If you are new to fitness (or you’re like me and you’re “new” to fitness several times a year), you may need to restock on some of the fitness essentials. I have compiled a list of my favorite workout necessities to get you back on track with your fitness goals.
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I researched a number of gym bags before settling on this one and I have LOVED it! There is plenty of space for clothes, shoes, a towel, even smaller workout tools if you want to carry those around. PLUS there are two sewn-in side zipper pockets. One to place wet or sweaty clothes and another for your shoes so you don’t dirty or dampen the rest of your gear. There are other great features as well, highlighted in the product pictures. I’ve had mine for about a year now and it still looks brand new. Absolutely love it!
If you have a smartwatch or fitness tracker, you should consider purchasing a Milanese band for it. I have a Fitbit Alta HR and didn’t like the way the standard band felt on my wrist when I would do things like pushups or when lifting certain weights. The Milanese bands have been a better option for me because they fit perfect to my wrist and I can tighten or loosen it to precisely the fit I want. Plus, they come in a ton of different metallic colors, so it makes your device more of an accessory. I get compliments on mine all the time!
As part of my weight loss journey, I ended up trying just about every brand of fitness clothing known to man. Adidas, Fabletics, Walmart & Target brands, Lululemon, Nike, etc. You name it, I probably tried it during my activewear craze. I finally found a brand that I LOVED so much that I now work from home as a rep for it. It is the perfect premium balance of comfort, style, and functionality. The leggings have pockets, are sweat wicking, are squat proof, have 4 way stretch, are high waisted and high compression. They’re AMAZING! The sports bras are great, the joggers and shorts are awesome, and you can’t go wrong with their tops. There are lines for both men and women and new items released every Wednesday.
Whether you are spending your time at a Zumba class, training for a race, or getting in those workouts at home, a solid pair of shoes is vital. Without the right support, your feet and legs will quickly pay the price and may even lead to lasting injury. Personally, I have two brands that are my go-to’s for new workout shoes. Nike and Asics! They each have different pros and cons, so you will need to do the research to figure out which shoes are the best for your feet and the workouts you will be doing. But either of these brands is a great place to start!
Home Workout Essentials
If you have never tried using resistance bands, you are missing out! My office has a personal trainer I have worked with the past year, and he ALWAYS incorporates these bands into his workouts. One Google search will pull up many different exercises that use these bands, so it is free and easy to learn how to use them. You will definitely feel the burn the day after you finish your workouts!
Another workout at home essential are these Core Sliders. They look deceptively innocuous, but just you wait. One session with these little circles and you will feel parts of your abs you didn’t know existed. I used these for the first time in a pilates class and couldn’t believe how effective they are. I highly recommend incorporating these into your home or gym workouts!
This ball comes in weights 4-20lbs so you can choose the weight that is right for your fitness level. I use my medicine ball for all kinds of ab, leg, and arm workouts. It’s incredible how dead your arms feel after just minutes of at home medicine ball workouts! Medicine balls can also be used for partner workouts if you often have a workout buddy.
Anyone who does any sort of at home workout needs a yoga mat. Honestly, I never do yoga. But I use my yoga mat ALL the time! What for? Mostly to cushion and protect my body from my hard floor. It cushions my spine when I do ab workouts. It braces my hands when I do push ups or planks. It also serves as a cushion for stretching after I go for a run. They’re really versatile! Plus, I love that this one comes with a carrying strap so I can take easily take it places if I want to.
It is an option to get just one pair of dumbbells to start out, but I would recommend getting a set instead. I recommend this set so you can maximize the weight you use for different exercises. There are different weight ranges for dumbbell sets just like with the medicine ball, so you can find a set that matches your lifting abilities. These are a basic necessity for many at home workouts.
An easy and inexpensive way to incorporate cardio into your workout is a jump rope! Speed ropes are lightweight and built to cut quickly through the air. Get as many jumps as you can in a minute, jump for as long as you can without stopping, or do a set number of reps as part of circuit training. Great workout tool!
Workout Jam Essentials
I FINALLY found a pair of wireless headphones that I love! In the past I have had several problems with wireless headphones. 1) The earbuds themselves were too big for my ears or were so hard they hurt to have in for long. 2) They would have a fuzzy connection and cut in/out and die quickly. 3) The volume control was so heavy it would drag the earbuds out of my ears when I ran.
