I Went to Work Out With Dwyane Wade

And he told me he thinks it’s fine for men to wear leggings.

I really like sports. I feel like I have to say that because, as a fashion person, you get typecast and no one believes that you can do anything physical but walk in high heels. So when athletic wear brand Mission, a company for which Dwyane Wade is consulting, asked me to come to Chicago and hit the gym with the man himself, the answer was a swift, “hell yes.”

I arrived in Chicago and was quickly whisked to the Bulls game like an athletic Cinderella and gorged myself on hot dogs, pasta and potato chips because I literally am never presented with that many carbohydrates at one time. The Bulls won, which was a victory for us all because in less than 12 hours we were scheduled to be in the gym with DW and everyone wanted him to be in a good mood. 

The next morning, we woke up at the crack of dawn and were shuttled to the legendary Chicago Bulls Training Facility, which, sorry to destroy your fantasy, looks like a pretty ordinary gym. Except, of course, it’s not. Literally lining the walls was the incredible history of this team and, if you were around in the '90s, you know that the Bulls defined basketball.

Quickly, it was made clear that we weren’t there to play around. The Mission team flew in Wade’s trainer from Miami specifically for our session and David Alexander is absolutely no nonsense. He put us through a modified version of Wade’s workout, which was a combination of high intensity interval training and circuit training. The modification was not really felt because when you are working out at the level that Mr. Wade works out, even a fraction of it is excruciating. 

After I was murdered by David Alexander completed the workout, it was finally time for me to sit down with Dwyane Wade and talk about serious things, like what to wear when you’re at the gym. On this particular day, Wade is wearing white leggings, or tights, whatever you prefer to call them, under black knee-length shorts and a black t-shirt, all from his Mission collection. The whole thing is a pretty good look and I’m pretty impressed by the simplicity of it with a causal nod to the Yeezy-like post-apocalyptic style movement. Seeing a man in leggings is still a pretty controversial look, even though women are in them 24/7, it’s still unusual for a man. When I ask him about his opinion on leggings, he is immediately enthusiastic. “I  do it [wear leggings].” “Well, what [are] the shorts for then?” I ask him, thinking that style over function must be the catalyst. “It’s for everybody else because I’m cool with just the tights on,” he says with a laugh. Ooooh kay. One minute in and we’re already getting quite personal. I like him already.

Great, so now that we’re comfortable, I feel that now is an appropriate time to bring up Wade’s smokin’ hot wife and Being Mary Jane star, Gabrielle Union. I ask him if he has opinions about female athletic wear as he must see a lot of it in their workouts. He is quick to correct me. “First of all, we don’t work out together. She does her workout. I do my workout.” But he does observe, through her, that women can be serious about their gym looks. “I think it’s important overall. I’m the same as my wife. Women want to look good and feel good. When she puts her outfit together, she doesn’t go in the closet and grab anything. It is put together and it is also about the fit and being comfortable. So now we’ve got her wearing Mission stuff.” 

(Photo: Jeff Schear/Getty Images for MISSION)

Photo: Jeff Schear/Getty Images for MISSION

(Photo: Jeff Schear/Getty Images for MISSION)

I think someone who spends hours, literally hours, a day training their body would be the best kind of expert to tell you what is needed from clothing, but Wade assures me that when he is working out with Alexander that he spends “an hour, a hour and a half max in the gym. When you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t take all day. I’m not in there wasting time.” So since he’s not wasting time, I wanted to know exactly what he does look for in his gym clothes. “I want to have something that’s comfortable and performs well. I want to have something that looks good style wise and have something that doesn’t smell now that we’re done and dries fast.” Fair point because today, for example, he went straight from our workout to this mini press junket. He gets even more specific, “We all want to look good. We can’t just throw anything on, so you have to match.”

Looking good is quite easy, when say, you have zero percent body fat, which I can affirm that, even if its slightly above zero, for DW, it’s very low. But what about the rest of the guys I see in he gym slugging away? How are they going to look half as good as say, a professional basketball player. Well, Wade has a solution for that too. It’s all in the details. “I think we all typically wear neutral colors. I think one thing we’re working on that is coming out in September has a little more color and a little more style. The basic colors are always white, black, gray, but we are trying to add a little bit more funk into it. Women have all these colors and for guys it’s just black and gray.”

I won’t bore you with the science behind the reasoning that colors make a person happier, but it’s true. Another thing that makes people happier? Exercise. Wade tells me, “Some days I complain but I think that one of the best ways to get over that is to work out. I have come to the gym so many times with low energy, whether it’s not enough sleep, it’s cold or whatever, but when I get done working out, I always have more energy. I just feel better. It is one of those things that makes you feel better about yourself and your day. I’m not a workout guru or anything but I think it helps your vibe.”

Well, actually at the moment, my vibe was that of a cripple because I did about 90 box jumps and several series of aggressive squats but, hey, at least I wasn’t sweaty. And that’s because the Mission gear that we were all wearing has insane sweat wicking technology and repels moisture and odor. Wade agrees, “Mission is trying to accomplish the science behind the gear and I love really learning about that.”

Well, personally I love learning that Dwyane Wade is totally cool with wearing leggings. 

Shop Dwyane Wade's Mission collection here

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