For some of us, the endorphin rush associated with working out comes before we even get to the gym. It happens when we're picking out exercise attire. With the explosive popularity of the athleisure trend and irresistible activewear brands like Beyoncé's Ivy Park, dressing up to exercise can be more of a thrill than actually doing it.
Hold up: Step away from the sports bralette.
If you're not careful about the clothes you're selecting for the gym, you could be at risk of pulling a Janet Jackson circa Superbowl 2004—right there on your yoga mat.
Embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions can happen anytime and anywhere, from the red carpet to the treadmill. The worst part is, you may not even realize it. So we asked celebrity trainer Kira Stokes—whose A-list clients include Candace Cameron Bure—about the most common mishaps for fitness attire, and how to avoid them.
For a workout look that's as stylish as it is safe, check out Kira's tips below.
Your overall exercise experience will be better when you're not in pain or feeling self conscious, and that starts with your first layer of clothing. According to Kira, one of the biggest mistakes she sees her clients make is purchasing the wrong sports bra. This is not an anything goes situation, especially when the incorrect bra can lead to a severe slip. The important factor here is considering the activity for which you're dressing. For example, you don't want to be in the same bra for yoga that you'd wear for high intensity interval training, which requires more support.
"You have to do a trial run prior to getting hard core with certain activities," Kira said. "Jump around when trying it on to see if it's something that's comfortable or if you're falling out or showing too much."
Kira also mentioned that major activewear brands will provide product descriptions to help you make more suitable choices. "Look past if they're super cute, that doesn't mean they're super supportive," she said. "Bras can be fashionable and functional. Learn to read the label like you would read a nutrition label."
When it comes to gym clothes, who doesn't love a pair of leggings? They're versatile, comfy and come in lots of interesting patterns. Note: They should also be opaque. What really makes a good pair of leggings stand out from the rest is the quality of the fabric. Conduct a transparency test by bending over in the dressing room or acting out a dead lift. That way, you'll know whether or not the material will keep you covered. Kira also warned that this test isn't a one-time only deal.
"Leggings do have a shelf life where you do wear them out," she explained. "They may have been totally opaque for a certain number of times, but any fabric is going to get weaker over time."
She advised to continuously check your favorite pairs with the expectation that the quality won't always remain perfect. That way, you can avoid showing more than expected during your next set of squats.
If you're a heavy sweater, that's certainly not a bad thing. This means your system is working hard to keep you cool and maintain a healthy body temperature. But if you sweat in certain areas that make you feel self conscious in front of other people, there are ways to dress to make yourself feel more comfortable. Kira says to start out with an intense workout at home to find out exactly where those spots are. Then, shop for the right gear so you can hide them.
"If you are a heavy sweater, stay away from certain colors like bright pink," she said. "Darker colors are better, and patterns that incorporate darker colors actually hide sweat if you choose the right one."
How do you know if you've got the right mix of colors and design? Splash water on your clothes to see if it blends with the pattern.
"I've never worn shorts teaching in class because they might seem long enough while you're standing there and looking cute," Kira said, "but the second you bend over or do sit ups or crunches, then you look in the mirror and you're flashing the entire class!"
While she suggests avoiding this item entirely, this doesn't mean there aren't ways to make shorts work without suffering a major malfunction. Shop for something with a built-in lining, and pay attention to length depending on your activity. Even for men, Kira said there's a fashionable way to rock leggings underneath shorts: "Just know the right way to wear it."
The material of your clothes can impact your fitness routine more than you realize. While the opaqueness of the fabric is important, so is the way it's made. If you're a runner with more muscular thighs that rub together when you move, for example, there's risk of chaffing. A pilling fabric can contribute a lot to that problem, according to Kira. She said it's important to become familiar with these kinds of effects of different clothing items before you go out and buy the same pair of pants or shorts five times over. Nothing kills a workout like burning thighs (unless it's you're feeling the burn...but that's different).
The key to avoiding any bad wardrobe moment is using the dressing room as your own personal gym. "Jump around, get crazy in there," Kira said. "Run around the store, give yourself a minute to feel how you feel in the clothing so you don't waste money and get really frustrated with the brand that you're buying."
Beyond dodging a bad see-through situation or an unfortunate boob blunder, Kira said that when you're feeling good about how you look, odds are you're going to feel better about doing the workout.