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Workout Gear Guide

511 tactical workout gear guide

Workout Gear Guide

Fortunately for us, workout gear has come a long way since the days of biker shorts and cut-off t-shirts. Hey, those are still great if that’s what works for you, but like everything else, fantastic advancements have been made in fabric materials.

There are several criteria to consider when choosing the best workout gear for your needs: fabric types, function, fit and comfort, and care. We’ll explore those criteria as we tell you about what to wear to the gym when working out. 


As you’ll learn throughout this article, most workout clothes are made of a blend of synthetic materials that are designed to both keep you cool and wick away moisture from your body. Those materials include Spandex, Lycra, and elastane.

Finding a good pair of workout shorts entails more than just finding a pair you like the looks of. You’ll want to consider the types of workouts you plan on doing, as well as their intensity. What kind of clothing is best for weight training? Cardio?

The first feature to check out is the waistband. Do you need something with a drawstring? If you are doing high-intensity workouts or a lot of cardio, the answer is likely yes. The last thing you want is for your shorts to keep sagging while you’re working out.

Length is another feature to consider. Do you prefer a shorter short or a longer one? Shorts that are too long could affect your ease of movement when running or performing weightlifting maneuvers. Choose a pair of shorts or workout bottoms that allow for the greatest range of motion and ease of movement.

You may also want to consider a pair of training tights that go underneath your shorts. These help with extra support, as well as much-needed moisture-wicking capabilities. 


You want to incorporate three to four good-quality workout tops into your rotation. Look for synthetic fabric blends that offer moisture-wicking to help wick away sweat and keep you dry during high-intensity workouts. Another great option is a t-shirt that combines Merino wool with nylon and flexible elastane. This provides a shirt that feels soft, yet strong. The benefits of a Merino wool shirt include odor-resistance and a no-itch, extra-soft feel. They make a perfect base layer for your workout gear. 


Not all workouts are done in the gym. If you’re like us, you love taking your fitness regimen outdoors, whether that’s mountain biking, hiking, running, or anything else that gets your adrenaline pumping. Nature means unpredictability. Cold and hot temperatures, or even wind and rain. You may hit frost-covered trails in the morning only to hop on the bike before lunch and the temperatures have rapidly warmed up.

The best way to handle this is dressing in layers. And a good, lightweight jacket will help provide the warmth you need. Besides that warmth, consider a jacket that is at least rain resistant, if not waterproof. You will be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. 

Plate Carriers / Weighted Vests

You may be thinking this is a bit unconventional but hear us out. Those of you looking to up the intensity and “reach peak fitness” from your workouts should think about adding plate carriers or weighted vests to your workout gear. Plate carriers and weighted vests differ slightly, but both are used to add extra resistance to bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, jumping rope, and more. 

From our Motion PT-R Shorts and No Mercy PT-R tops to joggers, Catalyst ¼ Zip Pull Overs and Zone Hoodies, 5.11 Tactical has the answers to what to wear when working out. No matter what level of fitness you are at, we have the gear you need to help you get the most out of your workouts with No Limits

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