exercise equipment

8 Places for Cute, Inexpensive Workout Clothing

Because we wear workout clothes all day every day, we've become experts on where to find reasonably-priced, cute, comfortable, non-transparent workout clothes. And because we love ya we're sharing our favorite places to shop for threads to wear to the gym/studio/yoga class/living room gym.

Seriously, life is too short to wear clothes that are too tight or too loose or just plain uncomfortable. Sometimes we tell ourselves, "when I lose 15 pounds, then I'll shop..." But, you deserve to feel good in your clothes at every size. And working out is so much less uncomfortable when you wear pants that are the right size for your body as it is now.

Here's where we love to shop.

ThredUp. I am, admittedly, obsessed with Thred-Up. I have the app on my phone and have spent way too much time on it lately. BUT. In my defense, you can find really good prices on almost every brand of active-wear. And other wear. But for the purposes of this post, we'll focus on their selection of workout gear. I've found Lucy, Old Navy, Eddie Bauer, Nike, New Balance and Zella stuff I love there. They've got a wide range of sizes too. It's hit and miss since the selection depends on what people have sold to them. And you have to act fast if you see something you like. I've taken to just adding anything that I think might be a winner to my cart and then I go in and review it later, taking out things that don't look so great on second glance. But if you see something that's a "maybe" and you don't grab it, it's really hard to find it again.

Old Navy. Ah, Old Navy. It's not just for flip-flops and denim short-alls anymore, people. Nikki gets a ton of her stuff there. If she's wearing a cute, colorful tank or fun workout capris, chances are they came from Old Navy. 

Kohl's. Yet another Nikki recommendation. Again, most of the big active-wear brands at a reasonable price. I get my Asics workout shoes there for around $40. Also love their workout jacket/hoodie collection.

Target. Yep, Target has everything, including workout gear. 

Macy's. Macy's is always having a sale and you can get screaming good deals on name brand workout clothes and shoes. 

Amazon. The selection at Amazon is quite large, so browsing is difficult. But if you have time and kind of know what you want, you can get some good deals.

Poshmark. Another online secondhand store, like ThredUp. However, unlike ThredUp you are buying from individuals who have items for sale, not from a centralized PoshMark store. But, Poshmark is where I found a replacement for my very favorite Eddie Bauer active tank.

Etsy. Etsy is my favorite place to buy workout tanks because they have so many fun ones! 

Where do you like to find inexpensive workout wear? Any places I need to add to my list of favorites? Let me know below!

What Motivated Me to Exercise Today

Yesterday I went out and bought new workout shoes, because my current ones looked like this...

And because they looked like that, they were wearing out my socks on the heels such that they were threadbare.

And if the shoes were wearing out my socks that way, you can imagine what they were doing to my poor, now-exposed heels.

So, I bought some new socks too.

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Aren't they fun?! And as an added bonus--they are so bright that I can see them in my sock drawer when I stumble to my dresser, bleary-eyed, in the dark, for my morning workouts :-)

Anyway, I found myself last night really excited about working out today just because I got to wear my new shoes and socks. Funny, huh? That the workout I would have done today in my old shoes and socks--not grudgingly, but not excitedly either--felt totally different to me because of something new. Same workout. Same home gym. But different shoes and socks on my feet and all of a sudden I can't wait for 6am.

And I remembered that I feel the same way when I load new songs on to my iPad, or am learning a new, challenging exercise.

Like anyone I struggle with exercise motivation sometimes. I get bored with what I'm doing, or I'm so stressed in another area of my life that the last thing I want to do is get up early and exercise. So, I have had to find ways to switch things up. I have to find my exercise currency and pay it, if you will. I have to re-set my workouts in some way that makes them appealing.

Sometimes that means taking a new class. Sometimes that means trying out a new piece of exercise equipment. Sometimes that means checking out a new workout DVD or an exercise on YouTube and trying to master it. Sometimes that means finding some new music to listen to while I hit the treadmill. And sometimes that means buying something new to put on my feet. Anyone else find that something new, no matter how small, makes a huge difference?

I want to go back really quickly to my old worn-out shoes.

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I kind of glossed over it, but they were really starting to hurt my feet. Having workout clothing and shoes that fit is so important, both for your physical well-being and creating a positive association with exercise. So, if your workout pants are too tight or too loose; if your shoes don't support you or are wearing holes in the backs of your heels; if your sports bra isn't supportive or it's so tight you can't breathe properly; if you're swimming in a t-shirt that's so big it gets in your way when you're trying to move; invest in stuff that fits. It's so important. Exercise is hard enough, especially when you're first starting out, don't make it harder with clothes and shoes that make you uncomfortable from minute one. You are important enough to invest in some high-quality clothes and shoes and you don't have to break the bank to do it. In fact, last year I wrote a post about my favorite places to find inexpensive workout gear. You can read it here.

