What to Wear to Your Workout
Have you ever had an absolutely, and unexpectedly, perfect day? But then at the last minute, something happens to try and ruin your day? That was my Monday. After a great day at work, I rushed out of the office to get to my Zumba class, and when I got there I realized that I didn’t have a workout essential: a sports bra. Luckily, Zumba is near Target so I zipped on over and grabbed a sports bra. Of course, it wasn’t my first choice for Zumba (I prefer something with a bit more support for Zumba), but it did the trick in a pinch.
Which got me thinking… On days when I remember to pack everything, what are my gym bag essentials?
In years past, I spent more time shopping for clothes that would take me from the office to an evening out on the town to a weekend with the girls. These days, I spend more time trying to find workout gear that will perform well not only during a good sweat session, but as much as possible, transition to my daily life seamlessly.
With the range of activities I do on a weekly basis, I not only need a ton of gear, but different types of gear to be a top performer. Through much trial and error, I’ve found my favorites (at all price points!), and know what works for me.
Where to Shop
In general, I shop for most of my gear at Nordstrom, Lululemon, Athleta, and Brooks Running. I find they have the quality of gear that I like and personally I’m willing to pay a little bit higher price tag for gear that will last.
- It’s no secret that I love all things Nordstrom, and for fitness gear they’re not excluded. Nordstrom carries the big hitters like Nike, Adidas, and Brooks Running, but they also carry Zella, a great brand at a slightly lower price point (regular & plus sizes). I love their leggings and capris in both solid black and colorful patterns.
- I’ve found a ton of cleverly phrased racerback tanktops at Kohl’s, typically around $10-$15. Not only that, but they carry Nike and there’s normally a coupon or promotion you can apply at checkout!
- I find more and more of my paycheck is being sent Lululemon‘s way. As I mentioned before, I love the Align Pant, but I also love the Swiftly Tech tops (racerback and long-sleeve, please and thanks!), as well as the energy bra.
- Athleta is one of my favorite places for athleisure wear as well as top notch workout clothes. The quality is great and I love their basic racerbacks.
- Brooks Running is a company based here in Seattle. I was introduced to them last year and they have great prints and colorful kicks!
- When I first started Zumba, I found the Zumba workout gear to be comfortable and functional, as well as at a great price point!
- Old Navy is known for affordable clothing, but they’ve lately been bringing their A-game to athletic wear as well with catchy printed tops and bottoms.
- When I was just embarking on my fitness and weight loss journey, Target was the place to go. I got two pairs of capris, three sports bras, and three tops there at the start of my adventure. It was affordable, durable, and comfortable for getting me on track.
- Based in Seattle, I can’t forget REI. While they have big brand names, I find they’re great for activity-specific needs such as cycling (padded shorts, cycling shoes, etc).
- And of course, Victoria’s Secret for sports bras. So far, I haven’t found a more supportive bra for intense cardio/HIIT style classes. They’re my go-to for Zumba.
Type of Activity
A cardio-based dance class, you need the ability to move freely and comfortably. I prefer a supportive bra, capri pants, and a loose-fitting top. Here are my favorites:
- Bra: For the well-endowed, a supportive bra will make all the difference in the world for a positive workout experience where there may be lots of jumping. My two go-tos are the Incredible and the Ultimate. My new obsessions are the Moving Comfort Bras by Brooks Running.
- Tops: I gravitate towards looser-fitting racerbacks, such as these graphic print tops from Kohl’s or Lorna Jane.
- Pants: Basic black capris are essential in my workout wardrobe, but Zumba is also a place to show your wild side with a little bit of pattern. Love these ones from Zella. Anything with a drawstring in the waistband is always great, especially for those of you who may be in the midst of a weight loss transformation!
- Shoes: A studio shoe (with the circle on the sole) is recommended for Zumba for easier movement. Reebok and Ryka always have great options!
A mix of ballet, pilates, and yoga, clothing that will allow full movement and flexibility is key. In fall/winter, I prefer leggings; in spring/summer, I opt for capris or shorts.
- Bra: There’s less bounce in Barre if you know what I mean, so a medium support bra such as the Energy Bra is my favorite. I love the extra straps, which are unexpected and a stylish addition!
- Top: Wearing a tight fit top reminds me of my ballet days (tights and a leotard, anyone?), and helps me see my alignment in the mirror to ensure proper form. This skinny racerback is form-fitting and perfect for pairing with the Energy Bra! I also find barre the perfect time to go for a looser fitting top.
- Pants: I love the High Times Pant from Lululemon for a high-waisted, thicker pant and the Align Pant for a lighter-weight option. Athleta’s Revelation Capri and Sonar Capri are also great options in the spring/summer season.
- Socks: Some classes require socks, others don’t. I prefer to wear socks as I’ve always found going barefoot a little gross! My favorite is the Ballerina Half-Toe grip from ToeSox, but there are a ton of other options from full socks to half socks, and everything in between!
With up to 105-degree temperatures in hot yoga, clothes that keep you cool and feeling lightweight are as essential as a quality mat and towel combo!
- Bra: A medium support bra is preferred as a more supportive one is thicker and bulkier during a sweaty hot yoga session. Target has some fun lightweight and strappy options at a great price point!
- Top: Downward dogs can make loose fit tops a nuisance, so after much trial and error, I’ve found I’m happiest with a tighter fitting top. The Fastest Track Tank by Athleta is unstinkable, incredibly sweat-wicking, and is tried and true.
- Pants: I’m surprisingly comfortable wearing the Align Pants in a hot yoga environment, but the Pace Rival Capri, or pretty much anything with mesh cutouts is a great option as well.
- Accessories: Hot yoga can be miserable without the right clothes, but even worse without the right gear. After trying a few different mats, I recommend The Mat by Lululemon, The Towel, and The (Small) Towel.
Most of the time I cycle on trails, and go out in full riding gear – padded shorts, bike shirt, helmet, gloves, etc. When I opt for an indoor spin class, I wear something similar to my Zumba attire.
- Top: I’ll be honest, it’s pretty tough to find cute cycling gear and cycling sizes also seem to be WAY off from other athletic wear standards. I’m a medium in most tops now but I’m still an XL in cycling gear. (It doesn’t quite seem right, does it?) I always look for ones that have pockets on the back, large enough to fit my phone (also a challenge in and of itself). I love this one from Twin Six though! There’s quite a few options available at REI.
- Pants: I buy one pair of padded shorts, which I wear solo in the summer, but in other seasons, I layer with a pair of thermal running tights.
- Shoes: I finally invested in a pair of cycling shoes, but the incognito style so they look like tennis shoes but don’t make me walk funny. They’ve been life changing! I swapped out my pedals for a pair that will work on days when I don’t want to wear cycling shoes, too.
- Accessories: A lightweight helmet (mine’s polka dot), gloves, and a bike computer are always essentials on our trail rides.
For lifting I pretty much mix and match all of my other gear, but I do prefer a t-shirt or long-sleeve style top. With the bar on my back, it causes less skin pinching.
TRX & Indorow are very similar in terms of appropriate gear. Really, anything will do from Zumba or Barre. I prefer a little bit of a looser fit so I don’t feel as self conscious about any possible belly roll. Just make sure you’re comfortable and have a good pair of sneakers on! (I’m obsessed with these).