What Not to Wear: Gym Edition

I promise that this edition of What Not to Wear won’t be as horrific as what Stacy and Clinton have to go through… I don’t know how they do it! This post is not about looking fashionable at the gym, it’s about how to dress in the best attire to wick away sweat, avoid future injuries and protect your skin. Choosing function over fashion is key for a safe, effective sweat sesh. Even if you consider yourself an expert, don’t assume you know what’s best! Most people fall victim to at least one of these offenses.


What NOT to wear: 100% cotton clothing

It may be your go-to workout attire, but cotton absorbs all of your sweat and it takes forever to dry. You’ll end up being soaked for your entire workout! Aside from weighing you down, damp cotton material can cause chills, skin irritation, and increase friction in chafe-prone areas.

Solution: Look for quick-drying synthetics or lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics, which are specifically designed to pull the sweat away from your body. I typically buy my workout gear at Marshalls, or any discount stores that sell name brands. Unfortunately there is no Marshalls in Australia… for better or worse! (better for the bank account!)

What NOT to wear: Improper or worn out shoes

First things first, the shoes you wear while exercising must be considered a gym shoe. No cowboy boots, construction boots, winter boots… you get the idea. Now that we’re clear one that, having GOOD gym shoes is a must for a safe and effective workout. Worn out or improper shoes can cause foot pain, back problems, shin splints, and many other injuries. If you are wearing the proper shoes, they will give you the support you need for your workout and prevent injury.

Toms are NOT good shoes to exercise in!
Toms are NOT good shoes to exercise in!

Solution: With something this important, I would highly recommend getting your feet analyzed by a running shoe store. These professionals will be able to show you a couple different options depending on the support you need and the type of workouts you’ll be doing. Brooks, Asics, Mizuno, and other great brands offer styles in some great color options for you to spice up your look too! It is recommended to change your shoes every 500 miles. This is typically a year or less for most people. If you use the app Map My Run to track your cardio, it actually gives you the option to enter your gear and will tell you when you need to replace your shoes.

What NOT to wear: Excessive jewelry

Wearing jewelry to the gym is just annoying! Dangly earrings or necklaces could get caught on something, rings may cause blisters, etc. Your jewelry will get sweaty, damaged or cause injuries it’s not worth it!

It is only acceptable to wear jewelry if you look as good as Hilary
It is only acceptable to wear jewelry if you look as good as Hilary

Solution: Stick to an exercise watch and leave everything else at home or in the locker room so it doesn’t get damaged and so you can focus on your workout.

What NOT to wear: Hair down

If you do this, all I ask is Why??! 

Put it up ladies! (& long haired men)
Put it up ladies! (& long haired men)


Solution: Put it up! If you insist on having cute hair at the gym, here are some practical ideas.

What NOT to wear: Baggy clothes

Save the comfy pants and baggy t-shirts for sleeping, not squatting! Your beloved baggys are at risk of getting caught in the machines. Baggy clothes can also get really hot and uncomfortable, which may cause you to end your workout early (and we go that extra mile!). Wearing clothing that is slightly more fitted also allows you to be able to see your form and make sure you are doing your exercises correctly. Not being able to see if you are using correct form will lead to hurting your body more than helping it.

Don't sweat it, change into your sweats after your workout!
Don’t sweat it, change into your sweats after your workout!

Solution: Don’t worry, you don’t have to squeeze yourself into tiny spandex workout gear, but wearing moderately form fitting apparel will do the trick.

What NOT to wear: Unsupportive sports bras and improper underwear

You won’t be able to focus on your workout if you’re uncomfortable or self-conscious about either of these. Wearing the proper base layers will allow you to focus on your workout without any fear of wardrobe malfunction. A good sports bra does the work of protecting the ligaments and tissues in your chest from excessive stretching or stress so you can push yourself without worries. As for underwear, let’s just say that less is not more in this case!

Solution: Your type of sports bra will depend on the type of exercise you will be doing. You can chose either a low-impact sports bras work for activities like yoga or walking, or the high-impact activity option, ideal for interval training and intense cardio classes. Again, as a general rule, stay away from 100% cotton to minimize trapped sweat and chaffing. For underwear, you’ll want to go with a seamless option in a non-cotton fabric. You can find these at Target, Victoria’s Secret, etc. and for more info on it, read here. I personally really like the sports bras from Target (and buy them when they’re on sale!), but here’s a more descriptive guide for you if you are interested.

Let me know if you have any questions about What Not to Wear at the gym! I’d be happy to offer any advice I have from my experience or research on the topic. Now, go get that workout done!

What is your favorite thing to wear to the gym??

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