x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Katie Trotter: Make the gym treadmill your own catwalk

Be fashionable in the gym

Exercising willpower is terribly boring. About as boring as sticking to a diet plan or reorganising your sock drawer. In fact, most of any part of trying to get into a new routine is pretty banal - none of us really want to have to change our life, which explains why 88 per cent of all resolutions end in failure, according to a 2007 survey of more than 3,000 people conducted by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman. Ah, January. How you make us feel like such a flop, again and again, year after year.

Part of the problem is that we tend to blame our lack of self discipline on basic character flaws, when in fact all that is needed is learning a little self-awareness. Most of us are overworked, overstimulated and overly stressed, which ends up using quite a bit of capacity from our brain; then we ask it to stick to an Olympian exercise routine, to have us live in a clutter-free environment, to take up some character-building classes and to lose a stone - all at once, in January. No wonder we crumble - like putting too many hats on the stand, we simply topple over.

But exercise is something that seems to clear the path for all of the vices to smarten up. So, great news: the new collections showed a phenomenal amount of improved sportswear for the upcoming season.

In general, my feelings on "workout gear" are that it is the sole preserve for some peppy A-type, the kind that, quite frankly, frightens me. You know the type, those that make a "y-eassssssss" noise when they hit a new personal best, followed by an air punch (for those too far away that couldn't hear).

You see, you don't want to look too much the part, if you know what I mean; unless, of course, you are really brilliant in the gym. There is nothing more cringe-inducing than having a loud bark with no bite. You are not meant to be impressing, you are meant to be getting fit. But then again who wants to look like a slob either?

I've found that good quality gym clothes are worth the investment, and they're absolutely necessary when training in the Abu Dhabi temperatures. The experts would say stick to technical fabrics designed specifically for sports, which is mostly clothing that contains various synthetic fibres such as polypropylene, Lycra, spandex or polyester. Synthetic fabrics are more often than not engineered to be breathable and lightweight, unlike cotton, which absorbs moisture and becomes heavy. Nike Dri-FIT or Adidas tops and spandex bottoms are great - comfortable and fitted (and, yet, modest).

Buying trainers is more of an event than you would think - and not something you should do alone. In fact, experts suggest taking an old pair to the store for them to examine your step and the type of shape you need.

Inspiring sportswear are the neoprene garments and colour-blocked dresses in neon hues with a mix of stripes, numbers and pixilated prints, moving into 2013. Isabel Marant, Helmut Lang, DKNY and Stella McCartney are the season's key players, with their clever mix of mesh, bright colour blocking and light breathable fabrics. Although personally I don't feel the need to always go for designer sportswear - if you are on a budget, save your money for clothes you wear outside of the gym. There are plenty of sports brands that cost a quarter of the price, are designed specifically for the job and and will still look on trend.

Should it matter what we wear to the gym? Of course not. Does it matter? Well, yes, to be honest - at least, it sort of does.

ktrotter@thenational.ae