We have all seen the bodybuilder at the gym who carries around a gym bag, in the weights area. The guy whose gym bag is stuffed to the brim with ALL the supplements just in case he needs them at any moment.
Protein shaker cups, sweat bands, knee wraps, dry fit, sweatshirts with air-conditioning… there are so may “fitness” contraptions we think we need.
You really don’t need anything.
Well, maybe a few things are important to consider spending money on and having for specific types of exercise.
While I may not be the perfect workout Barbie and don’t truly care about having the perfect gym bag, I *am* particular about a few things.
Here’s some fitness gear that matters.
You don’t need five pairs of shoes. You *do* need to find a pair that work for your feet and marry them.
At some point in your life, it is important to go to a running store and have a specialist check your gait, and recommend what type of shoe you need.
Then you will have “your shoe” for life.
I personally need little to no stability in my running shoes. Other people need more or less cushion depending on how they strike the ground.
For example, see the shoes below; this is one way a specialist might describe levels of stability.
The shoe below is a basic, all-around cross training shoe; one that does not quite support the foot with cushion for a lot of mileage.
Once you find the correct running shoe, every 250 miles you should buy a new pair. If you are running around 15 miles a week, try buying a new pair every four months.
I like the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8; however they keep updating it so often the number changes. I make sure to call a store and ask what shoe is most comparable to the Inspire 8 if it is discontinued online and I cannot get into a store to buy.
Your feet need consistency and the more you change your shoe the more likely you are to develop some pain or ankle/foot issues if you are pounding a lot of pavement.
The shoe *does* matter, and an “all functional fitness” or cross training shoe will not suffice if you decide to pick up mid-distance running.
If you are like me, logging far fewer miles than usual, only doing short bouts of work on a treadmill, it *is* okay to have shoes look like this:
I am a Mizunos girl. I have had more pairs of them than I can remember.
I will most likely buy a new pair in spring when I *know* I’ll be hitting the outdoor trails once a week for a nice jog. Right now, they feel good on my feet, have not logged too many miles and so while there are holes on top, the soles are doin’ fine!
Lifters need chalk.
Lifters need iron.
Lifters don’t need much.
Some people like lifting in Chuck Taylors, some people like olympic lifting shoes and some people (like myself) wear Nikes.
If you want to delve into the topic of what shoes lifters would be wearing, check out THIS article.
Long story short, you need a shoe that allows you to maintain a good stance and for me, a flat foot.
No extra padding is needed.
One other thing for ladies who lift: high-waisted leggings.
There is NOTHING worse than the leggings rolling down under the belly at the bottom of a squat.
Even if you are jacked and lean like this woman above, when you brace the abs, your belly will protrude in which case low-rise leggings will roll forward and become a distraction.
Therefore, I love a good pair of moderately high-waisted leggings.
If you have not tried a higher waisted leggings before you don’t know what you’re missing out on.
If God forbid I must wear regular clothes, I like low-rise clothing. Being used to low-rise jeans, I feel like all Nike leggings seem to come up fairly high– high enough to not annoy me when I squat.
Lululemon has a few specific high-rise styles; go check them out!
One more thing, in the name of #gainz, find an amino acid you love and get a good blender bottle.
I love my pink one from GNC and swear by it because it is a good size and easy to loop around my finger to hold when my hands are full!
For the sassy chick:
Forget hair clips and bobby pins, those are simply annoying.
Find a headband that works for you.
When I teach spinning, the thicker the better! (Also, I buy the stink-proof ones)!
However, if I am lifting and sweating minimally, I am going to be wearing a “sweaty band” that is sparkly and felt on the inside.
These always jazz up any outfit and make bedhead look better.
Find something that stays well and won’t be a bother. You don’t wanna be that girl always messing with her hair.
Next topic: sport bras.
Find a sports bra that works, and like shoes, you MIGHT need different ones depending on your activity.
A running bra should be different than a bra you lift in, if you are on the bustier side.
Another thing to consider is yoga. I notice a lot of “yoga bras” are as supportive as a t-shirt. I also find them to be very low cut. If you are going to be doing downward dog and inversions this is a bit risky.
Once you find a sports bra that works you can use all your brain power to focus on the yoga or exercise at hand and less energy towards worrying about your bra.
I am secretly addicted to cool sports bras. I think I have 30; they are all unique and have really cool, sexy backs. If I were to be likened to a diva or be referred to as sassy in the gym it would ONLY be due to my sport bra collection.
My favorite brand is Lorna Jane because there are so many styles to choose from.
Find a bra that you get *excited* to put on!
I have seen a lot of women and a few men post photos of the ring covers known as Ring Wrappers.
I am not married nor engaged so I have little use for them.
However, I should probably look into getting a ring wrapper someday. Far too often I take my ring off for deadlifts, kettlebells and squats and forget to put it back on.
If you have a special ring you do not want to get dinged, scraped or damaged, try these and let me know what you think!
Another option for rings is to buy a special, “wall hook” for your rings. This is a decorative plaque for the wall to place your ring on the way out the door or near the sink when you do dishes.
My best friend from grade school just started making and selling these adorable places to put your rings. They are super inexpensive and also quite cute.
My take on fitness gear and fashion:
It doesn’t matter.
Having special gear will not make you stronger or lose fat quicker.
For instance, some people do not even wear shoes to lift.
All in all, if you know me, I am very much a “less is more” kind of girl.
I always wear Nike shoes to lift in, I drink aminos as much as possible, I never leave without a headband and my sports bra is comfortable and motivational to me.
But just because I don’t look super sassy all the time or have all the latest fit bits, fitness tracker pal gadgets, sweat gear etc. I AM passionate about the simple things I love, and I stay consistent with those things.
At the end of the day, all that matters is that your gear allows you to achieve a certain comfort level.
If you truly are comfortable, the gear will be an afterthought, not a distraction. If you are concerned with your gear you will be taking mental power away from your mileage, lifts or poses.
Find stuff that works for you so well that you don’t have to think about it.
Don’t worry about the details, focus on what’s important: your progress in the gym.
Reach out with any questions and as always,