I’m not sure what sparked this thought. It may have been the Title Nine catalogue I got in the mail. It may have been my new Athleta swimsuits (yes I am gearing up for spring and summer surf). It may have been when I was at the gym riding the stationary bike. I’m not sure when it was but at some point I began to ponder women and athletic fashion.
Athletic apparel is big business. It is expected to grow to a $180.9 billion business by 2018. Women are major consumers. Retailers like Gap, Target, Lululemon, and Title Nine are doing more than tracking this trend. Each of these companies has a share of the athletic apparel market, especially the one geared toward women.
The clothes are super cute. Yoga pants, running pants, sports bras, and dry wicking shirts that have a cute saying. I admit when I walk into sports authority I am drawn to the fashion. I imagine how stylish I will look running down the street in some new gear. My fantasy is disrupted when I peek at the price tag and realize I don’t really need a new $55.00 pair of running pants. My dresser drawer is already exploding with dry wicking shirts I’ve gotten in my swag bag at races and I already own more than enough shorts to get me through about a month of running in the summer without wearing any repeats.
All of the fashion made me wonder: are we losing sight of the real reason for working out? The clothes are great. And they have gotten so much more functional then they were years ago. The days of wearing a heavy sweaty cotton t-shirt is a thing of the past. But buying cute yoga pants don’t do much for your health and well-being unless you plan on doing yoga in them. Picking up a new pair of running sneakers won’t get your heart rate up unless you lace them up and go for a run or walk. Fashion is great. And if looking cute helps get you motivated to work out that is awesome. But remember wearing athletic gear to casually walk on the treadmill or to sip an energy drink at Starbucks is no substitute for a real sweaty hard core work out done in a cotton t-shirt and a pair of shorts.