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Gym clothes - John C. Kirk

Jan. 2nd, 2008

12:32 am - Gym clothes

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Happy New Year to those of you who celebrate arbitrary calendar events, and Happy Tuesday to those of you who don't.

It's traditional to make resolutions at this time of year, and join a gym with good intentions; I've taken the opposite approach, by cancelling my gym membership. Well, actually there's a bit more to it than that. PruHealth are offering discounts if you take out private health insurance with them:
http://www.whypayforthegym.com/

The exact costs will vary depending on your circumstances, e.g. which gym you want to use and how often you go to it. In my case, it currently costs me £60/month to go to the Virgin Active in Croydon, and it will cost £61/month from February onwards. With PruHealth, I'll pay £35/month for health insurance and £15/month for the gym, as long as I go at least twice a week, i.e. it will be cheaper each month even if I assume that the health insurance is worthless. The snag is that I need to re-join the gym through them, so I have to pay a new joining fee (£25) and the "occasional" rate (£40/month) for the first quarter. So, it will be a bit more expensive at first, but I've calculated 9 months as the break-even point, i.e. from November onwards I'll be saving money.

Normally when I go to the gym, I just use the pool; I enjoy swimming, but I get bored with weights. However, I see that Virgin are installing a couple of new machines which look quite fun:
* Jacob's Ladder climbing treadmill.
* Cardio Wave ice-skating/roller-blading simulator.
So, I'll try them out, and I ought to do some more cycling too (after my last attempt at an RPM class in July 2006). However, this raises some questions about clothing.

When I go swimming, it's pretty straightforward. I currently wear swim-shorts; I also have some jammers, which I prefer, but I need to slim down a bit before I can fit into them again.

For the main gym, I think I'll stick to T-shirt and tracksuit trousers for now, then see about getting some shorts later (again, I'm a bit too fat for any of my existing shorts at the moment). Arguably it would make sense to wear cycling shorts on the exercise bikes, since those seats aren't exactly comfy; on the other hand, we seemed to spend most of the time standing up during the RPM class, so that may not be much of an issue. Anyway, I've been browsing a few websites to see what they offer: the Nike store has some decent stuff, e.g. their "cardio shorts".

What surprised me is that the Men's Sportswear category on FigLeaves.com is all underwear, e.g. "sports briefs" and thongs. This makes me wonder what people normally wear as underwear for sporting activities. At school, boys would normally change into swimming trunks (so that your normal underwear wouldn't get soaked in sweat); to clarify that, I'm talking about Speedos, i.e. something that would easily fit underneath rugby shorts. Nowadays, I just wear my normal underwear, then change into clean clothes afterwards. The only kind of dedicated sports underwear I have is a "dancer's belt" (which I only wear with the Spider-Man 2099 costume). Thinking about bikes in particular, I wouldn't wear anything special if I was just cycling into college, although that's a bit less vigorous.

A related issue is laundry. I recently read the Debrett's book Manners for Men, and one section talks about "Behavioural Adjustments" (for the situation where a man has moved in with his girlfriend/wife). "Now that you're sharing a home, certain bachelor habits will bear revision, including: [...] Bi-annual laundry blitzes; laundry should be done as it occurs, not when you have nothing but pyjamas left to wear. Sports kit/team shirts etc. should be washed immediately after use."

Since I live alone, this doesn't directly affect me, but it does seem a bit odd. My approach is to wait until I have enough laundry to do a particular load (e.g. 40 degrees cotton or 50 degrees synthetic), which typically happens every week or so. Swimsuits are fairly easy to take care of; there's a spin dryer at the gym to make them damp rather than dripping wet, then I rinse the suit in cold water when I get home and hang it up to dry. However, if you do other exercise at a gym 2-3 times a week, do you really do laundry every couple of days? This is one advantage of the bulk approach at boarding school, where you can wash 100 identical garments at once, but even then we only had one sports wash per week. (We all had three garments of each type, e.g. three rugby shirts: one would be "active", one would be clean in Matron's cupboard, and one would be at the laundry, and they'd rotate around each week.) Ah well, for now I can just designate my laundry basket as toxic waste, and that should solve the problem.

Comments:

From:ext_5743
Date:January 2nd, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
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When I was a member of the Energie gym in Croydon they encouraged people to wear clean kit to reduce the smell in the locker rooms. I solved this problem by buying three identical pairs of heavily discounted Lonsdale gym shorts in Sportsworld's sale and washing them at the weekend (I went to the gym Mon,Wed, Fri). I did a similar trick with towels and teeshirts. The Lonsdale shorts were lined, so I used not to bother with underwear. That said, cycling shorts are definitely necessary for more than 20 mins on an exercise bike. A good compromise are the NikePro lycra undershorts (which I bought for doing exercise outside in Antarctica) which despite being expensive are durable and keep everything in place even when cycling.
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From:terpsichore1980
Date:January 2nd, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
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I suggest (similar to Michael's suggestion) a trip to Primark for cheap jogging bottoms & t-shirts. Expensive sports gear is not necessary unless you are an Olympic athlete. Susz (who is reading over my shoulder) suggests only buying non-cheap stuff once you have proven that you need them by missing not having them for at least a month.

Cycle shorts - use the sit-back bikes (with the chair like seats), then you won't need them.

Washing - I have two sets of gym kit, one on, one in the wash, but then Steve & I get through enough clothes between us to do washing more frequently, I suggest you get three sets and continue doing washing only when you have a normal load.
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From:pozorvlak
Date:January 8th, 2008 12:28 pm (UTC)
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I'm a bit late to the party here, but:

Continue to let laundry build up until you've got a full load. But do your laundry once a full load exists, rather than letting it build up until you have multiple loads to do at once.

The only reason I bother with underwear for exercise is because my capoeira class doesn't have any changing facilities, and it's better for everyone if I only strip down to my boxers :-)

Don't bother with special athletics clothing - cheap shorts and T-shirts are fine for your level of expertise.
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