Get the right fit for your workout
Wearing the right gear isn't just about fitting in at the gym - it can actually affect your performance.
Australian men's active and lifestyle brand SQDAthletica creative director Colin Wyatt says the difference the right kit can make to your workout is significant.
"Put simply, purpose-designed clothing enhances your workout and makes you perform better, while poor quality or poorly designed clothing works against your body," he says.
"Purpose-designed clothing moves with you through whatever activity you're doing. So, for example, I design our training and running apparel to be featherweight, flexible and seamless to deliver maximum comfort (and minimum chafing!) while out on a long run or doing a hard session in the gym.
"The technical details are really important. Features like all-way flex (or four-way flex) fabric that stretches left and right and up and down, means your movement isn't restricted, moisture wicking technology that draws moisture away from your body, keeps you cool, welded seams reduce chafing, while treatments like Polygiene assists odour control by breaking down certain bacteria that cause you to stink.
"If you're not wearing clothing that features at least some of these technical components then, trust me, you're going to feel it and it's not going to be pleasant."
While many men aren't fans of shopping, Colin says wearing old or ill-fitting clothing isn't doing them any favours.
"Also, guys wearing the most random colours, or buying things that are too young for them. It's OK to be 35-years-old and wearing more sophisticated gear," he says.
"Rather than looking at the latest colour or print that's in style, my inspiration comes from working with our ambassadors, like we recently did with our collaboration with Australian landscape photographer William Patino ."
When it comes to that much-debated trend of taking activewear out of the gym and on to the street, Colin says it's not just acceptable - it's kind of the point.
"More and more men are looking for clothes that are multifunctional; that is, gear that they can work out in and then wear to catch up with their mates afterwards, or vice versa," he says.
"We were seeing guys come into our stores with shopping bags from athletic brands and lifestyle brands, so we created a collection that includes tees and chinos that can be worn casually or in the gym and on the golf course.
"Our SQUAD tees are another great example. While they're geared more at the lifestyle category a lot of our customers are wearing them in the gym. It's all about personal preference at the end of the day."
If that's convinced you to upgrade your kit, here are three things to look for when you hit the shops:
1. FOCUS ON FIT
Colin says the No. 1 mistake men make when shopping for activewear is buying garments that are too small. "A bit of room is OK, particularly when you're working out, as otherwise you chafe," he says. "You want a fit that works with you, not against you. Like for running, you want something super lightweight that gives you freedom to move, whereas when you're in the gym you're probably going to want something that's really flexible that's not going to ride up or pull when you're squatting."
2. FEEL THE FABRIC
"Pay attention to not just feel, but how it stretches - is it flexible? All our training and running shorts are built with all-way flex fabric, which stretches in every direction. This is the kind of fabric you should be looking for if you want maximum flexibility. Also, look at how lightweight it is - will it move with you or feel like a ton of bricks? The easiest way to do this is to obviously pick it up and try it on. Finally, look to see if the fabric is 'moisture wicking' as this will help control sweat and keep you cool."
3. FAVOUR FUNCTION
Colin says this will depend on your purpose for buying the gear, but an important feature to look for in nearly all activewear is breathability. "This one's a bit trickier to tell right off the bat. If the label doesn't tell you, then look for mesh panelling or little perforated holes that allow for ventilation. Another one, and one that often gets missed, is the seams. How the seams are constructed will affect whether or not you get chafing when you work out. Look for seamless construction, or welded seams. Finally, look for treatments like Polygiene to help control how much you stink after a workout!"