Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mod Exercise Gear?

Thanksgiving, Christmas (and/or Hanukkah, etc.), and New Years... a time of heavy meals, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, boxed chocolates, homemade fudge, cookies, and more. Sounds great until you realize you like dressing in tighter-fitting pants, tighter-fitting shirts, and tighter-fitting jackets.

As you can probably guess, all of the above foods have forced me into loose sweaters and larger jackets. Even shirt collars aren't buttoning up like they should be. So, as a result of all that holiday food, I'll be joining everyone else out there, desperately trying to get back into shape.

As you all know by now, I dig Mod clothes. I dig suits. I dig shoes. I dig ties. I dig accessories. Heck, I even dig socks. But there's one aspect of clothing that has ALWAYS been hard for me to grasp: workout clothes. There was a time when I used to come home from work and transform from my daily Moddish wear into a ratty old sweatshirt, sweatpants that were falling apart, and a pair of ugly Reeboks, because A) I didn't know any better, and B) my thinking was that they're just work-out clothes... who cares?

Wrong attitude! I should be caring about what I'm wearing out there even if they're just clothes made for sweatin' in. (Plus, I got tired of my wife referring to my workout outfit as my 'Rockys'.) It was at that point that I decided to spend some effort into looking for nice workout clothes. Sure, they're not going to be super slick because, y'know, sportswear... but at least they can look somewhat presentable.

So, I spent some time going through various websites: Nike, Puma Reebok, and yes, even Lonsdale and Fred Perry. I figured what with all the Britpop 'Mods' walking around in 'trainers' and track suits, there'd be something cool out there made for working out. But I had no luck with the exception of one label.

Over the years, many friends have talked about Adidas wear and Adidas shoes so I decided to give them a shot. The first thing I thought about was a sweater top and, lo and behold, what did I find? An Adidas Vespa workout jacket!
Unfortunately, this Adidas Vespa jacket has since sold out.
Yes, I cheesed out and got this... come on! I'd totally be writing a Mod Gone Wrong post on this, but, heck, at least those aren't targets and it's a step up from the holey sweatshirt I was wearing before! I may use this on morning jogs, but for normal every day use, I'll stick to a standard Adidas jacket and sweatpants set like this:
About as stylish a workout outfit I could find.
Seriously, give Adidas a good look because they did have other pretty nice workout wear.

Of course, if you want to stay true to Mod 'labels,' you can always stick with ol' Fred Perry. I kinda figured they'd have whole collections of exercise wear, so was surprised to find only one type of track jacket and no bottoms on their site:
For when you need that laurel on your chest.
Not bad, but not particularly exciting either, huh? I really was surprised to find a lack of workout choices on their site though. Mod guys do exercise too, right?

Track jackets and sweat pants down... but now I'm stuck on a very important piece of the workout ensemble. As much as I LOVE shoes, I have no idea about good running shoes. Years ago, I used to jog in a pair of bowling-shoe-esque Pumas, until my feet and legs started hurting. That's when I found out that companies make tennis shoes (trainers) for STYLE, not necessarily function! So, those Puma tennis shoes were out for working out. I eventually settled on an ugly pair of white Jerry Seinfeld-esque Reeboks. Ugh. But now, it's time to move on.

Unfortunately, I don't really know where to go, so I'm asking for suggestions. Do I go for somewhat stylish shoes, supposedly made for running, like these:
Or do I play it safe and go for UGLY but probably best on my feet, like these:

Or, do you have any other good running shoe suggestions?

Also, what are you doing to fight off the holiday weight? Special diets or exercise regiments? Any suggestions for good workout wear?

Of course, I'll start the year off by cutting out the things I usually cut out every January: pastas, daily bottles glasses of wine, hamburgers, pizza, and desserts. Let's see how long this lasts this year. And to keep myself motivated, I'll be keeping up with this great health blog written by pretty awesome Mod gal, Victoria:

Also, to keep myself in check, I'll be posting my weight progress every Friday here on the blog. Oh no, don't expect me to give away my personal weight... trust me, I wish I didn't know it. But I did weigh myself last Friday and found I was coming in at X pounds. So, this Friday, I'll see if I'm X plus # of pounds or X minus # of pounds. My goal: lose 10 pounds at least by mid-year!

If you're lookin' to lose weight, get in shape, and make those Mod threads look good, let's do this together!


  1. The Adidas Dragon is a good hill climber, there is a San Francisco edition too I believe. Gazelles are good all around trainers. For warmup jackets, tops see www.toffs.com . For quick weight loss cut out the carbs, sugar, and alcohol switch to a high protein diet. I dropped 70 lbs in 9 months that way.

