What Should Women Wear to the Gym?

If you’re new to gym culture, deciding what to wear to workout can feel as stressful as figuring out what to wear on a first date. More so, really, because in your mind, you have more than one person to impress. Well, drop that notion. It’s not helpful, and moreover, it’s wrong. The only person you really have to impress with your gym wardrobe is yourself. After all, if you’ve shoehorned yourself into a too-small pair of compression tights and a super tight training top, you’re not going to stick around long enough to really get your sweat on. And that’s what you’re there for, right? To build a stronger, fitter, sexier and healthier body and mind?

Of course it is. So, the short answer to what you should wear to the gym is this: whatever will inspire you to workout! The longer, more helpful answer, however, is below.

1.Something made for exercise.


Sounds obvious, maybe, but showing up for a crossfit class in your lounge sweats is not going to be comfortable. You need gear that’s made to endure and absorb sweat. You need technical performance gear that can breathe and keep you comfortable. You need gear that not only facilitates optimal performance, but can even promote better performance.


2.Activity specific clothing.


Some fitness clothing can transition between types of activities. You can use your running shoes to do HIIT workouts, and you can use your training shorts to sweat it out on the stepper, but you shouldn’t use your light-support yoga bra for an intense 10 km run. You shouldn’t wear your loose, flowy yoga pants to powerlift. You need to buy clothing that is made for the activity you’re doing. This will enable the best results from your training, and allow you to move, fully supported, in the way the activity demands.


3.No jewellery.  


Now is not the time to breakout the bling. In fact, accessories should be worn sparingly at the gym, unless it’s a heart-rate monitor or fitbit. The main reason for this is because it can get in the way of working out, and can even cause injury. Long necklaces, dangling earrings and even rings have caused serious gym injuries if they get caught or snagged on equipment. Either leave your jewellery locked safely in a locker, or leave it at home.


4.An actual sports bra.


We’ve already touched on this when we talked about activity specific clothing, but your girls need some special attention. This is because while you can bench press your way to strong pecs, nothing can strengthen your Cooper’s Ligaments once they weaken. These ligaments are the ones that hold up your breasts, and too much bouncing without proper support leads to irreversible pulling and sagging. The best way to prevent this is to wear a proper sports bra that is designed for the kind of support you need.

Yoga and other low-impact sports require light support.

Hiking, most gym cardio equipment, weight lifting, rowing and walking require medium support.

Running, HIIT, crossfit, tennis, basketball, rugby, football and other high impact sports require maximum support.

Skin rules: Before you walk out of the changeroom in running shorts and a sports bra, check with your gym’s dress code. Some gyms are cool with exposed midriffs, while others have strict rules prohibiting it.


Four guidelines to proper women’s gym style  — that’s it! If you keep them in mind, the rest is really a matter of personal aesthetic, and when it comes to this, no one should tell you what to do. Happy sweating!

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