Ex­pen­sive Gym Gear: High-End Or Hype?

Find out if you’re re­ally getting bang for your buck on the pricey stuff.

Men's Health (Singapore) - - ON THE COVER -

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.

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