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Why some of the coolest cardio instructors are wearing beanies while they work out

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Joanna Numata Photo: Taryn Donofrio

Fitness fashion trends ebb and flow quicker than a six-minute Baptiste yoga sequence, but one accessory that seems to have staying power is the beanie. Show up to one of New York City’s buzzier dance cardio spots and you’ll spot someone sweating her way through the workout with a wool topper.

Photo: Robin Diamond PRAnd with fitfluencers like Vixen Workout’s Janet Jones, SoulCycle’s Sandra Jacob, and Broadway Dance Center’s Joanna Numata keeping their hats on (60 degree winter weather be damned), it seems to be as integral a part of the workout as mastering the grapevine.

“It puts me in my element,” says AKT in Motion founder and dance cardio superstar Anna Kaiser, who remembers sporting beanies as far back as the mid-’90s with major choreographers like Tina Landon and Wade Robson. “When you dress the part, you feel the part—and [you’re] more likely to perform that part.”

Kaiser, whose sell-out fitness fashion collab with Target featured a workout-ready beanie, notes that it’s a throwback look—but it’s not all form over function. “Beanies are such a big part of urban streetwear and that movement.” she explains. “[It’s] an homage, like baggy pants; it lends itself to a style of dancing and a way of moving.”

Plus, it’s way easier to get into choreography for “One Dance” if you’ve loosened up your ballerina bun. “Something about wearing a beanie when dancing to Drake makes me feel more comfortable,” explains Phoebe Kurtzman of Broadway Bodies. “It would be very difficult to dance to hip-hop if I was wearing a leotard and tights with my hair pulled back.”

If you’re ready to go all hats-off on this trend and, you know, keep your beanie on, there’s one style rule these pros suggest you follow: “Coverage on top means less coverage elsewhere. If I’m wearing a hat, I’m also wearing dance shorts,” says Heather Grosse of Mitchell Wayne Productions.

Kaiser agrees and says that when it comes to adding street-style elements into your workout wardrobe, the way to keep your look (and your body) cool, is to layer. “I’ll wear a hoodie that I can take off or [a] pair of sweatpants with shorts underneath.”

Fashion #fitspo aside, Numata says sometimes leaving her beanie on serves a completely practical purpose: “It gives a bit of edge to your look—just like a pop of color. But sometimes, sure, it’s about a bad hair day.” And who hasn’t had one of those?

For more ways to channel your inner badass while you workout, check out Misty Copeland’s new capsule collection for Under Armour, and see the exercises Lady Gaga uses to get hyped before she hits the stage.