Planning to exercise more frequently or to make more regular trips to the gym are among the most common of all New Year's resolutions. If you want to be more consistent with your workout plan in 2016, and want to make good on your resolutions, putting together a wardrobe of the right clothes is a good way to start. What you wear to the gym won't just affect how you look while exercising, but also how you feel during the workout and after it. Keep these tips in mind to pick out exercise clothing that is going to make your gym trips less of a chore and more of a pleasure.
Choose sweat-wicking fabrics
Your workout shirts, shorts, pants, sports bras?and, frankly, any exercise clothes you purchase?should be made of sweat-wicking fabrics. If you are shopping online, this "wicking" feature will be a top selling point in the product description. If shopping in stores, you will probably find the information on the tag. Either way, always look for "wick" or "wicking" in the product descriptions. Essentially, "sweat-wicking" means that the fabric is breathable and will work to pull sweat away from your skin as you exercise. This feature helps sweat evaporate more quickly, which has two huge benefits: first, the faster your sweat evaporates, the cooler your body will remain; second, by helping sweat evaporate, moisture-wicking exercise clothes stay drier and more comfortable. By contrast, cotton will soak up your sweat and stay soaked. (Note that sweat-wicking fabrics are normally synthetic materials like polyester.)
Build a whole wardrobe
Don't just buy one workout shirt, one pair of running shorts, and one pair of workout pants or leggings and expect that to be good. If you are planning on making the gym a daily ritual?and don't want to do laundry every night?then having at least three or four shirts and a few pairs of shorts/pants/leggings will help you avoid reusing exercise clothes repeatedly as they build up sweat and odors. Wearing exercise clothes on more than two or three consecutive days without a wash can lead to clogged pores and skin infections. Even the highest-quality exercise clothing isn't ideal for a trip to the gym if it isn't clean, so give yourself a few options.
Don't forget the socks!
When shopping for exercise clothing, many people focus on the legs and torso and forget all about the feet. But just as sweat can quickly soak a cotton shirt, it can leave a pair of cotton socks drenched, smelly, and ripe for chafing. To avoid odors andblisters, add a few pairs of merino wool socks. Remarkably soft, merino wool socks are great at absorbing moisture, keeping your feet at an optimal temperature, and providing a comfortable blister-proof fit. Particularly for long-distance runners, merino wool socks can be a godsend.
Watch the fit on your pants
If you are planning on doing 100% of your workouts at the gym, you might not even need to worry much about exercise pants. However, if you want to mix in some outdoor runs or bike rides, then be sure to mind the fit on your exercise pants. Ladies will often opt for leggings or tights, but guys prefer a looser fit. Just make sure your pants aren't toobaggy or loose fitting. Instead, look for tapered track pants that provide a loose, comfortable feel, but fit pretty snugly at the bottom of your legs. You don't want too much material hanging down by your heels, as particularly baggy pants can trip you up when you are running or get caught in the pedals of your bike.
Pick designs that you like
It might not seem like style is that important in exercise clothes. After all, you are just going to be sweating in them. However, picking clothes with aesthetic designs that you like?or exercise outfits that you think are flattering on you?can go a long way toward helping you feel confident at the gym. Of course, in any exercise, confidence and drive are key to a great workout. Don't forget the accessories, either! A fitness tracker, an armband for your iPod or smartphone, and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones are all purchases that can help you get in the zone and make the most of your gym routine.