Habits of Fit People: Put On Your Workout Clothes

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: Getting dressed in my workout clothes This is especially helpful on the days when I am just not feeling motivated to work out.

I previously shared another similar tip: sleeping in your workout clothes. I still use that habit to this day—especially in the fall and winter months. But I don't always exercise in the morning, and if you don't either, well, that tip really isn't going to do much for you.

A couple nights a week, when I do not teach any fitness classes, I need to find the motivation to work out on my own after I leave the office. Trust me, it is not always easy. Like many of you, I don't always want to exercise, especially after a long day at work. Sometimes, even when I have the best intentions, I often get distracted with other things: planning dinner, tending to the dog, running a quick errand, talking on the phone. So to help me stick to my evening workouts, I have to keep my workout on my mind—and my body. All I do is take the first step: I put on my workout clothes. So does it really make a difference?

Once I am dressed for a workout, it's like my whole attitude changes and I no longer dread my upcoming fitness endeavor. Sometimes, going through the motions can give you the motivation to get started. It's just like my habit of committing to just 10 minutes: it's doable, and once you start, you're more likely to continue.

The simple act of getting dressed and putting on those shoes is half the battle! It's a must-do before you can work out, but it's so easy to put off when you don't want to exercise. Once you do it, though, your body is likely to move into autopilot mode and start exercising. Like a dog that sees you putting on your sneakers and knows it's time for a walk, your body knows that once you're dressed, it's time to get moving! You can't tell me that you'd go through all the trouble of picking out your clothes, finding your socks, lacing up your shoes only to plop down on the couch and skip your workout—that is not happening when you follow through with this technique. Once you're dressed, you are ready for success!

I know it may seem silly, but in my experience, it really does work. It's one of those small tricks that can have a big impact on your attitude—and your actions. Don't believe me? Next time you are finding yourself distracted and wanting to skip the gym, get dressed. Then start with just 10 minutes. I promise you, you'll do more than you thought possible, and you'll never regret it.

Have you ever tried this technique? Do you agree that getting dressed can get you going in the right direction?

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BEBABY77 11/8/2020
I completely agree! I do this all the time and it works! Report
The pitfall for me is not the outfit, because my wardrobe ( so called ) is yoga pants almost always... I know a pro athlete who slept in her bike shorts when training for Ironman Kona... I was her roommate for that one...and we learned from her habits... always ready to sweat. So my closet is blah- lots of lycra, lots of black, and drawers full of socks. I am boring. Report
When I put on my workout clothes, I am ready to go to workout at the gym!!!! Report
love this Report
I get up and put on my workout clothes and it does work. After breakfast and walking our dog it's off to the gym. that is non negotiable for me. Report
Never a good article without a few negative nellies! This technique does work. First of all, workout clothes are real. I workout in tshirts and workout pants. I can't exercise in jeans; it's not comfortable. When I run I need clothes that will prevent chafing. Yes, fancy expensive workout clothes are a scam. And, yes, you can workout in a cheap tshirt and sweats. But workout clothes aren't fake. Also, putting on workout clothes is a mental thing. The idea is that if you are not wanting to exercise just force yourself to dress the part first, then mentally you're more likely to do it. Nothing will work for everyone, but this is a good idea. Report
haha I'm dressed in pajamas today because I know I'm not going to work out, but instead work thru a foot high pile of paperwork. Report
You really don’t need “workout clothes” at all, that’s marketing jargon. Comfort is key, dressing up to work out or stopping yourself from working out due to not dressing cute enough is marketing nonsense.....aimed at women, of course, to sell clothes. Just “do” something.... Report
Just putting on my workout clothes isn't enough to get me to actually work out, any more than just putting on my riding clothes guarantees that I actually ride. (It's just too easy to find other "necessary" chores to do, e.g. mucking stalls or adjusting home gym equipment.) I really do like to work out, though; I start to get anxious if I can't work out at least 3 x/week.

