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FIT FOR STYLE

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FIT FOR STYLE by Allyson Marrs

The technology revolution brought us many great things and is continuing to do so. But gadgets and appliances aren't the only items getting a technical facelift. When it comes to burning calories, just about every item imaginable is on the market to make it easier (with the exception of a genie and three wishes for a smaller waistline). Now, even your clothing is taking part. Although there is no T-shirt or sports bra that can do the working out for you—Reebok was recently sued over such allegations—there are clothing options to make the process a bit more enjoyable.

Hi-tech clothing and built-to-last fabrics are becoming as essential to cardio as the water bottle. Each serves its purpose, and whether you're a gym rat, a tennis star or an outdoor runner, there's a specialty fabric that'll fit you just right.

FOR THE....

Morning Workout
Try on Merino Wool
When thinking about movable, breathable, comfortable fabrics, wool usually doesn't come to mind. Merino is an interesting exception in that it helps regulate body temperature, keeping you warm during a brisk morning jog or jaunt to the gym, but doesn't overheat. It naturally insulates and provides a wicking effect, keeping sweat off your skin. With the use of small fibers containing microscopic cortices of dead hair, the fabric traps body heat like a sleeping bag, but it's breathable and itch-free. The small wool fibers also make it easy to layer up for the especially cold winter mornings.

Where to buy: Nike

Afternoon Workout
Try on UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) Fabrics
For the days the sun decides to shine, clothing with a high UPF rating is crucial in protecting your body against harmful rays. If you're a hiker, a skier, a runner, a climber or enjoy any other outdoor activity that may put you in the sun's strike zone, lightweight UPF fabric will wick the sweat away and block UV rays. Look for an "excellent" rating when shopping around, which means the fabric blocks 97.5 percent or more UV radiation. This technology was developed in 1998 and has been paired with Chitosan, the anti-stink finish, to make it an all-around safe and stink-free clothing option. It's comparable to SPF 50, and the best part is it won't wash out.

Where to buy: Lucy

Evening Workout
Try on Glyde
Polyester often gets a bad rep, but Glyde is 100 percent polyester. It's durable water repellent (DWR) coated, making it perfect for an evening routine during unpredictable weather. Because it's both lightweight and soft, it won't weigh you down during physical activity or irritate sensitive skin in cool weather. Glyde is also easy to tote around when the weather changes course for the warmer or drier. It's built to withstand light rain and wind, and is most commonly used in jackets and pants.

Where to buy: Lululemon Athletica

IF YOU'RE A...


Runner
Try on Silverescent
Mile after mile, sweat starts to bead—then pool. It can be distracting, uncomfortable and smelly. Hailing from Nasa, this hi-tech fabric puts these pains to shame. Using X-Static® silver yarn, Lululemon created antibacterial clothing, which means odor-causing bacteria can't form. Not only do the garment pieces repel odor, they reject moisture, leaving you dry and ready to fly.

It's most often found in Lulu's running gear. Simply put, a sport that utilizes every muscle and body part will always lead to a lot of sweat, but with Lulu's stitched-in silver, it doesn't have to lead to sogginess and stench.

Where to buy: Lululemon Athletica

Gym-Lover
Try on COOLMAX®
After a hard workout, it's common to go from dripping wet, feeling stuck in a burning inferno, to ice-cold, wondering when your sweat turned into prickly icicles. With COOLMAX®, the awkward and uncomfortable transition diminishes. This fabric uses a fiber-based moisture management system, wicking the perspiration from your body as you continue to move. The sweat is taken from the body and through the fabric, where it can evaporate more quickly.

The fabric is made into different clothing depending on an item's primary purpose, but no matter the garment, it's meant to be breathable, flexible and easy to care for. Its versatility makes it perfect for the gym, allowing you to hop off the treadmill, go straight to a cycling class, jaunt to the weight room and then to the grocery store.

Where to buy: Sports Authority

Tennis Pro
Try on Power Mesh
This breathable fabric works double-time as a ventilator and a stabilizer. Most commonly, it's found on the body's hot spots: underarms, chest cavity and behind the knees. Although it's used in a variety of clothing pieces, it's especially great for sports bras, which can often cling and suffocate the skin.

When playing tennis, you need a fabric that moves with you and doesn't weigh you down. Power mesh is lightweight, stretchy, soft and even flatters your body. When you sweat, the material doesn't stick. It's especially great during a long match to provide comfort and support for women.

Where to buy: Lucy

Yoga/Pilates Enthusiast
Try on Luon
Lululemon's signature fabric is a favorite among Bellevue Club trainers and personnel. One of the best features of Luon is its flattering shape. In particular, the yoga pants provide great coverage and give your bum an amazingly favorable lift. Pants retain their shape and provide four-way stretch, making them ideal for a yoga or Pilates class requiring dozens of poses.

Made from 86 percent nylon and 14 percent Lycra, they have a cotton feel and a spandex flexibility, without the loss of grip. With the concentration and endurance that yoga and Pilates require, the last thing you should be worrying about is your clothing.

Where to buy: Lululemon Athletica

SWEAT FACTS

• Sweat itself is odorless. It's the bacteria on the skin that mixes with it and makes it stink.
• The human body has approximately 2 million sweat glands.
• Men have slightly saltier sweat than women.
• Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is fairly common.
• People who are fit sweat more readily than those who are not. It can take 8 or 10 minutes to sweat when you're not in shape and only 5 or 6 minutes if you're conditioned.


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