Your gym clothes say a lot about you and if you turn up for your workout looking and feeling fresh, chances are you'll have a better workout. We look at how to keep your gym clothes looking, feeling, and smelling fresh so that they last longer and perform better in the long-term.
Why wear gym clothes?
When it comes to gym clothes, there are a lot of expectations for performance, comfort, style, and more. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with turning up for your workout or group fitness class wearing a baggy old t-shirt and sweatpants, you will benefit far more from specially designed technical gym clothes that fit well and perform under pressure.
Fabric choice is everything for gym clothing, as some fabrics dry quicker than others and you don't want to end up with sweat rash and feeling weighed down by a soggy top. Additionally, your old clothes might not stretch as much as you need, leaving you feeling restricted or exposed. Ladies gym wear and mens gym clothes are often made with 4-way stretch materials which move freely and give you unlimited freedom of movement to stretch, squat, and jump as much as you need without feeling inhibited or held back by your clothing. Gym clothes also now come with sweat-wicking as standard which means your sweat is drawn away from your skin to evaporate so that you can stay dry and avoid chafing as you tackle a tough workout.
Finally, proper gym clothes will feature even more advanced features and innovative technology such as temperature control, which will stop you overheating in the warm but will keep you insulated in the cold. They also might even feature compression technology which is thought to improve performance by improving circulation to the muscles.
So with all that said, it's pretty clear why you should invest in proper gym clothes that offer exceptional performance and comfort while still looking sleek and stylish and giving you confidence.
How to store gym clothes
How you store your gym clothes will have a huge impact on how fresh they stay and how wearable they are for your next workout. If you get home from a great gym workout, drenched in sweat and ready for a shower, but just throw your clothes in a pile on the floor and forget about them, chances are they'll end up stale, smelly, and will lose their shape too.
Due to the hydrophobic nature of high-tech sportswear with its sweat-wicking capabilities, gym clothes are more likely to absorb oils from your body. As such, leaving them in a pile on a chair or the floor will allow bacteria to grow and spread which will leave your gym clothes smelling stale in a way you can't get rid of.
The best way to store gym clothes is in a cupboard, wardrobe, or hanging on a clothes rail. By allowing them to hang up and air out after you wash them, you will help the technical fabrics to keep their shape and protect the special materials which help make your gym clothes so good at performing when you train.
How often to wash gym clothes
The simple answer to this is that you should wash your gym clothes after every use. Even if you feel like you didn't sweat much, your body will have still secreted oils and other bacteria which you will want to wash away. Even on a normal day, you can sweat up to a litre of water per day. Leaving sweat and bacteria festering in your gym clothes - even if they feel or smell clean - can lead to irritated skin and even yeast infections (if you keep your sweaty leggings on for too long).
If you're worried that washing your gym clothes after every use will shorten their life, you need to invest in better quality gym clothes! Cheap gym clothing which is made of cotton is certainly more likely to lose its shape, colour, and comfort after a few washes, but more expensive, well-designed, and carefully crafted premium activewear will last for plenty of washes.
If you are prone to leaving your gym clothes on for a long time after a tough session, say to meet a friend or just to wear for the rest of the day, think again. If you leave sweaty gym clothes on your skin, you could end up with sweat rash and even body acne.
Thankfully, companies like Sundried are paving the way for innovation in the sportswear world with all-day active gym clothes. This activewear is specifically designed to be worn all day with advanced sweat-wicking technology and recycled fabrics which dry 200 times faster than regular gym clothes and feature natural anti-odour properties from the premium materials. These luxury gym clothes can be worn all day without a worry due to their high specification and premium fabrics.
How to stop gym clothes smelling
There are lots of creative ways you can get the smell out of your gym clothes, such as adding lemon juice or baking soda to your wash. However, there are plenty of other ways to stop them smelling in the first place.
Wash your gym clothes inside out as the oils and sweat will be mostly on the inside of the clothing. Let your clothes air out instead of stuffing them into a wash basket or hamper, but better yet, wash your gym clothes as soon as you can once you've finished your workout. Finally, don't use a fabric softener with your workout clothes, as this leaves a coating on clothing which can lock in the smell instead of washing it out.
What your gym clothes say about you
There are so many different types of gym clothes and sportswear out there that it can be difficult choosing the right ones for you. Some will opt for more fashionable gym clothes while others will prefer the rugged look of stringers and sweatpants. But what do your gym clothes say about you? It's something you might never have thought about before.
If you're struggling to decide what to wear for your first fitness class, try not to stress too much! Everyone is there for a shared experience and for the same reason: to get fit. Ultimately, you should be comfortable in your activewear and that is what matters most.
There are lots of new fashion trends in activewear this year such as men wearing leggings and taking your activewear out of the gym by wearing athleisure. No matter what you choose to wear, your gym clothes will always just say that you want to get fit and are prepared to work hard to achieve that!
James Griffiths is the founder of Wild Training and is a gym owner and personal trainer. He talks us through a typical day in his busy life!
