Nothing to wear? How to select YOUR fitness wear

Published: 01 Jun 2016

Nothing to wear?  How to select YOUR fitness wear

Choosing fitness wear – or active wear as it has come to be known in some circles – can sometimes be difficult as you tend to want to look stylish but be practical at the same time. Tom Hamilton has put his mind to this perennial problem and has come up with these great tips.

The correct fabric

Synthetic fibres such as polyester and lycra often allow skin to breathe and also absorb sweat. This helps keep you cool while you exercise. Some brands include COOLMAX and Dri fit. Try to avoid any rough fabrics that could chafe or irritate your skin during repetitive movement.

Cotton can become heavy and stick to your body when you sweat a lot, however if you do not anticipate to sweat a lot (walking or stretching) it is a comfortable and soft alternative.

The right fit

A lot of this depends on your own personal style. Whether you prefer loose clothing which covers most of your body or tight fitted outfits that allow you to see your muscles and curves, there are a few general rules. Try to avoid excessively baggy clothes as they can catch on weights and treadmills causing you to trip and fall. On the other hand, if clothing is too tight and does not allow stretch this may be restrictive when doing activates such as Yoga, Pilates and stretching. Choosing fitness wear appropriate your choice of exercise is vital.

The right bra

Studies suggest breasts can bounce up to 21cm during exercise, so a good sports bra is vital.

  • Sports bras should fit more tightly than a regular bra but still allow you to take a deep breath.
  • Straps shouldn’t dig into your shoulders and when you lift your arms over your head, the elastic band shouldn’t move up your rib cage.
  • When you jump on the spot, it should feel supportive.

When you are buying a sports bra don’t just stand there.  Jump around in the change room and make sure that it is going to work well for you!

The right shoes

Comfort is the key to choosing the correct shoe. The right shoe can make a huge difference especially if you are running, jogging, playing a specific sport like netball or lifting weights. Try to find a shoe that gives you the correct amount of support, stability, traction, cushioning.


In summer wear light loose clothing when exercising outdoors. Light clothing helps to reflect the heat whilst loose clothing allows air to circulate over your skin keeping you cool. When exercising in doors colour is not so much of an issue. Many people tend to prefer dark colours as it can hide sweat patches and make you look thin and slender.

Compression Wear

Compression is said to:

  • Improved recovery and injury reduction
  • Increased muscular power, strength, endurance and proprioception
  • Enhanced athletic performance in all sporting environments

Find out all you need to know about compression wear.


Does wearing extra layers help you lose more weight? I often get asked this question a lot. The theory is that if you wear extra clothing you sweat more and burn more calories therefore losing more weight. Technically increased sweating often indirectly burns more calories through increased heart rate.  However when doing this people put themselves at an elevated risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration because of their profuse sweating. The majority of weight loss is through sweat (water weight) and will be gained once you rehydrate. When you weigh the minor extra calories you burn when wearing extra clothing against the risks, you’re better off running for just an extra few minutes.

Overall wear comfortable clothing which makes you feel good about yourself.  Ensure it is appropriate to your exercise e.g. if you are doing a lot of yoga or Pilates ensure the clothing allows stretch. Having a variety of clothing and colours can be a fun way of keeping motivation levels high.

Tom Hamilton Physiotherapist