Get Fit In Style
Quitting drinking. Doubling your salary. Writing that novel. All eminently admirable resolutions but, frankly, if that’s what your to-do list for 2015 looks like you may as well file it away now to recycle come December 31st.
But what about getting in shape? Not only is that achievable, you’ll also make everything hanging in your wardrobe look infinitely better. There’s a reason Hedi Slimane sends rail-thin rockers, rather than Ricky Gervais, down the runway.
But while willpower’s all well and good, the real way to guarantee you’ll pull on your workout kit is by ensuring you look as good in it as the suit you pull on afterwards. Unless you’re bench pressing your bodyweight with the rest of the guys from Cell Block H, that demands a bit more than cutting the sleeves off an old hoody. Stock up on these staples and you’ll have to find an excuse other than your outfit to postpone your first session with the PT.
1. Training-Appropriate Trainers
Your style of shoe depends on how you choose to burn off that extra festive five pounds.
If you’re more into heavy metal than high intensity interval training, then your gig shoes will serve you just as well in the squat rack. That guy popping veins under the barbell in Chuck Taylors isn’t a style victim – he’s actually taking advantage of flat, solid soles that don’t compress, even under heavy loads. Copy him. Although don’t apply the same logic to his denim shorts and muscle vest combo.
Those more keen on cardio than dumbbells need shoes with more upper support to stop them rolling an ankle, and a spongier sole to cushion their joints from impacts. If you’re training for an ill-thought through marathon, which you signed up for after the sixth sherry on Boxing Day (not just the odd lap of the park which you’ll be dissuaded from at the merest hint of moisture), then get your gait checked before dropping your hard-earned cash.
Services like Asics’ Running Lab analyse your stride and foot strike to ensure your kicks provide ample enforcement in the areas your running style puts under most stress. Otherwise, when you pull out a week from race day with shin splints, you’ll have to give all that sponsorship money back. Not a good look.
Image: Nike Dri-fit Performance Running Tights
Recommended Workout Trainers
- Nike Mens Blue Flyknit Free 4.0 Sneakers
- Adidas Energy Boost 2.0 Atr Shoes
- Adidas Supernova Glide 7 Shoes
- Saucony Kinvara 5 Shoes
- Nike Free Run 2
- Adidas Duramo Elite
- Converse 1970s Chuck Taylor Canvas High Top Sneakers
- Asics Gel-noosafast 2 – Lightweight Running Shoes – Blue
- Nike Free 5.0 Mesh Sneakers
2. Compression Leggings
If you’re one of the men who suffered through an overnight queue outside H&M to grab the Alexander Wang collaboration, which disappeared from shelves (and a constantly crashing website) faster than Usain Bolt out of the blocks, then you’ll understand the appeal of pouring your pins into Lycra.
But if you’re not the kind to stride through town sporting little more than ‘Wang’-emblazoned tights, rest assured that, when you’re working out at least, leggings are more high performance than high fashion.
Compression leggings not only offer much needed insulation when you’re jogging in frost, they also support and prime your muscles to help them function at their optimum efficiency. That means enhanced performance, less soreness the day after and, much like a corset, the elimination of any unsightly wobble from your turkey-stuffed thighs.
Look for leggings without an inner seam to avoid chafing, and that offer articulation in the knees to ensure you can still stride, bend and flex without compromised movement. If you’re self-conscious about donning tights to train in, you can always layer a pair of shorts over the top.
Recommended Workout Leggings
- Mens Heatgear Sonic Compression Leggings
- Mens Ua Coldgear Infrared Run Tights
- Adidas Techfit Climaheat Fitted Tights
- Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Compression Lite
- He By Mango Long Running Tights
- Nike Dri-fit Performance Running Tights
- A200 Mens Thermal Compression Long Tights
- 2xu Elite Compression Tights
- H&m Running Tights
3. Mid-Thigh Shorts
Just like with the shorts you sport on holiday – length matters. If the hem’s brushing your knee, then you’ll swiftly find yourself veering towards Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump territory, especially if your shorts are emblazoned with psychedelic patterns more suited to the bedroom walls of a student stoner. But steer too far in the other direction and you’re just a perm away from Kevin Keegan in his 1980s pomp.