  2. Great topic. Adidas sambas are always cool but from my experience, comfort wise, nothing beats New Balance for running shoes. Exercise and diet wise....what works for me is Football (soccer), Gym at least 3 times a week (30 min of cardio each time) lots of water, vitamins, snacking on veggies and fruit. Low fat Triscuits and Wheat Thins are also some snacks I dig. Good luck!

  3. ditto what colin said about the carbs and sugar.

    working out is not a pretty business, and i don't think looking pretty should be a concern. (looking GOOD, however, is another kettle of fish...!)

    a lot of the mod gear was not designed with comfort in mind. that's not to say you can't be comfortable while looking sharp, it's just the fashion comes before form. wearing some great looking trainers for working out, and not taking into account the design and purpose of the shoe, will have your shins declaring anarchy. think about it; you're going to get sweaty anyways, wearing a fab workout suit is really just putting lipstick on the pig (no reference to the author or reader intended). jodie artichoke, of diabolik/smashed-blocked/mod chicago dj fame would wear a hoodie sweatshirt to go jogging and pull the hood tight; no one knew it was her and her stylish street cred remained intact!

    of course, you could just do what they did in the '60s and take a handful of uppers.... o_O

  4. That is awesome Carlos, I think I will have to invest in something similar. You think when you live out in the burbs that it doesn't matter what you wear running, until you realize that you live in the mod retirement community. I have too often run into Sarah and Russell, John & Selam (all within a mile of me) while in my running gear that I shall say isn't so hip. That will be my new year's resolution, and I will be losing the last 8 pounds of baby weight with you. Let's do it!

  5. Cool post. Free Perry had some nice retro-ish cycling jerseys for a while but alas, no longer.

    As for weight loss, check out loseit.com. They also have a free mobile app. It's basically a calorie database and counter. You put in your age, height, weight, and weight loss goal and it calcs how many calories you can eat each day. You can also input exercise which gives you negative calories based on the exercise. My wife and I have lost 25 and 20 lbs in 5 months. It's a slow-ish process and you have to stick with it and be patient, but that's probably for the best anyhow - rapid weight loss programs rarely are successful in keeping it off. Check it out.

  6. @Colin, I knew the soccer/football fans would have suggestions! I found this which looks pretty nice for jogging in: http://www.toffs.com/Escape-To-Victory-Tracktop/productinfo/9055/

    @Jose, thanks! I plan on going to the gym 3-4 times a week, but it's going to be tough these next 2 months since everyone else in the world will also be going. I'll look into New Balance as well!

    @Skorpeo, did you just 'out' Jodie Artichoke? I always pictured her jogging in 1968 Biba workout gear!

    @Mrs K, 8 pounds of baby weight? Geez... what's my excuse for the 10 pounds of Christmas food weight?? Oh yeah, Christmas food. (And I know you're pain about running into people while jogging... remember where I live!) And now that the holidays are over, we need to set time to visit with you, Mr. K, and the Children K!

    @Eric, yeah, I was surprised FP didn't have more since they're basically sportswear. Thanks for the loseit.com tip. And congrats on the weight loss! It really is a long process but pays off so well in terms of health.

  7. OK Carlos, you know I have struggled with this very issue for a while so a few tips from experience:

    * Adidas tracksuit indeed the best choice: basic, functional, if not exactly gorgeous is reasonably classic.

    * I also have successfully pursued hood strategy to try to be sneaky while running outdoors ...imagine how difficult that was when was living across the street from the Orbit Room!

    * Abandon hope for decent footwear, there are no even okay looking shoes okay to run in unless you are sure your feet are super duper sturdy. I gave myself two stress fractures trying to run in Sambas which seemed the best option, may be okay for soccer field but not treadmill or sidewalks! Just go to a running specialist shop and buy the ones they counsel you no matter how awful or else you may ruin your feet for non-athletic footwear in the long run...

    * To avoid depressing yourself looking at the offending footwear, make sure if there is a mirror on the wall it cuts off at your ankles... Sadly harder to avoid looking down if you're running outside.

    * Non style tips -- but will make sure you look even better in tailored wear:

    (1) Make sure to do weights or calisthenics like pushups, situps and squats a couple of times a week in addition to the intervals on the treadmill, 10-15 minutes each time is all you need there unless you want to try to rival Victoria for superfitness (a lost cause anyway)!

    (2) For diet, agree following some type of tracking or formal program is good vs. winging it -- Studies show it doesn't really matter so much which one -- Loseit as mentioned as well as Sparkpeople and Fitday good online ones for tracking, or there are the classics like Weight Watchers, South Beach, etc. to try if you need more structure.

    * And last but not least...come visit again soon! You guys can walk tons to work off all the wine and cheese :)

  8. Gabs, I knew you'd have some good advice! I'm definitely planning on weights and calisthenics. I can't picture myself in a John Smedley without doing those!

    People talk about the French Paradox, but I think they have it all wrong. For me, the paradox is how do you guys walk so much without ruining your cool shoes??

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