By Amy Ludwig

What's one of the best things about working out at home? You can wear whatever you want. There's no dress code. No need to appear "cool." And no fashion police. The only consideration is that whatever you wear should help you Bring It!® harder. The idea is to dress for action—your way.

Here are several factors to weigh as you choose the right workout wear for you:
  • How much skin does it show? Are you currently having a "wish I were out of this body" experience? I've been there, especially at the start of a fitness program. So I understand the desire to cover up in big, baggy workout wear. Bare midriffs aren't the best look for all of us. But keep your eyes on the prize.

    You can cover your tummy with longer-cut tops, and keep it real and conceal with roomy exercise pants. Yet it's good to be aware of your body's shape, especially as you work to change it (think "before" and "after" photos). It's easier to watch your form on challenging moves if you can see your frame. And if you're working out in private, no one else's opinion matters. Besides, you're working out! Be proud of yourself.
  • What fabric is it made of? Cotton kills. OK, that's my personal, overly dramatic bias. I know lots of people who work out in basic cotton T-shirts and like them just fine. They're inexpensive, easy to get on, and come in any size or cut you wish. But when I'm doing serious cardio, I sweat. A lot. And I find that cotton quickly gets damp, heavy, and uncomfortable. If you hate wet, bulky clothes, remove that obstacle to your workout.

    I prefer exercise clothing made of synthetic fabrics, especially those that wick moisture away from the skin. Synthetic clothing remains easy to move in, even when soaked. It also tends to dry quickly. You can easily find it in sporting goods stores, at discount retailers, and online. Motivate yourself with an outfit that makes you feel like an athlete, and you'll increase your odds of success.
  • How much support does it give? When working out, you want to focus on how you're moving your body, not on how it wants to move on its own. If there's more of you to love in certain areas, you may be happier in workout clothing that provides some restraint. Some clothing companies, particularly ones geared toward women, rate the bounce-to-the-ounce allowance of their sports bras. If you're doing a high-impact activity that includes lots of jumping (plyo fans, holla!), opt for more support.

    And don't forget your shoes.

    Your feet hit the floor more than any other part of your body. If they're in pain, or your sneakers hurt you, you'll be less likely to Push Play. A pair of good cross-trainers with proper support and cushioning can prevent injury and provide energy. Try on several types and do a few Rock Star Hops before making your choice.
  • How much does it cost? You don't need expensive designer gear to Push Play. No one else is around to read your label. The most important thing is that you can move freely and work at the program you've chosen. Look for bargains and closeouts at discount retailers, sporting goods stores, or on the Web.
  • And the most important tip of all? WEAR IT. Whatever type of workout clothing you prefer, put it on. Push Play. And get your body moving. Pretty soon, you'll see results that make all this jumping and sweating worth the trouble—when the clothes you picked out begin to fit differently. And that's something exciting to work for.