With these headphones, I haven’t had ANY of those problems. They come with many different earbud sizes so you can pick the one that fits best for you, the connection is great, the battery lasts forever, and they didn’t fall out of my ears once during my run yesterday. They come in many different colors (mine are baby pink :)) and are so inexpensive for how amazing they are!! I’ve used them for a long phone call with my dad, a webex meeting at work, a run, listening to an audiobook while I cleaned, and listening to music while I blogged WITHOUT having to charge them again yet. They’re amazing. 5 star recommendation!
Though I have done my fair share of free trials, I very rarely continue to pay for services after my subscription ends. But when my free trial for Spotify Premium came to an end, I couldn’t get myself to let go of this subscription. I LOVE being able to create my own running playlists, download my music so I don’t have to worry about service wherever I work out, and listen to the songs of my choice for hours ad-free. Good pump up music makes a HUGE difference in the quality and duration of my workouts. If you haven’t tried Spotify Premium, I highly suggest giving the free trial a go to see if it’s for you!
For outdoor workouts, I enjoy using a bluetooth speaker. When I go hiking, do an outdoor HIIT session, or even just an impromptu dance workout with my family, I love taking this speaker! It is waterproof, so I don’t have to worry about it raining or packing it into my backpack with water bottles. When I’m not using it for outdoor workouts, I keep it in my shower and run my cool down playlists as I shower after a workout. It’s awesome!
Misc Fitness Recommendations
Regardless of the brand, it is important to have a good, solid water bottle. Staying hydrated when increasing fitness in your life is SOOOO important! It is easy to forget to drink water throughout the day, but set a daily hydration goal and do your best to keep it. I always take a water bottle with me to the gym and to the track when I go run. This one is great because it holds enough water for a workout, is leakproof, and is impact resistant so you can bike with it.
If you don’t have a scale, you need one. It is important to have a consistent place to track your weight gains or loss. I try to weigh myself around the same time every day so that my weight journal is an accurate as possible. This scale is pretty awesome because it does more than display your weight. It’s a “smart” scale that can sync to an app on your phone for auto weight journaling and measures your BMI, body fat, body water and more. I love being able to track more than just my weight!
One thing I’ve learned in my weight loss/muscle gain journeys is that sometimes a scale is not the most important way to track your progress. Sometimes I gain weight when my arms or leg muscles grow. Sometimes I lose inches in my waist before I notice any progress on the scale. I recommend taking your measurements at least once a week and recording your progress during your fitness journey. It can help encourage you to keep going when the scale does not.
If you have recurring issues with an old injury or need some relief from a recent one, kinesiology is the way to go. It is supposed to help the body’s healing process and support your muscles while you workout. Many people wear it after workouts as well for its rehab properties. Definitely something to look into if you experience consistent muscle pain (beyond normal soreness) during or after workouts.
If you sweat profusely during workouts like I do, a sweat towel is a must. I like to use the smaller sweat towels to keep my face and hands dry. This link also has an option for larger sweat towels for people who like to drape the towel over their yoga mat to keep from slipping during mat work. Both are awesome! Just depends on what size you think you would use the most.
Post Workout Items
I try to take a long bath at least once a week. After pushing my body to the limit with my daily workouts, I think it is important to also take the time to relax and recharge and treat my body right. I have tried many different brands of bath bombs and these are my absolute favorite. They’re affordable, they have the BEST scents, and they leave your skin feeling silky smooth. I have gone through many boxes of these and I have never been disappointed with one.
After a workout, it is important to stretch and workout the lactic acid in your muscles. One tool that really helps with this is a Foam Muscle Roller. It can also help treat muscle pain and increase flexibility. If you have problems with sore legs or back when working out, this can help a ton!
Muscle recovery is vital when you are working out regularly. Personally, I experience severe leg and feet cramps (Charlie horses) after exercising. One way to prevent muscle cramps and also speed up muscle recovery to build muscle faster is utilize recovery powders. This powder is great for both men and women and can be easily mixed into protein shakes or even just water. It’s amazing how much of a difference this can make in your recovery time and ease!
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