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Working out shirtless is not an option at most gyms so every Skinny Yoked lifter is faced with the task of going shopping for workout clothes that will A.) allow them maximum range of motion while and B.) make them look baller while performing those motions.
How to Choose Shorts for the Gym
Shorts are perhaps some of the most critical pieces of equipment you’ll need for for the gym and often many lifters are going about their selection all wrong.
*Remember, in the gym, style comes AFTER function. First look at everything as a tool and evaluate its role in assisting you in achieving your goals. Second, check whether it look “cool” too.
What NOT to Wear
Gym shorts are different than street shorts. One you can wear everywhere and one you can only wear on the street. So feel free to relax around in your gym shorts at home or out and about but don’t be brining your cargos or chino shorts into the gym.
These shorts are designed with one thing in mind: to look nice. The fabric and construction are not designed for strenuous physical activity.
Thick fabrics that don’t stretch, extra buttons and pockets in inconvenient places and excess fabric mean street shorts not only restrict your movements but will also probably result in some serious swamp a*s.
Even basketball shorts are not a great option. Most basketball shorts are a weird hybrid between style and function. Sure they are made of a much more breathable material but just way too much of it. All that fabric hanging past your knees.. people can only assume it’s because you’re cold or because you have weak chicken legs you’re trying to hide.
Types of Gym Pants/Shorts
Sweat-shorts are a timeless option for the gym. Old school athletes have been relying on the humble sweat-shorts for years as a cheap and reliable gym go-to choice. Sweat-shorts provide relative durability, stretch, and pockets. Furthermore they come in every color under the sun. The best thing is they’re cheap as f*ck, you can get a pair for under $8 at H&M.
Sweatpants are the sweat-shorts of the fall and winter. Perfect for those who work out in the early morning when it’s still brisk out and you just can’t bare to step outside in your shorts. Sweatpants have all the same perks of shorts (durable, cheap, stretchy) in a longer form.
Tell Kai Greene man leggings are dumb, we dare you..
An added benefit of working out in sweat-shorts is retaining higher body temperatures resulting in more sweating aiding in fat loss. Is it any wonder why My Olympia contender Kai Greene is always wearing them?
Speaking of Kai Greene, we have to mention a newer, trimmer alternative to the sweatpants that’s making waves in gyms around the world. Meggings, or “man-leggings” are leggings worn by men. In case you’ve never had a gf or female family members, leggings are simply sweat-shorts without the fuzzy lining and are even more stretchy.
Meggings are thus pretty comfortable if you like having a soft stretchy extra layer of skin. Some feeble minded may say they are for women but then they’d be calling people like Kai Greene and Phil Heath women, and thus discrediting themselves horribly.
8 Time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman beasting what are either thin meggings or tights..
Man leggings, meggings, whatever you call them, having a tight stretchable option for working out is awesome as you can see and thus mentally connect with your muscles as they contract and stretch without raising too many eyebrows. And f*ck the eyebrow raisers anyways, do what works, do you.
In addition to sweat-shorts, sweatpants and man leggings there are always the traditional athletic shorts to fall back on as your gym “go-to”. Adidas, Nike, Under Armor, Puma, everyone is making a quality athletic short these days and often at ver affordable prices.
Some things to look for when buying your athletic shorts:
- Make sure the waist is snug, you’re going to be moving around more than a cat in a bag so make sure they’ll stay on.
- The length should be above your nasty pale knees. This means no basketball shorts, get GYM shorts! Yes more of your leg will show, and if you’re uncomfortable with that fact then you have to do more leg days until you look forward to showing off your monster quads.
- Breathable materials are best, some even have mesh venting in the ball region for maximum cooling.
- At least one pocket. Seriously, it seems about 40% of athletic gym shorts have zero pockets. This is a huge design flaw. Gym cards, music players, locker keys, you need one pocket for your essentials.
- Scaleability. Once you find a pair/style/brand that you love buy 5-10 pairs of them. The gym isn’t a fashion contest and nobody will care if you wear the same style everyday. Do what works.
Choosing a Gym Shirt
There are 3 main routes you can take in terms of what to wear on top. Your options consist of tight spandex “lifting” shirts, stringers or “muscle shirts” or sleeveless t-shirts. Each has their pluses and minuses but only one reigns supreme.
Gym-designed Stretchy Shirts for the Rich
Tight spandex shirts are cool because they’re made of sweat wicking super breathable hybrid materials. Also, when you’re just starting out, having something that fits snug can help make you appear a bit bigger.
On the other hand these types of shirts are usually pretty expensive and as much as form fitting clothes can accentuate the muscles you do have they can also accentuate the muscles you don’t have.
If you’ve got a fair budget and are ok spending $20-$40 per workout shirt, then go for it. If not there are plenty of other options to choose from.
Muscle-exhibiting Stringers for the Advanced
Stringers or “muscle shirts” are great if you’re absolutely jacked and that’s why you see many big youtube fitness authorities wearing them. Wearing stringers are a way of visually communicating your gym cred.
You can’t fake big guns and those are the only people that should be wearing stringers. There is a downside to this skimpy form factor though, and that is getting sweaty skin-to-bench contact because stringers leave large portions of the chest and back exposed. This looks great but isn’t the most practical if you’re not a fan of absorbing other people’s sweat with your own flesh.
