My Gym Essentials

Working out is something we all need in varying degrees, but also something many struggle with.  I struggled with it myself for many years between not feeling motivated to go, having low energy, having exercise induced asthma, feeling embarrassed, feeling bored etc.  You name it, I faced it.  The struggle was real.  It has taken me many trials and errors to figure out what keeps me interested and motivated to work out, but thankfully it is now a lifestyle for me so I feel completely at ease at the gym...and that even includes when I make a spectacle of myself in any class because you know why?  Everyone starts somewhere and we've all felt like a fool trying a new work out or class.  Truthfully I'm willing to bet that not one person at the gym is judging you for your work out routine(s) because they too remember what it was like to be new to working out!  But, I digress before I leap onto that soap box.

I wanted to write a quick post today to share the few treasures I must have with me to work out.  They are nothing new under the sun, but if it wasn't for these items as my saving grace I would not have made the progress I have made over the last five years.  As time passed and one by one these items incorporated themselves into my trips to the gym, my level of enjoyment and desire to continue to go improved.  Hopefully any one or all of these might help you too!

Essential #1

My iPad (or Kindle).  I realize not everyone can read and run at the same time, but this has been the biggest blessing to me when I discovered that I could.  I take my iPad with me to the gym each time whether I run, sprint, or walk on an incline on the treadmill, or use the elliptical or stair machine.  I download books on iBooks or the Kindle app to read.  If I am walking on an incline or using the stair machine I also sometimes browse Pinterest.  It has been the BEST distraction for me to get my cardio in and multitask.  I don't really watch TV, but that would be an option for you to use your iPad for as well.

Essential #2

My Powerbeats wireless headphones.  Gone are the days of an annoying headphone chord dangling around me or being yanked out of the phone while running and thus sending my phone flying across the room or dropping it onto the treadmill to fly off of the conveyor belt behind me.  These wireless headphones have great sound quality, stay put, and connect using Bluetooth.  They were a game changer for my running/cardio.

Essential #3

My Garmin Forerunner running watch and heart rate monitor strap.  I had a Polar watch and heart rate strap before, but it either started dying on me a few months ago or my strap was too loose.  I definitely suggest and prefer to use the heart rate monitor strap for better accuracy than a wrist heart rate monitor watch can provide, and I am loving this Garmin Forerunner watch because it tracks GPS and my split pace times for each mile tracked.  My previous Polar watch and heart rate strap didn't do that and I had to use the MapMyRun app to track my miles and split paces.  I do love MapMyRun and highly suggest it regardless, but it is awesome to have my watch tracking it for me especially in places like Mexico where I keep data off and couldn't use MapMyRun, yet my trusty watch knew precisely how far I had run.  #winning

Essential #4

My Asics Gel Nimbus running shoes.  These work for me and my knees as they're very cushioned, but I realize they may not be great for everyone.  I'd recommend going to your local sports store to have your stride evaluated and test out the shoes to determine what level of cushion feels best for you.  In Houston go to Luke's Locker!  I've heard great things about many other brands so you definitely need to try them on to get a feel for which brand and support your body needs before getting into running as it can really take a toll on your joints if you do not have the proper support.

Essential #5

The right running tights are critical for me when I run outside.  When I run indoors, its a free for all and doesn't matter to me.  But, when running outside I need the deep side pockets to slip my phone into.  I've never been one to use the arm band to hold my phone so this discovery of the deep side pockets a couple of years ago was a dream come true.  I am sure something like this is available in other brands, but I splurged on Lululemon for my running pants/cropped pants because I do not splurge on any of my other work out attire.  In fact, I've been wearing most of my work out clothes for (too many) years and likely bought them at Old Navy or Marshall's.  I work out to work out, not for a fashion show.  However, there is something to be said about feeling good about yourself when you work out so regardless of where I purchase from I am cognizant of what I feel like when I put them on.  I've linked in three designs above if you want to check them out.  The pants/cropped pants have held my iPhone 6 and currently hold my iPhone 7 plus just fine!

Aside from the focused/strained face I'm making in uncertainty that my feet were even moving by this point in the half, you can see every item I described above in the picture below except for the iPad.  My Powerbeats headphones, my Garmin Forerunner 15 watch (and strap beneath clothing of course), my Asics Gel Nimbus shoes, and my Lululemon running pants with my iPhone 7 Plus tucked into the side pocket.  The gang's all there!

I still want to know what that girl was smiling about!

I hope these ideas help you feel inspired to get moving.  What essential items help you to work out?  I'm always curious what works for everyone else as new ideas are great to keep the motivation continuing.  It doesn't matter how slow you go, if you're making progress you're still lapping everyone on the couch, right?!