Workout Wear: How to Perform Well, Look Good and Save Money

The right workout clothes may not be the be-all and end-all to your wellbeing, but they certainly help. According to fitness instructor and certified personal trainer Nicole Nichols, ‘Clothes designed for exercise are made for bodies in motion; they’re designed to fit right and stay put when you’re on the go so that you stay comfortable. Both high-tech synthetic fabrics, and natural ones such as wool, can help pull sweat away from your body so you stay dry. That means you’ll be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter—and that’s more than a comfort issue. Regulating body temperature also keeps you safe.’ However, as “proper” workout clothes can put a real dent in your financial wellness, we’ve got the best tips on how to save money on workout clothes.


1. Try the End-Of-Season Sales: Nichols notes, ‘Just as sweaters are cheapest as spring rolls around, summer and winter, workout clothing goes on major clearance as the weather changes. The same is true for online retailers. This is when I normally hit the sporting goods stores to look for the best deals…This might seem obvious, but don’t get sucked into the fresh displays at the front of the store. Make a beeline for the sale racks FIRST and see what you can find.’


2. Compare Prices Online: ‘In my experience, I tend to find the best deals on workout clothing in stores (usually during clearance time), but you can often find phenomenal deals online,’ says Nichols. ‘Shoes are a great thing to price compare online. Try on in the store and find out what brand and model you like, then search for a deal online. eBay can be a great source for clothing and shoes, too. But beware of high shipping costs from online retailers; these can easily eat up the small savings you earn by shopping online.’


3. Buy Items that Multitask: Nichols points out, ‘A tank with a built-in sports bra may cost more than a simple top, but may save you money since you don’t have to buy the two items separately. Same with a rain jacket that zips off into a vest or hiking pants that convert to shorts. In addition, any workout staple that you can fit into your regular wardrobe gives you more bang for your buck. I tend to stock up on “hybrid” workout tops that double as everyday wear; ACG by Nike, many yoga and Pilates separates, and tops like SparkPeople’s bamboo tanks are some of my favourites.’


4. Join Email Lists: Nichols admits, ‘Yes, getting too many emails can be annoying, but when you sign up for email lists from your favourite workout-clothing manufacturers, you will often receive special coupons, discounts and sale alerts. To me, the extra emails are worth the savings!


5. Get a Loyalty Card: ‘I often shop at Dick’s and belong to their free rewards programme,’ Nichols details. ‘By swiping my card with each purchase, I earn points that accumulate and turn into rewards gift cards that I can spend in the store. I also receive special coupons in the mail.’


6. Only Buy What You Need: Nichols warns, ‘It’s easy to get carried away with buying clothes in cool colours that make you look great, but you’ll save a lot of dough by only buying what you need. I have just two pairs of tights and I just one pair of fleece workout pants and one fleece jacket for winter, and it’s enough for me to run three to four times per week all winter long. Look at your workout schedule, the weather (if you exercise outdoors) and buy just the number of staples you need. If you do laundry throughout the week, you may find that you need even fewer items than you originally thought.’

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