Does The Gym Gear Make The Gym Goer?

13/03/2016 6:21 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Portrait of People Exercising

I've missed out on the 'gym gear and other paraphernalia' revolution -- and I'm kind of happy about it.

Nonetheless, I still can't help feeling like a bit of a gumby when I'm the only person in my 6 am spin class not wearing cycling shoes with cleats. Yes, that's right, I'm wearing my regular runners, which are worn, much-scuffed and starting to give at the sides, instead of fancy, gleaming, cycle shoes which magically clip into the pedals. If you haven't noticed, the whole crew in your cycle class are wearing the latter.

The apparel required to attend your average RPM or GRIT class is second to none -- next-level sort of dressing. Ladies and gentlemen sashay into the gym like they're walking a gym-centric Versace runway in Milan. They're wearing the tights or the uber-short shorts, the fancy tops with enough flaps and cuts through them to make you look like an elaborate Band-Aid, the headbands, the sunglasses, the fitness trackers... hell, even the right socks. In they go, an endless parade of colourful peacocks ready to display their plumage as they reach for the next dumbbell.

In addition to this display of high-end gym attire exhibited upon entry, the outfit (and required paraphernalia associated with the exercise) might change indoors. Punters remove their perfectly good runners, only to pull shoe boxes out of their bags and swap to the cleated variety in spin classes. Post class, they'll again conduct the shoe swapping ritual. Not to mention the consumers who wear high-visibility cycle gear while conducting their spin class, obviously for increased aero-dynamism... and, of course, to make themselves visible to any stray car which might plough through the sweating serenity of their 5.30 pm RPM class.

From boxing gloves to lifting gloves, shoes and headbands, we find ourselves spending an unparalleled garment fortune to make us look better at the gym... and achieve the desired results. But is the latter really that important or are we really just stuck on the former?

Could our gym wardrobe outnumber all the other subsections of our wardrobe? For example corporate wardrobe, weekend wardrobe, party-gear wardrobe. Is your gym-gear wardrobe so burgeoning it's no longer a sub-section? Is it literally taking over your entire wardrobe, one pair of tights at a time.

The yoga world is no different. Please don't step into your 6 am Bikram class if you're not wearing the latest yogi fashion -- tight short shorts, or longer tights emblazoned with psychedelic images of Buddha and random Sanskrit words that none of us understand. We would like to think they read "Om", or some other sacred, meditational chant, but really we're none the wiser -- they could say 'soup' for all we know... or be some other form of yoga subliminal messaging.

And don't forget your colourful crop top and relaxed, distressed cotton t-shirt (which falls ever so delicately off one shoulder) purchased from a yoga-clothing juggernaut. And don't forget the yoga mat bag. After all, you wouldn't want to just hold your mat -- you have to sling it over your shoulder in a hipster-esque fashion, in an organic-cotton bag, detailed with a cute, elephant print. Of course, the dye is also organically 'inspired' (hang on? What does that mean? Is it organic at all? Or did the maker just 'think' organically while making it?)

Someone once said: "The clothes don't make the man." But in the gym world, it would appear the clothes certainly do make the gym-er. Heaven forbid you should enter the sanctuary which is the yoga room or gym wearing something as off-trend as bike pants; you know the kind we used to wear back in the '90s. You would be stared down by the serious gym-ers, in their very serious gear.

Really, are we serious?

I've missed the gym gear and paraphernalia revolution. I am the Muppet at the back of the room with their regular runners on, and a truly distressed t-shirt. Okay, I'm not going the full distance and wearing the Axl Rose bike pants, but it's fair to say I'm fairly off trend.

But people, I ask you: Do we really need to be wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words 'Never say never!' to be working out?

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