The new year is in full swing, and your hangover has (hopefully) worn off, which means it’s time to get cracking on those resolutions. Chances are one of your goals for the year is fitness-related, whether it’s making time for the gym, reaching 10,000 steps a day or vowing to get more flexible.
Of course, active pursuits require activewear and, with the sales in full swing, it can be tempting to buy a lot of it. But, what do you actually need? Here are the experts' recommendations for gear that will give you the best chance of hitting your particular fitness goal.
It’s all about getting into the zone, try to find an outfit that won’t distract you.Credit:iStock
When running, it’s all about the shoe. According to sports podiatrist Dr Kade Paterson, you need to consider what kind of running you’ll be doing. Training for a marathon? “For longer runs, we recommend a running shoe that’s much more durable with extra cushioning,” said Paterson.
If you plan to just run five kilometres or some loops around the block, seek out “a shoe that is much lighter, flatter, and more flexible”. But the most important thing is the way it fits your foot: there should always be a little room – about a centimetre – between your big toe and the end of the shoe.
It might seem like an easy workout because it’s low-impact, but anyone who has taken a Pilates class knows it can get pretty sweaty. Try to wear fabrics that are moisture-wicking and breathable, so you don’t feel like you’re trapped in an inferno.
Founder of Lean Bean Fitness, Lizzie Bland recommends avoiding loose-fitting outfits. “Tight clothing is best so the instructor can check your alignment and adjust your posture.” Socks are often optional but you might want to wear some for hygiene.
For weightlifting, it’s all about making sure your form is correct. Powerlifter and writer Casey Johnston suggests “close-fitting, stretchy clothing on the bottom, with bare arms and back".
"It’s important for me and my coach to be able to see that my movements and form are correct,” Johnston says. So, while loose-fitting trakkies may feel comfortable, they’re unfortunately not a great idea.
When it comes to shoes, you want something that’s going to give you stability while doing heavy lifts. Running shoes, with their squishy soles, are a bit too wobbly. Johnston recommends a pair with a flat sole, like Converse or other street shoes.
Boxing is all about getting in the zone. When choosing an outfit before a boxing class, try to find something that won’t distract you. Avoid loose singlets that might slip off your shoulders, or pants that constantly need to be pulled up. It’s worth investing in hand wraps if you’re going to be boxing regularly, says Bland: they are essential to protect your wrists and the small bones in your hand.
“They can [also] actually help strengthen your hands and improve your punch, so are well worth the effort,” Bland says. Shoes are optional – do what feels best for you.
Whatever your activity of choice, remember: buying fancy new activewear might make you feel good, but that $10 pair of shorts you’ve had for years will still cut it. Use the money you’ve saved on a gym class you really enjoy or a celebratory breakfast after you go for a run.
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