How to Dress for Your Workout Type

What do you wear when you work out? The answer to the question depends entirely on the type of exercise routine you’re about to do. Make sure you’re wearing the right clothing for the workout type you have planned for the day, so you can avoid being restricted, uncomfortable or overheated.


If your goal is to do a lot of sweating, you want a lot of breathable, lightweight workout clothes. Look for moisture-wicking fabrics that will help you stay dry while you exercise. If it’s summertime or you’re working out indoors, dress in clothes that are cool and comfortable while allowing you to move freely. Feel free to pull out those shorts and sports bra! In winter you’ll want to add extra layers, such as a tank top and a zip-up sweatshirt and sweatpants.

Yoga or Pilates

If you’re doing yoga, Pilates or a similar exercise, you’ll want stretchy, flexible clothing. Yoga pants are specifically designed to offer this. Look for fabrics that are lightweight and breathable, and look for clothing that fits close to the skin. Make sure that the material is not see through as you will likely be in the downward dog position at some point of your class! You don’t want your clothes to hang too loosely or have too much extra fabric, as this can hinder your movements. You also don’t want clothing that fits too tight, as this can hinder you when you’re trying to perform specific exercise moves.

Strength Training

If you’re going to be lifting weights, using resistance bands or working on strength training to build muscle, you’ll likely want to wear compression garments. These exercise clothes are designed to fit close to the skin to provide support. They come in an array of garments, like socks, shorts, tights or shirts; they are designed to squeeze your muscles tightly to improve performance during exercise. They also help with a speedy recovery afterward.They’re made with lightweight, breathable materials to help you stay dry.

The Essentials

No matter what type of exercise routine you’re practicing, there are a few items that are essential to any workout outfit. For women, you’ll always want to wear a supportive sports bra. If your sports bra gets stretched out or fits loosely, it’s time to get a new one. You’ll also want supportive athletic shoes that protect your feet against impact. Get dedicated workout shoes that you can wear with lightweight socks.

What Not to Wear

Don’t wear any jewelry when you work out, not even a watch. Jewelry items can get caught on your hair, clothing or skin, and they can be ruined or damaged by sweat. Don’t wear makeup when you work out. This will clog your pores, and it’s likely to end up running and smearing all over your face anyway.

You should also avoid 100 percent cotton clothing. It’s soft and it’s comfortable and you’ve got a drawer full of T-shirts, but cotton isn’t as breathable as synthetic fabrics commonly used in workout clothing. Wearing 100 percent cotton will cause your skin to feel hotter and sweat more.

Dressing for Your Workout

Dress for your workout the right way, and your exercise routine will be even more effective. Better still, you’ll be more comfortable, you’ll be able to move freely and you’ll be well-supported, which is what we all want in a workout!

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