Disclosure: I was not paid for any of the opinions below, though I did receive some products to review. This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.
The holidays are over, and now is the prime time to gear up for a new you in 2018.
January is a popular time to set goals and intentions for the year, and now that a few weeks in January have passed, you no doubt have had enough time to mentally prepare for those goals. Now, it’s time to actually get moving.
One of the ways I get inspired to exercise is to have and use the right gear for working out. I know this can sound superficial, but sometimes new clothes or gadgets force us to put them to use and also help us feel comfortable and focused. I’m not saying you have to purchase expensive equipment to stay in shape, because I’m all about keeping those expenses under a budget, especially at the beginning when you haven’t yet proven how committed you’ll really be. Working out need not be a burdensome financial investment. Instead, I prefer to start with a few basic items to help me feel confident at first, and then work my way up to more flashy gear as both a reward and to continue to stay motivated.
Whichever you choose, the following gear is quite affordable, and have become staples as part of my workouts. Here are my recommendations for gearing up for fitness.
Athletic tops from Arctic Cool ($25-$40)
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It’s been hard to find a top that doesn’t create sweat patches while I’m working out or make me look like a bloated whale. So often, I find athletic tops are too tight or loose, and end up with an unflattering look in the midsection (or maybe that’s just me?). It may sound vain, but many people work out to get in shape and feel good about how we look and to improve our health, so it can be a bit demoralizing when we see ourselves in awkward, puffy, or restricting clothing that doesn’t let us feel our best and feel confident.
That’s why I now love these shirts from Arctic Cool. Based on the modest price tag, I wasn’t expecting much from these shirts. However, when I put the shirt on, I liked how it fell and the shape that it had. It put me in the mood to get off of my butt and go to the gym.
When I got there, I went for a 3-mile run on the treadmill and was happy to see that there were no sweat patches on the shirt. This is thanks to their “Instant Cooling” technology. The ventilated shirt allows you to breathe without giving you too much of a draft. Also, the good and bad thing with these tops is that they only come in a few colors and varieties. Some people might say this doesn’t provide much selection, but for someone like me, who can get overwhelmed with too many options, I actually like that they have a few basic items to mix and match with your bottoms.
I was so pleasantly surprised by the look, feel, and effectiveness of these tops that I will be ordering another one in a different color. Simple, flattering, affordable and utilitarian— I give Arctic Cool shirts two thumbs up.
Sports Bras from Fabletics $25-$35
I’ve tried several sports bras, and I’ve finally come across the perfect high-impact bra for girls who need a little extra support in that area.
I started getting Fabletics gear at the beginning of 2016 because I fell in love with their colorful patterns and seasonal designs. The overall brand message and idea that you could wear the clothes for both fitness and lounging appealed to me, so I signed up for their membership.
Personally, I still find them a bit more expensive than I would like to pay for athletic gear, though I know that there are far more expensive brands out there. That’s why I usually shop the sales pages and skip purchasing some months when I don’t feel like buying anything. The key is set a calendar reminder to make sure you skip purchasing that month!
Out of all of their apparel, I have fallen in love with their sport bras because well, they hold everything in place when you work out. Specifically, I get the Sylvia, and it has been the best sports bra to date. I hate having to keep adjusting my bra when I’m working out, and with these, I never have to.
C9 Capris by Champion ($19-$35)
I know that people will disagree here because companies like lulelmon and even Fabletics tout that they have the best leggings, and I agree they offer great shape and the desired lift to the derriere.
However, if you’re just starting to work out, the C9 high-waisted capris by Champion are comfy and versatile. I picked up my first pair of these capris at Target when I first started working out more than two years ago. Again, I wanted to go for something inexpensive and without too many frills. It turns out, now, years later, this pair of capris continues to be my most comfortable and makes me feel confident. Sure, it’s not “sweat wicking” and “sculpting”, but it’s extremely comfortable. I’ve gone to group gym classes, yoga, and have also gone running and hiking in these pants. When working out, I don’t have to worry about anything else like a muffin top or my pants sliding down as I jog. When I’m not working out, I wear them around my house just to lounge on the weekends.
Fitness trackers from Fitbit ($59- $300)
By now, if you’ve been following my blog you know I love my Fitbit (Here’s why) . It makes me aware of my health stats, holds me accountable by tracking my progress, and includes an element of competition, which motivates me more.
I’ve owned a few Fitbit products, starting with the simple Fitbit Flex 2 which initially inspired me to move because it tracked my steps. Then I got the Fitbit HR which was better at identifying when I was exercising and also captured heart rate and buzzed for phone calls. To pair with this and further track my progress, I later got the Fitbit Aria scale, which monitors my weight and even reports the percentage of my body fat. Finally, most recently, my husband got me the FitBit Alta HR, a slimmer tracker which provides regular reminders to move and even lets me see who is calling my phone and view text messages. (These features have been convenient, though they have nothing to do with fitness 🙂 )
Furthermore, whenever there is an issue with a product, the company is committed to customer satisfaction and simply replaces the product for you. I give them points for a great product, app, and for excellent customer service!
Workout app from Nike – FREE
On days when I can’t make it to the gym, I like to select a workout from the Nike Training Club app to do at home. What I like about this app is that there are hundreds of workouts to choose from based on what you want to target in a given day and you can even create an entire workout program to reach your overall goals. Plus, most of them are short, so you can finish them quickly, and they come with videos and instructions on how to do each exercise. The app can be connected to your iTunes account too, so you can play music while you workout.
Personally, I use this to augment cardio workouts on days that I don’t take a strength class at the gym. Since I’m not a fitness expert, I find the guidance useful so I can get in my strength training in a safe way, under the instruction of expert. And since the workouts are categorized, I know for a fact they are meant for a targeted area, instead of me having to guess or come up with my own exercises.
As a final note, I will say that ultimately, there is so much more to exercise, fitness and health than getting the right gear, but sometimes, these tools can make a difference to motivate you to get off the couch and also to help you stay active and focused on the right aspects of your fitness later. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get moving!
HOW DO YOU GEAR UP?
I’d love to hear from you! What is your favorite gear to use for working out? What helps you stay motivated and what ensembles make you feel the most comfortable? Share in the comments below!