What to Wear to the Gym

The gym was a foreign place to me when I started working out. I had no clue what I was doing, but I had determination. All that really mattered was that I had a desire to be there, so what I wore didn’t make that much of a difference. However, I’ve learned a few things that would have made me more comfortable.

When I first went to the gym, I usually wore cotton or a cotton blend (sweats and a t-shirt) because I didn’t know that there were better alternatives. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune! I buy budget-friendly items with the exception of athletic shoes.

Athletic Shoes

If I’d only known when I first started working out that I could have saved myself from many painful blisters and other injuries by choosing the right shoes and socks, then would not have hesitated to spend money on good quality shoes because it makes a huge difference.

Shoes are an investment. I eventually found my way to a running store to be properly fitted. I wish that I’d done that when I first started walking, but I didn’t even know running stores existed. The employees watched me walk on a treadmill to see how I walk and run to suggest the proper fit. There are many categories of shoes such as over pronator, neutral pronator, and supinator. Those might seem like foreign words, but it can make a huge difference in preventing injuries and generally making the experience more pleasant.

I found deals on 6pm.com once I knew what kind of shoe to buy. The activity that I am doing also makes a difference in which shoes I wear. There are specific shoes for running, walking, and trail running. I do all three, so I have different a pair for each activity. This is not a marketing ploy. There are differences in how the shoes are constructed. I do not buy cross-trainers because they are meant to cover all activities, but that means compromises on specific features, so they are not great for any of them. Shoes also need to be replaced after 300 – 500 miles.

Asics Walking Shoes

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Brooks Ghost Running Shoes

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Nike Trail Running Shoes As you can see, these are misshapen. They must be replaced before running season starts again. They logged a lot of miles on the trail last year!

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Socks

Do not wear cotton! They absorb moisture rather than wicking, so I had extremely painful blisters.

Shirts

Most tops that are made for working out are made of polyester or a polyester blend. This helps to wick away sweat to prevent chafing. When I run outside in the summer, I get chafing near my underarms from the repetitive motion. There is a product called Body Glide that prevents chafing. It also works wonders for thigh rub and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores.

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Bras

Sports bras are sold in three categories; high impact, medium impact, and low impact. These also have specific purposes. High impact bras are good for running. Medium impact bras are good for walking. They are generally more comfortable than high impact. Low impact bras are only used for activities like yoga. Again, the material is important. Cotton sports bras hold moisture, so a polyester/spandex blend is important. I found that Target has reasonable prices and good quality.

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Bottoms

I wear capris or shorts year-round unless I’m outdoors. I dress as if it is 30 degrees warmer because once I’m moving, it feels much warmer. Gyms are kept at a comfortable temperature, so if it’s 7o degrees, then it’ll feel more like 100 degrees when I am done. Bottoms are always a polyester/spandex blend to keep them in place and wick away sweat.

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Hair

I try not to use anything metal or plastic in my hair because it causes breakage. The exception to that rule is the new plastic ponytail holders that look like old-style phone cords. They rock!

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Activity Trackers

These are certainly not necessary. I didn’t have one when I started out. After I bought a FitBit, I started to see benefits of setting step goals for the day or week. They are expensive, but if it keeps me motivated, then it’s worth it.

The Garmin is only worn when I run or walk outside. The reason is that it connects to GPS and logs distance. My FitBit does the same, but beyond a shadow of a doubt the FitBit is not accurate for distance. When I’m outside I wear both. Do I really need all of this stuff strapped to me? No, but I like to have the data.

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