Where to go — and what to wear — to shape up this summer
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the countless theories and methods promising optimal gym results. Everything from the time of day we work out to the activities we choose is under constant scrutiny by fitness experts — none of whom seem to agree on anything. But we can all agree on one thing: Look good and you’ll feel good. “Whether or not [your] clothes are stylish won’t impact your workout — but they can make you more confident and get you excited about going to the gym, which is huge,” says Jaclyn Emerick, associate fitness editor at Self Magazine.
In this case, style and comfort go hand-in-hand. “Wearing a tank that has sweat-wicking fabric, mesh panels that vent, a zipper pocket to hold your cash and keys, and a cut that doesn’t chafe is going to be way more comfortable — and functional — than a ratty T-shirt,” Emerick says. “Sometimes, simply being comfortable is all you need to be able to work out better and for longer.”
Ready to bid adieu to those drab sweatpants, but not sure where to begin? We asked local fashion and fitness savants Katie Schuppler, wardrobe stylist for “The Whitney Reynolds Show,” and Ashley Pettit, health expert and fitness trainer at The Trainer’s Gym, to weigh in on what to wear to get in shape this summer — and the best fitness classes to suit up for.
WHERE TO GO: Zumba at Lincoln Square Athletic Club, monthly memberships start at $79, 4662 N. Lincoln; Chicagoathleticclubs.com
WHAT TO WEAR: “This class is a dance party — [you’re] shedding pounds without even realizing you’re working out,” Schuppler says. As the salsa and house beats get heavy, you’ll need clothes and shoes you can really dance in — think gym-friendly club wear. “Come prepared in a bright tank to bring out your fun and spunky side, [and] pair with cute and comfortable capri pants,” she suggests. Get the look with an Old Navy Active semifitted tank top ($15) and printed compression capris (right, $30, Old Navy stores citywide; Oldnavy.com). As for shoes, Schuppler likes funky-colored dance kicks like the Reebok Studio Choice ($75; Reebok.com) or Zumba Energy Push ($85; Zumba.com).
WHERE TO GO: Boot camp at The Trainer’s Gym, monthly membership $59, 401 W. Ontario; Thetrainersgym.com
WHAT TO WEAR: “When I’m teaching my boot camp, there’s a lot of jumping around,” Pettit says. “A trusted, simple and affordable tank is ideal.” She recommends punching up your look with a Victoria’s Secret Sport Studio tank ($39.50, Victoria’s Secret stores citywide; Victoriassecret.com) — which has a fitted shape and comes in a range of bright colors — and keeping your hair in place with a secure hairband like the ones by MaxFlow Sports ($10; Maxflowsports.com). Last but not least, a high-quality training shoe is a must “so you can move with light feet, but enough support,” Petit says. She suggests a lightweight style like Nike’s Lunar Element shoes ($95, 669 N. Michigan; Nike.com).
WHERE TO GO: Water workout at East Bank Club, monthly dues $180, 500 N. Kingsbury; Eastbankclub.com
WHAT TO WEAR: Even in the pool, you’ll want to look your best at this posh gym, which caters to the city’s elite. But be practical: “Aerobics in the pool can be more challenging than most people think,” Pettit says. Prove you mean business in the Performance swimsuit from Adidas by Stella McCartney (right, $80; Adidas.com). The racerback suit features mesh insets for breathability and a flattering sleek fit, and has a ruffled waist that adds trendy flair. Or get creative and dream up your own swim look. “I’m a big fan of ignoring the standard sports suit and donning simple shorts and sports bra,” she says, recommending the Lululemon Water Bound shorts and bra ($54 each, 930 N. Rush, Lululemon.com).
WHERE TO GO: Studio Cycling at Equinox Gold Coast, monthly membership $145, 900 N. Michigan; Equinox.com
WHAT TO WEAR: Indoor cycling means one thing: intense sweating. When dressing, less is more — so skip the sweatpants and opt for slimmer-cut silhouettes. “Keep cool by wearing a supportive sports bra, body-hugging shorts and a pair of clip-on shoes for the indoor bike,” says Schuppler, pointing to styles like Athleta’s Presto shorts (right, $39) and coordinating Neon Pop racer bra (above right, $46, 3415 N. Southport, Athleta.com). “Tight-fitting bottoms are key to ensure the fabric doesn’t get caught on the seat or pedals of the bike.”
WHERE TO GO: Pilates at Core Fitness Chicago, monthly membership $99 (for a 12-month membership), 1030 W. North; Corefitnesschicago.com
WHAT TO WEAR: Working on your core muscles in Pilates is a great way to tone your tummy, says Pettit of these difficult but low-impact classes. Choose fitted pieces that are comfortable and stay in place — you don’t want your shirt to flip up while doing inverted poses. No sneakers are needed, so the focus should be on proper tops and bottoms. Pettit suggests chic yet functional looks like Athleta’s Lightning Chaturanga pants ($59) paired with a stay-in-place top, such as Adidas’ Too Perfect rib tank top (above, $22) in a vibrant, summer-ready shade.
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