If you’re used to hitting the gym in a band t-shirt from 2006 and a pair of slightly-see-through Primark leggings, you might be wondering: why does it matter what you wear? Isn’t it going to get all sweaty and gross anyway?

The answer is “enclothed cognition”. This odd-sounding term was coined by psychologists Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky when they showed that what you wear influences how you feel, what you think, and how you perform related tasks. Put simply, if you dress like a bona fide gym bunny, you’re much more likely to become one.

In The Atlantic’s article, The Psychology of Lululemon, personal trainer and psychologist Susan Rudnicki explained:

“I see girls at hatha yoga wearing Lululemon clothes, and they look the part, and I think: They must be really good. They have their life together. I’m an instructor, and even I feel that.”

When we see others wearing the “right” outfit, we feel that they must be empowered. So when we wear that outfit too, we make ourselves feel empowered.

You can use this to your advantage: instead of promising yourself, “I will go to the gym tomorrow morning,” which conjures daunting images of sweaty effort, try the much more attractive “I will put my shiny new gym clothes on tomorrow morning.” Then let the motivation carry you forward from there.

And this psychological benefit is just the cherry on top of the (vegan, low-cal, fat-dairy-gluten-free) cake: the physical benefits of having the right gear for the job are manifold.

The right clothing can keep you warm when you’re running outdoors in winter and cool when you’re sweating indoors or during the hotter months. They can protect from injury or help you recover faster. And one size definitely does not fit all: the shoes you wear for running will be very different to the shoes you wear for weightlifting, for instance.

Whether you want to exercise in a burqa or streamline your swimming performance, our infographic will give you the knowledge you need to get the best kit for the job.


If you’re passionate about fitness and want to make a difference to other people, a personal training qualification from ICS Learn might be the right way forward for you. Do it from your own gym at your own pace and sit your exams from home! Contact us today to speak to one of our advisors and find out all you need to know.