After talking about my fitness journey last week I thought I'd share a few of the things that I deem necessary for those occasions that I actually exercise. Whilst it's not essential to have the latest and greatest of everything, there are certainly a few things that it helps to have when working out.
So simple, yet it can have such a big impact. Water is an essential part of daily life - not just when exercising - but working out can cause you to lose a lot of the fluids your body contains and they'll need replenished somehow! Dehydration affects your muscles, so if you don't keep your fluid levels topped up then you'll most likely find yourself struggling with cramps. Personally, if I don't drink enough water I'll often wake up in the night with agonising leg cramps and it'll take a couple of days for the pain to fully subside. It sucks, but it does a great job at reminding me to drink more water! This is a really great article about why hydration is so important and the impact it can have on your body.
One of the things I'm probably lacking most right now is motivation. Not just for exercise, if I'm being honest! There are so many different inspiration sources when it comes to finding some motivation to get off my arse and work, but a big one for me is definitely having the right playlist. There's something about the right selection of songs with the right beat that helps me get in the "zone" when it comes to exercising and at the moment I love the playlists available on Spotify. I'm going through a bit of a throwback phase at the moment so have been listening to a lot of noughties pop and eighties pop-rock anthems to get me going.
Hygiene & Beauty
Much like water, hygiene is always pretty important and it's something that I suppose comes naturally with exercise. Aside from my usual shower gels, lotions and potions I always like to keep a strong deodorant & antiperspirant in my gym bag alongside a packet of make up wipes, bobbles and kirby grips for my unruly hair. I don't wear make up when I work out because I hate how it makes my face feel, so having a way to make sure every last trace is gone is a must have for me.
A Method That Suits You
Different people like to exercise in different ways, it's just human nature. What works for you won't necessarily work for someone else and vice versa. Try to test out lots of different ways to work out in hope of finding the method that suits you. Finding something that feels fun for you is probably the best way to go about it, as you don't want it to feel like a chore!
There are so many different classes, gyms, clubs, sports, DVDs and even YouTube videos out there at the moment that I think you'd struggle not to find something you enjoy. I don't always have the patience or attention span for long winded workouts at home, so I really enjoy Charlotte Crosby's 3 Minute Belly Blitz and other shorter routines.
I can't stress the importance of proper shoes enough. Your feet absorb the impact when you run, which in turn can cause joint pain or injury, so making sure your feet are supported correctly for whatever activity you're undertaking is a big part of looking after yourself.
You don't need to spend a fortune on the right shoes, but it's important that they fit properly and provide enough cushioning, grip and support where it's needed. All of my trainers and running shoes are from Nike, but as I live down the road from a pretty well stocked outlet I've never paid more than £20 for a pair. It's worth checking out discount shops such as Sports Direct or looking online for previous models if you don't want to splash out on the latest as soon as you start!
The Right Gear
Now, this applies on two levels. Much like having proper footwear, it's important to have the correct clothing based on your activity of choice. For example, a sports bra is so incredibly important... unless you want saggy boobs that is? Didn't think so. If you're going to be outside make sure you're prepared for everything the weather can and will throw at you. You don't want to be caught unprepared!
On a more technological level, there are so many gadgets and gizmos about these days that can help your exercise process. Apps like My Fitness Pal or the 30 Day Challenges provide a place to track your progress, much like activity tracking gadgets such as a Fitbit or a Jawbone. Whilst they're not entirely essential, they do help for some people. I find that having a step counter built in to my phone encourages me to walk about a bit more in an attempt to beat my records!
Aesthetically though, I do like pretty gym gear. It may be shallow or narcissistic but I find that having "nice" clothes makes me more likely to want to put them on. I just know that I'll bump in to anyone and everyone whilst I'm huffing about like a sweaty betty, so I may as well do it in style. Nowadays you don't need to spend a fortune to get cool gym gear as so many high street retailers offer their own ranges. At the moment I'm loving the range of sportswear available at New Look as it's both affordable, practical and aesthetically pleasing! It covers all my bases. Plus, as a bit of an Instagram fiend it helps to have fun slogans to filter just so the world knows that I am in fact doing a bit of exercise. Because if you don't share it on Instagram, did it really happen?*
What are your exercise essentials?
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