But SLEEPING in my workout clothes??! Sorry; that's just gross! Besides which, I work out at night. Report
This is especially helpful for me if what I am going to do at the gym is not my favorite thing. I have to mix up my cardio and the treadmill is my least favorite machine so I just lace up my shoes and tell myself I only have to do it for 30 minutes and then I can do something else. Today I started with that idea and then decided to increase my speed, then decided to do four miles and I ended up working out for over an hour, and more than 4 miles. It is all in those magical sneakers!! Report
What I do is put my workout clothes in the livingroom before I go to bed every night. I workout every morning (except Saturday). I make sure that my clothes are ready for work or church and I make sure that I have my workout clothes for the morning. On weekdays I get up at 4 walk my dogs then come back and do my thing. On Sunday it is 6 and I really prefer 5:45, I have to be at church by 9am which means I leave by 8:30, so I need to be in the bathroom by 7:30 and my routine is approx 65 min at the most. Saturday we take a longer walk and then I go back to bed for A LONG TIME!! You need at least one day of rest. I enjoy working out now and with the holidays coming up, I need to make sure that I don't crash and burn. For example on Thanksgiving, we are talking a 4 day weekend. Saturday should be the only day I don't workout. I am going to hold myself really accountable for this one. When I make it thru Turkey day, I know I have made it. I will be posting EVERY DAY to let my spark family know how I am doing. The food thing is not an issue, it is the exercising that has me kind of worried. We shall see. NEVER GIVE!!! NEVER SURRENDER!!! :) Report
I work from home and this absolutely works for me. My getting ready for bed includes laying out yoga pants and top. When I roll out of bed in the morning, I roll into my workout gear. After I've had breakfast, I lace up the shoes (only used indoors) and I'm ready to go. I can jump on the elliptical or do a 10-minute workout in between calls.

Someone else mentioned they wore workout clothes every morning and it had no effect. I also start my lengthier cardio workouts with the same song - as soon as I hear the music (yes, quite Pavlovian) I'm psyched and ready to go. Report
There are certainly days after work I just want to be a total turd. I'll give this a go :) every little bit helps! Report
I totally do this! Wonderful to know that it is a habit of fit people. It really works! Report
For sure. If I plan to do an evening work-out , even just a short toning video or two, I find putting on workout clothes when I change from office attire will motivate me. I also find that even just a tiny evening work-out (15 minutes) can prevent me from doing "evening grazing" and breaking my nutrition goals. Report
Interesting! I'm already doing this. I just started this program 6 days ago. I get up brush my teeth, put on workout clothes, do my 10 minute workout, then head out for my walk! I'm not working right now so this gives me a great way to start my day! Report
I actually have found success with this trick for years. It's kind of silly, but first I tell myself that I don't actually have to work out. All I really have to do is put on my sneakers. Just like the article says - then I am motivated to do something. I often think that the hardest part of working out is putting on my sneakers! Report
I do this too. My only problem is that my dog things my exercise clothes mean she is going with me and it has been too hot to take her. So she has been sad about that, but I try to walk a bit with her after I run. Report
I didn't even know I was making this into a habit. I do this exact same thing. Wow. No wonder I have been successful :) Somehow I knew putting out my workout clothes in the mornings and changing into them would help me get to the gym. There have been plenty of times when I am feeling run down and not wanting to go but as soon as I put my gym clothes on, I'm all for going to the gym! :) Report
I actually have my work out clothes and the clothes for the day (sneaker and shoes too) folded and waiting for me in the bathroom. So when I get up and head for the bathroom they are there. No excuses!! Report
Wonderful idea! Will definately incorporate this into my routine. Report
I actually have a rule about my workout gear, I don't put it on unless I intend to work out. It's kind of like signing a contract for me, no longer do I get to lay around in my sweats, they are for sweating not lounging! So I go ahead and change out of my work clothes 10 minutes before my shift ends, that way I have it in my head that I will leave straight from work and go to the gym (my co-workers hold me accountable by asking what my plan is for the afternoon, then asking me again in the morning did I do it..no way would I lie so I have to follow through). On the weekends I put on my gear head out with my dogs and we do our long walk before I head off to the gym. Report
This is most helpful. It keeps me motivated each afternoon and in to the night. Report
I agree this technique does work. Once i put on my gym clothes it gives me the extra UmpF I need to get moving to the gym. I get home and get ready and it pushes me to go. Once i get there Im good but if i wait too long to get going that's when my motivation may falter. Great Tip Report
I do this, by I also wear the same workout clothes several days in a row, so I feel like after I put on those dirty clothes, there is no turning back. I'm already gross, so I might as well make it worth my while. Report
Great advice! I do this routinely and it gets me motivated to workout in the morning. Sometimes after work I put on the workout clothes and it will prompt me to do some form of exercise, even if it's just yoga or stretching, before I call it a night too. Report
I totally agree. On non work days, I put on my workout clothes right after my first cup of coffee, eat breakfast, do a little "sparking" on the computer while my breakfast settles, then I am ready for a workout! I keep them on all day if I am at home, and I am ready for a quick 10-15 minutes throughout my day. Report
Thanks so much for this - it totally worked for me!!! I've used this trick twice since I read it, and it got me moving when I really didn't think I'd muster up enough motivation to workout! :) Report
I tend to get dressed first in my exercise clothes in the morning. Since I usually try to exercise in the morning, even if I don't get to my exercise right away - it is my reminder that I need to get to it as soon as possible in the morning after whatever I need to finish first (if necessary). I love the CardioBlast DVD workouts and the Cardio-in-a-Crunch 15min aerobic workout and so if I don't have time for anything else - or the weather isn't good for me to do a bike ride outside - I pop in one of my DVD's and get moving as soon as I can. When I get dressed for it right after getting up in the morning, it puts the exercise on "my to-do list". (I lost 65 pounds over a year time-period and I've been maintaining it since Feb by keeping up my exercise routine and continuing to log what I eat to keep track of it/make sure I'm eating balanced nutritional meals, etc. -and that my calories burned pretty much balances to the calories I eat too...;-) I'm in some great habits now!

