What Do You Wear When You Work Out?

I am a workout nut. It’s hard to admit it, but it’s true.  My friends have kindly mentioned it, and even though I try my best to deny their characterizations of me as such, they are right.  It is true.  Each morning, I leave for work at 7:00am and spend the fifteen minute commute thinking about my post-work exercise plan.  During the spring, summer, and fall, I plot out my running route both in distance and time, and during the winter, I gear up for treadmill work or indoor activity at a local University’s field house.  I may tell folks that I believe working out is a chore, but in reality, I spend a great deal of time planning and participating in it. I like it.

Like any other workout nut, I have a variety of routines that I follow.  My family considers the routines to be a little quirky – and they probably are – but my workout nut pals all have their own quirky routines; thus, giving normalcy to what I do.  I dash home at 5:00pm, say hello to the folks in my house, change, and within no more than fifteen minutes dash out again. I rev up the IPOD, check my shoe strings, and hit the road . . . each day . . . every single day that I can.

I have come to terms with the realization that I may be a workout nut.  It was difficult to comprehend and internalize, but I’m okay with it.  But today, I was hit with another revelation – a new one – one that is much more difficult to accept than the workout nut moniker.

I am a workout nut . . . with a pathetic workout wardrobe.  Really, I am a pathetically clad workout nut.  My workout nut fashion sense is so pathetic that my loved ones have given up mentioning it to me.

My workout wardrobe isn’t swanky.  It isn’t groovy, with-it, or mod.  And it certainly isn’t hip, trendy, or fashion forward.  It isn’t flashy, flirty, or fun.  It isn’t pretty.  It isn’t any of those terms or any other term that would equate to workout stylish.

Rather, it is . . . more like . . . hmmm . . . let’s just say – utilitarian.

My workout fashion regime is simple: Shorts, shirt, shoes, socks – all in neutral, sweat-hiding colors: check.  Hair in a mandatory pony tail, workout glasses from the dollar store for treadmill reading: check.  Nearly broken, barely working ear buds threaded through the shoulder of my workout shirt to prevent me from losing them: check. A plain gray IPOD with a plain black case, and a green headband someone left at my house  to keep my eyes sweat-free: check.  With all this apparel, I think I am good to go out the door. Exciting activity, pathetic attire.

Well, yesterday, it was raining and my workout was moved to an inside venue.  There was a waiting line for the treadmill which meant that I had a moment to take a look around me. So I did.  And boy did I see a lot.

I saw fancy matching Under Armour everywhere and lots of Nike Dry Fit shirts that included tiny riveted holes made especially for threading ear buds.  I saw headbands with impressive logos and shorts with phone pockets.   I saw one person with what I would call a $9.99 two for one ShamWOW chamois; however, I learned that the proper name for it was the Trekkings Ultra Fast Dry towel.  The user had it hung around the neck to keep perspiration to a minimum.  No doubt it cost a pretty penny. And it looked impressive.

Bikers in St. Louis. No pathetic workout clothes here.

In the shoe line-up, there were pairs with toes, pairs that kept track of miles logged, pairs that were incredibly light, and pairs that were specifically for running indoors on treadmills.  Absolutely everyone had on designer socks with several of those folks explaining their sock choices to me. One person was wearing a workout hat and a couple folks were sporting workout gloves. My favorite was an individual who had perfectly matched everything head to toe.

Still there was me:  A peach colored shirt, black workout pants that had shrunk and were just a tad too short, the same all purpose tennis shoes that I had last year, the green headband, dollar store glasses, and the broken ear buds threaded through the sleeve.  I had been in a little rush at home and accidently was wearing a pair of mismatched socks, both I might add were in the Nike category, which is a little better in some way.  All in all, it was the same pathetic workout wardrobe that I have been wearing for years.  Workout nut / pathetic clothes.

Moments later, there was an available treadmill for me.  I hopped on, cranked up my IPOD, started my workout, and concentrated on forgetting about physical fitness fashion faux pas and the implications.  Perhaps I was making much ado about nothing.  After all, the purpose of working out is to workout.  There are no red carpets or runways to navigate. In some ways it makes more sense to sweat in ridiculous haphazard clothes than it does to do so in designer duds.  And I have never seen fitness paparazzi in my neck of the woods. Still I had to face my workout wardrobe and acknowledge that I was deep into the pathetic category.

I have two choices.  I can go on a quest to find and purchase better workout apparel.  It definitely isn’t hard: I can order clothing from the comfort of my living room.  There are a zillion of online venues at my fingertips, and a lot of them have very impressive selections!   Or, I can continue to be the same workout nut with the same pathetic workout wardrobe that I have grown to be over the last couple of decades.  There is something to be said for ignoring common social conventions and throwing all caution to the wind in this area.  It does feel a little exhilarating to be in the zone where something just doesn’t matter.

Either way, by the end of this year, I have made it one of my resolutions to make a decision in this area.  A December 2012 update – with photo – will follow.

4 thoughts on “What Do You Wear When You Work Out?

  1. I was once resistant to workout fashion – then I found out that there are some brands and items that just work better AND are cute. I’m a convert. I love cute running gear. If you’re looking for ideas, check out my gear reviews on my blog. 🙂

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