From Workout To Work: How This Odor-Resisting, Temperature-Regulating Fabric Goes The Distance
The year 2020 had been going along smoothly, then March hit—and the whole world changed. Like everyone, within a week, my entire routine was upended. A creature of habit, from my a.m. workout to my p.m. walk home from the office, participating in social distancing has meant some serious adjusting.
With collective anxiety at an all-time high in NYC, I (safely and swiftly) escaped to my parents' house in the suburbs of New Jersey and decided to mentally reframe this remote period as an opportunity to mix things up a little, especially with my fitness regimen.
I ditched my makeup, work attire, and in-studio fitness obsession and dressed in a natural fabric: some Merino wool fitness gear. It was time to mentally prepare for another week of exercising, working, and lounging (on repeat)...before discovering, then declaring, that I may never wear another fabric again.
Since I'm typically all about in-studio vibes, I decide to sign up for online streaming of The Class, one of my tried-and-true favorites. I break into a sweat 10 out of 10 times, so I usually opt for shorts but decide to try my Merino wool Nagnata ribbed tank and leggings look for the occasion since new outfits are generally mood-boosting motivators.
Turns out, I have nothing to worry about when it comes to temperature control. Whether I was doing jacks, burpees, or leg lifts, my clothes breathed as much as I do, just not quite as heavily.
Wake up at 5:30 a.m. (shocker), walked over to my dresser, then surveyed the options before thinking, Why fix what isn't broken?
Yesterday's outfit was comfortable, plus it still smells like my favorite perfume (not sweat). Merino wool is naturally odor-resistant, and morning movement is first on my agenda. I change out of sleepwear and right into what is becoming my remote fitness uniform.
Today, I decide that after years of avoiding the pavement, I am going out for a run. OK, maybe a light jog. I lace up my APLs and bound around the block vigorously...once. Let's be real, you don't become a runner overnight. I feel light on my feet, in large part because there's nothing better than fresh sneakers, especially when they feel like clouds on your feet, thanks to soft Merino wool.
Next up: a quick shower followed by a diligent hand wash of my Nagnata top/bottom—this set can be cold machine-washed in a garment bag, but I don't want to have to wait a few days for a full load before I can wear it again, so I opt to skip the machine and DIY. More time: the advantage of a life without a commute!
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After a terrible night's sleep (blame it on the extra dinner serving and failure to remember my probiotic), cardio is not on the cards. Instead, I declare a day of "active rest" and do yoga flow on my own...in a revived old favorite, the Tracksmith Harrier Tank.
Two sun salutations later, I settled into my makeshift WFH office, which I have set up nicely with dual screens, laptop stand, and an exercise ball to sit (and occasionally bounce) on. After abandoning my usual morning intensity, I lean into conscious hourly movement—stretching and shaking it out to break up my new virtual work life and my static muscles. Not only do I feel better, but I worked better. Note to self: Do less more often, and do it in luxuriously soft clothes.
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At this point, I commit to my Merino workout wardrobe for the entirety of the workweek. This is a time for conserving, doing LESS laundry, and living as sustainably/minimally as possible.
My ribbed outfit is not only surviving but thriving, even with daily movement. I decide Thursday is about getting loose, so I opt for an unconventional dance party for one in my basement at full volume, followed by a Melissa Wood Health full-body flow series.
Dancing, grounding, tightening, lifting, lengthening—it's all the things I want to channel while heading toward Friday, even if I'm staying put.
I am quickly learning that Merino wool dries superfast once you work out in it and is also constantly listening to the changes in your body's temperature—cooling you down and warming you up when you need it. It adjusts to dance parties for one as well as it does for my morning asanas.
Even in quaran-times, Friday is still Friday. Here's where I really surprise myself: I decide to celebrate with sport and go digging through the garage for a soccer ball. Living in my parents' house has me feeling nostalgia for a simpler life moment, when studying and athletics were the day's tasks. I am curious to see if my body remembers the ball like it does a backbend or headstand from childhood gymnastics...and it does! Kind of.
I enjoy dribbling around aimlessly in the yard and kicking the ball against the side door, until, just as in my youth, I am scolded by my father. Sports + wool may not seem like a perfect partnership, but they are. I round out the morning with wool washing (who knew it was so easy?), podcast listening, and a little weekend daydreaming—unplugging has never been appreciated more.
After five days in my Australian Merino attire (and footwear), I am beyond excited by the prospect of taking these outfits on the road, into the mountains, and EVERYWHERE ELSE I will be exploring with fervor when it's safe out there. Natural and breathable, Merino feels more like an extension of my body rather than the restricting synthetics I'm accustomed to. I enjoy the connection with nature, even though I couldn't truly enjoy her. I wouldn't dream of not washing a pair of tights usually, but learning that I don't have to with Merino means one less chore—something I will welcome when we're office-bound again! Since we're already "contained" in the grander sense, I'm excited to have found a fiber that makes me feel free.
Meg Phillips is a Brand Strategist at mindbodygreen. She received her degree from Columbia University in the City of New York. She has worked at many top publications and brands including Vogue, Milk Studios, Allure and Bon Appétit. She lives in Manhattan, NY.