It’s not often I stray into fashion tips or deal with the more ‘cosmetic’ areas of the fitness world, but there were a couple of approaches to me that got me thinking and I want to pass on.

Keep your eyes open and ears to the ground for the next hot and highly ecological commodity

Think about this – What is the fastest growing plant in the world? What plant can cope with the same pressure as mild steel, can force its way skywards through almost anything and yet is an extremely versatile and pliable material?


Amazingly strong and versatile – it sounds like a superhero of the plant world. And even more so when you find out how rapidly it regenerates.

Oh yes –  and it’s a building material for housing, as well as providing income and food to 2.2 billion people around the globe…

So what is this dynamic wonder plant?

Bamboo. Bamboo? Bamboo!

No need to start harvesting the cluster you have growing in the garden, this stuff grows easily and makes no impact on the environment when it is felled. Not only that, it requires no manpower or fuel money to replant.

A genuinely guilt free, conscience friendly plant. It is the tallest grassy plant and strongest woody plant and is able to serve our wardrobe as well as our outdoor habitats. Watch out cotton lycra – here comes bamboo!

And don’t worry about being uncomfortable and scratchy. As you conjure images of pandas munching through it, it’s hard to see how on earth this could this could become a silky, breathable and comfortable workout and leisure garment that keeps you warm in the cool and cool in the warm.

It manages this tricky feat because the bamboo plant’s pores regulate and dilate according to weather.

Bamboo-cut from a different cloth_2

* Joey Bull wearing bamboo fabric.

You can eat it too!

According to Ayurvedic medicine (“Science of Life” medicine practised in India and around the world for 5000 years), it is beneficial to keep a stick of bamboo close to you, and children in its indigenous countries do this out of common practise.

Most of us have probably encountered the rather more spurious ‘lucky charm’ marketing of twisty bamboo sticks, but the derivation of this has far more depth to it than luck and garden centre sales.

Medicinal uses of bamboo?

It appears to have significant medicinal uses as yet largely untapped. And a Panda’s lifespan would appear to be a great testament to its nutritional properties!

Although I haven’t tried the ‘Panda Diet’ I have encountered and enjoyed a traditional Bangladeshi curry called a Karili which is cooked with plenty of bamboo shoots. If you ever encounter it on a menu I would urge you to give it a go!

Why should I wear Bamboo?

I’ve been lucky enough to have been provided with a number of items that are nothing short of wonderful.

I tried out a nice bamboo workout top and noticed that despite charging around and getting hot and sweaty, it did exactly as a perfectly technically designed performance shirt should do, it breathed, dried quickly and didn’t smell.

Not smelling is quite an achievement, not because I’m a toxic sweaty lass, but because unnatural fibres tend to smell quickly. Bamboo has an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal quality too, so smells and parasites don’t befriend it.

In fact its properties are used to fight all sorts of infections under some practises.

Bamboo-cut from a different cloth_3

After I went skipping through the Alpine meadows in my new pink shirt and ran around with my dog Ludo, some beefy blokes I know climbed Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro in theirs. From the reports I heard their clothing did a superb job for them.

Having been in the fitness industry as long as I have there isn’t too much I have not encountered or worn – and usually worn out.

I think bamboo is the first time I have been genuinely excited and impressed by the possibilities of clothing and fabric.

Rugged, comfy kit that looks great, feels wonderful and packs light and small is not easy to find…perhaps this is why I hear bamboo will be covering the backs of rowers crossing the Atlantic.

Strong, versatile, adaptable, enduring, efficient – I think we can all aspire to be a bit more bamboo-like!


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