Ali Martell: From Hemlines to Heels


My Favourite Workout Clothing

What you should look for in workout clothing—and what I look for

When I joined the gym, I honestly didn't even think about what I'd actually, you know, wear to exercise. I was way more focused on getting signed up for training and actually getting my body into the facility than I was on workout wear. I showed up for my first day of training in a pair of super old sweatpants (My mother bought them for me the day after I gave birth to my oldest child. She is almost 12.) and my worn-thin Green Bay Packers championship t-shirt. We won't even talk about what I was wearing in terms of brassieres. 

I learned very quickly that I needed better workout wear options, for both my body's comfort and my body's fashion sense. 

There are some important things to look for when choosing exercise clothing. I mean, of course, other than their ability to make my ass look magical. 

1. The wicking factor. If you are doing it right, chances are good that you'll be doing a lot of sweating during your workout. Because of this, it's important to make sure that the layer that is resting closest to your skin is pulling moisture away from your body. (Important note: cotton t-shirts do not do this.) If you choose sports bra, tanks, and t-shirts that have proper wicking, they can keep you cool and prevent overheating in the summer and can keep you warm in the winter. 

2. The appropriate factor. Use common sense here, really. Do not wear yoga pants to ride a bike to in a spinning class. Do not wear a flowy tank top to do yoga or your downward dog might reveal more than you bargained for. Make sure your workout clothing actually, you know, fits you. 

3. The layerability factor. This is especially important if you are working out outdoors in a climate that can get cold, cold, cold during those pesky winter months. It's a good rule of thumb to wear as few layers are you are comfortable wearing, so you may start out in a hoodie or long-sleeved shirt, but by mid-workout you may find yourself in a tank and capris.

Here are some of my favorites these days:

1. Women's UA Pure Stretch Cheeky, $12. I'm a thong-wearer by nature, but when I began working out I heard that it's slightly unhygienic to wear thongs while exercising. This pair of UnderArmour seamless underwear came highly recommended and I absolutely love them. They are super comfortable and there's not a single VPL to be seen, even in your tightest pair of compression pants or capris. Score!

2. Old Navy Active Compression Jacket, $35. This jacket really is the best bang for you buck. Also, there are thumb holes. 

3. Lululemon Groove Pant, $98. These are the Holy Grail of yoga pants. Period. I love these pants, and tend to refer to them as my magic-ass pants to anyone who will listen, but they are not good nice to look at, they are super comfy and perfect for yogs, ellipticizing, and certain strength-training exercises. 

4. GapFit gFast capris, $44.50. I have several pairs of these because I love them so much. They are appropriate for any kind of aerobic activity. The material is perfectly-fitted to aoid chafing while drawing moisture far away from your body. And the price cannot be beat. I highly, highly recommend. 

5. Nike Fast Pace Tank, $24.99. This, really, is my go-to tank for cardio. It's not too fitted, which I like. It is made of a Soft Dri-FIT® fabric that helps for long workouts (or long-distance runs—if you are a runner.) and extra sweaty training sessions. 

6. Lululemon Swiftly Tech Short Sleeve, $58. I was actually hesitant about making this purchase. Short sleeves? Did I really even need that? It turns out that I absolutely love this top. I like everything about it—the length, the fit, the seams. It feels like it serves as both a warm layer and a cool layer without ever having to change tops. It's breathable and completely anti-chafing. It's such a good investment. 

7. Lululemon Swiftly Headband, $14. This headband is 100% worth every penny. It is the first headband I have ever tried on that has actually stayed in place during an entire workout. For real! If you have any bangs of any kind, it's a must-have. 

8. Moving Comfort Fiona High-Impact Sports Bra, $45.99. I am a huge fan of this bra. I searched high and low and did a lot of research before ending up with this one. It is sized by actual bra measurements instead of just s-m-l. It's both adjustable in the band and adjustable in the straps—which, for me, is a huge plus. 

9. Zella 'Sculpted She Girl' Tank, $54.52. The best thing about this awesome tank is its strategic seaming—it's so flattering I can't even tell you! It has a great built-in shelf bra (so I can wear it without an additional sports bra).