interesting, without losing the comfort factor,” says Patricia.

Speaking of a few dos and don’ts, Sheetal states that a mix and match works its charm immediately. “Wear an off-shoulder T-shirt over a sports bra or a sports bra with an overcoat. You can also style a criss-cross sports bra with a fashionable tank top,” she suggests. You have the regular tank tops, sports bras, shorts and pants, team them differently and add a pop of colour. You don’t need to look like a diva in the gym, but for those who don’t prefer the routine wear and find it dull and boring, there are plenty of ways to spice it up.

Choose a breathable fabric

Sankesh strongly recommends going in for a material with good breathability and stretchability. Do not choose a fabric that constricts you or retains moisture. It can cause injury, and wearing damp clothes can lead to infections. Hygiene is also a factor one needs to consider.

Patricia states that often gym-goers suffer from infections and are asked to skip their workouts for a week or so. She advises choosing a better fabric as a means to avoid this. Warm and moist conditions are the perfect breeding ground for fungi and bacteria leading to yeast infections, athletes foot, staph infections etc.

Get the fit right

Women usually tend to wear tight bras to maintain shape. Wearing a wrong fit of sports bra is a complete no-no. “Women may have several reasons to do this and those with a bulkier bust area certainly feel the need to, but nothing is more important than maintaining a healthy body. A tight-fitting sports bra will leave open sores and must be avoided.

Avoid make-up and jewellery

Working out with make-up running down your face (thanks to all the sweat) can be an unpleasant ordeal. You must also avoid wearing make-up as it can clog the pores and can irritate the skin. Try opting for sports accessories like a watch instead of metal jewellery.

Wear a headband

If you have long hair and struggle with it falling all over your face during your workouts, choose a complimenting headband and have at least five of them handy. This will give you variety and style while being extremely functional

Sheetal rightly states, “The right type of fitness clothing will not only enhance your workout experience but it can also help you to stay motivated.” For fitness aspirants and those facing problems with gym wear, make sure to put a little thought before shopping.

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