With fitness becoming such an integral part of many people’s lives the move from merely functional fitness wear to ‘athleisure’ is increasingly noticeable. People no longer just want to work out, they want to look good and feel comfortable too. Yes, there are bound to be the luxury brands that sell threads for millions times the cost they take to produce but the high street brands are also sprinting, or rather jumping on the craze.
There really is a fitness product for everyone, that sensitively sculpts and supports our body prepping us for that workout we have planned whilst making us look our best at the same time. So how do they do it and what should we be looking out for in our fitness wardrobe?
The fabric choice is absolute key to the style of exercise you choose to embark on. With so many new ways to exercise exploding on the fitness scene all the time it is important to match your fabric to your workout intensity.
For Yoga, Pilates and stretching you need a fabric that allows the greatest amount of movement such as polyester and spandex. Whilst for high impact cardio like running, or a style of aerobics, moisture wicking fabrics like nylon are good for staying dry whilst sweating. The more intense the exercise the lighter and more breathable the fabric needs to be, and although cotton is still a popular choice for many, it is fact one of the worse fabrics to opt for as it absorbs moisture becoming heavy and uncomfortable and wet with sweat… now that’s neither pretty nor functional!
Did you know – Moisture wicking clothing often has a chemical finish applied to the material to enhance its performance, allowing it to draw moisture even more effectively along its nonabsorbent fabrics to the garments exterior and off the skin.
Here, I want to focus solely on the sports bra. As a pregnant woman the increase in cup size has really made me aware of the extra support that is needed. I have been lucky enough to discover a company called Baby Luno, whose products totally encapsulate the needs of a larger bust. The Cadenshae High Impact Nursing bra for example has wide, padded shoulder straps to prevent chafing and to lift the pressure from the back and the neck. It also has the added benefit of an extendable back strap which again is really wide and supportive. Moulded padding also creates a great shape underneath sports clothing and when baby comes it even has clip down hooks for nursing. I was also amazed at just how supportive it is and have also recommended it to anyone who loves horse riding.
Honestly I cannot stress enough how important it is to be correctly supported to prevent irreversible damage. Cooper’s Ligaments are the structures of connective tissue that serve as the main source of support for the breasts… and without the right support they stretch irreparably, there is no going back. And with up to 8cm of movement during activity can you afford not to invest in a good sports bra? Hell no!
There is a style to suit every body and every workout. With the re-emergence of Barre Fitness many tops have taken on a balletic theme, think wrap rounds and over the sleeves style, to lengthen limbs and inspire a grace to your workout. However, if fancy yourself as a boxer for example, then there is a whole range of looser fitting slogan tees, long shorts and hand strapping.
Feeling self conscious? Go for the floaty, longer, looser fitting styles. Alternatively if you want to show off all that hard work, then grab a crop top and flaunt those abs!
Fitness wear has really upped its game… Luxe brand Sweaty Betty offer reversible leggings; in essence two for the price of one, each with its own individual pattern.
Whilst other leggings have hidden pockets for locker keys, and/or fabric to compress the muscles to encourage break down of lactic acid and glow in the dark stripes for safety if you take your workout outdoors. Tops have hidden ties so you can adjust the tightness to your body and some even have technology so that when you sweat an affirmation or slogan appears on the fabric.
Got the list? Then get the kit…