What are your favorite ways to switch-up your workouts and up your motivation? Share below!

Awesome Workout Thingy

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Happy 2018 everyone! Hope you had a lovely holiday and that you're looking forward to what the new year will bring. I don't know how embarrassed I should be that I used the word, thingy, in the title of a blog post. I'm not even sure it's an actual word. Ugh. I really do love the English language, I swear. But as I write this, I am feeling a bit creatively deficient :-) Hence a blog post with made-up words in the title.

Anyway, here's one of those shorter posts I promised back in December. These things from Miracle Method are my new favorite piece of workout "equipment." I used them in a Pilates workshop I attended last month. When I saw them I thought, "what can these little things possibly do?" But, oh my goodness, they are amazing! You place them beneath whatever part of your body is tense or painful--shoulders, hips, back, elbows, knees, head (if you're like me, some days it's all of those things!)--and then by resting on them, rotating on them or rolling on them in strategic ways, it releases those points of tension and pain. I noticed instant relief the first time I used them, but by using them regularly I'm noticing even better results. For less than $20 I feel like they're well worth the investment.

I've been using them in a couple of ways. When I have lots of time for my workouts, I will use them for about 15-minutes before I start exercising. Then I spend 5-minutes doing some joint mobilizations. And then I do my 30-minute (ish) workout. That happens a few times a week.

But I also find myself using them in the evenings while I'm watching television or listening to a podcast. It's kind of a nice way to end the day, and I'm not on so much of a time-crunch as I am when I use them before workouts.

Have any of you tried these? What did you think of them? Let me know in the Comments below!

 

Inside My At-Home Gym

I'm not currently working with a trainer or taking any exercise classes anywhere, so my workouts are exclusively home workouts at the moment. The good news is that you actually don't need much in the way of equipment to get a great workout in at home. There are lots of exercises you can do using your body weight, or common household items for resistance. When I was really new to exercise I used canned vegetables as weights. No joke. And they worked.

However, at a certain point you'll want to invest in a few items. Some will allow you to add challenge to your workouts, which is important if you want to continue to see improvements in your strength. But, the right equipment can make your workout life easier too.

So here's what I've got.

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Dumbbells. Generally speaking, you want a weight that's heavy enough that somewhere between repetition 8 and 12, you are feeling challenged but can maintain proper form. I'm using my 5-pound and 8-pound dumbbells for my current workout.

A mat. I have a couple. This one is a thicker foam mat that I use for floor exercises. IMG_1027

This one is a yoga mat. It's stickier and good for...you guessed it. Yoga.

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Some resistance bands and stretchy bands. I use the resistance bands for upper body stuff primarily, and the stretchy bands (the wider yellow and green ones) for leg work.

A ball. I use this to add challenge to some leg and glute exercises, such as bridges and heel presses.

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And that's about it for the necessities.

Now on to the splurges.

This is a BOSU. BOSU stands for both sides utilized. That's pretty self-explanatory. The BOSU is a piece of equipment designed to provide you with an unstable surface on which to stand, jump and/or complete exercises. Balance is such an important component of fitness. If you've worked out at our studio, you may have done biceps curls, rows, lunges, squats or push-ups on the BOSU. I liked it so much when I used it at the studio, I bought one for my home gym. It's fun and bouncy, but man-oh-man is it a challenge.

A stability ball.

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I love this for crunches and some upper-body exercises. Like the BOSU it adds a balance challenge to whatever exercise in which you incorporate it. But it's also a great substitute for your normal chair. Just sitting on it forces you to engage the muscles of your core.

If I had to guess, I'd say that all the items above (necessities and splurges) cost me a couple of hundred dollars. The BOSU was half of that, at $99.

So, that's it. That's what I use on a daily basis. I've had most of it for years and it's showing no signs of needing to be replaced. Pretty good for a $200 investment, I'd say.

Let me know if there's a piece of equipment you're thinking about buying, but aren't sure whether it's any good/necessary. I'm happy to give my two cents. I've tried all sorts of fitness equipment over the years. Some good (the BOSU). Some bad (anyone remember those belts that shocked your abs into shape? I sure do.). Even if I haven't personally tried it, I can probably tell you whether the claims have any basis in fitness fact or not.

Okay, that's all from me today. See you here again later this week!