We asked some of the country’s leading fitness pros, health experts and activewear designers to tell us what they put on to help motivate them to stay in shape.
"In terms of motivation for the gym and eating clean, nothing rivals these Nike Compression Shorts. They are so tight if you even look at a Hershey's Kiss, a roll will pop over the waistband. I rock these with no shirt on around the house before the gym...bumping some hardcore shit like Jonas Brothers."
Owner of Pure Food & Wine and One Lucky Duck
"I love these running shoes. After Texas Senator Wendy Davis stood for 12 hours to defeat a strict anti-abortion law, photos circulated of the sneakers she wore and they were Mizuno wave riders in red and green. Mizuno are known to be excellent running shoes. I went online and found the same pair and bought them immediately. If Wendy can stand for 12 hours to fight for people's rights, I can get off my ass and go run a few miles at the gym!"
Co-founder of EBOOST
"Train insane or remain the same — that motto and a shot of EBOOST gets me motivated to get to the gym.”
"Feeling good and looking good is what keeps me motivated to workout! Every morning I look forward to putting on my favorite Under Armour StudioLux black leggings. They make your booty look amazing and they wash and wear beautifully. I wear these leggings every day and would not feel complete without them."
General Manager of Brick New York
"I have a shirt that is sweat activated that really gives me motivation to sweat. Without the sweat, it just reads "I am" — once you sweat in it, the conversation is finished with "the competition." Beyond the physical exertion that I push myself to just to see the words appear, there's a mental push in it as well. The harder I push, the more I actually do become the competition. It may be a bogus thought, but it works for me."
Founder of KP DanceBody
"I'm OBSESSED with Michi. I describe her workout clothes to people by saying it's Madonna a la 'Express Yourself' goes to the gym. The workout method I teach is highly visual; you literally have to look in the mirror the entire time and if you don't like what you're wearing and it doesn't make you feel sexy, you won't have as good of a workout! My favorite item I have from her is the Illusion Pant because it has sheer paneling that wraps around the leg and gives a slimming illusion, hence the name…"
Instructor at Krav Maga and Barry's Bootcamp
"I've never had a specific item that has motivated me to workout, I've just always had a passion for it. However I would never workout without my orthotics! It doesn't matter which shoes I'm wearing, having insoles changes everything. It provides better balance, stability, and leverage to sprint and jump which helps in high intensity training and running."
Instructor at Flywheel
"I'm obsessed with my Bose Headphones! Music has always been such an important part of my life. I spend my days making motivational playlists full of songs that I not only love, but that will also create energy for those that take my classes. My headphones serve as a mental escape — a direct link to my playlists. They get me into the workout mindset, whether it's listening to a playlist before teaching or prior to my own workout. The noise canceling aspect keeps me focused and puts me in the zone. I leave my headphones out every day and never leave home without them.... apologies to anyone who says hello when I have them on."
Instructor at Yoga Vida
"Adidas' Sleek Series are the best womens high tops! They look super cute with capri leggings, jeans, even shorts, if you have the right shaped legs. I always get compliments and they help me jet around the city between clients and classes. I am proud owner of more than four pairs."
"My stopwatch is a huge motivator. It's bright and functional, so I'm all about it and I literally only workout in Asics. They're the only shoe for me. In fact I have five pairs of the same shoe in different colors!"
Instructor at Barry's Bootcamp
"I get so excited to work out when I have brand new super clean sneakers. I'm convinced I will run faster and be in better shape after wearing them the first few times."
Founder of SurfSET
"I love Under Armour gear because they make products tailored for athletes that focus on performance, fit and style. From a tech standpoint, their Armour39 chest band is an awesome motivating piece because it records my heart rate and exertion levels while working out. For footwear, the new Speedform are unbelievable shoes for training, they look sweet and they mold perfectly to my feet for running or speed/agility work. I'd have to say from a fashion standpoint my favorite item is the Alter Ego shirt, Under Armour's classic compression gear with a personality! They come in Superman, Batman, Spiderman, cause what guy doesn't want to feel like a super hero in the gym?!"
