I will never be one of those people who enjoy exercise. I recognise the benefits, as I’m sure we all do, but I will never relish the prospect of a workout. When I started trying to take regular exercise last year, I approached it with an overwhelming feeling of dread – something that was reflected in my chosen gym kit. I decided it wasn’t something I wanted to spend money on and, as a result, I wore a cheap pair of leggings and an oversized T-shirt. The leggings didn’t fit properly, would slip down as I moved and – given how baggy it was – the T-shirt would ride up, leaving me feeling self-conscious. Now, while I still don’t believe you need to spend a fortune just to get some workout gear that really does the job, I have had an epiphany when it comes to what I’m wearing to the gym. Given my new-found enthusiasm for sportswear (I never thought I’d see the day) I asked my Pool colleagues for their tips...
The best sports bra
I couldn’t find any sports bra that fitted me properly until I tried Puma’s logo bra top (£22) – available in sizes from XS-XL –and found that it was comfortable and gave great, low- to medium-impact support (great for spinning and boxing). I've got a medium which fits a D cup.
Frankie Graddon, meanwhile, swears by Triumph Triaction for comfort and support while doing high intensity sport like running: "In terms of sports bras, you really can’t beat them. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: they’re just so good.” Triumph has a variety of styles and cater for sizes A to G.
The best leggings
When I asked The Pool for their favourite leggings, Sweaty Betty's running tights (£95) came out on top. While they are on the more expensive end of the spectrum, they wash well and last forever.
My personal favourites are Varley's stirrup leggings. These aren’t cheap, but having tried them out in both a boxing and a spin class, I can attest to the fact that they stay firmly in place, have the crucial high waistband and are comfy, too. They’re also currently in the sale for £60.
Frankie's currently in love with the new gFast High Rise Blackout leggings from GAP (£62.95). “To be honest, I mainly wear them for lounging around the house in, but I’ve also done a couple of barre classes in them and they're fab. The fabric is flexible but holds everything in and they look great". These have a high waist band and come in a cropped 7/8 length, which according to The Pool's Melanie Hearne, is perfect if you are petite.
For cheap and cheerful, H&M's simple black style (£19.99) do a good job at staying in place and are comfy. And if you don't need anything too high-tech, look at New Look. I bought a pair of plain black leggings for £9.99 over a year ago and they’re still going strong.
The best running trainers
Lucy Dunn, deputy editor and all-round oracle when it comes to gym kit, is a keen runner who swears by Brooks trainers. “They’re the trainers that say you’re a runner. They are pricey but I got mine in the sale and they’ve lasted me years – they’re by far the best thing to run in."
The best swimsuit
The Pool's resident swimmer, Amy Jones reccomends M&S for good quality swimsuits; “I have the Active Swimsuit (£25), it’s comfortable and easy to put on and take off, but tight enough that it still keeps my boobs under control. It's also nice to have something practical that's still pretty.”
THE BEST accessories
While Melanie suggests getting a pair of wireless over-ear headphones – "they’re the only thing to run with” – Lucy recommends Runderwear briefs, a game-changer in terms of comfort levels; "They have moisture wicking so you don't end up feeling sweaty and uncomfortable.” If you are looking for a new sports bag then check out Herschel's new collection of duffles.
THE BEST ALL-ROUNDER
Several Pooler's are fans of ASOS for a wide selection of gym gear and a good plus size offering. For sporty separates, Weekday and Topshop have a great range of hoodies and jumpers that are great for layering over your gym kit. Or, you know, for watching Netflix on the sofa.