The Cosmo Girl's Guide To Dressing For The Gym

Here's why you shouldn't go to the gym in pambahay clothes.

What you wear to your workout should be a balance of comfort, personal style, and decency. Even if your gym or fitness studio doesn’t outright broadcast it, the standard gym dress code asks that you don’t draw negative attention to yourself by dressing provocatively or sporting bad hygiene.

Undergarments

"A good sports bra is like an old friend—holds you close, offers comfort when you need it, and gives unconditional support,” according to Prevention. It should provide extra support to limit breast movement and pain, and be made of light, breathable materials to help keep your skin dry. Lace and thongs? Not at the gym. “When you sweat and move around during exercise, rectal bacteria can travel from the thong to the vagina, which can lead to infections both in the vagina and the urinary tract." [source: Oprah.com]

Thongs can aggravate an existing irritation, so go for seamless, nearly invisible underwear bottoms in sweat-wicking material. When trying on a sports bra in the dressing room, give it a road test: jump up and down, swing your arms, reach for your toes, and move around like you would in your Zumba class. See if it feels comfy.

Socks

When Manny Pacquiao battled Juan Manuel Marquez in 2010, he shared how he couldn’t fight at his best because the cheap, thin socks he bought from the 99c Store gave him blisters in the first few rounds. “The right pair of socks can make your feet way more comfortable during your workout—and, therefore, seriously up your exercise game,” fitness writer Caroline Hopkins reported in Women’s Health. The best sports socks are made of light, synthetic material that wicks away sweat and won’t scratch, injure, or soak your feet.

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Shoes

WebMD lists the top five mistakes people make when choosing workout shoes: 1. Using whatever’s handy; 2. Choosing the right shoe for the wrong workout; 3. Using your favorite pair of gym shoes for daily wear; 4. Keeping them too long or not replacing them often enough; and 5. Not doing your research about the sport or activity you’re getting into. When choosing workout shoes, it all depends on the sport or activity you’re doing. Ask your instructors what brand or type of shoes work best for them. Research and try on the shoes for a couple of minutes inside the store before purchasing.

Tops

While it’s tempting to don your old t-shirt with an ironic statement (“Eat, pray, run!”), cotton may not be the best choice of fabric for working out. Wearing heavy, wet cotton against your skin can give you the chills and cause irritation, so go for technologically advanced fabrics that keep moisture away from the body [source: Oprah.com]. Look for fabrics like Nike’s Dri-FIT, Adidas’ ClimaCool, Puma’s DryCELL, and the like. But before you swipe your credit card for that chic gym tank, make sure your boobs don’t spill out when wearing it. As much as you’d like your gym crush to notice you, that’s not the kind of attention you want.

Bottoms

This also depends on the kind of workout and vibe at your gym. While baggy sweatpants are great for hip-hop classes, they may snag on the treadmill or stationary bike. Before donning your choice of bottoms for your next gym sesh or Yoga class, ask yourself these three vital questions:

1. Will someone see my private business when I stick my legs up in the air?

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2. Will the fabric bunch up my crotch or butt crack and make me pull them down every five minutes?

3. Are my movements restricted?

If the answer is yes to all, then wear something else. Your best options for most fitness classes are capris, slim-fitting long pants, or leggings. When in doubt, just look at what your fitness instructors are wearing.

Accessories

The only fashion accessories you should be wearing on the treadmill are snag-free headbands, hair elastics, and sweat bands. Remember that you’ll sweat bullets on whatever you’re wearing at the gym, so it’s best to keep your favorite watch and layers of bracelets at home. Itching to make a fashion statement while working out? Do it with your choice of gym bag and clothes.

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