I love getting ready for the gym. It’s one piece to an entire process. I’m a night time gym or run person. Working out intensely in the morning just doesn’t come easy for me. I like to go about my normal day-to-day, do what I gotta do, then focus on the gym. And even though working out and fitness is on my mind 24/7, actually getting ready is critical. It’s what gets me in the zone.
I’ll usually get home and prep a small meal, nothing too heavy or elaborate, maybe half a shake and half a cup of oatmeal. I’ll throw some compression shorts on, fire up the laptop and get Pandora going. I’ve got a Swiss ball, foam roller, and physio ball here at the place. I’ll run through a number of different roll positions to warm up a bit, and take the time to think about what needs to get done. Far too many people get wrapped up in what else is going on in their lives to stop a second to really get ready. Focus needs to shift directions from “work” or whatever else you’re thinking about and get into “gym mode.”
After about 10-15 minutes of warm up/prep work, it’s on to wardrobing. Maybe some would think I’m silly, but I strongly believe that your apparel and work out gear can help get you inspired. It’s like putting on a uniform. Or even a suit for an interview, or a big event. It does carry some weight. It makes you feel good. It’s exciting. It’s nice to look good. And it’s also nice to have a “look.”
At the magazine we get our hands on loads of product. You name it, we’ve seen it. Or tried it.
I’ve seen so much in the past four years. The athleisure trend is huge. It’s basically every day clothes you could technically pull off as “work out clothes” OR “work clothes.” When I’m heading into the office, most of the time I’m in some type of athleisure wear. You can’t quit figure out if I’m headed to a shoot, the studio, a meeting, the office, or even a quick workout. There’s a number of brands that are doing this incredibly well. It’s big. You’ve probably got athleisure going on right now and don’t even know it.
Another thing I’ve seen a lot of is bright colors, tighter fits, “performance” material like sweat wicking or “compression.” It’s crazy, “board shorts” became the new work out short. Minimalist shoes were huge. Now that’s fading out to more support-based shoes. More and more shoes are being produced that are made for lifting, or running, or obstacle racing. Converse in the gym started to get huge. Long story short, it’s no longer just a t-shirt and shorts. There’s more to it. Companies are much more competitive. Going to the gym now is a fashion statement. And it’s been that way for some time now.
This is where American Giant comes in. I took a meeting with the CEO Bayard Winthrop last spring. The previous year he had launched what some would call, “The Greatest Hoodie Ever Made.” I thought that was interesting. What the hell could make a hoodie so great? Well, AG is all about the basics, and quality. “I was really interested in this idea of classic, basic gym wear — that I feel like I grew up around — isn’t in the market as much as I wish it was. Just great fabric, good fits; basic stuff that lasts. That’s what we’re trying to produce.”
And after wearing every single item from them, I’ll back up it up with that fact that the stuff does last. “We spent so much energy on doing a narrow set of things really well. That’s the sweat shirts, sweat pants, and sweat shorts.”
The heavy weight hoodie is, in fact, heavy weight. It’s warm. It’s durable. And their light weight hoodie is in fact, light weight, but it still holds it’s integrity. And one of their newer releases from this spring 2015, the weekender, a much, much softer sweat shirt is a lounge wear keeper.
But aside from the quality angle that American Giant plays well, I’m a huge fan of who they are as a brand. They’re not getting caught up in the “keep up the Jones’s” mentality. They’re doing their own thing. And they’ve got their own look. All I can think about is classic Rocky Balboa when it comes to American Giant. Everything from the look to the mental approach.
When I’m going through my prep, some nights are just an American Giant kind of night. It’s either their sweat shorts and light weight zip up hoodie, or sweat pants and the heavy weight pull over. Either way, when I toss that gear on, I know I’m there for business. Or as their campaigns would tout, “Don’t Be Comfortable.”
To learn more about American Giant, visit American-Giant.com
Click here for my in-studio interview at MEN’S FITNESS with American Giant CEO Bayard Winthrop.