Sleeveless T-Shirts for the Guy who Doesn’t Give a F*ck
The most versatile workout shirt is probably already in your dresser. You have piles of old faded t-shirts, some with stains, some you just don’t wear much. By simply cutting off the sleeves of these t-shirts you can transform them into the perfect gym attire.
Firstly, utilizing your own t-shirts means your cost is $0.00. Secondly, by cutting off the sleeves you get the best of the above two options. Without sleeves you get superior range of motion provided by those $35 spandex shirts and you can simultaneously show of your guns like with a stringer except most of your back is still covered so you won’t have a ringworm orgy between your traps.
Choose one of the above shirt options. Don’t wear regular t-shirts, you’ll ruin them by gumming up the armpits with sweat/deodorant and won’t be able to get full range of motion on some exercises. Additionally, leave the wife beaters at home, they look white trashy. You aren’t Eminem and it ain’t 2002 anymore.
How To Select the Right Gym Shoes
Even more important to the shirt and shorts you choose to workout in are the shoes you choose to do it in. If you’re a serious lifter and plan on spending a considerable amount of time in the gym then shoes are the one thing you should be sinking your money into instead of reflective-thermo-vaporizing-spandex lifting shirts.
Shoes are not only pivotal in enabling you to perform your exercises correctly but also important safety aids. Working out in your work boots, flip-flops, Tevas or high-tops not only looks dumb as f*ck but is also dangerous as f*ck.
There are two routes you can go with when choosing gym shoes. One is specialization and the other is all-around practicality.
Weightlifting vs. Running Shoes
Specialization means having a shoe for lifting weights and a shoe for doing HIT training or cardio. These two types of shoes are very different. Weight lifting shoes like the Adidas Adipower shoe and the Powerlift 2.0 are designed specifically for lifting weights. Nike also makes a sick weightlifting shoe called the Romaleos II.
Best Shoes for Weightlifting:
Both the Adidas and Nike weightlifting shoes are awesome tools to help you kill it at the gym. They feature solid, durable soles with a heel height which is optimal for fundamental lifts like deadlifts and squats. The materials are light as f*ck, durable as f*ck and baller as f*ck. These shoes are built to lift weight.
Best Shoes for Running:
Weightlifting shoes however are not designed to be run in and thus if you go the specialization route you’ll want a separate pair of running shoes for your high interval training and cardio sessions.
Running/cardio shoes should be as light as possible, provide good support through the arch and ample shock absorption via the soles. There are a million varieties to choose from the major manufacturers. SY is a big fan of the Adidas Solar Boost shoes and the Springblade 2.0’s because they are comfy as hell and look awesome.
The Nike Free Run 5.0’s are also worth mentioning as they combine wearability with performance and look dope as well. The early Free Run’s had issues with the sole padding wearing off the heals quickly but Nike’s addressed it and the 5.0’s (in all black at that) are stellar shoes for cardio.
If you’re on a budget there’s no going wrong with the Adidas Superstar 2’s. Simple, affordable, durable as hell these shoes are great for weightlifting with a shallow, relatively flat sole that provides great stability without being too heavy, which makes them also fine to run short distances in.
If you look past the massive calves you’ll see SY rocking the same Superstar 2’s for over a year..
Listed at $80 the Superstar 2’s can regularly be found for around $60 in retailers. SY uses these on a daily basis. One day it would be nice to specialize with two sets of gym footwear but for the time being it’s all cheap sweat-shorts and Adidas Superstar 2’s.
Accessories Worth Investing In
Besides shirts, shorts and shoes there are a few other things worth investing in if you’re planning to dedicate yourself to a life at the gym. Again, it’s never about the money you spend, these things are all just tools. What produces gains is willpower and nutrition. Everything else in life is “supplementary”.
The Most Durable Gym Socks:
Socks are one of those things like butter and toilet paper where you dont’ really care about the brand and usually just grab whatever comes in the highest quantity for the lowest price. Fortunately, in the world of socks there is a brand that delivers both excellent quality at a very competitive price and they are Goldtoes.
For $14.99 for a 6pack they are very reasonably prices for the quality you get. How they sew the toes we don’t know, maybe it’s the gold threads, but they seem to resist holes better than any other sock SY has tried from Nike, Hanes or Fruit of the Loon. If you see them, try a pack of Goldtoes and see for yourself. We like the ankle sock as it gets the job done and looks good doing it.
The Most Versatile Gym Sandals:
Sandals? At the gym? No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Since almost all gyms don’t allow street shoes and many ofter shower facilities we recommend you pick up a pair of flip flops to A.) quickly throw on when grabbing your gym back (containing your headphones, gym shoes, towel, supplements etc) so you can get out of the door as fast as possible.
Flip flops are great because they require zero effort and take up minimal space in your gym bag so if you’re going after work or going someplace after the gym to chill you’ll have them handy and ready to go. Also, if showering at the gym flip-flops are super useful in avoiding shower floor slime, toe fungus and plantar warts.
Any flip flops will do but if you want something the best go with Havaianas. SY thought they were just a fad and purchases regular Wal-Mart flip-flops for years. However regular flip-flops only lasted just that, about a year before crapping out and also had a nasty habit of hydroplaning on smooth wet surfaces.
Whatever chemical compounds used in Havaianas they make the sandals last long as f*ck without much wear at all. Havaianas also seems to use more sticky rubber in their soles so they don’t hydroplane when it’s wet. Longevity and safety on smooth wet surfaces makes Havaianas a no brainer choice.
Now you’ve got all the tools you need to get to the gym and start sculpting your masterpiece!