When you’re getting dressed for different workouts – HIIT, running, functional training, spinning, yoga, barre, boxing, CrossFit, pole dancing, or just hitting the gym floor – not all training and workouts are created equal. Different styles of training provoke varying physiological responses and demands on the body.
Whilst some simply make you sweat your bum off (HIIT, I’m looking at you), others leave you feeling stretched and rejuvenated. So this begs the question, ‘should you wear the same gym clothing for HIIT vs Pilates’, for example? The answer is no.
Why should I wear something different for Pilates?
It might be gentle on impact, but it’s a challenging workout. Pilates is one of the best forms of full-body exercise because it’s suited to all ages and abilities. It’s one of the most recommended workout styles for pre and post-natal women, those starting their fitness journey and those who are returning after an injury, poor health and surgery.
But that’s not to say Pilates is at all easy! In fact, Pilates works the body as an integrated whole, focusing on everything from the core, lower and upper body strength, posture and flexibility.
Many moves in a Pilates workout create muscular endurance through a certain type of movement pattern known as eccentric contraction – basically extending the muscles under increased time under tension.
There are also two types of Pilates: floor-based on a mat, and reformer Pilates which uses a reformer machine. But no matter which type of Pilates you are practising, there are some ‘practical’ things to consider in terms of your outfit choice that will make you feel more comfortable.
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If you’re a person who usually prefers looser-fitting workout-wear, I would recommend trying more body-hugging items for Pilates, for two reasons. The first is that it’s important that your instructor can see your form and movements to be able to correct or improve posture and technique. Secondly, there’s a risk that loose clothing can get in the way of accessories and equipment. So:
The perfect Pilates workout outfit:
The top for limitless movement
Select a top that is specific to your body type and comfort level and, ideally, where form meets function. Take into consideration that loose tops may ride up – flashing your sports bra underneath a t-shirt or top is not the concern here, it’s the interference of the top covering your face mid-move, causing you to constantly pull it down.
Something like a racer-back sports bra that offers medium support is a suitable option, or I personally love a cross-tank top – this fuschia one by Sweaty Betty has won me over!
If you feel uncomfortable showing your mid-section, TALA’s skinluxe vests with in-built bust support are perfect and come in a range of lovely shades.
The leggings for ultimate comfort
For me, nothing beats high-waisted seamless leggings for absolute comfort. During Pilates, your body is contoured into a variety of shapes and positions, and seamless leggings ‘seamlessly’ (see what I did there) enable your body to move and flow without chafing or riding up in unwanted areas.
Plus, whilst details such as fasteners, zips and buckles can add a little more style, I promise you won’t want to feel the edge of such details whilst you’re trying to holding a position. I also find that because of the added suction and support that a high-waisted legging offers, they naturally encourage you to engage your core more. A win-win considering Pilates has a real core focus!
My go-to and absolute OG brand and collection for seamless leggings has to be Gymshark’s Vital Seamless 2.0. There’s a rainbow of colours to choose from and perfected fabric technology that ensures guaranteed comfort whilst contouring your body. But a close second and a brand I can’t not mention is Pursue Fitness’ Adapt Seamless Leggings.
The bodysuit for an easy win
It goes without saying, an all-in-one bodysuit is a game-changer, but they’re not for everyone. A bodysuit will make you feel hugged in all the right ways whilst giving you the ability to move and stretch without any seams digging into your waistline Lululemon’s Align™ Bodysuit 25” full length is the real deal with trademarked design! Using their Nulu™ fabric, the weightlessness of this one-piece means, in their own words, ‘all you feel is your practice’. The Align™ bodysuit also comes in an 8” short leg version.