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We all know how great exercise is for us, from the physical benefits, to improving mental health and alleviating stress.
That said, there can often be a significant disparity between our intentions to work out (good) and our actions (imperfect).
Enter: decent workout clothing. Studies have shown that people are more likely to exercise when they like what they're wearing. Indeed, a survey of 2,000 gym-goers conducted in the US in 2018 showed that 9 out of 10 gym-goers believe that simply putting on exercise kit made them feel more motivated to workout when they weren't feeling up for it. Second only to seeing physical improvements, putting on exercise clothing is the most motivating thing you can do to push you into actually working out.
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So, we now know why it's worth buying decent gym clothing. Now here's our round-up of the highest-performing, most stylish women's exercise kit in the UK for 2021.
Please note the prices quoted here are for the least expensive piece in each collection, and are meant as an indicator only. For individual prices, please follow the link to the sites.
Activewear from Queen B herself, Beyoncé, Ivy Park activewear is boldly graphic - this is some eye-catching streetwear. But for anyone who has seen a Beyoncé dance routine, you’ll know she requires activewear that withstand a punishing amount of movement. So it is with Ivy Park - this kit fits well and withstands high impact movement. You’ll either love the look or find it a bit much - but if you like it, Ivy Park will win eternal devotion.
Reebok * Victoria Beckham
If you like keeping your look sleek, minimalist, and chic, Victoria Beckham is the brand for you. Her co-lab with Reebok has produced beautiful exercise clothing that is seam free, but also feels luxuriously comfortable to wear.
We especially love her trainers, which colour-cordinate with the rest of her kit for a truly polished look. The clothing works well through any sweaty workout, but is also ideal if you like to wear athleisure for lounging about, too.
Wanting to look after the planet while you look after yourself? Don't skip past US brand Girlfriend Collective, then, who are dedicated to utilising recycled, sustainable materials for making their comfy, flattering workout kit.
Each pair of leggings is made from 25 recycled water bottles. The clothing looks mighty fine, too.
Perfect for pilates and yoga lovers.
Lululemon * Ed Curtis
Lululemon's leggings, tops, and sports bras perform like a dream: sweat-wicking, butter-soft, guaranteed to make you look better simply by putting them on (your bum will never look better than when in Lululemon leggings).
They've now paired up with oh-so-hot London artist Ed Curtis for a co-lab that is candy-coloured joy itself.
We find Lululemon kit our favourite gear for HIIT workouts, as it can withstand a punishing workout and minimises the smell of stale sweat after.
We love the look of Ernest Leoty's workout kit. The activewear provides the impressive technical specs you want, but pairs it with classic French tailoring and fashion forward design. Sexy as all get out.
Up to the task of most workouts, but their stretchiness make them especially suited to yoga or any exercise that requires contortions.
Once upon a time Superdry's sports wear was simply designed to look good. Now, with an overhaul, it performs well, too. Decent prices, hard-working gear, style: it's a winning range.
Their running kit has reflective strips, too, meaning you can wear it on early morning or night-time runs and be easily seen.
Are you an exercise all-rounder? One day swimming, the next yoga, cycling the next? Prism is the answer to all of your exercise requirements.
Their effortlessly good-looking fit kit is designed to be used in all exercise situations, from swimming, to running, to pilates. Seamless and sweat-wicking, it's high-performing gear that looks lush.
Available in a pleasingly inclusive range of sizes, too.
Nordic clothing brand makes seriously comfortable, warm, performance sports wear at mid-range prices.
They're our go-to if you're wanting to workout in the cold.
Their leggings are renowned for being long, so we'd recommend Arket for you tall ladies out there.
Marks & Spencer
Old faithful of the high street, of course M&S make a good range of sports gear.
The look isn't necessarily going to set the fashion heather alight, but they're smart enough, and provide moisture-wicking, speedy drying fabric, great support, and terrific prices.
Their Goodmove range goes up to size 24, too.
If you can't pass up the opportunity to incorporate a little more leopard print into your wardrobe, get thee to Hush, where these high-sheen, stylish leggings will pep up your workout wardrobe.