Thursday, January 09, 2014

Lululemon, Adidas, Lorna Jane: Clothes maketh the 'athlete'

If there's ever a prime time for gyms and personal trainers around the country, January is it - it's go time!

People around the world are dusting off their membership cards, squeezing on some lycra and getting their treadmill/spin/pilates/lifting on. I know at my gym there are a lot of new faces and a lot of hands going up in response to, "is there anyone who hasn't done [insert name of activity here] before?"

Start of year fitness is a hot topic at the moment and nearly every day I read a new report on exercise trends, benefits and so on.

This morning's fitness-related read was from the Fairfax Daily Life website, an opinion piece about expensive and fashionable gym clothes. The author rightly concludes that clothes do not dictate motivation nor results, but makes some rather odd comments at the same time.

One in particular refers to a “jangly sports bra, sagging in multiple places”. My objection to this has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with anatomy. Why on earth would any woman put her breast tissue at risk of damage by wearing a saggy bra to exercise? There are so many affordable brands making very supportive sports bras nowadays that no one has a reason to wear something unsuitable for their activity. You don’t have to buy the expensive one, just one that does its job.

The other thing I don’t necessarily agree with is that a woman shouldn’t care about how she looks while she’s exercising. It makes no sense. If I make an effort to look presentable and well groomed for the other 15-odd waking hours of my day, why wouldn't I do the same for the 90 minutes I’m exercising? I don’t wear stained t-shirts and threadbare pants to work so why would I wear them to the gym? Again, they don’t have to be expensive as long as they’re presentable.

Thankfully, this workout-in-rags mentality is not too common and we should be thankful because the reality of it is quite unfortunate: it’s the guy in front of you in yoga class giving you the unwanted sight of his genitals through threadbare shorts during a downward dog; it’s the woman next to you in Pilates who is wearing her oldest, smelliest socks; and it’s the musty smell emanating from the yellowed armpits of the old tshirt on the person running next to you on the treadmill.

It’s not a good look people. Sharpen up.

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