How To Dress For The Gym

Posted on Posted in Fitness, Tranformations

Sarah Stefanson

When it comes to learning about how to dress for the gym, functionality should be your top priority. Style should be a close second, because even if you’re not looking to hook up with hot girls wearing spandex, your appearance should always be considered when in public in order to maintain your reputation as a well-dressed man.

As a woman who has spent an inordinate amount of time in the gym over the past several months during an intense training regime, I have observed male gym-goers in a wide variety of outfits, not all of them flattering. I feel it is my duty to give men some female feedback on theirgym wear, mostly because I’m sick of looking at their gym fashion faux pas. So let’s go over some dos and don’ts of dressing for the gym.

workout clothes

Champion Hoodie - Credit: Champion.comTops

Your instinct may be to wear as few clothes as possible in the gym in order to stay cool, but covering up actually provides you with great benefits during training. Wearing a sweatshirt or hoodie during your workout will help keep your muscles, joints and ligaments warm, which will improve circulation and lessen the risk of strains, tears and other injuries. The extra sweating will also help to burn calories and reduce water weight. Look for something made of moisture-wicking material like Champion’s Double Dry Fleece Hoodie, which will keep you warm and dry and is simple enough to help you look good at the gym.

If you can’t imagine including a sweater in your workout clothes, stick with basic T-shirts made of plain old cotton or a material that keeps moisture away from your skin. As far as fit goes, you don’t want your shirt to be so loose that it will get in the way when you’re lifting weights, but a skin-tight tee will make you look like a douche, even if you have a killer body.

Don’t: When it comes to how to dress for the gym, unless you are a professional bodybuilder, avoid the barely-there, tiny-strapped muscle tank at all costs. If you must show off, go with a sleeveless T-shirt or a simple, non-wife-beater tank top.

We have more tips on how to dress for the gym next…

Under Armour Microshort - Credit: UnderArmourBottoms

What you wear on your bottom half should be both efficient and stylish while working out. Whether you choose athletic pants or shorts, length is a key element to dressing for the gym. Shorts should be no longer than a few inches below the knee, while short shorts should be exclusively worn in NBA throwback tribute games and never in the gym. If you choose pants for the gym, make sure they reach your ankles. Too long, and you’re liable to trip on them on the treadmill. Too short, and you’re wearing capris, which is not a good look in the gym for anyone of the male sex.

Both shorts and pants should be loose enough to allow a full range of movement but should never be baggy. Tight spandex shorts or pants are for runners and bicyclists and don’t belong at the gym. Elastic waistbands will make sure everything stays in place while you’re doing lunges or squats.

Adidas Essential 3-Stripe Pant - Credit: AdidasThe Blitz Microshort by Under Armour and the Adidas Essential 3-Stripe Polyester Pant are great-looking additions to your workout wardrobe.

Don’t: Avoid men’s swimwear, cargo shorts, spandex, puffy cotton sweats, yoga pants, and capris, all of which I have seen on guys at the gym and heartily mocked inside my head and occasionally on Twitter.

Nike Free 5.0 v4 iD Running Shoe - Credit: NikeShoes and socks

If you must take a fashion risk at the gym, shoes are your best bet. With the sheer number of choices in athletic footwear, you’re bound to find a pair that allows you to express a bit of your personality without going over the top. Don’t be afraid of a little color when learning how to dress for the gym. Shoes like the Nike Free 5.0 v4 iD will make a statement and might just catch the eye of an eligible female gym-goer.

It doesn’t matter if a famous athlete has put his name on your shoes. They should be supportive, well cushioned and somewhat breathable.

Everlast Boxing Sock - Credit: EverlastSocks should be basic white, thick enough to hold up to punishment and short, like these ones from Everlast.

Don’t: Athletic shoes are your only option for the gym in terms of performance and appearance. Wearing sandals, loafers, dress shoes, etc. will make you stand out — but not in a good way.

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If you must wear headgear, a simple beanie or skullcap is your best bet; brimmed hats will get in the way and aren’t as easy to keep clean. You should be able to throw the hat you wear at the gym in the wash with the rest of your gym wear or it will end up smelling pretty funky before too long.

Don’t: Sweatbands should only be attempted by men with LeBron James-level gravitas.

Harbinger Fitness Power Glove - Credit: Harbinger FitnessGloves

Some guys might question your toughness when they see you wearing protective gloves whileweight lifting, but those guys have girlfriends who wish their hands were as soft and callous-free as yours. In addition to their functionality, weight-lifting gloves also look pretty great and give the impression that you are serious about your workout. Look for the right pair from reliable brands like Harbinger, Everlast or Nike.

Don’t: Don’t bother spending $100 or more on your first pair of weight-lifting gloves. Start with a pair that’s more economical until you figure out what you want and need in a glove, and then you can upgrade to a more expensive option.

endless options

When figuring out how to dress for the gym, practicality is the most important consideration since you don’t want your clothes to hinder your workout. But you also want to look good, and with so many brands offering a variety of choices in workout clothes, your options are endless. But remember: Just because a store sells capri-length athletic pants doesn’t mean you have to buy them. Dress like a man. Work out like a man.

Have a style question ? Get it answered by AskMen’s guyQ.

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