Co-founder of Core Fusion at Exhale
"My favorite workout top is Anatomie's Trina Tank. The racer back top comes in many colors…turquoise, deep red, orange, lavender, pink, light blue, lime green, metallic, navy…I choose a different color every day depending on my energy that morning. You can wear these tops from class to going out to an event or office. Each color inspires me in a different way! This Italian fabric feels so comfortable on your skin that you end up staying in it the rest of the day. Their designs are sophisticated and sexy drawing inspiration from the most highly regarded European fashion houses, plus love their functional durability…think Prada goes to Core Fusion!"
Co-founder of Core Fusion at Exhale
"My exercise clothes are custom made by Anatomie. They are a women’s activewear line and they are dabbling in menswear. I usually choose clothes without sayings and brand embellishments. My favorite quote is one of my own and I refer to it often when I teach in order to motivate my students: If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you."
Founder and creative director of Shashi
"Lucas Hugh, Lululemon clothes and a pair of new sneakers always get me to the gym."
Instructor at Pure Yoga, The Yoga Room, Sacred Sounds Yoga
"I have a tank top with the phrase 'WARRIOR' at the front. I love it because whenever I wear it to work out or teach, it symbolizes confronting my own physical, emotional or mental weaknesses. Whatever limitations we have, this reminds me to find it within myself to rise up out of my own limitations. It's like going into battle and you give everything you've got. It's about fighting the good fight. To feel strong. It is about the triumph of the spirit. To access the power of the 'WARRIOR' within YOU."
"I love these harem pants from Colosseum — they are a comfy/chic alternative to sweatpants. The roll down top is not only super flattering on the hips, but great for days where a tight waistband is not your best friend! The fabric is breathable jersey material, and the look is an easy, cute transition for errands or lunch after a workout. Colosseum is a relatively new brand but they filled a void for more fashion forward workout wear."
Owner of Body Space Fitness
“I love my Nike quote tees. They get me all fired up to work out and they get my staff excited and engaged.”
Owner of OWEN
"I love the new 3.1 Phillip Lim Camo Short Sleeve Button as it's so easy to wear, but has such a unique print which makes it more special than a standard button up. Wearing this piece motivates me to work out, because it allows me to show of all my hard work I do to my biceps in the gym."
Community manager at Lululemon
"I don’t know how it happened, but I’ve turned into an urban hippie. The nail in my hippie coffin was a natural deodorant that actually works. I would never sacrifice smelling like B.O. for a mediocre product, but Truly's really works – even through a Refine Method class! And if it can keep me smelling fresh as coconuts for brunch after, that’s motivation indeed!"
Founder of WILLSPACE
"One piece thing that motivates me to work out is my Up by Jawbone. This fashion-forward wristband takes a holistic approach to fitness — it doesn't look like a gadget, but more like a fashion accessory that I can wear day and night. It tracks the amount of steps I take throughout the day and my sleep. Every day I upload it to my iPhone and can track calories burned, distance run, pace and other helpful metrics. It also allows me to track my friends and see what they're up to with their app. Nothing like a little competition to keep you motivated!"
Founder of 305 Fitness
"I like to wear high-waisted cut-off jean shorts to work out. They are an old pair I bought in Little Havana in Miami. Seeing my legs in the mirror inspires me as I jump, spin and propel my body using the large and strong muscle groups in my legs. I also love dancing in clothes that aren't straight off the traditional athletic rack. I think less about calories and more about letting loose and having fun as if I were at a dance party."
Co-director and instructor at Revolve
"My new FAV thing to work out in is from Revolve's workout wear line. It’s a purple top that’s light and functional, very flowy; it has an open back and it’s cropped in the front, which I love because I have a hard time finding cropped tops that aren't overly exposed. It’s an awesome bright color and I’m trying to stay away from too much black!"
Media relations for Onzie
"Onzie long leggings brings fashion into fitness and motivate me to sweat it out."
