By Lisa Rhea
Forget raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. When the dog bites or the bee stings, I want new leggings and a pair of cute Nikes.
Whether you’re hitting Amazon.com for some last minute gifts, planning how you’re going to spend those Christmas gift cards, or preparing for the post-holiday sales, I wanted to share some of my favorite fitness-related products.
Something to take into consideration about my list – I try to balance cost and quality. So are there better items out there? Probably, but not in my budget. So let me qualify my title, these are a few of my favorite, affordable, things.
Yes, I believe leggings are pants, and I live in them. But note I said leggings, not tights. While I promote the comfort that stretchy pants offers, it’s important to buy quality leggings that don’t show the world your choice in undergarments.
My favorites are from Victoria’s Secret. They’re a little more expensive, but they are thick and hold their shape even after all day wear. These leggings don’t creep down in the crotch (small-waisted, thick-legged girls, you know what I’m talking about), have a nice, thick waistband and come in a variety of colors and patterns and even different lengths.
We all have the Apple earbuds, in fact, I think I have about 5 sets now. And I never use them. Not sure about you, but I can’t keep the dang things in my ears. I’ve tried a number of different types of earbuds over the years, and finally found my favorites.
Yurbuds really do stay in your ears and are extremely comfortable. They’re reasonably priced and you can find them in Target or Walmart, as well as online. The only frustrating thing, I will admit, is you can lose the earbud adapter piece and then they’re as useless as regular earbuds.
This is one I get asked about a lot. I have tried a lot of different powders over the years, and Cellucor is my current favorite for flavor, low carbohydrate content, and digestibility. My stomach can be really sensitive to different protein shakes, and it does really well with this brand. Not to mention, it’s relatively affordable.
My favorite flavor is Peanut Butter Marshmallow. It’s good mixed with water, although I prefer to use almond milk. I will note that I’m not a big supplement person, but I do like protein powder post workout. While I will say that real food is always best for you, protein powder can be a more affordable option than meat and has some notable benefits when consumed at the right times.
If you read Chesty Matters, then you know how important a good fitting sports bra is. I made several recommendations in that article, but after having a baby, I went on the hunt again found my all-time favorite sports bras that are affordable and incredibly supportive – and still cute!
La Isla brand sports bras run about $25 on Amazon.com. They have velcro straps, allowing them to function as nursing bras, and giving them a customized fit. They come in a racerback style, which is my favorite, since I wear mostly racerback tanks to the gym.
Running shoes are very specific to each person, but I love Saucony’s. I have tried several different shoes over the years, and these are by far my favorites. I run with a mid-foot strike, and these shoes have cushioning, but a very minimal heel to toe drop.
A good pair of running shoes is not going to be cheap. One tip to finding a more affordable shoe is to look for the older models of the shoe. I have been wearing this particular shoe brand for about four years now, for a number of half marathons, and I have not had any foot or shin issues, which used to plague me previously.
As I mentioned, I’m not a supplement person. I really only take a few vitamins and use protein powder sparingly. I used to just buy my vitamins at Target, but since Jaime turned me on to these Optimum Nutrition vitamins, I have noticed a difference.
My nails are stronger than ever, even post-baby, and my lab work was perfect. The biggest benefit – they have a good amount of iron, but not so much that it makes your digestive system sluggish. (Anyone who has taken iron supplements knows what I’m talking about!)
I take the multi-vitamin and fish oils. One thing that I think is important, when taking supplements, is to still concentrate on getting your vitamins and minerals from real foods. There’s no true replacement for the nutrients you get from food.
Any avid exerciser has their favorite workout pants – that pair that gets washed and worn more than any other pair. For me, it’s my Nike capris. I’ve had the same pair for years and have probably washed them more than 100 times, yet they still fit like they’re brand new. They’re cool and comfortable and fit like a glove. The thick waistband doesn’t slip down or fold over. There’s a reason I only have one pair, though. They come at a high price.
I also have a pair Under Armour capris that I really love and are better for hot weather, but they’re not quite as flattering. They are thin, yet not transparent, again have a thick waistband that doesn’t slip or roll and stretch, yet keep their shape. These are much more affordable as well.
For shorts, I like my 5″ Nike Pros. They’re functional and cool. While they may not be the best looking shorts, they don’t ride up when I run, like the 2-3″ booty short version, and they’re not quite mom-shorts like the 7″ ones.
While I have some different colors, I tend to stick to black for the gym – because I like to train hard and that usually results in lots of sweat. And booty sweat isn’t cute. When I’m running I don’t really care, but when I’m lifting, it can be a bit embarrassing to sport swass!
Last but not least, my favorite fitness gadget is my TomTom running watch. I love numbers when I’m training. I am always chasing goals, whether it be a faster pace or a longer distance. Being able to watch my heart rate is another great tool.
I know that a chest band is more accurate, but I personally find it difficult to get the strap to fit comfortably. It seems its either too tight or it slips down when I’m running. This watch is relatively accurate and gives me enough information for the type of training I’m doing. The key is getting it tight enough, but not too tight, on your wrist.
What are some of your favorite fitness things? Let me know! I am always looking for the next best thing!