woman wearing workout clothes

I think it goes without saying that we all know the importance of regular exercise. Not only does it benefit our physical health, but it also plays a crucial role in managing our mental health too. Yet despite all the goodness that exercise can bring us, we often find it a struggle to go to the gym, and even if we do make it through what often feels like the doors to hell, our focus is solely on how quickly we can make it back out again. But what if I told you there was a simple trick to increasing your motivation to exercise? Something that can make you feel like exercising even when you’re tired. Something that can make you feel like an athlete even when you’re not! Well, get ready to feel like an Olympic champion because I’m going to share the secret!

Believe it or not, the key to a great workout starts with what you wear! Yes, that’s right! A simple change to what you wear can get you motivated for your workout and even improve your performance on a run or in a yoga class and it’s all because of the science of enclothed cognition. Enclothed cognition is a term that was coined by Dr. Adam Galinsky through his research on the link between clothing, brain activity, and productivity. Galinsky determined that people perceive clothes to have certain meanings and that by wearing these clothes they adopt the characteristics they associate with them.

While you may not be familiar with Galinsky’s work and enclothed cognition, it is actually something that I’m sure you’ve used in your life without even realizing it. Think about a job interview you had and what you wore. Chances are you wore a smart shirt and maybe even a blazer. Why? Because you associate these items of clothing with professionalism and that’s how you wanted to feel, and the message you wanted to project. Now think about what you wear on a date. I’m sure that you don’t wear a shirt and blazer and instead, you’ll choose something that makes you feel sexy or romantic, maybe a little black dress and some sexy heels. This is enclothed cognition in action.

So, how can we use enclothed cognition to help us feel more motivated to exercise and improve our workout? Quite simply, when we dress like an athlete we adopt the characteristics of an athlete. Athletes are dedicated to their chosen sport and love it! They commit themselves to become stronger and faster, and doing what it takes to succeed. So, before you head to the gym, or out for a run, think about what you’re wearing. Don’t work out in clothes that you sleep in or clothes that are not fit for purpose, instead, invest in some new workout wear that makes you feel like an athlete.

Once you start feeling like an athlete you’ll start acting like one too! And, while you may not win any gold medals, you’ll definitely become the champion of your own workout and reap the physical and mental health benefits.