I tend to get up at around 4:30 am each day. I wouldn’t be the same guy without my morning smoothie: 2 scoops of protein powder, 100g of frozen fruit, a teaspoon of peanut butter, and then I top it with water, almond milk or hemp milk.
The only way I can get the project work done is by getting up early so I can nail some time on my laptop and write up resources to do with Wild Training programming, the new franchise launch or any of the other ideas I have. The gym opens at 6 am so that gives me a good bit of time before any members come in.
I don’t train as many clients as I used to but the ones I do train are consistent and hit regular days and times. Kirstie here is actually our new gym manager. She’s an amazing character and adds so much to the Wild Training gym. We are working on some proper strength training mixing up landmine training, strongman training, and some more explosive stuff as her cardio is epic but I want to get her body firing a bit harder with more intensity. The Wild Combat system is something she loves and still sticks to the power side of what we are trying to work on and gets her aerobic system pumped.
Then a little bit of admin smashing out emails and making magic happen with #MuscleTunnel which is a new outdoor strength setup we are building at the Wild Training Gym to launch in September that will rival Muscle Beach in Miami!
My second personal training session of the day is working with Alex who has had a long-term problem with a herniated disc. He’s gone through all kinds of therapy and really hasn’t seen much improvement in his pain. We have recently started working on mobility in his hip flexors, lats, quads, hamstrings, calves and adductors and he has felt a lot better. The plan is to get him feeling more comfortable and then strengthening his back while avoiding any sharing forces.
I then have a cheeky snack of fruit salad and a snack bar before grappling with the legend Phil Else. Phil is an ex-pro fighter and has trained a lot of professional fighters; he's by far the best grappling coach I’ve ever had. This session was working on some more varied ways of using a Kimura lock and we sessioned some fun flows working on getting out of a side control pin and getting your opponent in to an arm bar.
The middle of the day sees some staff training. The Wild Trainers train weekly with either me or Hannah Camden, the other Wild Training director. Today was focused on tri planar movement and how to build tri planar programs with any bit of kit. This is one of the concepts that makes the results we deliver through Wild Training systems transfer in to every day life and sport more than traditional sagittal plane focused programs.
Then after a lot more admin I hit the gym and whilst I was training working on some explosive movement with the Tornado whip and a 5kg slam ball I started helping out Josh one of our younger members who was keen to understand how to get started on the rings. Basic supports and dead hangs but he did great for his first time.
I finish my day with my Wild Woman and Wild Man small group PT sessions. These are really important to me because I can deliver more detailed training and support to more members with less of my time. They are super popular and I try to keep it really specific to women or men with the Wild Man or Wild Woman PT systems working through specific shaping concepts. The girls saw Josh playing on the rings so wanted to have a go soon. Ash and Nas came to the Wild Man and have been killing it on the parallettes. Then Ash wanted to hit his level 3 #EarnYourClaws assessment. #EarnYourClaws is a kind of lifestyle grading system for fitness. Every level tests stamina, strength, power, speed, flexibility, skill and knowledge. Level 1 gives members a white #EarnYourClaws t shirt that can not be bought. Each time they pass a new level, they get a new T shirt so they get a real sense of achievement out of it and get a proper structure to their training to make sure they achieve fitness in balance. Ash passed his level 3 so will now get his blue Level 3 #EarnYourClaws T shirt. He’s the first Wild Training member to get it. It’s a tough challenge and our minimum standard of fitness for a personal trainer to work with Wild Training. You’ll see a lot more about the Wild Training #EarnYourClaws system from September.
Ellie has achieved an incredible weight loss of nearly 8 stone and uses her own personal fitness journey and experience to help motivate her clients.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
My journey to fitness started like most: with a desire to lose weight. At a size 18 very near a size 20, something needed to change. Food had been a comfort for too long and so I joined the gym which had just opened near my house, and the long hours of cardio began. The love for all things fitness didn't arrive until I discovered weight lifting in a small group PT session. I couldn't wait for every training session: I would come alive and eager for a new PB, not only for me but for my gym friends too. I lost around 50kg (nearly 8 stone) and people would ask me for advice. I could not stop talking about it. I found people on social media that shared my feel-good obsession and decided that if I had managed it, I had to help other people to achieve it and so I become a personal trainer.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I don't really follow a particular nutritional regime. I believe in a healthy balance. I advise clients to aim to have protein with every meal and to refrain from too much sugar, consuming most of their carbs from vegetables and sweet potatoes rather than pasta and bread.
Tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up
I completed Toughest Race last year with the Fempower UK team and I have run a few 10km races. At the moment I don't have a run or event planned, I train because it makes me feel good and I love to try what London has to offer, trying all different classes and venues.
Talk us through your training regime
I like a variety of training: I am a qualified Insanity™ instructor and I love using kettlebells in my training.
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I have scoliosis and need to work on my flexibility. I am the mother of a 17-year-old.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated?
Advice on motivation? Find someone to train with; someone that can challenge you but have fun at the same time. Find an exercise that you enjoy and if working out feels like a chore, change what you are doing.
What is your favourite fitness quote?
“Your only competition is yourself.”