If there’s one thing that’s a failsafe way to get me to the gym, it’s new fit kit. While I salivate over the latest Chloe satchel or pine after the Castaner wedges this summer, finding a really amazing pair of bum-sculpting leggings gives me sartorial thrills like no other. Why? Because fit kit has gone beyond donning your boyfriends over-sized, faded grey tee and a pair of trainers from school. Technology aside, it’s holding its own against mainline fashion pieces – from our high street favourites to big design houses, they all want in.
After working at a national fitness magazine for 3 years you come to really know sportswear. You appreciate it more and you pick up some handy tips along the way. Working at Your Fitness made me realise the vital importance of feeling good in the gym. It’s the one place (aside from the bedroom maybe!) where we feel truly vulnerable and at times, out of our comfort zone. It can make or break our motivation and be the difference between a really great workout and a ‘meh’ one.
The measure of a really good piece of kit is two fold – firstly, it make you actually want to go to the gym and secondly, you want to wear it out of the gym. Suddenly, you find yourself running errands in it, doing the food shop or just lounging around the house because it’s just that comfortable as opposed to peeling off a sweat-sodden tank as soon as you crawl through the door. For me, fit kit needs to work hard. It needs to be lightweight, flattering and comfortable. I do a lot of running and (recently) weights and there has been some pretty embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions over the years when I’ve had to test kit for the mag so I know good activewear when I see it (or wear it!).
TRAINERS THAT DO ALL THE HARD WORK
I counted my trainer collection the other day and the grand total was 32. 32 pairs of trainers, half are unworn and the other are battered because when I find a good pair of kicks I wear them to death. My favourite brands are Adidas for running (especially these which doubled my running distance), Nike for classes and Asics for HIIT. I always suggest having your gait analysed before buying trainers (David Lloyd offers this) to see exactly what sort you need.
A good pair or trainers should be light – don’t make it harder on yourself by lugging around a heavy pair just because they look good! They should also have a finger-width of space at the end to avoid any toenails coming off and make sure you shop in the afternoon as your feet swell during the day.
Leggings have been voted as the most intimidating piece of fit kit to buy time and time again and it’s because there are so many cheap and nasty ones out there. These aren’t our lazy day leggings that we bum around the house in, these need to be supportive and flattering. Ultimately, you want to find ones that are high waisted – not only do they act like Spanx and streamline your shape, they also make sure you’re not hoisting up your waistband with every burpee. I prefer seamless leggings because they’re more flattering and always choose dark colours to avoid any embarrassing sweat marks!
Vest tops, T-shirts or crops, whatever your fit kit MO, there is a huge variety out there to cover up flaws and accentuate key areas. I always like to choose vest tops that sit flat against my traps (our little wings at the back!) as some brands tend to cut the design right in the middle of our shoulders which can lead to bulging bits. Make sure the arm holes are either cut high on the shoulder blades or low against the back of the ribs for a flattering finish.
ALL THE ACCESSORIES
What’s an outfit without a few additions to bring it all together?! Having new and shiny fit kit always gives me that back-to-school feeling and we all know how exciting it was having a brand new pencil case to start the new term!