Thanks for being such a great motivator!!
-Donna;-) Report
Wow, great tip! And make sure that you have workout clothes in which you feel you look great, as well... Report
I love this and will give it a try! Since I have a yoga team goal of sun salutations every day it fits right in!! Report
yes this works for me as well but also the monent my shoes go on I start walking with a spring in my step and cant wait to get started Report
I'd never thought of sleeping in my workout clothes but I'm going to give it a try. I'm not a morning person, so I usually working out in the later afternoon, but I've found that when I do workout in the morning I workout longer and the rest of the day goes so much better. So this just might be the motivation to move earlier in the day.
Also since I've gotten smaller, from a 22 to a 16, I've found that the workout clothes I'm able to buy are so much nicer, prettier, and make me feel so much better when I'm in them. Gone are the days of mens sweat pants and 1x-2x tee shirts.
Thanks for the great blog... and super motivational idea.
I change into my workout clothes as soon as I can after the last kiddo leaves my classroom. It makes a WORLD of difference! Sometimes I leave and go straight to the gym, and sometimes I stay and use one of the workout DVDs that I have at school. Report
Yep - it works for me! And when my dog hears the 'snap' of my fanny pack being fastened he comes running to the door of the bedroom (he's not allowed inside on the carpet) - he knows that snap means a walk!! Report
My motivation has been lagging lately because I've been sick, but I will get up, get dressed, and get going now that I'm better! Thanks! Report
This is so true! Some days I really do not feel like it but once the clothes are on I think I might as well because I'm dressed. Report
Good grief, I wouldn't want to sleep in my work out clothes. I've enough self-discipline to get dressed. I've never had any problem with getting up at 5 AM, but guess that comes from growing up on a farm, where we got up in the morning. Report
Nothing like dressing the part! Seeing is believing. If you you make the effort to dress in your gear, you and others will see you in the gear, so you'll feel like you need to follow though. Report
Yep this will surely work - it definitely turns out that when I put my pajamas on, I DON'T work out, even if I try to tell myself I might feel like it later... Report
I accidentally did this last night. I had a meeting after a ten hour work day. I came home and was going to take a shower and meditate.
I thought , but, I am already dressed to go for a mile walk with my puppies.
Then, I thought, but it is late, I had a long day and I am tired.
Then I thought, but, I am already dressed...
So...I went for a walk...because I was already dressed.

Putting on workout clothes may just be the hardest part of getting motivated on those exxxxtra loooong days:)
The 10 minute thing really works for me. When I'm just pooped at the end of the day (winter makes it worse because it is dark), I tell myself I'll just wall for 20 minutes. I can at least commit to that. And it is true once I get moving I usually end up staying the full hour. My other strategy is to not sit down when I get home. The couch is the kiss of death for me. Report
Sometimes getting dressed in the clothes will motivate me by making me feel good. I feel lighter just putting them on. Report
This works for me, every single night. I go home, change into my workout clothes and even if it's not right away, I do get my workout in before shower/bed. Afterall, I'm dressed for it. Report
This makes a lot of sense. Why put forth the effort of changing into the workout clothes unless you are going to work out. I have recently bought some really cute workout clothes, and that helped too! Report
This absolutely works for me. I get up in the morning and put on my workout clothes, drop kids off at school, clean house and then happily pop into the gym. Wearing the clothes focuses you! Very true and excellent advice, thanks! Report
I do this all the time and have to admit it really really works. Even if I want to sit and watch some tv for 30 min before I work out if I'm watching in my clothes I always get up and do something after that 30 min (and ok sometimes it takes a little longer the the point is the exercise still happens).

Its the first thing I do when I get home. I want to get out of my work clothes anyway and why not change into workout clothes! Report
That's funny, I do the same! Including sleeping in my workout clothes. It really makes a difference because I'm ready to work out the moment I'm out of bed, all I have to do is grab some music and get onto my Elliptical Trainer. It just takes away some of those weirdly effective barriers (how is it that just putting on a shirt and jogging pants seems "too much bother" and keeps us from working out?) and makes it much more likely to work out first thing after getting up. Report
This morning I just couldn't get out of bed. I had my workout clothes already laid out, so when I finally arose, I put on those clothes and my whole attitude changed! It was only a 30 minute brisk walk, but it's a great start to the day! Report
For me it is the SHOES...I can't figure out why I resist the shoe changing so much! Report