Let’s Talk Gym Clothes


I remember when I first wanted to go to the gym.

It made me think of when I was a kid and getting ready to go play outside. I was a very active child and my parents always encouraged us to go play outside. It was easy in the summer, just throw on a pair of shorts and a shirt and go. I spent a lot of days just like that. No shoes, barely dressed, just outside. Even as the weather changed, I would put on pants, sweatshirt, gumboots, and go. I would go rake leaves, chop wood, just being outside with my dad and our dog.

Fast forward to being married with three kids at home. Who has time to be that relaxed. As parents we encouraged our kids to play outside as much as possible, but this time, I was still inside. I had “Mom” duties and was usually the one who spent the least amount of time in the yard. When I finally was in a place and time to go be active for me, something had changed. I no longer had that body that I could just slip into anything and go. I had packed on enough weight that when I wanted to start to go to classes, gym, activities, I actually had to go buy something to wear. But what does a ‘big girl’ wear to the gym? I was too uncomfortable in shorts. Most gym clothes were made for girls that looked like they lived in the gym. It was tough in the beginning, but things have changed for the good in the last few years.

The reality is that you don’t need to have a whole new closet or dresser for your workout clothes, you just need to be smart with what you buy. Workout clothes have become ‘smart clothes’. They are actually made for you to sweat in and for movement so you don’t get tied up in your baggy t-­shirt. Fortunately there are several options for clothes. But unless you have a healthy bank account, you don’t need to spend a fortune on workout gear, just be smart. Most of the clothes out there you can just rinse and hang and it will be dry in a couple of hours. Yes, most can be machine washed but if you only get a few pieces, hand washing works well. My suggestion is to pick up a pair or two of crop leggings. They are surprisingly comfortable, most are adjustable,(so that as you lose size, you aren't changing pants too often). Shirts are, for me, a little more tricky. Lots hug my tummy, I still have self image issues with that, but if you get shirts too baggy, they will really get in your way. A light, clingy tank underneath makes me feel more comfortable, and as the weather gets cooler, it works like an undershirt like when I was a kid.

Personally, I think if you are planning on spending money on gym gear, shoes are the answer. But for me, shoes are always the answer. LOVE them. Yeah, I know, nobody is looking at your shoes in the gym, but if you don’t take care of your feet, you will pay for it in your knees, hips, and back. So this is one of the only times where I will say out loud, cute is not the answer, function first.

So, let’s shop

Lululemon is my favorite. But when I started at the gym, I couldn’t fit there. Now that I do, they last the longest, fit the best, and the store has great service including hemming if you are getting long pants.

Old Navy is surprisingly great. They are a lot more affordable, have a larger range in sizes and have lots of styles and colours.

Under Armour, Nike, Reebok, Adidas all have athletic wear as well as most department stores. Most of these brands, by my experience, all wear well, look great, it just comes down to fit and size.

Don’t be afraid to try your clothes on and move around in them. The last thing you want is pants that roll down because the rise is too short. If you have a tummy, believe me, that will happen and not only is that embarrassing, it’s uncomfortable.

When shopping for shoes, again try them on and walk around, a lot. But make sure you talk to someone who knows what they are selling. Cheap is not the answer here. Locally here we have Kintec, The Running Room, and most other shoe retailers. Specialty stores look at how your feet land, cadence, and how you are going to spending time in your shoes. Are you inside, outside, running, walking, hiking, doing Zumba, or even general gym stuff? It all matters.

Finally, when you are shopping, don’t forget your unmentionables. Your girls will need support. Get some support. Not only will it hurt as they start to move to their own beat, but as you lose weight, you want them to rise a little to where they used to be. Also, comfortable undies is key. Most women sweat down there and you don’t want chafing if you can help it.

The key to clothes to workout in, is that you forget you are wearing them. If you are constantly adjusting them, you are not working hard enough and you can’t focus on what you are supposed to be doing. So as my mom would yell…GO OUTSIDE and PLAY! Be active and work up a sweat and look great doing it.

You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it. —Edith Head

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