Trainer-Approved Masks For a Comfortable Workout
We get it: Wearing a mask during your workout isn’t ideal or super pleasant.
However, the benefits of keeping yourself and people around you safe is worth it. And we have to say, we’ve been in awe of your resilience and continued dedication to fitness, despite having to adjust to the mask life.
Finding a mask that matches your outfit for running errands is one thing, but finding one that’s comfortable, breathable and stays in place for your workout is a whole different story. We turned to CA’s fitness pros for recommendations…and as usual, they did not disappoint!
First, why masks?
COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets. Masks create a simple barrier that reduces the spray of these droplets, and the CDC continues to identify mask-wearing as one of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves and others.
Unless you’re in the pool, you’re expected to sport a face covering in CA’s facilities. The last thing we want is for you to stress about other people not wearing a mask, which is why our mask policy is clearly defined and enforced by CA team members. You can enjoy yourself free of worry about being ‘the mask police.’
Second, why work out?
So…if we’re all cooped up inside in our pajamas, with minimal social interaction, what’s the motivation to work out anyhow?
The bottom line is, because we’re fighting a virus that doesn’t have yet a treatment, a strong immune system is your best defense. Exercise, which is known to boost your immunity, is more important now than ever before. When it comes to staying healthy, moving your body is just as essential as frequent hand washing and social distancing.
More than 40% of U.S. adults are obese and more than 60% have at least one chronic disease, which we now know spikes the risk of COVID-19’s worst outcomes. And while most weight loss occurs due to decreased caloric intake, the CDC confirms that the only way to maintain weight loss and reduce your risk of a number of chronic diseases is through regular physical activity.
So while being physically fit doesn’t make you exempt from the virus by any means, it does make you more resilient to its symptoms, while also keeping you in good shape mentally and emotionally.
Now, onto our trainer’s top mask pics…
KN95 masks, ($31.27 for 10 masks on Amazon.com)
Recommended by CA personal trainer, Debbie Cohen
KN95 masks provide top-level protection while also providing a snug (but not too tight) fit.
“I love that it fits well without needing constant readjustment to make sure it stays over your nose. It has wide coverage from just below the eyes down to the chin, and comfortable ear loops,” says Cohen. “This mask allows maximum comfort and breathability while working out WITHOUT having to touch your face to keep readjusting it! Some of my clients who were struggling with other masks have made the switch and are very happy with it.
In medical settings, it’s not advised to reuse this kind of mask every day. When it comes to using it for workouts, however, but it’s fine to reuse it a couple of times to make your supply last longer. Just let it sit out for a couple of days in between uses.
FaceMitts by WhitePaws RunMitts ($15 each, available at Charm City Run and runmitts.com)
Recommended by fitness training supervisor Daniel Silva
First, these masks are locally made, and we love supporting local businesses. Second, they’re pretty darn comfy.
“They are lightweight, form fitting to stay in place and ear loops are very comfortable,” Silva says.
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UA SportsMask by Under Armour ($30 each on underarmour.com)
Recommended by fitness training supervisor Daniel Silva and trainer Elizabeth Harris
Extra points for two mentions here. The price point on this one is a little steep, but some would say it’s worth it.
“This one is the best for high intensity exercise,” Silva says. “It has neoprene padding which stops the mask from expanding and contracting during heavy breathing.”
Sounds fancy, right?
“This is the most comfortable mask and fits the best because it’s adjustable over your nose,” Harris says, “but it can get hot when you’re doing cardio.”
Athleta Everyday mask by Athleta ($30 for 5-pack on athleta.gap.com)
Recommended by fitness training supervisor Bonnie Pace
This is the most affordable reusable mask recommended by our pros, and you might be surprised to hear that the most expensive one in this brand is not a team favorite.
“The Athleta masks are by far the most comfortable when being worn for long periods of time,” Pace says. “The Everyday mask is more comfortable than their Made to Move masks, which are more expensive.”
Standard single-use masks
Recommended by personal trainer Keith Oelschlaeger
Maybe it’s not the most environmentally-friendly or (depending on how often you’re working out) cheap option, but for some, simple single-use masks might be best.
“I’ve used the standard single use masks in my training and competition,” Oelschlaeger says. “They’re good for lifting and other anaerobic activities. Cardio is tolerable, but they can get a little tender around the ears and can soak up a good amount of sweat.”
Pro Tip: Add a 3D bracket for extra breathability (starting at $4.99 on Amazon.com)
Recommended by Columbia Athletic Club general manager Leslie Flynn
These brackets are an inside support frame that fit various types of masks (from disposables to fabric) to help create more breathing space when you’re working out. Flynn recommends the silicone material, which she’s found to be more comfortable than the plastic.
“You simply slide the bracket inside your mask, and voila, it’s easier to breathe during exercise,” Flynn says. “They’re also washable and reusable.”
A word on our air exchange & filtering
To add an extra layer of safety, we’ve also installed Airius AirPure fans, which are used by healthcare facilities and medical centers around the world. There ultraviolet sanitizing fans work 24/7 to neutralize up to 99% of harmful bacteria, viruses and germs in the air.