A few weeks ago, a video of a naked man competing in American Ninja Warrior went viral. Of course, this was not supposed to happen. Somehow, the man jumped in front of a competitor and took his turn.
This man was wearing shoes and a sweatband—that’s it! He rocked the course. Had security not taken him out, I am quite certain he would have finished the course in great time. However, he was naked in front of who knows how many people so security did what they needed to do.
It got me thinking about the ways in which wearing the wrong workout clothes could actually hold you back during a workout and how the right workout clothing could help you in the gym. If this guy had clothes on, I wonder whether he would have done as well. If he had on a loose fitting shirt for instance, would that have gotten stuck on something and possibly hurt him? Or would he have been covered in so much sweat that his clothing would have weighed him down and he wouldn’t have completed the course?
I also thought he should have at least put some type of athletic support on to protect his “exposed areas” to injury because I would imagine hurting one of those areas would be horrible. Joe Rogan even commented that it was a good time to remind everyone to have their prostates checked. Pure comedic genius!
So what are the right and wrong clothing articles to wear during a workout?
1. Cotton clothing is bad. T-shirts are not the way to go during a workout. They’ve been my go-to option for workouts for years, but those t-shirts are bad, bad, bad! Cotton clothing does not wick moisture away from your body. Take one of your t-shirts, drench it in water and then put it back on. Do you feel like you can keep working out or do you feel heavy and uncomfortable? Cotton t-shirts can also cause skin irritation, body breakouts, and a possible increase in friction prone areas, which might cause chafing. Wearing clothing that wicks away moisture will keep the sweat off of your body. No more skin irritation, no more friction, no more potential chafing, and no more body breakouts!
2. Not updating your athletic shoes. If you have a great pair of shoes that you love working out in, buy a few more pairs of them. Shoes are meant to help keep your body in alignment during a workout and if you are wearing shoes with worn down soles then you are not keeping your body in alignment and you might suffer an injury because of it. Athletic shoes are meant to be updated every six to 12 months based on how often you wear them. Do your research to find right type of shoes for your workout.
3. Improper support for the girls. A good sports bra should be replaced every six to nine months. Sports bras help keep our boobs in place for a reason. They help to protect the ligaments and tissues in our chest from excessive stretching and stress. Not to mention—and the larger chested women will agree with me here—failing to keep the girls in their proper place during a workout feels like it could give you a self-inflicted black eye. Check out Under Armour’s sports bras for a few great options.
4. Support applies to men, as well. Not wearing the appropriate supportive and/ or protective garments during a workout can not only get you some strange looks at the gym, but it may also cause the uncomfortable need to rearrange your “package.” If the naked guy from American Ninja Warrior took the wrong step and fell, what would he have fallen on, and how bad would that injury have hurt him? Protect your junk, guys!
5. Baggy or loose fitting clothing. This isn’t about wearing tight or revealing clothing to get looks and admiration, it’s about functionality and safety. Loose fitting clothing might get caught on a machine and tear, or get stuck somewhere and you might injure yourself. If you enjoy yoga classes, don’t show up in a loose shirt because that downward-facing dog might expose more of you than you’d like. Wearing properly fitted clothing will keep you injury free. Check out www.lululemon.com for some great fashion forward workout options at great prices.
6. Wearing too-tight clothing. Spanx are great to make you look a little leaner, but they do not belong at the gym, and neither do corsets or waist cinchers. Anything that is too tight on you will restrict your range of movement. Some tight clothing might elevate your blood pressure, impair your breathing or make you so uncomfortable that you cannot workout properly. Anything too tight will actually work against you, not for you. The LA Times recently interviewed a neurologist about the ways restrictive garments might hinder your health.