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Anybody who tells you it’s just for the gym is kidding themselves.
There’s a must have when it comes to working out, that in recent years has inspired many Instagram posts, tweets and Facebook selfies. No, it’s not the brand of protein that you use, or how much you lift; it is of course, what you wear when you hit up the gym.
Brands like Lululemon, Lorna Jane and Nike have encouraged women, and men, to invest in some fabulous workout wear to enhance their workout and encourage them to exercise. But what about those of us who haven’t jumped on the overpriced bandwagon and have continued to workout in shorts that we wore for sport at high school? Are we not getting as good of a workout as our sisters dressed in neon patterns?
Of course we are! It seems silly to think that buying pretty, matching workout gear actually makes us work out more. If anything, it just means more mirror selfies with a pair of weights at your feet. Or yoga mat selfies. Or…you get the point!
But then the question arises, are those of us not dressed in the latest gym fashion intimidated at the gym? Us ladies can be self-conscious when pumping iron as it is and having the pressure of those around us looking like they’re coming off a fitness runway can be daunting.
It’s another instance in which we feel that women are being pitted against each other in competition of being the most fabulous or the most fit. Workout wear is classed as another way in which we can feel inadequate. Those of us not dressed like a Nike billboard can feel a little shameful of our oversized t-shirt and old leggings combo.
In a bid to gain our own self-confidence and feel great no matter what we do or wear, we need to learn that it doesn’t matter what you put on when you go to the gym. As long as you’re comfortable, wearing clothing and shoes that support your body, and are in something that you can smash a workout in, it really doesn’t matter what you have on. However, if you’re in booty shorts, it does – because those just go straight up your ass.
Once we start to care less about what other people think and do, we can be so much happier within ourselves and not have to feel inadequate because someone’s hot pink leggings are brighter than your own.
Image via workandworkout.com
It’s surprising that a touchy subject when it comes to gym attendance is not how many times you should go, how many reps you should complete or even the type of exercise you should do, but what you should and shouldn’t wear.
Personally, I would’ve thought that you could wear whatever you like to the gym, whether it be old camp sweat shirts and shorts you picked up as a souvenir from the beach, or that old sports jersey from three years ago. But with workout gear becoming brighter, sexier and tighter, it’s easy to see how people can feel uncomfortable if they don’t keep up with the trend.
Working out at the gym shouldn’t have judgement attached to it – other people shouldn’t care what you wear when you’re sweating it out on the treadmill or squatting your heaviest weights. This is why it’s confusing when you receive dirty looks or smirks if you’re wearing a crop – it is literally meant for gym wear!
The crop top is a very controversial topic amongst gym goers. Should you wear it if you have the confidence, should you not wear it because you might sweat on things? It’s tough, right?
Apparently, wearing a crop top to the gym makes you self obsessive, a show off and intimidating to the other ladies who may not want to bare their physique in such attire. Is this really the case ladies? Are some of us spreading hate to others because of our own self-esteem? If so, why should girls not be wearing crop tops at the gym?
Today I want to stick up for the crop top girl. Through my days of working at a gym, I only ever saw two girls working out in crop tops. They both didn’t touch machines, so there was no worry of them sweating on things. Both their workouts comprised of cardio and weights and they would both receive looks from other, sometimes older women in the gym that were somewhat disapproving.
So should you be wearing a crop top at the gym? Absolutely! If you feel confident enough to wear a crop top, go for it. Just make sure that you are wiping off the equipment before and after use and that you’re able to complete your workout comfortably. I for one know how hot it can be when you’re smashing out an hour on the cross-trainer and your shirt is drenched and stuck to you – it’s gross and you just want to rip it off.
But does wearing a crop top to the gym really deserve the stigma that seems to be attached to it? During an intense workout, it may be more comfortable to ditch the shirt and work out in a crop top. During that Zumba class, you might want to show off your new Lorna Jane coordinates. Does it really matter that much?
I now put the question out to you ladies (and gents): Should you wear a crop top to the gym, and why or why not?
Imgaes via mirror.co.uk and popsugar.com
Former World Ironman champion Guy Leech has shared his top tips on how to strengthen and shred your core – sans the serious gym equipment. According to Leech, the much talked about “core” encompasses the entire, complex series of muscles that extend far beyond just the abs, this muscle group works to stabilise and support your body.
“While core strength is essential to correctly perform all sorts of strength training exercises, it is also very important when carrying out simple day-to-day activities and maintaining good posture and balance. A strong core can also help reduce the risk of back pain and injuries,” he says.
And these are Leech’s go-to exercises to get a killer core at home:
1. The plank
“The plank works the entire core including the upper and lower body muscles all at once,” Leech said. Simply lie down on your stomach, and then lift your body off the floor with your forearms and toes, while keeping your elbows at 90 degrees. Try to keep your body straight without arching your back. Leech explains that “the longer you can hold a plank, the stronger you will get, and the more resilient your lower back will be to injuries.”
2. V-sit hold
“This exercise is great as it not only works to strengthen the core, but also helps drastically improve balance,” Leech said. Start on your back, and then bend your legs and back up at the waist as you extend your legs and arms off the ground into the air to form a ‘V’. Hold this position for as long as you can. “For a slightly more advanced version, drop your legs closer to the ground and hold your feet a few centimetres off the floor for a few seconds, before releasing.”
