Sarah Harradine is a Personal Trainer focusing on strength and functional training, fitness blogger, and massive Marvel nerd. You’ll either find her coaching clients at Train Manchester or appreciating a finely crafted meme or two at home.

A baggy t-shirt and pyjama bottoms just don’t cut it on the gym floor anymore. Athleisure is big news, and going to the gym is as much of a fashion show as going to the bar. But just as different fashion tribes have their own look, so do different types of fitness, so read on to make sure you’re not committing a fashion faux pas next time you hit the gym.

1.What to Wear for Bodybuilding

String vests, grey fleece joggers and a snapback is a strong look when you’re chasing gains in the gym. While this is mainly a fashion choice, it does have function – a vest will give you lots of range of movement in your arms, so you can target your shoulders, lats, and chest from a variety of angles.

Old-skool iron gyms are often chilly warehouses, so a compression top will work well to keep out the chill, show your physique, and can also help prevent muscle fatigue. Flat shoes will keep you close to the ground and stable during big lifts, so no need to invest in footwear for bodybuilding. All the more money to spend on food.

men's bodybuilding outfit

2. What to Wear for CrossFit

Whether you’re a CrossFit addict or fed up of your CrossFit-addicted mate chatting on about it, there’s no denying its massive increase in participation over the past few years. The look in most CrossFit gyms – or boxes – is pretty simple: a logo t-shirt and sports shorts with novelty sports socks adding a touch of personality.

Other than the not-insignificant membership cost it’s the shoes that are the real investment for CrossFit kit, with the intense workouts demanding robust uppers and solid soles to keep you stable during weightlifting, plyometrics, and gymnastics. Get saving your pennies – you never know when your mate will convince you to get down to the box for a session.

3. What to Wear for Running

Layering is key when you’re running outdoors, especially as we head into the volatileweather of spring. A base layer, a longsleeve, and a thin, showerproof jacket means you’re covered whatever the elements decide to do.

Most of us find that our legs don’t get as cold as your top half so you might get away with a pair of running shorts, but if you’re feeling nesh then a pair of compression leggings underneath will do the trick – and will also prevent chafing on longer runs.

Sturdy running shoes are a given here to prevent injury and to keep you comfortable when pounding the pavement. If you haven’t found your dream pair, get yourself to your local running store where you can try on different models plus give them a test run on the treadmill.

men's running outfit

4. What to Wear for Olympic Weightlifting

Compression tights are a must if you’re thinking of giving the clean, jerk, and snatch a go (yep, that’s really the name of the lifts involved in this sport!). This isn’t just for aesthetics – there’s a lot of dynamic hip contact involved so keeping your personal equipment locked down can help prevent any accidents. Trust us on this one.

5. What to Wear for Yoga

If you’re going to join the likes of Robert Downey Jr, Matthew McConaughey and Jon Bon Jovi in downward dog – who are all reported to use yoga in their fitness routines – then you don’t need any specialist equipment other than a mat, which is usually supplied by the venue anyway. Loose-fitting, stretchy joggers will allow for movement, and a more form-fitting t-shirt or vest will prevent you being temporarily blinded by a saggy neckline when in an inversion.

You’ll be expected to be barefoot for this class, so maybe give your toenails a trim before going – there’s not much more off-putting than staring at Gollum’s feet for an hour.

How to Care for Your Gym Kit

Your gym kit needs different care to your normal clothes. Always change out of your fitnesswear as soon as you’ve finished your session, and try not to leave it in a pile too long before you wash it to prevent bacteria building up. High temperatures, fabric conditioner and tumble drying can break down elastane, so wash at 30 degrees, avoid using softener and dry naturally unless you want a baggy crotch on your best compression pants.

gym outfit for men

What NOT to Wear in the Gym

It might seem obvious not to wear jeans, shirts, and opened-toed sandals in the gym, but believe us, we’ve seen it before – all at the same time, too. Apart from it looking like you’ve forgotten your PE kit the rigid fabric of both jeans and shirts won’t allow for any movement, and your toes risk being squashed by a rogue dumbbell if you leave them exposed.

Tops-off might work if you’re in a functional fitness gym, but most commercial gyms will frown upon bare chests. If you’re getting too warm there’s always a spot of cool air conditioning you can stand under for a short time, plus take in a hand towel in with you to dry off. At the end of the day as long as what you’re wearing doesn’t offend anyone or put them in danger, you do you in the gym. It’s a space where you let off steam from your work day so whether it’s neon, a superhero t-shirt, or all-black, stick to your style but make it functional for your type of fitness.

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