We all admire athletes for their physical prowess, commitment to their craft, and the inspiration they give us on and off the court or field. There’s nothing quite like watching your favorite star lead your team to victory by putting on a legendary performance and sharing the glory.
But while most of us focus on how athletes perform in crunch time, we often forget that there is a ton of blood, sweat, and tears that go into training and preparation behind the scenes.
Many factors come into play in the making of a great athlete, from diet and exercise to practice and philosophy. Proper gear is also important, and the world’s top performers know that wearing the right clothes can make all the difference when working out and leveling up.
Let’s take a closer look at what athletes wear in various settings to become the absolute best at what they do, from warming up to weight training, cardio, and off-the-field leisure.
It’s always fascinating to gain some insight into how athletes achieve their superhuman goals. You can also take some lessons from the pros and wear this gear yourself to bring your workouts to a new level of intensity! Here we go.
Fit And Form Matter Most
The first thing you probably notice about athletic clothing is that it fits different than your average set of shirts, slacks, and outerwear. While these clothes can certainly look good (and having a great physique always helps), how apparel fits and performs is far more important to an athlete.
You’ve probably seen athletes working out in tank tops, taking advantage of the full range of motion that a sleeveless shirt offers. Some prefer to train in short sleeves, giving their arms a bit more coverage, and long-sleeve shirts make more sense for warmups and outdoor training sessions when the weather kicks up.
In terms of athletic pants and shorts, finding a great fit is even more of a challenge for athletes, since many of today’s joggers and sweatpants are built more for fashion than functionality.
The common thread here is ergonomics, or in other words, how the clothes fit on the body to promote maximum athletic performance and reduce the chances of injury.
There are a few key rules of thumb to keep in mind. First, athletes need clothes that contour to the body without too much excess fabric weighing them down or getting in their way. That means no baggy shorts or tee shirts that flap around in the wind or get stuck on equipment.
This doesn’t mean that all athletic clothes need to be skin-tight, but there should be no more than an inch or so of extra fabric around collars and sleeves on any given outfit.
Athletes require apparel that fits their frame without adding any unnecessary restrictions, whether it’s pushing weights overhead, bending into a deep squat, or contorting into a yoga pose during a stretch session.
That’s why it’s so important to try on clothes before buying when you’re an athlete or training to become the best version of yourself. This goes for tops, bottoms, and outerwear.
Dynamic movement and versatility should be the top priority, so try out different motions and stretches before you make a purchase. Even if you aren’t in love with the look of a certain piece of athletic apparel, performance matters more.
Ideally, you’ll find yourself a brand of athletic wear that looks great, feels great, and allows you to perform to the best of your ability. This is the best of all worlds for any athlete.
Materials That Boost Performance
Great-fitting workout wear is just one half of the equation—the other is the materials that make up the clothes. An athlete can sport an outfit that fits perfectly, but if the fabric is cheap and low-quality, their performance is going to suffer at some point down the line.
When athletes are shopping around for their next piece of workout apparel, there are a few materials that they look for on the label.
The usual suspects include nylon, spandex, polyester, and other manmade blends that offer flexibility and stretch. These materials are also known for their moisture-wicking abilities and anti-odor properties that keep the stink away when things heat up during a workout.
But as you may have noticed, 100% synthetic materials have downsides that can limit performance and comfort during a heavy training session. They sometimes lack breathability and make you feel like you’re cooking in a cocoon of your own sweat. Gross!
That’s why athletes tend to prefer clothes that feature an optimized blend of natural and manmade fabrics, including organic cotton and bamboo viscose. Not only are these materials comfortable and performance-focused, but they’re also sustainable and last for a long time.
Before you make your next athletic wear haul, go down the checklist of the qualities you want from a piece of clothing. Be sure it checks all the boxes of comfort, flexibility, and sustainability, and you will be way happier with your purchase.
It takes a bit more discipline and sometimes costs more, but the long-term upsides are worth it.
The Ultimate Workout Wardrobe
The world’s top athletes are masters of adaptability, and their trainers create highly specialized regimens that boost their abilities and skills in certain areas, depending on the scenario. Too slow? Do sprints. Too weak? Hit the weights. Tight in the hips? Yoga time.
These peak performers know that different pieces of workout apparel are needed for specific activities, which is why they have a wide, diverse range of clothing in their wardrobe.
When it comes to working out in inclement weather like frigid cold, wind, and rain, there’s no room for excuses. Athletes need an array of layers and accessories to keep them on the path to success, no matter what the weather may be. This could mean hoodies, pullovers, hats, gloves, or whatever it takes to get out there and make the magic happen.
While experimentation and flexibility are key, there’s also value to be found in repetition. Too much variation, and it’s tough to make progress.
Ask any athlete about the secret to their success, and they will likely mention consistency as a key factor in their rise to the top. The same principles need to be applied to clothing. Once you find the gear that works for you, stick with it and don’t stray from the course.
Athletic Outfits And Leisurewear
Life is all about balancing work and play, and we all know that athletes like to enjoy life and look great when they’re not training hard and winning championships. Just check out any post-game press conference to see some of the coolest clothes on the scene!
But any athlete will tell you that finding well-fitting outfits is a challenge when you’re built like a tank. The top-earning athletes on the planet can afford to tailor their clothes to their exact dimensions and specifications, but it’s way tougher to find great fits off the rack.
Many athletes will look to athleisure brands to fill out their everyday wardrobes with clothes that fit right and feel good when it’s time to relax or enjoy a night out. This could mean button-ups and polos for guys or tunics and skirts for women.
If you’re leveling up your physique and need some new threads that accentuate your best features while still maintaining that fashionable look, find a brand that does it all.
Look And Train Like An Athlete
There’s an old saying in the business world that you must “dress for the job you want.” It’s rooted in the concept that you can visualize yourself in a professional position or accomplishing specific goals, and dressing the part can help move you toward that outcome.
Sports psychologists closely study the effects of mindset and how different environmental factors impact performance. There’s no denying that when you wear the right clothes, your attitude amplifies with greater confidence and focus.
Still can’t figure out the best workout clothes for you? Just browse some Instagram inspiration or log onto your favorite athletic wear website and see what’s trending.
Apply these concepts to your professional, personal, and fitness goals, and you’ll see that the right clothes make a substantial impact on your performance when it matters most.
The world’s greatest athletes are capable of things beyond the realm of possibility for us normal folks, but they still shop around for quality clothes like us and seek the best gear available.
Whether you’re a casual gym-goer, a lifelong fitness enthusiast, or just breaking into the scene for the first time, take it from the pros and follow this game plan to select the best workout clothes for your needs.