Yoga pants to make-up: 7 things you must stop wearing to the gym

  • Sanya Panwar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 05, 2016 15:46 IST
Ladies and gents, presenting seven things you need to stop wearing to the gym immediately. (Tumblr)

When it comes to working out, motivation plays a big part in your success. But, whether you’re a lifelong workout beast or a newbie, what you wear also matters.

So, before you lace up your favourite sneakers or pull on your go-to sports bra, learn from experts what you should never wear to the gym.

Read: Short breaks between workout sessions at gym boost muscle growth

Ladies and gents, presenting seven things you need to stop wearing to the gym immediately.

If you don’t ditch your kicks until the soles come unglued or a hole appears in the toe, you’re doing your feet a disservice. “Deteriorated soles and arch supports can keep you from establishing a solid base when standing on a slick studio floor and may even damage joints,” gym instructer Shantanu Das from Rush Fitness, Kolkata.

What you should do
“If you run two days a week, a new pair once a year is okay. If you run six to seven days a week, you should replace them closer to every three months,” says Das. If you’re picking out a new pair of sneakers, try seeking professional analysis of your strides, so your shoes can correct your foot’s natural tendency to roll inward or outward. Choosing function over fashion is key for a safe, effective sweat session.

Steer clear of workout wear made with 100% cotton fabric. This fiber may seem like a cool and comfortable option, but because cotton absorbs moisture and is slow to dry, your sweat will literally stick with you. “Aside from weighing you down, damp cotton duds can cause chills and skin irritation or body breakouts, and increase friction in chafe-prone areas -- especially your thighs, groin and underarms,” says fitness expert Afzal Khan of Fitness Junkie, Delhi.

What you should do
Trade cotton wear for quick-drying synthetics or lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics, which are specifically designed to draw droplets away from the skin for optimal evaporation.

Jewellery that hangs, swings, or sticks out has no place in the gym. Anything that’s going to get in the way or make you think about anything besides your workout should be left at home. Rings — even wedding rings — can be uncomfortable or get damaged when lifting and can easily get caught on yoga and Pilates mats.

What you should do
“Store all jewellery in your gym bag or locker to keep yourself and your baubles out of trouble,” says Das.

Even if you don’t accessorise for exercise, you probably wear headphones to pipe in your pump-up soundtrack. Although donning ear-gear can help you get in the zone, it can also limit awareness of your surroundings.

What you should do
“Keep the volume of your music at a level that allows you to hear what’s going on around you. If you’re sitting on a piece of equipment someone’s been waiting for or a fire alarm goes off, you need to have a clue,” says Das.

Loose-fitting clothing is for lounging, not lunging -- wearing too much material in the gym is a safety hazard. “If you have something very baggy on, it can get in the way of what you’re doing, or it can get snagged and caught on something. It’s also harder to see your body’s alignment, posture, and movements when you’re not sporting fitted clothing, which can pose another safety risk. If your form is all wrong when you’re lifting or attempting a tricky Pilates move, you’re more likely to hurt your body than help it,” says Khan.

What you should do
You don’t have to squeeze yourself into an all-spandex ensemble, but trading your oversized apparel for more form-fitting workout gear will up the safety factor of your sweat session. Although shapeless clothing can seem like the ultimate in coverage, during activities like yoga, baggy clothing can actually be revealing, baring bellies and upper thighs during certain poses. “Wear clothing that will cover and hug the thigh, so they can stretch and move with freedom,” Khan adds. In a public setting, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re a fan of loose gym shorts, slip on a pair of compression shorts underneath to ward off unwanted exposure, Khan suggests.

Although you don’t want to be swimming in fabric, finding a happy medium is key — no sportswear should hamper your full range of motion.

What you should do
Cuffs of short-sleeved workout tops and fabric covering shoulders and armpits should be roomy enough for lifting, flexing, and waving your arms around. As for bottoms, Khan says you’ll know they’re too form-fitting if they feel restrictive during forward folds, lunges, or squats.

Heavy perfumes and lotions: No one wants to smell at the gym, but draw the line at deodorant and skip additional scents. “The aroma of strong perfumes or colognes is intensified when your body heats up and starts to sweat, which can lead to a workout-busting headache for you or someone working out near you,” Das says. And thick hand and body creams can make your skin slippery and thwart your best attempts to hold a plank or grip a barbell, not to mention the unsightly residue it can leave behind on benches and handles. A heavy facial moisturiser can also wreak havoc on your workout if sweat causes it to slide into — and sting — your eyes.

What you should do
Skip strong-smelling toiletries. Opt for fragrance-free, oil-free lotion or sunscreen specifically formulated for sport. It is your best bet for skin-protection that won’t foil fitness efforts.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @SanyaHoon

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