Expensive Gym Gear: High-End Or Hype?
Find out if you’re really getting bang for your buck on the pricey stuff.
YYes, but not for the reasons you might think. It’s not that they’re better clothes per se, it’s because you’re more likely to feel like, and therefore become, a better athlete in them. That’s according to a recent study* into the positive effect that quality Lycra has on our emotional mindset. Deep, right? Researchers call this phenomenon ‘enclothed cognition’, suggesting that what you wear carries a symbolic meaning and thus subconsciously influences the way you act.
In other words, Craig, over and above informing fellow gym-goers that you know your SkiErg from your Skillmill, filling your gym bag with the latest fit kit wires a shot of self-confidence directly to your brain. “We tend not to take part in activities that we aren’t confident in performing well, so intervention through kit to boost self-belief is helpful,” says Professor Andy Lane, sports psychologist at the Centre for Health and Human Performance. According to Lane, the key to enclothed cognition lies in your outfit’s power to make you feel good about yourself when training.
“This could be from channelling elite athletes by wearing the same high-performance trainers [i] as they do, or the sensation of lightness from a sweat-wicking top [ii] making you more inclined to push your efforts.” The same can be said for the clothes you wear when strength-training: whether it’s the feeling of compact security from squatting in compression leggings [iii] or biting down on a mouth guard [iv] to help focus tension when testing your bench 1RM.
In short, if you want to take your training to the next level, high-end kit is a worthy investment indeed. Remember: it’s all in your head, Craig. *The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Why do I walk around when I’m on the phone? – Nelson
Because you’re a thoughtful, attentive guy, which you knew, being so thoughtful and all. Walking is a form of fidgeting and can help you focus, says NYC therapist Alexis Conason, Psy.D. It can also boost creativity and reduce stress. But don’t multitask. Shuffling papers or checking email disrupts the convo--and is obvious to the other party. Pay attention to your breath, she suggests. Apply that same focus to the conversation.
Can I die from an odour? – Elaine
No, a horrific odour alone can’t kill you unless it contains toxic chemicals, in which case it’s the poison that’s deadly, not the smell, says olfaction expert Casey Trimmer, Ph.D. “Someone with no sense of smell would also be affected,” she says. The way you perceive smell is determined by your expectations, genetics, past experiences with the odour, and evolution--which explains why the “sniff test” helps you avoid rotting food. Bad smells can serve as warning signs and keep you safe, says biophysicist and perfume savant Luca Turin, Ph.D. “Many gases can kill you, some fast, some slow, some odourless, some pleasant-smelling, some repulsive”--if they’re repulsive, at least you know to run.