x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Workout your wardrobe with exercise looks

When it comes to “workout gear”, I’m on the fence, and I blame the peppy Lululemon types.

Exercising willpower when it comes to, well, exercise is undeniably difficult – none of us really want to have to re-evaluate our lives; I suppose it’s just the little pipe dreams of perfectionism that keep us from getting stagnant.

We’re quick to blame our lack of self-discipline with exercise on basic character flaws, rather than learned behaviour. Most of us are overworked and understimulated – a combination that lends itself to a lack of get-up-and-go. Yet to argue against its effect on both body and mind would be wholly foolish.

When it comes to “workout gear”, I’m on the fence, and I blame the peppy Lululemon types. You know the sort, those who throw a giant air punch when they nail a headstand in yoga. Or, worse still, those who emit a bear-like groan when they bench press something bigger than their mother. Frankly, they frighten me.

You don’t want to look too much the part – unless you are, and then, well, brilliant. You’re not a show pony (or show stallion for that matter) there to primp and preen – you’re meant to be getting fit and improving your health.

I’m not encouraging snobbishness. Gym gear is all in the finer details.

There’s an element of urban style to the trend – clean lines, a certain toughness that needs to be addressed. Details such as hoods, cut-outs, racerbacks and three-quarter-length trousers with stripes down the sides are a good start. Cut-off T-shirts in a good-quality jersey or mesh can be a more stylised aesthetic, if that’s your thing.

Black on black works beautifully, without the pretension of highly coloured or fluorescent accents. If that feels a little too boring for you, add in some grey jersey or white tones.

Again, good quality is worth the investment – and it’s absolutely necessary when training in a hot climate. Synthetic fabrics, despite what we might think, are more often than not engineered to be lightweight and breathable. Cotton will only absorb moisture and become uncomfortably heavy.

The experts would say stick to technical fabrics such as polypropylene, Lycra, spandex or polyester. If designer wear is a must, Isabel Marant, Alexander Wang, Emporio Armani and Stella McCartney are the season’s key players, with their clever mixes of bright colour blocking and breathable fabrics. Make sure to get a sports bra fitted properly, as moulded cups with wide, adjustable straps are made to support, and look out for specifically designed zipped pockets to hold keys and music. Visible side seams will give the illusion of obliques until you work on the real things, and if upper arms are a perceived problem, then cap sleeves will provide extra coverage.

Don’t feel the need to always go for designer sportswear – if you are on a budget, save your money for clothes that 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 will still look on trend. Adidas, Asics and Nike should be your go-tos.

I hope I don’t need to tell you that any kind of make-up or decoration is ridiculous – here we are, girls, running companies and countries, so we can get out there and work off some steam without all the fuss. Let’s be rational. Modesty should be encouraged. For the boys, it’s vital.

Last but not least, be a realist, if nothing else: before you embark on a whole new wardrobe, try to dig out the gear that you invested in the last time you got on the fitness bandwagon instead of flashing the credit card on a whole new life.

ktrotter@thenational.ae

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