The fitness industry is saturated with brand name clothing featuring innovative fitness technologies that claim to enhance your workouts and provide the latest fashion trends. Apparel ventilation, moisture wicking, compression fabrics. With a vast number of well-marketed and expensive products available it can be easy to find yourself buying into the hype. Read on to find out which trends you can skip, and which are worth the expense.
Are Brand Name Products Superior To Non-Branded?
In a world full of Nike, Adidas, and Lulu Lemon, non-brand name products can seem somewhat basic and pale in comparison to their branded counterparts. Practical often equals dull, but you may be surprised to find that some non-branded clothing items can do the job just as well as expensive brands. While some of the technologies used by brand names are costly and therefore increase the price of the product, much of what you pay for is the brand itself, which is essentially a statement logo.
Almost everything is made in China, or somewhere in Asia, and it is no different for many of the biggest brand names. You will often find designer products being manufactured in the same factories as high street items. The difference will be the label, although sometimes a little more workmanship and time may have gone into the production of the more expensive items. Occasionally you will find that some brand name products are of superior quality (think fabrics, stitching etc) and in these cases, you will need to make a decision as to whether the price tag is worth the extra cost. In most cases, you usually are just paying for the name.
Moisture-wicking fabrics are the real deal. Wicking fabrics pull the sweat moisture from the body and draw it to the outer surface of the fabric where it can be expelled into the air. Natural fabrics are absorbent, so fitness apparel that uses this technology is usually made from a synthetic fabric, often a polyester blend. These fabrics can be particularly helpful for those exercising for long periods or those exercising in hot climates. Dry touch fabrics may also be useful in minimising sweat residue in communal indoor spaces such as gyms and studios where hygiene is important, and where equipment is shared.
Compression workout clothing is common amongst those who participate in cardio based sports such as football and running. A study published in 2016 tested the effects of compression garments on several performance aspects of runners who ran distances of between 800m and full marathons. The study showed that runners experienced several performance improvements by wearing compression clothing, including reduced time to fatigue, and reduced leg muscle soreness. If you are training to increase your speed or endurance, compression garments could enhance your training.
Best Gear For HIIT Training
HIIT training or high-intensity interval training refers to intense bursts of exercise with little rest. Think Hiit Supremacy, Hiit Me Up, Hiit Ladder and Hiit for 6. It is during these high impact movements that workout gear can have an impact on performance, and provide support benefit that is maybe not as essential when engaging in strength training or light exercise.
Clothing – Compression garments are best suited to HIIT training as they can help to create a more aerodynamic silhouette, and they have been proven to improve physical performance. Sports bras can provide essential breast support for women during high-intensity movements and during exercise where bounding or jumping takes place.
Footwear – If the chosen movement is high impact then it would be wise to ensure that the correct footwear is worn to reduce the risk of discomfort and/or injury. Running trainers have cushioning and stability to support the foot. Some running footwear retailers also provide a service where they film your running style on a treadmill before recommending footwear that is most suited to your running gait.
Comfort Over Style
Exercise starts in the mind. If you feel comfortable and confident you can focus on your training without distractions. Brand names aren’t important, but if you are competing or training to improve your speed or performance then it may be beneficial to invest in specific fitness apparel to enhance your workouts. If the latest workout gear isn’t for you, then this is absolutely fine too.
Wear what you feel best, and perform best wearing— and above all, enjoy yourself.