Everyone has favorites, whether that be jeans, foods or brand of shampoo and fitness is no different. I don’t consider myself to be the authority on everything fitness or claim to have even tried every product on the market- but I have spent time using terrible equipment as well as stuff I can’t do without anymore.
This list of my favorites is not in any particular order, nor is it 100% comprehensive (no monetary compensation what so ever from the company any specifically named product comes from).
Yoga Mat from ConsciouslyCoolChick. https://ccoolchick.com/product/love-yoga-mat/
A yoga mat is great for more than just yoga, any exercise that puts hands, back, knees on the ground can benefit. Portable and packable these can take the ick factor out of an in hotel workout or just enable one to knock out more sit-ups and hold that plank longer by cushioning joints.
I have several yoga mats at home, and have thrown away several more because they were too slippy, stunk after one use, didn’t seem to cushion at all, got eaten by my dog, but have found one I love. Consciously Cool Chick carries a mat with towel that is incredible. It doesn’t slip, can be machine washed, and looks wicked cool. In addition to enough cushion to get through an hour long visiyana but not so much joint instability occurs the company donates from each sale to living after cancer. (If you want more comprehensive reviews check out https://skinnymom.com).
A good vitamin might not seem like it has much to do with fitness, but good nutrition can absolutely affect your workout.
Getting all the things one needs from food alone is pretty hard to do, that is where a multi-vitamin comes in handy. Vitamins come in all types of ways. (pills, liquids, chewable, gummy)
I like to know what is going into my body, no hard to pronounce nonsense here. I opt for a food based vitamin whose ingredients are things I can identify; spinach, strawberry, red algae. As a bonus no synthetic chemicals mean no stomach pains. I caution persons with food allergies read over the label to ensure that there isn’t something in here that could give you problems. Garden of Life brand makes gender and age group specific formulas and are raw, vegetarian, organically grown, and dairy and gluten free. (I am none of the above but there are health benefits.) http://www.thevitamincode.com/Formulas/MultivitaminFormulas/Women/tabid/1312/Default.aspx
This half ball can really double one’s workout. Bubble up or down this piece of equipment can help you turn any workout into a core workout. The controlled amount of instability can improve your push-up, create a greater range of motion on your sit-up, and take burpees to a whole new level. Currently my bosu access is at gym only (hint to the hubs here), but they can be picked up directly from https://bosu.com or many retailers like Target or Dicks. This piece of equipment has seemingly endless uses and whole Pinterest boards dedicated to its possibilities. I am not sure that I would call this guy packable at nearly 15 lbs and over 30 inches in diameter this is not fitting in a carry-on.
UA Compression leggings- cold and heat gear
I love these leggings. Compression to aid in muscle repair and circulation, thick enough to not show off your Vicky-vics, and created for specific seasons. The cold gear are awesome for brisk runs on winter mornings. I have even worn them under my jeans just for warmth on super cold days. The heat gear are made to breathe and in the south getting your sweat on can happen just running to the grocery store on a June day. While there are more expensive brands out there I don’t consider these cheap so getting the most for your money is all in how you care for them.
You only get one pair of feet so take care of them. I have a couple pairs of shoes that are used for different things like lifting, running, non-running cardio (Zumba, plyometrics). That may sound expensive but rotating my shoes out instead of wearing the same pair every day helps lengthen their lifespan which averages out the cost over time. I buy 2 pair a year, something that will be different for everyone based on activity, frequency, body weight, agility, and budget. I have found that a thinner sole shoe is better for stability and body mechanics when lifting, but doesn’t give me enough cushion when I run. I am a clumsy heavy hoofed over-pronator with an average arch so loads of cushion and a bit of a heel to force my body to lean forward while running. That same heel causes lower back pain when I lift due to over compensation of that half inch or so. For dance style cardio my older lifting shoes who have lost a bit of tread (i.e. grippiness) are perfect. I am a Nike girl at foot; foot shape, arches, heel width will play a part of which shoe a person will gravitate to.
Hydration is no joke. Our bodies are made of 70% water and most non migraine headaches are caused by dehydration (http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/triggers-39683-5.html. I drink a lot of water, if you see me in person I will most likely have a reusable strawed cup or my bobble. The cup is for errands but the bobble with its sport spout and charcoal filter is my gum go to. I buy 2 pair of shoes a year at about $100 each so spending a buck or two daily on bottled water just isn’t happening. At $12-15 for a new one and $10 for two filter refills, each filter is good for about 300 uses, my water cost is $25 instead of $400. The bobble is cute, functional, and dishwasher safe. https://wlove yoga mataterbobble.com.
Lifting weight increases muscle mass which increases metabolism. If you are wanting to lose weight, there is no getting around it you should be lifting weights. I like to use kettlebells and bracelet style weights for non-gym workouts. I may have mentioned before that I am a bit clumsy so something about the round shape and handle works well for me. Much like the bosu there are hundreds of workouts dedicated to kettlebells. When I am jogging or just attempting to turn house cleaning into a workout I use bracelet style weights to keep my hands free.
I am not necessarily talking about pre- or post- workout nutrition here but the general snacks a person eats between meals. Just like many people I have busy days that include missed lunches and grabbing something on the go after my stomach has begun to yell at me! In order to prevent poor choices I keep Kind bars in my bag, locker, and car. No joke these things are crazy delicious, there are sweet like Vanilla Almond and Chocolate Pecan and my new favorite savory (these are a newer protein line) Jalapeno Nut. These can tide me over for a few hours without making me cringe at what I have done to my waistline. In addition to being able to find them at pharmacy, grocery, and Walmart stores places like Office Depot and Old Navy carry them. Another go to is individually wrapped prunes; small, sweet and easy to carry I can pacify myself or a squalling child without regret.
Keeping it Together
I love to shop and have a tote bag addiction. I have a closet full of bags and have funded their purchase by selling even more old ones on eBay. I need a big bag- I carry hand wraps, shoes, shower gear, a yoga mat, climbing gear, my training book, snacks, water, my laptop. I am also a bit picky about the bottoms of my shoes touching my clothes, my sweaty clothes touching anything else, my water bottle condensation getting near my phone or book so uh yeah there may be a reason for my high bag turnover. Right now I am using a winner from 31gifts. This bag is big enough to hold a pair of 9.5s (in their own compartment), a 15.5 inch laptop, my book, water bottle (outside mesh pocket), shower gear, snacks, yoga mat (back band), leggings, sports-bra, top, hand-wraps, climbing shoes, small chalk bag, and harness (granted with the climbing gear and laptop I can’t actually zip it- but any bigger and it would need wheels). Another feature is that this bag can be personalized and comes in 3 patterns.
Smartphone and Apps
This might the most useful tool in your fitness arsenal. A smart phone can tell you to wake up and get moving. Free (or paid) apps can help you figure out what to do today, track eating, create recipes, and get online support, calculate BMI, read health articles, and publish your stats to keep yourself accountable. I have a dozen different fitness apps and half a dozen nutrition or food related apps that have done everything from help me make dinner to 10K prep. My favorites, all of these happen to be android, are Sparkpeople, NTC, Daily Yoga, and Pinterest. Spark is a food, weight, and exercise community that can sync from your phone to a full web account that offers workouts, recipes, comment/ question/ support boards. Nike Training is full of great workouts, Daily yoga boasts several yoga sequences and instructions for over 400 poses. Pinterest is well Pinterest, it is basically like digging through every attic and laptop on earth and getting tips on anything. I have saved 124 workouts to my phone (and someday get them all done).