Variety, schmariety. Personal trainers and health gurus alike preach that the best way to stick to being fit is by mixing it up--running one day, biking the next. Or better yet, they tell you to bust out a custom cocktail of kickboxing, yogilates, aikido and weight training. Great! But, who of us has the scratch to buy clothing that's specifically designed for each of these activities? The following health-minded habiliments give you an optimal balance of comfort, function and versatility--whatever your perspiration pursuits.
NIKE SPHERE MEN'S THERMAL HOODIE
With the right insulation, the miseries of cold-weather training become the stuff of memory. Nike's Sphere technology (which is based on a 3-D tech fabric with an architectural weave) locks itself in a dance with your body's natural thermostat. That's right, it creates its own atmo-"sphere." This long-sleeved hooded layer manages to stay cool and ventilated when you're hot, warm and thermal when you're cold and, with its "cling-free sweat management" system, dry when you're sweating like a warthog. Think of it as your own personal microclimate. Stretch binding at hood and cuffs create a warmth-retaining seal, while a liberal kiss of Spandex creates a form-fitting shape. Not that you're ready yet to give anyone a good look at your form. $120, Nike Factory Outlet, 3044 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 281-5901.
REEBOK TRAVEL TRAINER
Forget the Paula Abdul era. After years of jazzercising toward obscurity, Reebok has rebounded with better-designed shoes that blend sophisticated cushioning technology with (finally!) slick style. The Reebok Travel Trainer for women, constructed of a gunmetal nylon upper with a yellow rubber outsole, is the shoe equivalent of the folding bicycle. Ideal for globetrotters and action heroes, this trainer offers a collapsible, flexible design that coils up snail-style for compact stowage in your gym bag (or utility belt). Continuous elastic straps eliminate the need for lacing, so you can suit up the second you hit the tarmac.
ADIDAS MICROPACER III
George Orwell's Big Brother of a year, 1984, brought us such next-world wonders as the Terminator and Transformers. So no wonder that it was the same year the folks at Adidas rolled out the far-out Micropacer III. Quantum leaps ahead of its time (and Bill Gates), this MP3 was the first sneaker to feature a computer. Quick to make classics of its trendiest treads, Adi has sprung the Micropacer from its mid-'80s grave, brushed it off and rereleased it with its original integrated microcomputer to measure time, distance and pace. The upper has a soft, pearlized leather in new navy and light blue, with a Velcro lace-cover closure system. Very Back to the Future, indeed. $130, visit www.adidas.com for retailer.
PATAGONIA HOTLINE TOP
The sustainability she-devil will need the Patagonia Hotline exercise top for scrambling up buttes and saddles on her daily predawn trail runs. This high-quality shirt is seamed and structured to be simple and body hugging, without the fuss of superfluous straps or binding elastic. It comes in a tank or spaghetti-strap style and, like many of Pat's products, is woven from organic cotton. If the tread-lightly philosophy of this top isn't enough to win you over, Patagonia's fashionable desert shades (copper, sage green, spring chartreuse) will. $34, Oregon Mountain Community, 60 NW Davis St., 227-1038.
GAIAM BOOTCUT YOGA PANT
"Yoga pants" isn't just a euphemism for "sweats"--yogini of all stripes and sizes are forever seeking that perfect pair of fitted-leg, non-riding stretch trousers for yoga's many compromising positions. Why trust your butt to J.Lo when lifestyle company Gaiam has been fine-tuning its bootcut yoga pants for maximum movement and flow? These 90-percent organic cotton pants (the other 10 is spandex) are cut low on the waist for liberating torso movement and have straight legs with a slight flare at the ankle. Fashionably accented by flattering contrast piping (in pearl, ocean, olive or aubergine), these slacks will turn your namaste into namast-hey! $62, available online at www.gaiam.com.