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My Top 5 Favorite Brands To Shop At As A Female Gymrat In College

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Being excited to work out is already a feat for many people as it is, and when university gyms, social pressures, and self-confidence are thrown into the mix, it can be hard to feel ready or excited to work out and better yourself. However, my personal philosophy of “look good, feel good” has definitely helped me gain confidence and find my place in a public gym atmosphere, and maybe it can help you too! Listed below are some of my favorite brands, varying in price and style, that I enjoy treating myself to whenever I need a pick-me-up or a closet refresh for the gym.


Starting off strong, some reasons why I love Gymshark apparel include:

  • Inclusivity
  • High quality material
  • Affordability

Gymshark has grown to be a much more inclusive brand than it once was and now caters to a wide range of body types, which is especially helpful when shopping for tighter-fit items like sports bras and leggings. Their leggings, sports bras, and biker shorts are made of thick, high-quality material that won’t wear down or stretch much over time. Their items are also offered in a multitude of solid colors and fun patterns, and many of their items can be mixed and matched, and alternatively worn as loungewear or everyday clothing for students on the go! I also love this brand because although they appear to have mid to high price points upon first glance, you can actually find a large range of affordable and stylish items in their clearance sections online. They also offer a 10% student discount, period-payment methods, and semi-annual sales that chop prices significantly, which is great for us college students who want to feel strong and beautiful on a budget!

T.J. Maxx

Alright, I think we all knew this one was coming. T.J. Maxx is great to shop for athletic apparel because of its:

  • Affordability
  • Variety of high-quality name brands
  • Carries additional athletic equipment

T.J. Maxx can be a great source of cute and affordable athletic apparel without the high prices. Their store is an amalgamation of various discounted products from all kinds of name brands, and their athletic section is no exception. This can prove to be a huge plus, especially for my environmentally conscious ladies. As many students know, it can be hard to avoid fast fashion when you’re in college and focused on getting the best deal for your dollar. However, T.J. Maxx’s broad range of brands gives those of us who don’t want to encourage fast fashion the option to shop for brands that are more sustainable for a cheaper price.


I’m sure you’ve heard of Fabletics by now, and if you haven’t, let me clue you in on some reasons why you might enjoy their athletic and lounge apparel:

  • Inclusivity
  • Fun variety of colorways and patterns
  • Generous rewards program

Fabletics is similar to Gymshark in the idea that their clothing is versatile, and their apparel can be used in a variety of athletic scenarios as well as for lounging or casual wear. This brand features a broad range of body types and models, and by being more inclusive and sending the message that fitness is not one-size-fits-all, almost anybody is likely to feel welcome and represented in this store (which is a huge pro)! The brand’s fun patterns and colors, matching sets, and great quality make it super easy for students to mix and match sets, pick out transitional outfits for class and the gym, and leave room for customers to keep up with modern trends and style the sets or items to their own liking. I also love this brand for its sign-on discounts, sales, and freebies. So if you’re looking to purchase some clothes from them, be sure to look into their rewards program, because you’ll get your first two pairs of leggings for only $24 instead of full-price, along with additional perks and sales throughout the year!

Kill Crew

This one is for my Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) girlies who want some extra mobility when training. Don’t worry, I see you! Kill Crew is a “fighter’s club” brand that caters (but is not limited) to those who partake in Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, and Boxing. Some things I love about this brand include:

  • Variety of color choices in loose and tight-fit clothing
  • Inspirational brand message
  • Inclusive

This brand is definitely on the pricier side and doesn’t offer many discounts or sales because it’s still quite small. However, if you’re into the MMA scene and looking for apparel that offers more mobility through looser-fit clothing (without losing the appeal of fun colors and patterns), then this brand is definitely one to check out. They offer both tight-fit leggings and shorts, as well as loose-fitting shorts and shirts depending on your personal preferences, with both categories sharing similar colorways and patterns. One important note is that their clothing is heavily branded, so if that’s not your speed, I’d consider looking elsewhere. I also really like this brand because of their overarching message: “Everyone’s got something to kill.” This mission is rooted in the encouragement of conquering one’s inner struggles (whatever they may be) and serves to be an inspiring motto that gives meaning to their heavily-branded clothing. Lastly, I really like this brand for its inclusivity, with its sizes ranging from XXS-5XL depending on the product, making it an accessible and fun brand for anyone who wants to give it a try!


AYBL is a well-known name brand among many lifters, and although it is on the more expensive side (especially for college students) it is definitely an investment that proves to be worth the price because of its:

  • High Quality
  • Minimalist Style
  • Balanced Payment Methods

AYBL is yet another brand that I have grown to love and appreciate more over time. As previously mentioned, its products are on the pricier side and they don’t explicitly advertise themselves as being an “affordable’ brand for the masses. However, their final sale section is somewhat reasonably priced, and they offer weekly payment options. If you’re hunting for a good deal with great quality material that’s built to last, it would be worth your while to check them out! After purchasing their Empower Seamless Shorts, I wasn’t expecting much. I tried them out just to see what the difference was between these shorts and shorts from brands like Fabletics and Gymshark, and I found that the quality was incomparable. It’s thick enough to prevent sweat stains, while also shaping and sculpting curves you didn’t know you had. Wearing them definitely made me feel more confident and strong when I walked into the gym, and after about 10-15 washes, I haven’t noticed any wear on them in the slightest. A lot of people also love this brand for its minimalist style and loungewear, especially after it was popularized on multiple media platforms. So, if you’re looking to be trendy, squat-proof, and supported, I definitely recommend the shorts from this brand.

At the end of the day, what you wear to the gym does not matter. The only thing that matters is that you feel good and that you’re taking care of yourself in whatever way you prefer. These brands have helped me gain more confidence and find my place in the gym because I know that when I look good, I feel even better. If that sounds like you, then branching out and trying new brands and looks is always something you try to do to make yourself feel even more confident and strong than you already are. I think it is also important to add that we all come from different economic backgrounds, and your ability to purchase and wear name-brands (or trendy brands) does not define you or your overall performance in the slightest. Finding your own “Top 5” is one of the most exciting parts of being active, and styling yourself according to your personality so you can feel like the best version of yourself is definitely a plus. Think of this as an example of some brands you can take a look at while on your own “gym baddie” journey. Now that you’ve seen my “Top 5,” it’s time to go find yours!

Liz Agarunova is a senior writer and one of the Executive board’s social media chairs at the Her Campus UConn chapter. She enjoys writing about health and wellness, pop culture, fashion, college life, and experiences — but she’s a big fan of trying new things, and enjoys the challenge of taking on new topics & writing styles whenever the opportunity arises. Outside of Her Campus, Liz studies Political Science and plans to attend law school following the completion of her undergraduate degree in May 2024. Liz has also taken a strong interest in finance after spending the summer working at Lawrence & Memorial Federal Credit Union, finding that financial literacy is increasingly relevant and important knowledge for her generation. When she isn’t busy doing coursework or writing for Her Campus, Liz enjoys strength training at the gym, testing out new recipes in the kitchen, or kicking back and indulging in the next book on her “TBR” list!