Are you a CrossFitter?
If so, you are a part of history - and that is awesome!
Over the past decade, CrossFit has become a phenomenon in the fitness industry that has never been seen before. What began as a new concept in training has evolved to become an obsession for some, as well as a legitimate sport where people are competing for lots of money and sponsorships.
The CrossFit Spectrum
When it comes to the range of CrossFitters, you have everyone from the casual “weekend warrior” who may attend 1-2 classes a week, all the way up to competitors in the CrossFit games - truly some of the fittest people on earth!
With CrossFit, there is always some form of competition at play… whether you are competing against others in the daily WOD, competing with yourself for a PR, or training to compete at a local or regional event - you are always competing.
And when you introduce the concept of competition, you are always going to have people trying to improve and take things to the next level. Of course, we already know how important things like diet, sleep, recovery, and hydration are… I mean what self-respecting CrossFitter doesn’t eat paleo (bacon) and drink his weight in Kill Cliff every day? I kid, but not really :-)
But what about the more subtle things?
For instance - do the clothes you wear when training matter?
Well - the short answer is yes… they do.
As with any sport, you have to look at the highest levels of competition to see where the trends are. And with that said, you don’t see competitors at the games wearing $6 shorts from your local strip mall. Now sure, you might say those folks are getting paid to wear that stuff - but what about when they aren’t? What about when they are banging away at a normal Tuesday WOD? In my experience, they wear the same stuff.
"It's Gotta Be The Shoes"
Heck - if you are old and salty like me, you might remember the Air Jordan (Nike) commercials in the 90’s… “it’s gotta be the shoes!” Was it the shoes that made Michael Jordan so great? Well, no… but did they help? I guess you’d just have to look at history to answer that question. Just before Jordan’s day, basketball players wore low and high top Converse - nothing more than a thin sole and a thin canvas upper. Fast forward a few years later and everyone was wearing much more substantial shoes with a lot more padding and support - and it has been that way ever since.
So it seems as though gear does matter.
What To Look For
Well - when it comes to apparel for CrossFit (or any form of Cross-Training for that matter) - what should you look for?
I am so glad you asked! (shameless segue)
This is probably the most important feature to look for in training apparel. You don't want to wear clothing that is going to impede your natural movement. You want your gear to flex and move with you as you hit those ass-to-grass deep squats.
In CrossFit you sweat… a lot! Well, you don’t want that sweat getting soaked up by your clothes and weighing you down and causing friction in spots where you don’t want friction, ya feel me? So you are looking for materials that wick sweat away from the skin and allow for much better cooling and moisture management.
I am not talking about a unisex chastity belt here - I am referring to keeping your clothes in place. This becomes an issue particularly with shorts. It REALLY sucks when you are trying to AMRAP with burpees or kick someone’s ass in a round of “Bring Sally Up” and your friggin’ shorts keep falling down or moving around. Those bad boys need to be locked down.
When I say “frills,” I am talking about laces, ties, belts, and other BS that may help keep your shorts on, but more often than not, get caught on things, and then bad things happen. I will let you use your imagination here. You want your gear to be sleek and streamlined - nothing that catches.
Look, CrossFit is a rough sport. There is a lot of contact with your clothes and the ground, rough barbells, etc. After a few months of that stuff, cheaper materials will wear down, begin to look like crap, and eventually fail. You need stuff that was designed to hold up, for years to come.
So there it is, your gear does matter. The question is, where are you at with training? If you are not serious, and are only trying out CF for a few classes - do you need to run out and buy $1k worth of tech socks and headbands? Well, no.
But if you train regularly, I highly recommend taking inventory of what you got and picking up a few pieces of gear designed to withstand the rigors of cross-training.
For guys and girls, you are going to get the most bang for your buck with shorts (or leggings).
And believe me, if you’ve never had badass cross-training shorts before, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Seriously - you will never want to wear anything less again!