Today I am excited to introduce a new feature on the site, Gymwear Junkies. I hope to make this a regular feature by introducing you to guys who love gear at the gym...compression gear, lycra, spandex, tights, singlets, etc. Today we hear from Canuck Spandex aka Kris. His posts on social media are always a pleasure to see so I thought I would ask him some questions about his love of gym gear. Enjoy learning more about him (and seeing him in his gym gear).
Your gym looks are fantastic. When did you first begin wearing compression gear/spandex/etc to the gym? I've always been a fan of compression gear but used to cover it up for workouts -- a t shirt over a compression top was the most common thing I'd do. Ironically this meant I DIDN'T typically wear tights, because I don't like the look of shorts over them. About three years ago, and perhaps as a result of a dare from my husband, I rocked a pair of tights (without anything over them) for the first time. I was irrationally nervous about how people would react, and was surprised to see that they just... didn't. Since then compression gear has been a constant part of my workout wear.
What are some of your favorite things to wear to the gym?
To some extent it depends on what I'm doing. There are brands that make high-tech compression gear designed to support muscles during a workout. These feature graduated compression, multiple fabric panels or even built-in support systems for muscles - and though they're some of the more expensive forms of gear, the difference is notable. The fit and feel are amazing and I honestly think it helps with movement during the workout AND recovery afterwards. At the other end of the spectrum is gear I wear for aesthetic reasons. These days it's rare for me to wear plain black spandex. I like bright colors and cool prints. I tend to go for things I find slick- looking or "sexy" rather than "goofy" but I have no problem wearing a wild print just for fun. Usually I'll wear either tights OR a compression top, but I also love to wear compression gear from head to toe. Lately I've enjoyed working out in spandex singlets... but I still don't do that very often.
Some guys are nervous to wear anything other than baggy shorts and shirts to the gym. Were/are you ever nervous about what you wear and what helps you overcome that? I hinted at this in my earlier answer, but at first I was terrified. Nobody else was wearing compression gear at the gym. Even now, I'm still one of the only guys in my gym who does. In a space where nobody else is rocking tights for chest day, it can be hard to know you're intentionally wearing gear that stands out. It took a long time for me to get to the point where I would wear tights openly. On the first day I did it, it happened because the only thing I packed in my gym bag for my lower body was spandex. If I wanted to work out that day, there was no other option.
I pulled on my tights, took a deep breath, tried to slow down my racing heart, walked out on the the gym floor and... nobody cared. It turned out that I was the only thing standing in the way. You may not believe me, but for the most part people at the gym are there to mind their own workout - not yours. The biggest barrier to wearing what you want to wear is you.
Do you find that what you wear to the gym improves your workout?
High-end compression gear definitely helps with effort at the gym, and with recovery. It's not miraculous, but it's noticeable (even if it is just a placebo effect).For the most part, though, I use the outfits as motivation. Even if the workout I have planned is difficult, I remind myself that I *get* to wear gear that I really love. Psychologists call this "temptation bundling": pairing something you enjoy with something that can be difficult. The classic example is saving episodes of your favorite show to watch while you're slogging through a long distance run on the treadmill. If my motivation levels are low, I make sure to pack my favorite compression gear.
What are some of your favorite gym wear brands?
For high-end gear that is really designed for athletes I love 2xu, Skins and Virus International. These brands are pricey but, in my opinion, worth the investment.For basic gym compression that isn't too over the top, color- or design-wise, you can't go wrong with Nike or Under Armour. There are some other brands with cool designs that are at about the same price point as these: Sub Sports, Take Five, and Tesla Gear. When it comes to bright colors, awesome prints and gear that really makes a statement, I like Jeffrey Scott, LED Queens, and Venum gear the best. Other brands like Kapow, Stitch, and Sleefs also look great but I haven't invested much in them.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers about your love of gear?
I think the biggest question I get about wearing tights to the gym is what I wear under them. The answer is generally a jock strap or thong, although high-end gear usually has enough support built in that you can get away with nothing at all. I base the decision on how visible I think things are (some gear shows more than others) and how much support I need. For folks who really want to minimize definition in the groin, a classic trick is to take the foam cup out of a bra (if you have access to such things) and line your undies with it. Jeffrey Scott actually sells "modesty pads" as a cheap accessory for his tights, and they're designed specifically for this purpose.
Other than that: The bottom line is that I think people should wear what makes them feel good at the gym (or in public - I wear compression gear for everyday fashion as well!), no matter what shape they're in or what level of training they're doing. Go with what speaks to you, and don't be afraid to stand out. Life's too short to spend in boring workout wear!
I want to thank Canuck Spandex for being the first Gymwear Junkie on Scruffygear.com! To see more of him, be sure to follow him on Instagram . If you have a love of fun gym gear (compression gear, singlets, tights, etc.) and you want to be considered for a future feature, send me an email and let's chat!