THE Games may be over, but the “Jessica Ennis effect” is being felt across the Capital, in the aching muscles of women inspired to get off the couch and emulate their Olympic heroes.
However, despite studies showing people who look healthy present a more attractive prospect to potential partners, the route to getting there in the first place could be argued to lack glamour. You’re very unlikely to see any women modelling baggy trousers and an old T-shirt on the red carpet.
Luckily, help is at hand, with the fabulously named Sweaty Betty on George Street, seeking to “offer an alternative to the masculine approach to gymwear”. Or, in other words, to put the femininity – and perhaps even the “phwoar” – back into fitness.
Katie Stratton, of Sweaty Betty, tells the Evening News: “We exist to inspire women to find empowerment through fitness. This ethos, plus the legacy the Olympics has given us, means we are seriously committed to spreading the feel-good factor sport generates. That and of course that style and performance need not be mutually exclusive, your kit should look and make you feel great, and crucially enhance your performance.
“The Olympic period was a huge success for us. With the national focus being on sport, and female athletes in particular, we saw an increase in people wanting new outfits to kickstart their fitness regime and we have seen a lot of women getting excited about fitness again. We have two free fitness clubs that we hold in store each week and they’ve been booked solid, with waiting lists, the last few weeks. Everyone is on a mission to get abs like Jessica Ennis.”
And they aren’t the only ones getting an Olympic boost.
Emma Sokol, store manager of Decathlon in Midlothian, says: “We’ve seen a significant rise in custom since the Games, and certainly noticed more women coming in asking about sports and fitness in general. Running seems to be getting more popular, and many women seem to be especially interested in equipment like Elliptical trainers and Moonwalkers, which means they can work out at home too.”
Adrian Stott, manager of Run and Become on Dalry Road, has noticed a similar trend. He says: “We have seen more women than normal, especially buying running shoes or clothes to exercise in, made of technical wicking fabrics that are great for dealing with sweat.”
But running isn’t the only form of keep fit that owes a tip of the cap to Team GB, with Edinburgh’s own Sir Chris Hoy boosting bike sales across his home town.
Liam Dawson, from W&R MacDonald on Morrison Street, says: “We’ve certainly noticed more women coming in to buy bikes. There is usually a rise in the summer season, but we’ve seen numbers over and above that.”
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Leisure adds: “Our athletics development officer, who would usually have a handful of inquiries for new classes a term, has had more than 15 in the past week alone looking for additional classes to be put on across the city.”
So what is the sportswear to see and be seen in this season?
Sweaty Betty’s Katie has the answers: “Running ranges are hugely popular. Our floral print Adrenaline run capris are a real statement piece for any fashion-savvy runner. We also have some great Cooldown pieces that are perfect for to and from the gym, but also double up as casual wear for a cool sport luxe look. The Bermondsey sweat dress and Maya shawl are our favourites. And no-one can live without our Athlete workout vests.
Emma from Decathlon adds: “Our three-quarter-length running leggings have been very popular, as have our exercise outfits, which come in matching colours, like pink and black, and purple and white.”