Fashion: The new workout wardrobe

Kick-start your exercise regime in style. Jayne Dawson reveals the secrets to a winning sporty look

January is the month when treats go out of the window and toning-up tops everybody's New Year resolution list.

But if the thought of pounding a treadmill is about as appealing as a maple syrup detox diet, use your clothing as a catalyst to get you off the fitness starting blocks. A brand-new fit kit should supercharge your motivation.

"Wearing the right fabrics during your workout is essential to support your muscles and joints during high activity, and enhance your performance," says Debbie Luffman, design director at Finisterre (www.finisterreuk.com).

And despite the blood, sweat and tears involved with a good workout, it's still important to keep your vanity intact.

"Wearing the right kit ensures you are comfortable during exercise and that you don't look or feel like a mess – this has a major effect on your positive mental attitude, helping you maintain and smash your workout goals," Luffman adds.

Don't sweat it when it comes to finding the sportswear for you. Focus on your favourite form of exercise and hit the ground running.

Whether you're a water baby or the outdoor type, there's a piece to boost your performance and ensure you're sweeping the style leader boards.

Exercise your fashion muscles and work out a sporty chic look.

Home toner

No need for boomingmusic and military workouts toget a body like Elle Macpherson.

Roll out a mat, stick on your favourite fitness DVD or CD and harmonise mind and body with yoga or Pilates.

Whether you're a 'Downward Dog' expert or beginner, for ease of movement look for loose drawstring pants and long, softly supported tops, rather than wired bras and unnecessary details like zips and poppers.

"When it comes to yoga-style activities, go for non-restrictive fabrics and fits," Luffman recommends.

"Choose natural materials such as cotton with a small content of elastane/lycra. Cotton is absorbent, breathable and, most importantly, soft and comfortable next to the skin."

Look trim at the gym

You've signed on the dotted line for membership, now it's time to step up your timetable of cardio, weights and classes, and show off your sporting prowess in new togs.

While brave bunnies can keep cool in bottom-skimming track shorts, the more body conscious among us should seek out capri leggings specifically designed to sculpt your silhouette – and disguise festive chocolate binges.

Dark shades are the most flattering option but inject a zap of colour with flashes of vibrant brights to keep your mood upbeat.

"Choose wicking man-made fabrics, such as polyester or polyamide (nylon) as these move moisture away from the body, keeping the wearer dry, comfortable and confident," Luffman suggests.

"Compression fabrics, which contain a high content of elastane/lycra are ideal – the stretch factor supports your muscles and joints, reducing muscle fatigue and potential injury."

Make a splash

If you and dry land just don't mix when it comes to exercise, take to the water with a new cossie.

But don't dive in at the deep end with a fluoro-athletic swimsuit more suited to Rebecca Adlington. Get in the swim with a costume which is both flattering and comfortable, and makes an oh-so-subtle nod to catwalk trends.

"Go for a good fitting, but not too tight, one-piece swimsuit with internal support bust panelling – this will give greater comfort and durability than underwiring," Luffman says.

"Racer back styling can be a good option for performance and comfort, so avoid halter necks or tankinis if you're looking to smash your current lap time."

Look great outdoors

For some, the idea of a sweaty gym equals claustrophobia meltdown.

Feel the fresh air on your face and pound the pavements, fields or beach in outdoor-friendly sportswear.

Don't let the freezing elements put you off your get-fit plan; with the right technical clothing you'll be flying through wind, rain and snow without a care.

"The key to getting the most out of the great outdoors is all about layering, in order to maintain a constant body temperature when you're working hard or resting," Luffman explains.

"Merino wool is a good base layer compared to cotton or polyester fabrics, because it's naturally antibacterial, highly breathable and regulates the body temperature – keeping you comfortable in both cool and warm conditions."

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