Image: Country Road Active make very cute gym gear.
While a kicky new gym outfit can be the ultimate motivation to workout, not having the right clothing can also be a huge barrier to exercise. The activewear explosion has meant that there’s gear available in every style, cut, colour or print you can imagine. But the fact is, you don’t really need that much workout specifc wear to get moving. There are a few key items you do require though.
So here it is, a definitive list of the gym gear you have to have, that’s good to have, and the stuff that’s basically just for fun.
1. A bra that does the job
The right sports bra is the most important garment in your gym outfit. Get this wrong, and your workout will be all kinds of uncomfortable in all kinds of unnecessary ways. Annoyingly, different sports bras are better for different kinds of activity. If you’re a yoga and pilates kind of girl, you don’t need a steel reinforced monster of a bra. In fact, something softer, like a crop top, is typically better. Meanwhile, if you’re a runner (especially a runner with a D cup or over) you’re going to want something that’s borderline medieval to keep you boobs in place.
The only way to test this (I’m sorry) is to go into your department store or activewear shop of choice, try literally everything on and bust out some air-skipping in the change room. It’s a process, but once you’ve found the right bra, you can just keep buying it over and over again.
I’m typically somewhere between a 10 C and 12 D in bras, and I like this bra by Under Armour for running, and this one from Triumph for yoga and pilates. But every body is different, so what works for me could well be wrong on you. It’s just a matter of trial (and trial and trial) and error.
2. Comfortable shoes
You only need good shoes if you're going to be doing shoes-on activities like running, cross fit, step class or netball. But if you're going to do shoes-on activities you really, really need good shoes. Why? Because shoes are bras for your feet and if you pick the wrong ones you'll end up in a lot of pain you didn't need to be in. I had a fitting at Athletes Foot recently, and they hooked me up with a pair of shoes that are incredibly comfortable. They're so not my style but unlike the very, very cute shoes I was wearing previously, they don't give me foot cramps or blisters.