How Dressing Like You Work Out Can Motivate You to Really Work Out

In an effort to fend off a recent writer’s block attack, I asked my sister for some blog post suggestions today, and she immediately quipped: “Your blog’s about fitness, right? You know, I could use a new fitness wardrobe. If I had more exercise clothes, I’d probably exercise all the time. Hey…write about that!”

(Can you tell she works in fashion? No matter the conversation topic, that girl will find any excuse to mention clothes!)

But her idea, nonetheless, struck me as thought-provoking. Does the way people dress impact their level of physical exertion? Just like slipping into a “little black dress” and strappy heels often helps you exude confidence on date night, can Nike gym shorts and a tank with some #Fitspo phrase screen-printed across the chest put you in the mood to sweat? Is getting in shape as simple as getting your “shopper girl” on at Victoria’s Secret?

I took to Google in pursuit of some evidence to support my sister’s theory…

And turns out, it’s entirely plausible.

Women’s Health Magazine published an article on this topic back in 2013 (yeah whatever, so I’m a year behind the curve!), citing a “psychological phenomenon called ‘enclothed cognition,’ which suggests that the clothing a person wears can trigger mental changes that positively affect their performance.”

Basically, the overarching idea is this: if you throw on activewear, you’re more likely to engage in something active. Lacing up sneakers might get you in the jogging mindset. A comfy pair of yoga pants might prompt you to unearth that mat from your closet depths. Even a sports bra might make you feel…well, sporty.

You get the picture.

Look the part. Act the part.

So, why let professional athletes with their Under Armour endorsements or celebs with their fancy-schmancy Lululemon labels have all the fun?! Snag some workout gear-inspired fitspiration for yourself. A few staple items added to your wardrobe may be the kicker that moves you beyond imagining a healthier, stronger, leaner, [insert goal] physique toward actually making it happen.

And there’s no reason to spend a small fortune either. Check out my top 5 picks for athletic apparel on a budget:

  • Fabletics – For all you online shopping fans, this site features designer-quality activewear for an average price of $25-$30.
  • Target – The bulls-eye is trendier than Sears and cheaper than Saks (uhh…duh!), so stock up on activewear starting at $10.
  • H&M – Sweden has answered our call for affordable cutting-edge fashion, and their activewear ranges from under $10-$50.
  • Nordstrom Rack – Those with pricier taste can find name brand activewear (e.g. Nike, The North Face, Zella) starting at $30.
  • Forever 21 – This store is known for low-cost-hot-ticket items, and the activewear doesn’t disappoint with a tag of $10-$20.

Further proof that attitude is all in the outfit…just look at my sista go!

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A Little Peek Inside My Gym Bag

Fact: we’ve all got our personal exercise survival kit. It’s what keeps us fueled (and refueled and refueled some more) throughout an intense fat burning or muscle sculpting session. This is mine.

So, go get your own. (Kidding…feel free to steal!)

   Sparkling Ice Water

sparkling ice   Why I like it: I’ve never been a fan of plain ol’ H2O, so when I discovered this 0-calorie flavored thirst quencher, it was love at first sip.

Nuun Hydration Enhancer

nunn   Why I like it: This active hydration tablet has all the electrolyte benefits of a standard sports drink, without any unwanted sugars.

Kind Fruit & Nut Bar

kind bar   Why I like it: It’s tough to find a protein supplement that tastes like real food, but this granola bar gives me both energy and enjoyment.

(Disclaimer: Starbucks iced coffee not included…that’s just me wishful thinking over here!)

Nike Dri-Fit Compression Shorts

nike dri fit   Why I like them: This uber breathable material absorbs sweat for comfort and ease of movement, not to mention serious sporty style.

Reebok Crossfit Sneakers

reeboks   Why I like them: Nobody wants to feel weighed down on a run, which is why I love these lightweight kicks with plenty of ventilation.

Swinn Sports Bra

swinn bra   Why I like it: The stretchy yet supportive fabric offers full coverage for mah girls, plus the bright colors and kitschy phrases are fun to wear.

Pandora Broadway Playlist

chicagoWhy I like it: In my opinion (which is the right opinion, FYI), no workout is complete without showtunes blasting through my iPod.

Scentsy Roll-On Fragrance

scentsy   Why I like it: What I call “glisten,” others call “sweat,” so this travel-sized perfume masks pre-shower stink better than many deodorants.