Dress for performance: Clothes influence physcological​​ process

Did you receive new gym clothes for Christmas?  If not, are you going to spend money on new gear?  Does expensive gym clothing actually improve performance? 

I am a huge fan of headbands JUNK (brand) and sneakers (Adidas). Both of these items make my gym experience better. I love sport compression clothing and believe it really does make a difference in performance. Yeah, the ‘placebo effect’ certainly enters the equation, but in all honesty, what goes on between the ears is probably more important than anything else. I feel better wearing compression gear. 

According to PubMed, “Wearing lower-leg compression does not alter the energetics of running at submaximal speeds through changes in running mechanics or other means. However, it appears that the individual response to wearing lower-leg compression varies greatly and warrants examination”.

Abigail Stickford, a researcher at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas conducted a study where “the results have been mixed, and have primarily shown no real performance benefits of compression” gear.  However, Stickford says that a placebo effect may have played a role in her study. Those participants, she says, “believed very strongly in compression’s performance, and recovery”. 

I love ‘believe and achieve’ thinking!

The term “enclothed cognition” describes the logical influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes.  Think doctors and white coats or printed Nike compression tights, both give a vibe of authenticity.  My headbands make me feel powerful, inspired, unique and bad hair does not have a chance. Got ‘JUNK, rock it; colorful ‘Adidas’, lace em up. Compression pants, shorts, tops, wear em!


  • Quality clothing makes you look and feel good
  • They give your brain a boost
  • Avoid fabrics that don’t breathe
  • Get the right fit
  • If it gets you moving more just do it
  • Strategize your buying, especially shoes


Tom Matt is the host of the ‘Boomers Rock’ radio talk show syndicated in Michigan on the Michigan Talk Network. He can be heard locally Saturday mornings on the ‘Big Talker’ WJIM 1240 AM. For more info please visit


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