Wednesday, May 23, 2012
I'll admit that I've totally written about workout wear before. But when I wrote that post, I was like, the weakest fitness enthusiast EVER. I was the kind of person who went to the gym, wandered around a bit, hopped on the elliptical and watched an episode of "Giada at Home," wandered around some more and went home. Seriously.
Lately, it's gotten more serious for me. One of my awesome friends just recently certified in kickboxing, and two of my other awesome friends have been my workout buddies, so I've been gymming it up at least 4 times per week since February. It's amazing what some accountability can do. And not wimpy gym-going. I'm talking hour-long, push yourself to the max before praying for sweet mercy stuff. I'll never be a runner and I'm not great at sports, but I like to think that I've really stepped it up in the fitness arena, and I'm super happy with the results. I have no idea if I"ve lost weight because I haven't weighed myself for years, but my body looks better, I've got WAY more energy (WAY) and my clothes are fitting better too. Can't complain.
My friend Kim (who is a fitness coach - follow her on Facebook and get tons of daily workout inspiration!) always says that it's all about finding your "soulmate workout", meaning you've gotta try a bunch of stuff to find something you really love to do. For instance, my sad turns on the elliptical didn't do anything for me because I hate cardio and machines. Duh.
For some, it's running, others love Zumba (oh how I hate Zumba) while others kick it with yoga. After trying a ton of different routines, I've finally whittled down my schedule so it looks like this:
Tuesday: Weight training + Plyometrics
Thursday: Weight training + Plyometrics
I love weight training the best because I like pushing myself, so it gets two days. Cardio is usually kickboxing, unless someone drags me to Zumba, where I hang out in the back and wish I were dead. Since I do a wide variety of stuff, I need to change up my workout gear to match what I'm doing. I thought it'd be helpful for you to see what I love and hate about workout clothes so it's one thing you DON'T have to worry about when you're exercising.
OK, can I just say that I'm a HUGE proponent of getting workout wear that makes you feel great? Back when I was sucking at fitness, I would just wear whatever because it literally didn't matter. Once I got back on track and made working out a priority, my old clothes didn't cut it anymore. Not only did I need better performance from my clothes, but I wanted my gear to inspire me to workout harder. For me, that meant ditching the oversized tees and spending a bit of extra money on well-fitting stuff with performance fabrics. That way, I couldn't shlump around and give it 25 percent; it's all or nothing.
I'll point out here that it's not about looking pretty when you workout. I think there's a special circle of hell reserved for people who wear full hair and makeup to the gym. But I think you should feel confident and ready to give 100 percent when working out, and that's easier if you feel good about yourself and the way you look.
What's more, I always work out with instructors, which means they sometimes need to check my form. That's impossible if I'm wearing my hubby's sweats. So here's some of the stuff I recommend for different types of workouts!
OK, so I found that when I do yoga and Pilates, I want as little clothing as possible. This is for two reasons: 1) I go from 0 degrees to 6,000 degrees after the first five minutes, and 2) the instructor needs to see my form. If I'm wearing baggy or constricting clothes, she has no idea what I'm doing. Plus, is it weird that I just think it's a pretty form of exercise? Bodies look so graceful.
I'm a big fan of yoga shorts, but it definitely took some nerve to get over my body issues and wear them all the time. Now I don't care, but two months ago, they were scary. If you don't want to go with shorts, look for tight-fitting capris instead. They make amazing compression fabrics now that are super-flattering and help your form and posture too. True story: I usually end up wearing slippers to both classes because I prefer to practice barefoot in both. My slippers are knee-high rainbow mukluks. I look like a crazy person.
When it comes to cardio days, I like my gear to hold me in. When you're jumping and kicking and punching all over the place, the last thing you want to worry about is jigglybutt, am I right? I just bought a pair of Calvin Klein Performance capris and they are awesome for cardio workouts. Also, make sure you have a great sports bra. I won't discourse on bras because they're obviously super personal to your size, but you just need something that'll hold the cookies in place when doing cardio, OK? No excuses. Also, sports hairbands are a must-have for me. I do not want to be worrying about hair in my face when I'm working out. A pack of 'em costs like $3 at Walmart.
Weight lifting days are the closest I come to shlubby gym wear. Since I only have a short period of plyo, I can get away with wearing more comfortable pants because I'm usually moving slowly and taking my time. I like a traditional yoga pant or whatever I actually have clean that day. I prefer tee's to tanks for weightlifting - I LOVE these VS ones. I like tissue-thin tees that keep me cool and don't get all gross and sweaty. And since it takes a while to warm up when lifting weights, a hoodie is a must when it's cooler outside. I also can get away with a lower performance bra because there's less bounce-age.
To be honest, I push myself the hardest on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I don't want to think about what I'm wearing or how I look when I'm on my 400th lunge. I'm in the Incredible Hulk zone. We worked lower back yesterday and I'm feeling it today!
I just don't want not knowing what to wear to stop you from getting your daily workout in. Even if you're just walking to the park, you'll put in a better effort if you're dressed the part. The other day I got home from my workout and I was still in my gear, and I found that I was more likely to get out and play a game of soccer with the kids because I was already in my trainers and clothes.
Places to get workout gear at great prices: JCPenney, Macy's, F21 (but I find it's not higher performance stuff. I usually wear it for yoga and Pilates) Nike Outlets are awesome, and I've even found great stuff at places like Marshalls and TJ Maxx.
NO excuses, people. Workout wear can either help or hinder your performance, so don't waste your time by putting in half the effort. Even if you fall off the wagon (last week was my daughter's last week of school and we literally had something every morning of the week) don't use it as an excuse to stop. Use it as an excuse to train harder.
That being said, I'm late for a kickboxing class.
Any stuff you're super in love with for working out? Anything you totally hate? Are you eating donuts RIGHT NOW?