Getting your Summer body in style
Spring has sprung and for many men, that means hitting the gym in preparation for baring a little more than usual over summer, shedding the suit for shorts and swimmers. It used to be that we went to the gym in order to look good out of the gym, but now that fitness centres have become social spaces (and workout-selfie places), looking your best while working out is no less important than the reps you smash out.
Take heed from three of the best in the fitness business. James Duigan is the Adelaide-born founder of the Bodyism chain of luxury gyms in London, the Maldives, Capri and New York. He also recently launched an activewear range in collaboration with London men’s lifestyle label Orlebar Brown. Duigan’s supermodel and celebrity clients are part of the same athletic A-list that frequents the Lanesborough Hotel in London, where Benjamin Evans is general manager of the exclusive health club and spa. Closer to home, Sydney businesswoman and yogi Jodhi Meares recently expanded her successful women’s activewear brand, The Upside, to include a dedicated range for men. Here, the three fitness gurus give us their insider intel on how to look good while working up a sweat.
Keep it slim and subtle
The athletic wear stores might be full of neon prints and weird baggy pants, but an understated colour palette and slim fit with some stretch will keep the look smooth and simple. “Baggy clothes can hinder your movement, while flexible fabrics will allow your body to comfortably adapt during warm up, work out and cool down,” says Duigan.
“Choose colours that don’t show sweat, especially for more intense workouts. Black and white are safe bets, but navy blue and army green add an element of style.”
Maximise your motivation
“New gear can be helpful when you are just starting out; you don’t want your clothes to be the hurdle in getting out and enjoying exercise,” says Meares.
She recommends looking for pieces suitable for a wide range of activities, and not buying anything you’d be embarrassed to be seen in on the street.
“Choose shorts you can wear in the gym or in the surf, or a jacket that you can run in, or wear in the rain,” she says.
“It has to be versatile, and none of it should look out of place if you are going for brunch afterwards.”
Invest in a workout wardrobe,
“Men traditionally used to come in wearing basic bottoms and a T-shirt, but now they’re investing a little more when it comes to their workout gear,” says Evans.
“Some of our members have 3-5 sets of different gym gear, so they can co-ordinate easily and it keeps it interesting and fresh.”
Duigan likes to layer compression leggings under shorts for added functionality and cool.
“Guys can be scared off by compression leggings, but they do really assist in your recovery, post workout,” says Meares.
“Wearing them under shorts is a much cooler look.”
Buy more than one pair of training shoes and rotate among them, according to the type of exercise you’re doing. This will increase the lifespan of your shoes and ensure you have the right support for every activity.
“I suggest, at minimum, one pair for indoors and one for outdoors,” says Duigan.
“Air your shoes between workouts and apply a shoe deodorant.”
Experts agree that the general rule is to start shopping for a new pair of shoes when you’ve covered 500-800 kilometres in them, which for someone who works out often, is usually equal to about 60 hours of active exercise.
It’s in the bag
Keeping your gym bag pre-packed makes it easy to get out the door in the morning, then out of the gym and in to work.
“There’s nothing worse than forgetting a shirt on the day of that all-important board meeting,” says Duigan.
A cotton bag is the ideal bag-within-bag for storing workout clothes until you can get home – “never plastic!” says Meares – and don’t forget to pack a grooming kit to cover all your essentials.
“Men used to pack their deodorant and not much else, but now they’re taking a lot more care looking after their skin with face creams, moisturiser, hair gel and perhaps a beard oil,” says Evans.
Leave your phone in that bag
Going to the gym is the perfect time to switch off from the outside world and listen to your body rather than your mobile. Leave it in your gym bag to minimise distractions during a workout – and annoying disruptions to other gym members.
“The last thing you want to hear in the gym is someone taking a business call,” says Evans.
“We have a no-talking-onphones policy and anyone doing so is asked to leave the gym.”