I don’t usually pay much attention to what I wear to the gym. I throw on an old, cut up T-shirt, a pair of running shorts, a good sports bra and I’m out the door. In fact, if you ever have the immense pleasure of seeing me at the gym, I’ll probably be looking something like this. But the truth is, what you wear to the gym can make or break your workout.
- DON’T buy your workout undies from Victoria’s Secret. That means no thongs, v-strings, lace, cheeky underwear or even cotton briefs. Not only are those panties meant more for the bedroom than the treadmill, but they can also cause chafing in the wrong environment (read: a sweaty, movement-heavy environment). Think chafing isn’t such a big deal? Maybe the threat of getting a UTI or another infection will scare you into leaving the lingerie at home. Instead, opt for some lightweight, moisture-wicking panties.
- DON’T wear average, run-of-the-mill, cotton socks for a high intensity workout. Aside from hot and sweaty feet, the wetness accumulated during a run can cause some pretty nasty blisters, and we all know how pleasant it is to run in Band-Aid-covered feet while your toes heal. (Spoiler alert: IT’S NOT.) Grab some thin, moisture-wicking socks as a comfortable alternative. Specially made for workouts, these socks will keep your feet in prime running condition. Just make sure you go with styles that cover your ankles–no one likes the feeling of sliding socks a mile or two into their run.
- DO leave your Chucks at home. Surprisingly, sneakers and running shoes are not synonymous. With minimal support, cushioning and traction, everyday sneakers are barely fit for walking around campus. If you’re serious about running–or just want to protect your body from shin splints, knee pain and blisters– look for sneakers specially designed for running. This is where a professional at a running store will come in handy. Take a trip some Saturday to Ithaca for the Finger Lakes Running and Triathlon Company. An entire store dedicated to busting your ass on the treadmill (or trail, or road)? Yes, please!
- DO support your girls. Low intensity sports bras and tops with built-in shelf bras don’t do the job, even if you’re less well-endowed than you’d like. And although you may not be terribly distracted by your jiggling girls during your run, their restlessness can cause breast injury and back pain. Look for sports bras that are specifically designed for your cup and band size and made for high intensity workouts.
- DON’T wear shirts with seams. I’m not going to lie, this sounds mildly ridiculous, but constantly rubbing your arms against the seams on your shirt can definitely cause some unwanted irritation. If you’re feeling frivolous, treat yourself to some seamless running tops.
- DON’T bundle up with a fleece jacket. While fleece will definitely keep you warm outside during the winter months, it may not be the best option for a cold weather run. As you warm up on your run, you’ll begin to sweat in the fleece, but since your body can’t wick away the moisture, you’ll become cold again from staying wet. Your best option for winter running is either a vest or a breathable, wind-resistant and waterproof jacket.