Find the right gym shirt for your exercise routine
Many people, particularly women, feel a need to cover themselves up when they work out, to hide what they feel are flaws in their bodies. While you may not always feel comfortable calling attention to your body, overly baggy gym shirts can actually impede your workout.
Before you buy your next piece of workout wear, take a look at these tips to find a gym shirt that both looks good and will improve your performance:
- Look for sweat-wicking fabric. Cotton seems like the obvious choice for gym T-shirts, but it's actually one of the worst fabrics because it holds sweat close to your body and can chafe your skin. "Sweat-wicking" fabric, or fabric that is designed to pull moisture away from your skin is a much better choice.
- Find your fit. While you don't have to choose skin-tight gym T-shirts, do look for one that skims your curves and stays closer to the body. Loose shirts can catch on fitness equipment, which can be an annoyance and can slow down your workout. Also, make sure you choose a shirt that is long enough – you don't want to be showing too much skin if it rides up a little during your workout.
- Buy a bunch. Once you find a shirt that works well for you, make sure you buy a few. Having enough clean, dry shirts to get you through a week's worth of workouts (or however long you wait to do laundry) is essential. Wearing the same shirt on multiple days can lead to chafing (and of course, a little funkiness), particularly if you're working out hard.
Gym Tank Tops
Tank tops are a great alternative to gym shirts, but keep in mind that not all gyms allow tank tops to be worn in coed areas of the gym. This choice might be better saved for home gyms or single-sex gyms. If this type of workout apparel is right for you, check out these tips for choosing the best gym tank top:
- Men's tank tops. Typically, men wear tank tops to show off their muscles, but this type of top can also be more comfortable when weight training. Sleeve fabric can often chafe against the arm, particularly when it is damp. One thing to keep in mind when choosing men's tank tops is to choose one that is going to stay in place as you work out. Baggy tank tops can get hooked on weight machines and tank tops that are too tight can ride up.
- Women's tank tops. Many women, in particular those who are more top-heavy, tend to be leery of wearing tank tops to the gym. These shirts often call more attention, but from a practical standpoint, they are also often low on support. For those with smaller chests, however, a tank top with a supportive, built-in shelf bra may be enough, and just like with men's tank tops, can provide a more comfortable, dry workout. The same fit rules apply for women as well, however – make sure the tank top won't bunch up when you're working out, and do a jump test to ensure you're getting enough support from it.