3. Twisting crunch
As one of the most effective crunch workouts, the twisting crunch will target all your stomach muscles in one simple movement. Just assume a standard crunch position, and then raise your torso to a 45 degree angle from the floor, and then twist from side to side, each time driving the opposite elbow to the opposite knee. For an extra challenge, Leech suggests, “Try extending your legs and pretending to peddle a bicycle as you continue to twist.”
4. Ball roll-ins
Ball roll-ins are great to target the central and lower abdominal muscles. Start with your hands on the ground and the tops of your feet on the top of a large exercise ball. Keep your hands in place and bend at the knees to bring the ball up toward your chest. Hold this position for a second and slowly roll the ball back out. “With this one, it’s important to focus on squeezing your abs throughout the movement and avoid just using your hip flexors to pull the ball in,” Leech said.
5. Work in short bursts
The final tip, which can be applied to any kind of core exercise, is to execute every part of the movement ‘explosively’. Scientists have shown that performing abdominal exercises at a fast tempo activates more muscle than doing them slowly. “This is most likely because in order to speed your movements, your muscles are required to generate higher amounts of force,” Leech explains.
Although you don’t like to think about it, the local gym where you workout is a germy place. There’s no way to deny the amount of germs in there when hundreds of people use the exercise equipment on a daily basis to complete their sweaty, intense workouts. Now that you’re actually imagining it, it’s pretty gross, isn’t it?
While there may not be many people in the gym at the time of your workout, you have to remember all of the people that put their damp clothes and exposed, sweaty skin on that particular piece of equipment before you did. Many gyms don’t get their equipment cleaned properly, and even if they do, how do you know there wasn’t someone on that machine an hour before you?
Gyms tend to rely on patrons to abide by simple gym etiquette and wipe down the machines after use. But in reality, a huge amount of people neglect to do this, instead leaving their sweat and any sickness they may have on the equipment that you are about to get on. Wherever there is contact, particularly with the hands, there is a higher chance of catching something nasty. This is why we’re encouraged to wash our hands many times throughout the day and especially before touching our face and eating. But while you may be courteous enough to wipe down the machine after use for the next person, how do you know if the person before you was thinking the same thing?
This is why you need to wipe down the gym equipment before you use it. Yes, it may seem pedantic, or be a little time consuming, but do you really want to be getting someone else’s sweat all over you? The hard surfaces at the gym are a great environment for viruses and fungi to survive, making it easier for you to catch something – especially if someone has been silly enough to come to the gym while they are sick. Having open wounds such as blisters or cuts also makes the body more susceptible to catching germs by having microorganisms invading the body.
Wiping down equipment before use is not something we usually think about when we’re in gym-mode, but as cold and flu season approaches, we need to protect our bodies from pathogens and keep healthy. Using your towel as a barrier between your skin and the equipment is also a good idea if your gym doesn’t have wipes or spray available – just make sure not to touch the towel to your face and always wash your hands after your gym session!
So next time you’re having a workout, do yourself and your body a favour and wipe the fitness equipment with an antibacterial wipe before you use it. You’ll be protecting yourself from nasty bacteria that’s on the equipment and lessening the chance of sickness or infection.
Image via The Huffington Post
We’ve all partaken in our fair share of beauty sins like sleeping with our makeup on, rubbing our eyes and popping pimples, and we’ve probably all, at least once, completed a workout with makeup on. Well it’s time to stop, right now. While we might brush it off as a makeup misdemeanour, wearing makeup while exercising is a little more criminal for our skin than we think.
When we exercise , heat up and get into a really good sweat session (which we all should be doing), our pores expand to sweat out the dirts and oils that have been trapped in there all day. Here’s the thing though; if you’re wearing foundation, your pores expand and this allows your foundation, which has added bacteria trapped in it from being on your face all day, to get into your pores. Mix this with sweat and it’s a bit of a nasty combination, not to mention a little bit nasty to wipe on your white gym towel. Going all natural allows your pores to detox and get rid of all the toxins, allowing you to feel rejuvenated and relaxed. Clogged pores can lead to skin breakouts from the bacteria that is getting trapped when you cool down and your pores tighten. This can also cause irritation of the skin.
Not only is wearing makeup to the gym bad for your skin, it can also be a little harmful to your eyes. When you start to sweat, eye makeup, even the waterproof kind, can start to deteriorate, especially if you’ve wiped your face and then found it was actually on your towel. The fibres of your makeup, mixed with sweat can drip into your eyes, causing them to sting and become irritated. In a worst case scenario, you can contract infections from the bacteria in mascara fibres that fall into your eyes and aren’t expelled, during your workout.
Having makeup on your face while exercising can also affect your workout intensity. If you’re worried about having your makeup smudge all over your face or you don’t want to clog your pores, you aren’t going to be working out as hard as you would if you didn’t have the makeup to worry about.
You should also avoid putting on moisturiser before your workout as this has the same effect as foundation and will melt off as your body starts to heat up, making your slimier than you should be. If you are working out outside, a dry sunscreen can be used to protect your skin from sun damage.
Exercise is a great way to keep your skin healthy, so make the most out of your workouts by going all natural. If you’re going to the gym straight from work, keep some makeup wipes handy and at least get rid of the foundation before commencing your workout. Besides, that cute personal trainer is much more likely to be interested in you if you’re not afraid to sweat during a killer workout than if you’re walking on the treadmill with a full face of makeup.
Images via femside.com and mfcinstitute.com