‘Gym’ing’ takes commitment, and the first couple of weeks, before you hit your stride, are the hardest.
Whatever your anxieties are (mine were centred around people staring at me, my T-shirt riding up while I stretched, looking foolish, etc) – starting with the right activewear certainly helps. Here are the key activewear pieces that I ordered online, which helped me ride out the early days in style, and kept me from constantly checking myself in the mirror for embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions.
A Supportive Sports Bra
I’m a curvier woman, so regardless of the impact level of my workout, I knew I’d be opting for a full-coverage high impact sports bra. The right sports bra helps prevent uncomfortable bounce, and left-right slippage as you bend and manoeuvre through your routines.
P.S. in case you need to know: Low impact workouts include yoga, stretches etc; medium impact workouts cover power-walking or spinning, and high impact exercises include cardio, aerobics, or running.
Stylish Yet Functional Sports Leggings
Sure you can wear the basic leggings you’d buy to wear under a T-shirt or kameez, but workout leggings are engineered for the job. My go-to pair features a specially designed high-waist (also known as the Plank Band) that won’t roll down, and offers smoothening tummy control.
It uses moisture-wicking, anti-microbial fabric that helps dry out sweat faster and the fabric doesn’t pill or bobble (those little balls that form at the armpits/crotch area of jersey-cottons or woollens); meaning these leggings stand up much longer to the wear and tear of gym usage than regular leggings.
A Moisture Wicking T-shirt
A good workout usually ends with tell-tale sweat patches. Which is why I opt for T-shirts specifically made for workouts. The fabric makes all the difference, moisture is quickly drawn up into the material, and dries out easily. So, however intense your workout, your sports T-shirt won’t cling and go see-through on you. And since they’re fast-drying, sweat won’t have time to develop nasty odours, and stink up your gym bag as much either.
A Post Workout Jacket
Once I found some gym-buddies, going out together for post-workout juice and smoothies became a regular feature. Rather than showering and changing into my home/office clothes, it just makes sense to throw on a sports-jacket over my gym-wear and head out.
I have 2 sets of matching jackets and leggings and I treat the jacket as a fashion accessory (although it is supremely practical too). Like all good activewear, these jackets too are made from moisture-wicking, anti-microbial fabric. So, not only do I look stylish, but I’m not smelling like a gym-sock either!
Other essentials in my kit include a face towel, a full-size towel (in case I need to shower and head to another engagement), comfy gym shoes, a water bottle, an emergency ORS sachet, a clip-on mini-MP3 player, and a few more knick-knacks.
The point is, wearing a purpose-designed sports bra, T-shirt and leggings, helped me put the anxiety about not looking stylish, not baring any unnecessary skin, not having the right support etc. right out of my mind. My other worries about looking awkward while exercising, or hurting myself, all melted away as I realised that everyone at the gym is feeling the same as me – we’re all a little anxious and self-conscious! In that first week, I learned to get over my gym fears, love the workout it allowed me, and make new friends.
The first step was dressing right, the rest just followed…