What to wear to the gym? Here’s the best gear that also looks good

Jane Shortall of ConfiDANCE urges people to find an activity they enjoy this new year

Jumpsuit by Michi €245 from Skulpt in Powerscourt - a performance bodysuit with mesh insets. Photograph: Bríd O Donovan

Jumpsuit by Michi €245 from Skulpt in Powerscourt - a performance bodysuit with mesh insets. Photograph: Bríd O Donovan

 

She is small, wiry and super trim, with a silhouette honed from daily fitness and dance sessions that are her life’s work and business. Jane Shortall is well known for her ConfiDANCE workshops and is messianic about fitness, strength and confidence rather than weight or size. Regularly booked for work on movies and TV commercials advising actors on poise and posture, she is also her own best advertisement for what she does. Being style conscious, she is always on top of the latest and best leisure and active wear.

Oakwood leather bomber jacket M/L €570; Erie black and silver lounge pants S/M/L €90 both from Madison, Glasthule, Co Dublin. Photograph: Bríd O Donovan
Oakwood leather bomber jacket M/L €570; Erie black and silver lounge pants S/M/L €90 both from Madison, Glasthule, Co Dublin. Photograph: Bríd O Donovan
January is Health Month in The Irish Times. Throughout the month, in print and online, we will be offering encouragement and inspiration to help us all improve our physical and mental health in 2020. See irishtimes.com/health
January is Health Month in The Irish Times. Throughout the month, in print and online, we will be offering encouragement and inspiration to help us all improve our physical and mental health in 2020. See irishtimes.com/health

This being the month when gym membership soars after Christmas, Shortall cautions about people being over ambitious about getting fit and going at too fast a pace to keep up, and then giving up and reverting back to old habits.  What is key, she argues, is to find an activity you enjoy, that raises the adrenalin and that gives such “a kick of energy” that you want to do it again, whether it is Pilates, yoga, dance, running or whatever – “and there is something out there for every age, type and size,” she says. In her experience, “if you exercise for one hour three to four times a week at medium intensity, you will start to notice the difference and feel lighter and less sluggish after three to four weeks”.

In the meantime, what to wear to the gym? Performance fabrics in the past few years have changed active and leisure wear dramatically, with compression and breathability elements that slimline the silhouette and, after hot yoga or running, leave you odour free with quick dry pieces. Seam-free jacquard sports bras and four way stretch fabrics, for example, are designed for comfort and movement.

Khaki leggings €88; gold bra top €58, both Lululemon at Brown Thomas
Khaki leggings €88; gold bra top €58, both Lululemon at Brown Thomas
The Breathe tank by Lululemon €70 Brown Thomas; black leggings H + M €14.99; black beanie €25 Lifestyle Sports; Nike trainers from Schuh. Photograph: Bríd O Donovan
The Breathe tank by Lululemon €70 Brown Thomas; black leggings H + M €14.99; black beanie €25 Lifestyle Sports; Nike trainers from Schuh. Photograph: Bríd O Donovan
Ultracor Sparrow Siren hoodie €250 from Skulpt, Powerscourt. Photograph: Bríd O Donovan
Ultracor Sparrow Siren hoodie €250 from Skulpt, Powerscourt. Photograph: Bríd O Donovan

 For those like Shortall who want the best gear that works but also looks good, with brighter, bolder colours, she has selected some workout items here that do duty both in the gym and on the street. Matching sets, when top matches bottom, can often look the best, but there are other options too.

Jane Shortall will be teaching a Fat Burning Fun Fitness ConfiDANCE workshop at The Space Between on Fenian Street, Dublin on Saturday January 25th from 2-4pm. €35. janeshortall.com

Photographs: Bríd O Donovan Make-up: Tara McHugh

Location: Little Bird Coffee and Yoga, Portobello.

Purple active sports bra €60 by Freya from Arnotts
Purple active sports bra €60 by Freya from Arnotts
Alice Liveing x Primark shorts, €8
Alice Liveing x Primark shorts, €8
Alice Liveing x Primark crop top, €8
Alice Liveing x Primark crop top, €8
Sunset shadow print leggings €157, www.vyayama.com
Sunset shadow print leggings €157, www.vyayama.com
Leggings by PE Nation €85, theoutnet.com
Leggings by PE Nation €85, theoutnet.com
Haze print tank top €130, www.vyayama.com
Haze print tank top €130, www.vyayama.com
The Upside shorts €53, theoutnet.com
The Upside shorts €53, theoutnet.com
Red Nike sportsbag €37 from www.jdsports.ie
Red Nike sportsbag €37 from www.jdsports.ie
Red Nike sportsbag €37 from www.jdsports.ie
Red Nike sportsbag €37 from www.jdsports.ie
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