It’s hard enough to focus on exercising itself. When you’re starting out, you have to build a routine, stick to it, and recover from your hard work the next day. It’s easy to overlook the clothes you throw on to workout.


I’ll admit, I ordinarily pick out some of my old, baggy clothes and just head out in those. The problem is that they are in no way optimized to help you work out. It’s not the worst thing to deal with (those Stairmasters are far worse) but after a few workouts, you’ll start looking for an alternative so you don’t leave the gym a sweaty, stinky mess.

The first step, nix the cotton

There are a few reasons cotton is not optimal to help you work out. The first is that cotton clothing is also baggy. It’s a small inconvenience until you hop on a spinning stationary bike and your pant leg gets caught in the mechanism. Or the shoulder of your baggy tee slides off and you’re exposing your sports bra to the gym. You should wear well-fitted clothes to help ease your work out.


The second reason is that cotton soaks up all the moisture you are pouring out and does not release it easily. So all that sweat sticks around. As does the bacteria in it that makes you smell and leaves you with pit stains. It’s time for an upgrade.

The problem with polyester/Lycra blends

Polyester and Lycra are both synthetic materials that are commonly used in sportswear. The good part about these synthetic blends is that they can often feel cooler than natural fabrics like cotton and they can help wick away moisture. The moisture wicking is particularly excellent — you don’t walk away from the gym feeling like a wet towel.


The downsides are that they are synthetic and non-eco friendly. The second issue is that they tend to hold onto stink-causing bacteria which, again, will make you smell after your workout. There are many synthetic blends that incorporate antimicrobial compounds to combat the smell issue and those are well worth looking into.

Upgrade to nylon

Nylon is a great option and is very popular for active wear. Nylon is soft like silk and dries fast. As an added bonus, it is often incredibly stretchy and wicks sweat away. It’s incredibly breathable and is resistant to mildew build-up. However, nylon is a synthetic material.

For optimum workouts, try bamboo fabric

I recommend bamboo workout clothes as a fantastic, eco-friendly, alternative. The clothing is made from bamboo pulp, which yields a natural fabric that is soft, light and breathable. Bamboo cloth is softer than cotton but wicks away moisture, so it automatically knocks cotton out of the running. It also keeps you on average 3 degrees cooler — a huge advantage when working out.

The material is odor resistant and also repels allergens. They are comfortable, flexible, and are offered in a wide range of products.


Great job staying active and good luck with your workout goals. By choosing the right work out gear, you’re guaranteed to be more comfortable throughout your gym session.