As a personal trainer, you do your best to work out your clients and to help them meet their goals. But, you also have a responsibility to keep them safe and to take reasonable steps to prevent them from getting injured.
You might do this by assisting with lifts, teaching and monitoring good form, and encourage hydration and proper rest. But, there’s one other thing you need to be mindful of when training clients—and for yourself:
What you and your clients wear while working out.
Style and looking good in the gym may be important for some of your clients, but help them to realize that wearing the right type of gear to help prevent injuries is more important.
Whether it’s in the gym, on the courts, on the field, on the track or the trails, the right gear can minimize injuries and improve performance and endurance.
The newer, less experienced clients may choose fitness gear for style, for comfort, or for convenience. They may dig out an old cotton t-shirt and sweatpants for your first session together and add to that an ancient pair of running shoes. Help your clients out by educating them as to how to choose the best workout gear for their training sessions.
Say No to 100% Cotton
Overheating can be a real problem when working out, especially during the warmer months. Your clients need moisture-wicking, breathable clothing, and cotton does not meet these requirements.
When you sweat in a cotton shirt, it gets damp, heavy, and clingy. The moisture just stays there.
This is problematic because damp clothing can cause overheating or even a real heat injury, like heat stroke.
Your clients should be choosing synthetics or blends for workout clothes. These materials will help with thermoregulation during a workout and will be more comfortable
Choosing synthetics is important for more than just comfort, though; the choice of fabric impacts performance as well. Synthetic clothes improve heat tolerance while exercising2, so breathable, moisture-wicking clothes can help your client keep going longer than in cotton clothes.
Here’s what the research says about synthetics as compared to cotton workout gear:
- Synthetics are more comfortable. In a study that compared the two types, the female athletes participating found the polyester (synthetic) clothing more comfortable.
- Synthetics improve performance. They also performed better in the synthetics than when wearing the cotton clothing.4
- Synthetic workout gear may be stinkier, but so what? Studies also show that synthetic workout gear develops a funkier stink than cotton, but the benefits of synthetic clothing still outweigh that slight stench.1 And, you can now find synthetic workout gear embedded with materials that prevent bacteria from thriving in it, which reduces the odor.
Workout clothes are pretty advanced these days, so your clients should have no problem finding synthetics and blends. Most have polyester, spandex, and some moisture-wicking proprietary blend. Encourage them to go out and buy real workout gear instead of relying on old cotton clothes they were going to donate anyway.
Cotton socks SHOULD be avoided too – As with other parts of your body, your feet will sweat when working out. If socks are not breathable and don’t wick away moisture, the sweat can cause friction, rubbing, and blisters, which are painful and also lead to training setbacks. Always tell your clients to look for synthetics in their gym socks too.