Its often said that the journey to optimal health and wellness starts with a good sweat. Of course diet, nutrition and a healthy mindset are key, but regular exercise is equally — if not most — important.

Fitness gear, however, for a long time has often bordered on styles that were either too bland or too evocative of the jazzercize videos of the 1980s, where the clothes are only suitable to stay at the gym. We all have that one friend who lives in their yoga pants, and while comfortable, the stretchable slacks lack style and polish for true fitness fashionistas.

Today, modern workout gear is overwhelmingly focused and designed to take you from “barre to the bar” — where you can break a sweat, but the design and function can seamlessly transition to fashions you can wear out and about all day, and even well into the evening. To put it another way, you can sweat and then sip cocktails in today’s activewear.

Leggings from popular brands like Carbon 38 and Commando are sleek and oh-so stylish, designed in trendy fabrics and aesthetics that will not only help support you while you do all those squats at the gym, but will keep you looking street-style fabulous all day. Fitness brand Sweaty Betty designs apparel that is not only fashionable, but functional, withstanding those tough workouts at the gym. Designed in a lightweight and quick-drying Italian fabric, Sweaty Betty’s leggings are also muscle-compressing to assist in getting the max out of your workouts.

Here are several hot brands focused on fabulous, performance-wear right now:

Cruise Control Gear

Cruise Control Gear is a local, activewear clothing brand in Ocean City, founded by two sisters, Candice and Kristen Carlin, who played USTA tennis and at the collegiate level for Villanova and Princeton universities. First designed for athletes and tennis players, the duo quickly discovered there was customer demand for activewear, and today, their comfortable, moisture-wicking performance apparel can be found at the top resorts, country clubs, and pro-shops across the country. Lucky for us, they are based right here in Ocean City.

Live For It Sleeveless Performance Tee (comes in multiple colors) | $34

Cruise Control Gear, 810 Asbury Ave., Ocean City

CruiseControlGear.com

Nike

Nike is still the brand name most synonymous with working out, and the preferred brand for top athletes around the globe. Regardless of what type of fitness and activewear you are seeking, Nike is sure to have it. The brand’s apparel was once considered on pricier side, but for locals there is good news — Tanger Outlets in Atlantic City is home to a Nike outlet.

Nike’s line of spandex running tights offers more support and comfort, but also boasts moisture-wicking Dri-FIT technology to help you stay dry, while breaking a sweat.

$90, Nike.com

Nike Factory Store, Tanger Outlets, A.C.

Carbon 38

Known as “performance fashion” Carbon 38 has emerged as their own leading label, along with a well-curated selection of other modern brands, that seamlessly blur boundaries between functional activewear and sleek, street style.

Carbon outwear leads the athleisure trend with its cool, trendy outerwear, leggings and jackets that can be worn as everyday pieces.

The company’s Beyond Yoga line offers bodysuits, leggings and tops with intricate details, mesh insets, and luxe fabrics that offer quality and functionality, while promoting yoga-inspired body positivity.

Beyond Yoga | Elevation Midi Bodysuit | $154, Carbon38.com

High Waisted Takara Legging | $109, Carbon38.com

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