The Threads

The best workout clothing consists of any combination of comfortable garments that allow freedom of movement and a modicum of modesty. When Joe began competing in kayak marathons with international paddlers, he was initially surprised to see that the majority of the world-class Australian and South African kayakers he raced against wore baggy T-shirts while the Americans often wore tight tank tops. Why the baggy look? These guys had chiseled upper bodies straight from central casting. It's comfortable, mate! In other words, if you got the goods why compromise comfort for vanity? Before you could say rip curl, many of the Americans started wearing extra-large as well.

Here's a basic list of acceptable gym threads:

>- Sweat pants

> Sweat shirts

Although some people find wearing a tank top too revealing, keep in mind that it's always a good idea to concentrate on the muscle groups you're working, so if you're concentrating on your upper body, a tank top may be just the thing. Not only is it easier to focus on the task at hand if you can see the muscle actually lengthening and contracting, it can be a good motivational tool to see your muscles grow before you eyes—a phenomenon known as the pump.

When working her upper body, Deidre usually wears a sports bra and sweatpants, and she dons a T-shirt and shorts when she works her lower body.

Joe, who has arguably the largest collection of race T-shirts in North America, tends to modify his attire according to the aerobic activity he's doing that day. If he's going to run and lift he wears jogging shorts and brings along an extra T-shirt (no problem there). If he's going to cycle or use the Concept II rower, he's likely to wear bike shorts, and, you guessed it, a T-shirt. Also, on "leg" day, he prefers bike shorts since they offer better support when he does squats.

Jonathan, the personal trainer who has been known to dine in trendy Manhattan restaurants in a black warm-up suit (arguing that, strictly speaking, it is a suit), doesn't really care what he's wearing as long as he's working out. In fact, Jonathan probably would lift in a lobster bib if he forgot to pack one of his nine million T-shirts.

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