Although motivation is the most important thing when it comes to working out, good and appropriate gym clothes can help a lot. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to choosing the right gear.

Avoid cotton

It might seem like a 100 percent cotton wear is the best option, but it’s not. Cotton absorbs all the moisture and dries slowly, so your comfy t-shirt can cause skin irritation, and wet patches can give you chills. It can also cause irritation in parts that get a lot of friction (armpits for instance) and damage your skin. Get a quality t-shirt or tank top made of moisture-wicking, synthetic or quick-drying fabric instead. Those materials are designed to draw the moisture away from your skin and allow maximum evaporation. For colder days get a sweatshirt to avoid catching a cold, and remember to wear a few layers of clothes.

Ladies, sports bra is the key

For women, probably the most important piece of gym clothes is a sports bra. Depending on your workout, you can choose from low-impact sports bras for light activities or high-impact ones for running or other cardio workouts. Wider straps and bands are the best option because they will equally spread the weight, protect you from excessive ligament and tissue trauma and offer maximum support. Again, avoid cotton, but opt for some of the moisture-wicking materials. But essentially, sports bras are the main thing that will bring the most comfort to a woman.

What’s under the waist?

Loose sweatpants can actually be quite dangerous in the gym. Excess material can easily get caught on stationary bikes or other machines, or you can step on it and trip. The key is finding the golden middle: choose sweatpants or capris that will not be too restrictive when lunging or squatting, nor too loose to get in your way. If your clothes don’t fit, it’s hard to see your body form while exercising which can lead to injury. Choose a lightweight material like polyester or synthetics, to avoid skin rashes or catching a cold. Don’t forget underwear of course, and make sure they are comfortable and not restrictive.

Don’t neglect your feet

The key element of any workout are the right shoes, especially if you’re an avid runner. Experts advise getting a new pair after every 500 miles, which translates to once a year (if you run twice a week) or even quarterly (if you run almost every day). Never let yourself train in ripped trainers with worn out soles. They don’t offer the right support to your arches and you can easily slip and hurt your joints. If lifting is your thing, look for a pair of training shoes specially designed for lifting weights. This important piece of gym wear provides good ankle support and has flat soles for better stability and form. For some additional amortization, get socks with extra cushioning and your feet will be forever grateful. You want your feet covered and well protected in the gym, so avoid sandals and flip-flops by any means – otherwise you risk a long list of injuries (and some embarrassment).

Any accessories?

Accessories are not really necessary in the gym, but there are some things that can improve your workout a bit. You can put headphones on and play some upbeat music to get you pumped-up and properly motivated, but adjust the volume as you’ll want to be aware of your surroundings. This advice especially concerns those of you who like running outside. You have to be able to hear the traffic and other runners. A firm headband for long hair is also a good idea. If you’re planning to lift often, get a pair of gloves to avoid blisters and callus formations.

These are some of the basic rules and tips for hitting the gym, and now you only need some motivation to go with your outfit.

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