"I'm a huge fan of Old Navy's workout pants—they're inexpensive, but they don't fall apart after a few workouts and washes. My favorites are the capris, which hit at just the right length and have an elastic waistband that never feels too tight (even after an ill-timed pre-workout meal). They come in your basic black and gray, as well as a few subtle prints, like the Black Jack."
Co-founder of Outdoor Voices
"To get my booty to the gym I find myself reaching for my Leopard Outdoor Voices Runner's High Shorts. Maybe it's their name that brings me back to track practice days or maybe the print stokes the fire of my inner animal — either way I know for certain that I take it up a notch when I've got these puppies on. I've recently worn them a lot post athletic endeavor and they feel hip with a perfect sprinkling of athletic."
Co-founder of Chaise23
"These sneakers are fun, fashionable, unique, and have the perfect flexibility and flat sole the Reinvention Method requires. I can go from teaching Reinvention Chair to Ballet Bungee jumping, pointing and working on the chair without having to change sneakers. As an instructor I like to add a little twist to my outfits since I wear workout clothes the majority of the time, and the pattern on these are so cool for sneakers!"
Founder of CityRow
"I'm definitely a believer in looking good at the gym. The better we look while working out, the more comfortable we'll be getting sweaty and 'gross' in front of other people. These Asics always motivate me to get to the gym. I have them in several variations — all super-colorful. And since these kicks just look so damn fun, they make anything I'm doing all the more enjoyable — working out included!"
Simone de la Rue
Founder of Body by Simone
"I absolutely can't teach dance cardio without my Newton running shoes. Not only are they lightweight and breathe well, they are designed to keep you on your toes, literally! I love the bright colors, they just make me feel so happy. I have a pair in every color. My obsession."
Public relations at New Balance
"I always love to run or work out in my New Balance Ice Tunic because it has cooling properties that keep me cool and comfortable during the entire workout. Plus, the longer hem allows me to feel confident while running so that I know my top is covering all the right areas."
Head of operations for SYNCSTUDIO
"Not only do these leggings have a super rad print, but they're made of recycled plastic bottles — who knew that was even a possibility?! Looking good and being environmentally friendly is something we can stand behind. They're also thin and breathable — almost feels like you're not wearing anything! When you basically live in spandex, that's definitely a sought-after quality."
Run camp leader at Run Wild Retreats
"I'm primarily a trail runner, but often run roads on weekdays. For those runs, I'm wearing Newton's EnergyNR because it has a low, near-level profile that lets me feel balanced and stable. The forefoot lugs provide me with the right amount of cushioning and energy return. Plus, I love their lightweight, springy feel and fun, bright colors."
Co-founder of Carbon 38
"The Rafical Legging is just so sexy — it's definitely an upgrade from the pilled yoga tights at the bottom of my drawer. That little extra va-va-voom makes me feel hot to trot when hiking Runyon or grabbing a Greens 2 from Pressed Juicery after. It has become a staple of my 'workout to night out' wardrobe — who says fitness fashions are only reserved for the treadmill?"
Founder of Phat Buddha
"The piece of apparel that motivates me to work out the most is my Phat Buddha Glitter Leggings because they remind me that working out can be fun as well as functional while letting me channel my inner Cindy Lauper!"
Creative director of Lucas High
"Too beautiful to limit to workout wear, but fully equipped for that purpose, this performance-wear piece is completely windproof and breathable. I love it because it's part feminine tailoring, part dynamic lines and functional detailing, the high visibility detailing make it perfect for running or cycling at night. This jacket can be worn over any piece as a lightweight cover-up for warmth in the winter or open for effortless elegance in the summer."
Founder of SukiShufu
"I love to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror at the gym in a fresh, new print. Our signature Suki Leatherback range shapes your body by holding you in and working wonders with your silhouette, especially from behind! One of my favorites is the Black Foil Gloss, which is a legging that can take you from the studio to the street. But, be warned, your'e going to turn heads."
Founder and CEO of Cory Vines
"My favorite piece of clothing is the Cory Vines Every Wear V Neck. It motivates me to work out because of its comfort and versatility. It's made with cotton and spandex, which really allows the fabric to move with your body. It functions for a light jog or even to grab a coffee with friends."