How To Look Good In The Gym
We pick out the best performance pieces to help make that January health kick a bit easier (and a lot more stylish).
You will join a gym this month. It is a fact. Already a member of a gym? You will start training with a whole new level of enthusiasm. You may not have harboured much interest in fitness before, but it is now your calling in life. You will download health apps, and Google diet plans. Why? Because it is January. It is the start of a new year, and it is a time for guilt. You must stop enjoying yourself the easy way (drinking, eating), and start “enjoying” yourself the hard way (exercise, sport).
If you rely on willpower alone, this new-found drive will dissipate faster than you can say “February”. So, to keep up the momentum, we advise that you invest in some “proper” gym kit.
Below, we’ve curated a collection of key pieces from the best sports brands around to get you started – a few things to provide some motivation when your “get up and go” has got up and gone to the pub.
Hitting the treadmill is an easy way to introduce yourself to a post-holiday fitness regime. You can zone out, listen to the new series of Serial, or even watch an episode of House Of Cards. But if you are anything like us, boredom will creep in and you will soon want to add variety to your workout. Given their grip and construction, some running sneakers are unsuitable for other types of exercise. Not this versatile pair from Nike Training, however. Lightweight, and with a flexible forefoot, they provide perfect cushioning for running. But if weights are more your thing, the dual-density midsoles give a firm and flat heel for steady lifting. No excuse, then, for not working on your core muscles after some cardio.
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THE TRAINING TOOL
Enjoying a drinking session after a workout because you “earned it” is not going to relax your muscles into recovery. In fact, the best way to relieve muscle pain after the gym is with a foam roller. When you roll a part of your body on the Grid 1.0, above, it mimics the pressure of a human hand, promoting the flow of blood and oxygen to ease aches, pains and knots. It’s basically like a self-administered massage except no one’s hands are getting tired in the process. The brand was founded by former athlete Mr Cassidy Phillips, who was inspired by a rheumatic muscle problem he suffered from called fibromyalgia. So if it can help him, it can certainly help you. And, if you want a second opinion, just listen to Mr Lee Mullins, founder of the Workshop Gymnasium in Knightbridge: “The trigger point foam roller should be an essential part of every man’s training bag. Foam rolling helps your body to recover from workouts, prepares your body for a workout and improves flexibility and posture.”
If you want to invest in some serious running kit, but don’t wish to appear as if you’re training for the Rio Olympics, look no further than Iffley Road. Named after the Oxfordshire track where Mr Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile in 1954, this brand has history and integrity at its core. But there is also subtlety to its British-made pieces (there are no go-faster stripes here). An adjustable waistband and a lining made of 10 per cent elastane means you can train in comfort, whether you’re giving Mr Bannister a run for his money or panting and puffing after a December gym sabbatical. If you’re lifting weights, wear compression shorts underneath – like the pair below – to improve posture and aid muscle repair.
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If you are taking this whole January fitness thing seriously, you should be monitoring your heart rate in the gym rather than tapping the heart icon on your Instagram feed. Leave your iPhone in your locker, and heed this activity tracker instead. Founded in 1935 by championship orienteer Mr Tuomas Vohlonen, Suunto makes innovative watches with Olympic-lab technology. Not only will this monitor your fitness, whether you are cycling or swimming (it works up to 50m under water), it will also locate you using GPS, should the “orienteer” in you cause you to leave the gym and get lost on a cross country run. If you find that you simply cannot live without social media updates during exercise, this nifty little thing allows you to check those, too. So there’s absolutely no excuse for a rest. We like.
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With all that sweat, grunting and bare flesh, there are some terrible things to witness in a gym. Our pet peeve? The short or low-cut vest, usually worn by men with pectorals or stomachs the size of beach balls. Set a good example to your fellow gym users and keep things covered with this trim, moisture-wicking T-shirt made with Nike’s Dri-FIT material to keep you cool and dry. If you’re avoiding the gym altogether, head for the park, and layer up with a Nike Running jacket.
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The bag we set aside for the gym is often a sorry-looking thing. A dishevelled rucksack, perhaps, acquired from an unknown source (or work conference), which bulges at the seams when you try to cram in a towel. Since we often take it into the office, perhaps a little more care should be taken when it comes to our gym bag. This piece, from Mulberry is our current favourite. Constructed from leather-trimmed durable canvas, it is strong, smart and understated. Most importantly, you can fit all your kit inside and still have space for a few work essentials.