When working out at the gym, women need to wear well-fitting clothing that will allow them to move freely without pinching, binding or chafing. Choose clothing that is stretchable, like knits, and avoid any garment that is tight in the neck or chest. Breathable natural fabrics like cotton and moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics are best to help you stay cool.
All women should wear some type of sports bra to the gym. Sports bras offer support and reduce breast movement, which can be painful. Sports bras are available as compression bras or encapsulation bras. Compression bras work by pressing the breasts against the chest to control movement and are best for smaller-breasted women and low-impact workouts. Encapsulation bras are more like regular bras; each breast is surrounded by a cup to provide support. Encapsulation bras are best for larger-breasted women and high-impact activities.
Regular undergarments can be worn to the gym, but it’s best to choose ones made from breathable fabric. Select undergarments and socks made from synthetic fabrics that wick away moisture. Cotton can become saturated and will hold moisture against your skin, increasing the chance of chafing. Socks come in a variety of thicknesses and fabrics, from natural fibers such as cotton and wool to synthetics such as acrylic and polyester. Sport socks range from short anklets to knee-highs. Make sure your socks are tall enough to prevent your shoes from rubbing against your skin.
Shirts come in a range of styles, from tank tops that include built-in shelf bras to cotton T-shirts and fitness shirts made from synthetic fabrics. Choose shirts that breathe for maximum comfort, and make sure that the shirt is not too tight around the arms. Pants and shorts need to allow for a full range of movement. Running shorts are fine for weight workouts and treadmill work. If you are taking an indoor cycling class, invest in a pair of bicycle shorts; bicycle shorts fit snugly and reduce chafing, and are available with padding in the seat.
Choose an athletic shoe that matches your sport. Cross-trainers are all-purpose athletic shoes suitable for low-impact gym activities such as weightlifting and cardio classes. Runners should wear running shoes, even when working out on the treadmill. Walking shoes are fine for walking and classes, but should not be used for running. Choose shoes that have mesh uppers for ventilation, and make sure that they are not tight. Don’t work out in street shoes.
Avoid wearing make-up and jewelry in the gym. Cosmetics can combine with your sweat and clog your pores, resulting in acne problems, and running mascara can get in your eyes and cause irritation. Avoid applying perfume before a workout; it can be an irritant to other gym-goers and can give you a headache. Jewelry that dangles, such as pendant earrings or long necklaces, can bounce around and get caught up in your clothing as you exercise. Rings may be uncomfortable and cut into your hand if you are doing weightlifting.
Accessories are a girl’s best friend, both in and out of the gym. Headbands help keep long hair and sweat out of your eyes. Gloves are good for weightlifting workouts because they absorb sweat and help you maintain a strong grip on the weights. A filled water bottle is one accessory you should always have at the gym.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.