What to wear: Workout basics for Chicago moms

Joining a gym or making a decision to start working out is a great first step in taking charge of your health and happiness – the next question is: what do you wear? It might seem like a silly question but what you wear can be essential to working out.


The most important thing you will wear while exercising is shoes. If you can only splurge on one item, make it a quality pair of workout shoes. Shoes can make or break your workout.

If you are a runner or a walker, I recommended going to your local running store to get fitted for shoes – they take all the guess work out of choosing the correct pair. Running stores often have a treadmill set up so they can watch you run or walk and some even record your gait while you’re running.They can determine whether you have a neutral foot, a pronate (foot rolls inward) or a supinate (foot rolls outward) and recommend the best shoe.

It is also important not to grab any old shoes out of the closet and throw them on. Shoes that are old will not offer the right amount of support and you may end up getting injured.

It is also important to get a shoe that is specific to your sport. You can find many shoes that are for cross-training (a variety of activities) and those can be a great place to start. There are also shoes for running, walking, basketball, etc.

Sports bra

Ladies, If you’re working out, then you will need a good sports bra. Sports bras offer many different levels of support. There are yoga bras that offer little support, sports bras with minimal support for low impact exercise, and sports bras that offer the maximum amount of support for activities such as running.

A good sports bra doesn’t have to break the bank. I have found some of my favorite sports bras at Target and Old Navy for a great price.

Workout clothes

Here is where personal preference comes in. For example, I heat up really quickly when I workout, so you can always find me working out in capris or shorts and a tank top. If I am exercising indoors, this is what I wear year-round. If I am running outside and it’s a little chiller, I’ll add a thin long sleeve shirt.

It’s really about what you prefer to exercise in – capris, shorts, pants, tank tops, t-shirts, etc. You should wear what you are comfortable in – sometimes baggy clothes can hinder movement or a tight shirt might make you uncomfortable. Wear what makes you feel good.

A tip to remember is that a polyester/Lycra blend will help you keep you cool and comfortable by wicking sweat away. Dry-fit clothes are a good option. Cotton, on the other hand, absorbs and holds sweat and can leave you feeling uncomfortable.

Those three things: shoes, a sports bra, and clothes are the basics of what you need to start exercising. Next time, I’ll discuss some of the other gadgets and goodies that you can use while working out. Happy exercising!

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