The sweet spot is mid-thigh: short enough not to impede your movement on the treadmill, but with enough material so that you aren’t ejected from the gym for indecency when you squat down to grab a barbell.
You needn’t bother with pockets, though. Your phone will only fall out during sprints so tuck it into an armband instead.
Get a pair equipped with an internal mesh – à la your swimming shorts – to avoid mimicking the pendulum of a grandfather clock as you run. An antibacterial infused fabric will also ensure that your locker isn’t sealed off by a HazMat team if you forget to take your gym kit home at the weekend.
Recommended Workout Shorts
- Adidas Adizero 7-inch Shorts
- He By Mango Running Shorts With Inner Tight
- He By Mango Ultra Light Running Shorts
- Under Armoursixth Man 2-in1 Shorts
- Nike 18cm Trail Kiger
- Nike 18cm Phenom 2-in-1
- Adidas Ultra Shorts
- Iffley Road Lightweight Running Shorts
- H&m Running Shorts
4. A Performance-Enhancing Top
Despite their prevalence on weight room floors, don’t be tempted to wear anything that reveals more of your torso than it covers.
Deep V tees and spaghetti strap vests have no place in your gym bag. And training shirtless is only permitted if a) it’s 1975 and you’re at Gold’s Gym on Venice Beach, or b) the rest of your marine regiment have ditched their tops in an effort to soak up that Afghan sunshine. Otherwise, rest assured that fabric is your friend, both in the sartorial and performance stakes.
Forget this season’s trend towards billowing silhouettes and plunging hems. Your shirt should neither flap about, nor stop you turning your torso: opt for something form-fitting in a material with elasticity. Breathability is the key to avoiding overheating, so seek out something like Adidas’ Climachill technology; these shirts are fashioned from a mesh-like fabric that provides heat- and sweat-wicking airflow, and they also feature aluminium dots that conduct heat off your skin.
You’ll appreciate them when you’re steaming through that final round of hill sprints.
Image: David Beckham For adidas Climachill Range
Recommended Workout Tops
- He By Mango Stretch Technical Running T-shirt
- He By Mango Seamless Running T-shirt
- Adidas Climachill Tee
- Adidas Techfit Power Short Sleeve Tee
- Puma Actv Training Long Sleeve
- Puma Running Hooded Long Sleeve
- Nike White Label Dri-fit Wool-blend T-shirt
- Iffley Road Dri-release Running T-shirt
- Nike Dri-fit Running T-shirt
- Asics Im Half Zip Top Sn44
- Karrimor Running T Shirt Mens
- H&m Sports Top
5. A High Quality Gym Bag
Carting your kit to the gym in a ‘Bag For Life’ smacks of man who doesn’t take his physique seriously. It won’t matter if you can deadlift double your bodyweight if you exit the gym looking like you’ve just done the weekly grocery shop. Yes, your bag’s often stuffed with rather ripe kit, but it should be able to take you from workout to weekend without breaking a sweat.
That means high quality leather or canvas on the outside and a sealed inner to ward off any untoward whiffs – a zipped holdall is perfect. Again, you’ll appreciate an antibacterial or odour-killing lining when you toss your bag under your desk post-lunchtime session.
Ideally, it’ll also feature a separate shoe compartment or additional large zipped pocket. The last thing you want is mud escaping from your trainer soles and seeping into your suit trousers.
Recommended Gym Bags
- Allsaints Orchard Holdall
- He By Mango Pebbled Weekend Bag
- Reiss Hines Leather Weekend Holdall Black
- Asos Leather And Canvas Holdall
- Topman Navy Sports Holdall Bag
- Herschel Novel Duffle Bag In Grey
- Allsaints Thorpe Holdall
- J.crew Abingdon Waxed Cotton-canvas Holdall
- Mulberry Medium Clipper Holdall Bag
- Fred Perry Classic Barrel Bag
- River Island Brown Mini Holdall
- John Lewis Made In Italy Leather Holdall Brown
Armed with this active wear know-how, you’re left with few excuses not to get yourself fit this year.
So what’s in your gym bag? Any items we’ve missed off that you couldn’t work out without?
Let us know what you’ll be wearing in the comments below…