How to Choose the Best Workout Gear for Men
Here is what you need to do...
The first thing to think about is how serious your training is. Are you lifting weights, running or doing both, playing a sport, outside or inside, cold or warm weather etc...? If your a beginner and just trying to maintain shape and fitness through running and non-competitive workouts or athletic events, then simply buying any kind of wicking material such as polyester or nylon based materials will suit you just fine. Brand and quality is not much of a necessity for those just wanting to sweat a bit because functionality and durability isn't highly needed. Even 100% cotton based clothing wouldn't be too uncomfortable.
The more involved or intense your workouts become, the stronger and higher quality synthetic blend materials become more necessary to ensure comfort and performance during your exercises. I will list a few workout styles or sports and the clothing that is necessary or would be best suited for those particular workouts.
Running: Since minimal, should go for lightweight, soft, non-chafing materials. -A tank top or t-shirt would work great, but make sure you purchase according to intensity. I would suggest for any warm-weather runs, to buy a shirt that is a tri-blend of cotton, polyester and rayon or spandex. Shirts or tanks from this material are extremely lightweight and do not hold water or sweat like just cotton, and are far more comfortable and breathable than just polyester. -For cold weather, a simple loose, or tight fitting long-sleeved shirt of the same material is best followed by some thin fleece gloves, a thin fleece hat or head band, and if needed, a lightweight sweatshirt or nylon rain jacket.
-Bottoms should start with a comfortable, yet supportive base layer. Compression shorts that are made from a smooth woven polyester or nylon work best. Wearing regular underwear is not strong enough and will tear, cause leg chafing and burns and is not supportive. The length of the compression gear is personal preference, but I suggest if you have larger thighs and glutes, to buy something longer that goes down just above the knee or more. If you have a leaner build, high cut compression would work just fine. The longer cut will allow the compression pants to remain secure and in place. Those with bigger legs will notice that short-cut compression shorts will ride up on your leg soon into a run or workout, causing great discomfort and a bunching of the material between your legs. They also make long, full length tights that are even becoming more common for men to wear, especially in cold wear to ensure comfort and full leg warmth.
-Shorts or pants should also be shorter and a very thin, flexible polyester, nylon based material. Because running does not require a need for extreme durability, you can purchase extremely thin materials so there is no extra weight or baggage during long runs. Shorts or compression gear with small zipper hip pockets are nice for carrying an ID or Debit cards, keys and cash as well. The hip location and zipper make the pocket secure and comfortable when running for long periods.
Cross training/Crossfit/MMA: These forms of high intensity fitness requiring much movement and physical aggressiveness need stronger, more supportive materials. -Tops should also be more of a wicking fabric similar to running, but are improved when you can find those that have strong seam work and placement for areas that are stretched numerous times such as the shoulders and sections through the chest.
-Base layer compression can usually stay about the same for anything, but shorts should be made from a stretchy and strong fabric with a strong waist band. When cross training, your body goes through several movements at a huge range of motion, especially when squatting etc... You do not want your shorts to get caught or stick to your legs and impede motion in the slightest bit. Shorts with a polyester, nylon and spandex blend are highly recommended. Also something of a knee length cut is nice so when squatting and bending your body, your shorts will stay relatively the same length and ride up your thigh too far. Also, shorts with a large slit cut on the outer edge of short will provide extra range of movement without allowing the short to rise up your thigh causing discomfort. This style is seen in many fighters apparel.
For extra support, a more intense compression short with TPU rubber banding along the thigh area will help support muscles and create more power out put to lift heavier weights and fatigue less.
Along with basic body clothing, long, knee high, socks are also a nice add-on especially when lifting bar bells and climbing ropes. Socks add extra protection to battle abrasive training and prevent an friction burns. A thin, compression sock made form polyester with usually do the trick. You can also find socks that have specific ventilation areas for greatest breathability in well-heated training spots. A loose fitting sock will bunch-up and create much discomfort so make sure to find one that stays secure.
Calf tights are also popular among runners and trainers to help keep the calf muscles warm and compressed to withstand long bouts of contraction and impact. These are usually more of a neoprene, spandex, or elastane material, and only slight up and cover your shins and calves much like a soccer shin guard.
Lastly, when washing these materials, always try and wash together with like clothing and only hang dry without the use of fabric softener. Polyester synthetic shirts trap odor very easily and constantly heating these materials in a dryer quickly ruins the fabric quality and lifetime.Due to the quick drying time, a synthetic shirt and short will dry in just a couple hours or less or roughly the same time as a dry cycle anyway. Fabric softeners also just trap odor into the material as well.
Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.
-Look for lightweight materials involving polyester, cotton, nylon, rayon, spandex or elastane. Usually any of these blended is the best quality. -Check for quality of seam work. If seams are not re-enforced or seem to widen greatly when stretched, they are usually cheap and will break eventually.
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Upon playing numerous sports and being involved in fitness and weightlifting over several years, I have developed a good sense of ideal workout clothing depending on how and where you workout. With new gear constantly being developed and an enormous amount of brands available, it can be difficult to choose what kind of equipment or clothing will best suit your workout needs comfortably.