Men's gym wear used to be restricted to old team tees and basketball shorts. Today, you'll find a variety of designers and manufacturers that cater to men who want to look as suave at the gym as they do in the boardroom. High-performance fabrics are paired with more flattering cuts so you stay cool and comfortable while exercising. When in doubt, check out what the other male patrons at your gym are wearing -- it can provide helpful clues as to the informal uniform at your particular club.
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Topping it Off
Chances are you've got a drawer of ratty T-shirts that you use for sweaty workouts. But those old T-shirts are often too loose to allow you to properly see your form while weightlifting. When choosing workout tops, look for those that clearly show your arms so you can observe and correct your form as necessary. Look for shirts made from mesh material that will allow your body to breathe better and help you avoid unsightly underarm wetness. Skip the torn-up duds and opt for clean-cut workout clothes that are just as comfortable.
Finding the Right Pants
Pants and shorts are a personal issue -- what you prefer for workouts may not be what your workout buddy prefers. In general, look for workout bottoms that provide support without being too constrictive. A mesh workout short can help vent sweat and odor, while traditional sweatpants may highlight a perspiration problem. If you're participating in yoga, Pilates or using a workout machine, look for pants and shorts that fit tighter to the body so your instructor can see your form and you can avoid your clothes catching on the gym machines.
Getting the Shoes Right
Always choose shoes based on function over fashion. A trip to the athletic shoe store will yield choices based on the type of workout you usually participate in, your comfort and your personal style. Always try on a number of styles, brands and sizes to find the ideal fit. A general cross trainer is best if you plan on general exercise. If you attend an indoor cycling class, you may be asked to wear cycling shoes. Yoga and Pilates can be practiced barefoot.
Attending to Details
A well-packed gym bag with your essentials can help you feel more comfortable at the gym. Bring along the music of your choice loaded onto your mp3 player, along with headphones that stay in place while you move around. If you shower at the gym, bring along a few basic toiletries like antiperspirant and soap. At the very least, pack a pair of sweatpants to wear over your gym shorts and a clean pair of socks to change into so you leave the gym feeling fresh, not sweaty.