July 27, 2010

You Don't Need the Fancy Shirt to Exercise!

It has always made me chuckle (to myself of course) when I see the "serious" cyclists and runners out on the road decked out, head to toe, in all the equipment possible for the sport. As a fitness programmer, I witnessed the transformation of many fitness enthusiasts from "recreational" to "serious" when they threw away their dreadful cotton t-shirt (heaven forbid) for a fancy dry-fit shirt (complete with matching shoes, socks, and techno-pants). 

The culture of exercise and sport definitely has its' uniform. There is a uniform for yoga, aerobics, dance, cycling, running, and the like. Certain brand names focus on certain uniforms and many people spend much money to look the part and blend into the culture of choice.  Unfortunately, the same cultural practices that may motivate some completely intimidate others.

The women I work with and have interviewed over the years are those women who desperately want to start exercising, loose weight, and get healthier, but don't know why they lack the motivation to do so.  Much of their experiences in the gym have been negative due to the feelings of intimidation and not belonging. Many report/reported feeling like they have to git fit to join a fitness center. Those "novice" exercisers who join yoga classes, running and cycling clubs, report feelings of self-consciousness and intimidation due to the svelte bodies draped in Lycra spandex. I don't blame them one bit.

I'm here to tell ya that it does not matter what you wear, just go out and exercise. As long as you have the appropriate safety equipment and good, stable footwear, wear whatever you want and don't let anyone tell you that you NEED this shirt or those pants to participate. I know no one ever tells you this...but the marketing speaks volumes. I have been in the industry for 22+ years leading fitness, running groups, coordinating, managing and developing program. I am a Kinesiologist and have a masters in exericse psychology. I have taught 600 personal trainers on the island and have written and published a book on the subject. I speak at conferences and workshops.....and always will wear a t-shirt and mis-matched socks when I exercise. Why? I understand how my "uniform" may intimate when I am working with novice exercisers and to be perfectly honest, I'm not one to exercise half naked anyway. Hell, I think it is inappropriate to walk around town in a tank top let alone wonder a gym wearing a half top and short shorts.
I'm telling ya the industry of sport and fitness is just like the diet industry. It is there to make money. You...just...don't...need...it.

Get up, get out, get moving...and wear your T-Shirt with pride!


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