It’s January. You’ve set some fitness or weight loss goals for yourself but when it was time to exercise you realized you have nothing to wear. If you go online shopping or even in store there is so much fitness wear to choose from, but starting out what do you really need? Truthfully, not much. SO let’s talk about a basic fitness wardrobe for women.
The Bare Essentials:
The right sneakers make all the difference. If you are taking up running, you need a pair of good quality running sneakers. If you are joining the gym and will be doing a lot of different types of fitness classes, then a good pair of cross trainers would be best. If you plan on doing both – then you really should get two pairs of sneakers.
These are my current two “go-to” pairs of sneakers. The Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 10 are my running sneakers, and the Nike Free Run 4.0 Running Shoe are my chosen sneaker for Zumba classes. Normally running sneakers don’t provide enough lateral support for classes like Zumba but I find these Free Run’s great. This just goes to show that you need to find what works for you. Talk to the people at the shoe store, they should know which shoes have lateral support, which are stabilizing, etc. And remember to ask if you can return them if you try them out (inside) and they don’t work for you.
The Right Socks
A cotton nylon blend is your best bet. I always look for socks with a high polyester content to prevent the blisters you can get with 100% cotton socks.
There are a lot of fancy expensive socks out there but these socks from Lady Foot Locker are my favs. Usually you gan get two packs of 6 on sale for under $20.
For days when I am teaching a lot of high impact classes (like back to back Zumba days) I choose something with a bit more padding to prevent my feet from getting too sore. Those days I will usually choose a pair of Lululemon Ultimate Padded Run Sock. These are pretty expensive for a pair of socks. In fact I only own 1 pair but trust me, for those days I log 120 minutes of high impact (with only a 30 minute break in between classes) my feet are thanking me for those socks fo’ so’.
A Good Sports Bra
You’re going to have to dish out some cash for a good bra, but it’s necessary. If you have a small chest you can get away with wearing shirts with built-in shelf bras, but the rest of us – not so much. If you have a small-medium sized chest the Nike Pro Core Bras are a great choice.
Those with a larger chest will need more support in which case Lululemon’s Ta Ta Tamer is great (but often sells out in the larger sizes quickly)
I’ve also heard great things about Champion sports bras from Target and Under Armour Sports Bras for larger chests.
October 2017 Update: The Moving Comfort Sports bras are my #1 choice for bigger busts, they hold everything in place and come in a variety of styles to suit all your fitness tanks!
The (not so bare) Essentials:
If you’ve got the right sneakers, socks and bra you are really ready to go. You can wear any t-shirt/tank top or stretchy bottoms to work out, but if you have a few extra $$ having the right clothes can make exercise a lot less hot, and a lot more fun.
Yoga or Capri Pants
It’s pure accident that I chose two pairs of pants with the same colour waistband. Seriously, what are the chances? If you live in a climate with 4 seasons, you will want to have a few bottoms of different lengths to get you through the year. My favourite pants are from Fabletics (read more about them in this post) but you can find great options at most any price point – the nice thing about Fabletics? THEY AREN’T SEE THROUGH.
In the summer it is simply too hot for full length pants and sometimes even capris so it’s great to have an option for shorts too. Any lycra spandex based short or running short will work fine – go for whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Tank Tops and/or Shirts
If you are comfortable showing your arms, tank tops are the way to go. They keep you cool and if you’re not comfortable showing your arms, after a few hot and sweaty workouts in a T-Shirt you may change your mind. Trust me – nobody is a concerned with how your arms look as you are!
As with bottoms you will definitely want to find sweat wicking tops
If you’re not comfortable with your arms showing, or if you need some warmer options for cooler weather you can also get short and long sleeved exercise tops
Because I get hot really quickly when I work out, but my arms/hands will stay cold I really like the Lululemon swiftly tops. Pictured above is the short sleeve and long sleeved versions. Again these particular tops are on the more expensive side but I like them because they provide warmth without being too hot. As with everything else you can find more inexpensive options at your local department or sport goods store.
I might be weird (okay, I know I am…), but I don’t like to get my regular “street clothes” hoodies sweaty. I like to keep my exercise sweaters and regular sweaters separate.
This is an Under Armour hoodie I picked up at an outlet store a couple of years ago for less than $20. It’s light, water-resistant and fleece lined.
That’s it for my list of “must have” and “should have” fitness clothing for women. Certainly my fitness wardrobe includes many, many items not included on this list, but if I were to pare back to the essentials these are the items I couldn’t go without.