Gym apparel can greatly vary in price. From the $5 low-end gym shorts to designer workout tops that can cost upwards of $85, there’s no shortage of options no matter what your price range might be. But does your gym apparel influence how much you work out? Research suggests it might.
Researchers at Northwestern looked into whether our clothing impacts our mood and behavior. What they found in their 2012 study was that yes, our clothing does impact us in major ways.
The concept is called “enclothed cognition.” They tested it by dividing people into two groups: one group was given a lab coat for the study, the other group was allowed to wear street clothes. They were then given attention-related tasks. Those in the lab coats performed much better because they were dressed like actual scientists.
It turns out that if we prescribe certain attributes to the clothes were wear, we’re more likely to adopt those attributes to ourselves. If you’re looking to get in shape, that means you may want to invest some nicer workout clothes.
People who wear expensive, fashionable workout clothes, something like Lululemon, look like they are regulars at the local gym. Because they look the part, they’re more likely to actually go to the gym to workout.
Luckily, fashionable workout clothes are becoming less and less expensive. Clothing manufacturers want people, women especially, to feel comfortable wearing their workout clothes to the store as well as the gym. This allows women to look like someone who loves to workout, even if that’s not always the case.
The more a woman wears these workout clothes, the more likely she’s going to actually hit the gym. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts — because the woman wears clothes that make her look like an exercise fanatic, she then becomes an exercise fanatic.
The key to finding the right workout clothes may not be price so much as it is about feeling confident in how you look. Brands like Lululemon can help you feel confident because of the message that brand sends to the world, but it can be any workout outfit that gives you the motivation to hit the gym.
The flip side of this is that if a woman doesn’t feel confident about her clothing or her looks, she’s far less likely to return to the gym. Fitness classes are far more fashionable than they were even a decade ago. If a woman walks in and looks out of place, that’s a sure sign that she won’t be back again.
Researchers do caution that a person shouldn’t just run out and buy a completely new wardrobe. If you try to change too much too quickly, the change won’t really take place. Instead, start small and try to work these new clothes into your regular lifestyle. Over time, add more to see if your personality changes with your wardrobe.
If you’ve been trying to get in shape and just can’t seem to find the proper motivation, try to add some cute workout clothes to your closet. It could just be the catalyst you need to start regularly hitting the gym.