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Choosing the best types of fabrics for a workout
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With the usual popular New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape comes shopping for the proper attire to wear to the gym, your home treadmill, outside, etc.

But wherever you decide to shed those pounds, take into consideration not all fabrics are the same. Plus your workout routine can be exponentially better if you simply wear the correct clothing designed to take into account the types of movements your body will make.

Let’s start with cardio. Gym shorts and a cotton T-shirt or tank top is typically the go-to when performing labor intensive cardio such as running, Zumba, spinning/cycling, fast-paced sports, etc. While cotton/linen blends are the most breathable and offer a quick cool down, try a moisture-wicking fabric such as a cotton/nylon blend. It will make all the difference when performing an excessively sweaty activity.

I learned this the hard way. After running in cotton leggings and a tank tops in college, I decided to never again peel off sticky, sweaty leggings after a long workout. Eww.

But leggings do have their pros. Aside from being the comfiest loungewear in the universe (it’s true), they’re great for yoga and stretching exercises.

Cotton/polyester blends and spandex fabrics are the best at helping the body bend and move easily. If you get hot easily when doing yoga or hot yoga, yoga shorts are an excellent alternative to yoga pants.

Another element worth noting is the importance of the fabrics’ thickness. There has been a recent uptick in reports of (ahem) “too sheer” of fabrics in yoga pants. Basically, try on yoga bottoms before wearing them. Bend over and stretch in the fitting room to ensure nothing you don’t want to be seen can be seen. Your yoga classmates will thank you.

This isn’t to say you should run out and spend a ton of money on Lulu Lemon workout clothing. You can easily find cheap options suited for your workout regimen at the nearest TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. And really, only you know what you feel most comfortable in.

These are simply suggested fabrics designed for a specific type of body movement and a certain level of perspiration. But really, if you’ve been doing yoga in sweatpants, try a pair of leggings or yoga shorts. You’ll probably soon reserve your sweatpants for only movie nights on the couch in the future.

Chelsea Tench is a columnist for the national fashion and women’s empowerment magazine DISfunkshion. She is an occasional columnist for the Times and can be reached at

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