Staying cool and comfortable while working out isn't just a luxury; it's a way to ensure that you are always operating at your peak performance. Minimizing discomfort allows you to focus your energy and attention on working your muscles to the limit rather than worrying about how hot and sweaty you are. This is especially true in climates where you may prefer to wear slightly heavier clothing such as long-sleeved t-shirts.  

Avoid Non-Performance Cotton and Polyester

Regular cotton and polyester are two of the most commonly used clothing materials, but they generally make for poor workout gear. According to a study conducted by Ghent University, cotton retains fewer odors after a long workout than polyester. Despite this, processed cotton also absorbs more moisture than polyester and other synthetic fabrics. On the bright side, this means that cotton will wick moisture away from your body. Unfortunately, most of that moisture will remain in the fabric, and you may feel like you're wearing a wet beach towel by the time you're done burning off those calories. 

Wicking the Sweat Away

Most performance wear is advertised as "moisture wicking." What this means in practice is that the material is designed to pull moisture into itself and away from the skin. Most common materials, including cotton, will wick moisture away from your skin. Of course, simply pulling the moisture away isn't good enough. The problem faced by many an athlete clad in everyday cotton is that the material then retains the moisture after absorbing it. This moves the sweat off of your skin but leaves it saturating your clothes. Yuck. 

The key to high-performance athletic wear is moving the moisture away from your skin while also allowing that moisture to reach the surface of the fabric and evaporate. This both keeps you cool and dry and prevents your shirt from becoming a sweat-drenched anchor weighing you down. 

Choose the Right Materials

By this point, you may think that cotton and polyester are your enemies, but there is hope. Many articles of performance clothing are still manufactured using these materials, but they are specially designed to avoid the downsides commonly found in regular, non-athletic clothing. 

When choosing polyester performance gear, always look for material that has been designed to repel odors. Polyester naturally retains less water than cotton, so there is less risk of looking like you just took a ride down a water slide once you're finished with your workout. Cotton/polyester blends are sometimes used for athletic gear as well. Look for terms like "quick-drying" when considering this kind of material. Alternately, cotton is often a good choice for low-intensity workouts or if you just don't sweat all that much. 

Other materials found in performance wear include nylon and more exotic materials such as bamboo. These materials are generally lighter and more breathable than common cotton or polyester fabrics. When considering performance gear made from these materials be sure to check the blend (they are often mixed with cotton or polyester) and check for keywords such as "moisture-wicking" or "quick-drying." 

For more information, contact a company like Over Under Clothing.