Fitness Clothes: Do They Matter?

Dressing for Fitness Success


If there was a sun sign for raccoon, that would be me. I am giddy when I get shiny new items.  Like a kid at Christmas, I can’t wait to rip open the packaging and play, play, play!

When my husband installed a heavy bag in my basement I couldn’t wait to get down there and bring out my inner Charlie’s Angel, punching and kicking the imagined villain until they finally relent and honor my expired coupon.

Similarly, a bargain on a juicer had me flying to the local grocer!  There I would fill my grocery basket with just the right produce to concoct a cure for cancer.  Surely no one has tried MY exotic mixture of beets and apple juice.

“But what excites me the most is new workout clothing. Every time I get a new pair of sneakers!  I’m wearing them at the first opportunity.  I feel like I have a higher spring in my step as I bounce off to the gym.”

Don’t let your significant other read this part, but if you need a little boost in motivation to workout try getting a new outfit. Something about putting on shiny new spandex really puts me in the mood to sweat.

It’s a proven psychological effect that putting on formal clothes makes us feel confident and alters our perception. Researchers at California State University, Northridge say when you are well dressed and look in the mirror you feel good about yourself and it affects the way you act. They were talking about wearing suits and lab coats but apply the same idea to exercising.

At one of the gyms I work, as a part of my yearly review I’m evaluated on “looking the part” for the classes I teach. I was actually marked down for wearing Zumba clothes to teach a weight lifting class. They want members to have a sense of what the class is about as soon as they walk in the room and see the instructor. They also want me to exude the look and confidence of the format so participants respond positively.

When I’m not teaching a class the clothes I wear still play a role in dictating my actions. If I wear a dress I know there’s no chance of me doing anything beyond sitting and walking. Whereas if I have on my “activewear”, a buzz word for clothing comfortable enough to workout but nice enough to wear to a parent-teacher conference, there is a chance for fitness to happen. I might spontaneously hop on my bike and go for a ride with my son, jump up and join a ping-pong game or feel comfortable getting down on the floor for a stretch.

Fitness Clothes Makeover!

Fitness Clothes Makeover!

Some psychology experts recommend dressing up a head of time for your workout.

It’s like the advice to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you wear your running clothes to the grocery store with the intention of taking a run afterwards you’re more likely to do it. Otherwise, if you don’t you will more likely come up with an excuse to avoid changing into those clothes and busting out the door.

Of course it could get pretty expensive buying new clothes every time you’re feeling lazy.

  • Another trick I have is rotating out clothes I don’t wear as often or seasonally.
  • When I pull out the storage bins it’s like shopping all over again in my closet.
  • Another suggestion, make a new item a reward for being consistent in an exercise regimen and seeing results in your hard work.
  • Then you’ll receive double motivation when you have that new item to show off your fit body.

No matter what you wear, be sure you talk to your doctor about your exercise activities.


Dressing Study:


About Davida Wright Galvin

Davida is a fitness professional and former award winning health and science television reporter. As a mother and wife she juggles the daily challenges of raising three children, working and staying active. She likes to make fitness fun and helping people find joy in exercise so we can cure the obesity epidemic in our country. --------------------- UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, BACHELOR OF ARTS, Journalism; Certifications (Present and Past): AFAA Group Training, BodyPump, Zumba, Balletone, SCW Personal Training Certification, Turbo Kickboxing, YMCA Personal Training Certification, Vegas Stiletto Fitness, Reebok Core Board Training Certification, CPR/AED & Infant CPR; YMCA Fitness Instructor Certification -------------------- If you’re in the Denver area find her class or fitness events at Have fun, feel fit #withDavida!

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