Fitness Favorites

I was recently asked what my absolute must-haves are when it comes to working out – what items I can absolutely not live without when it comes to exercising.

WATER

Water

This girl needs to stay hydrated.  I usually go through a couple of bottles of water when I’m at the gym.  I’m constantly guzzling because I’m sweating so much (it’s super hot at my gym) and I’m always trying to quench my thirst and dry mouth.  I try not to drink too much at once to avoid stomach aches, but when I’m at the gym I’m usually there for a while and going all out and water is definitely a game changer.

COOL AIR

Fan

via Daily Mail

I cannot stand being hot when I am exercising.  I find that if I am overheating I am not crushing my workouts and just feel gross.  I tend to run hot when I exercise, so I like to ensure that I am being cooled down efficiently.  So, in addition to replenishing my water intake, I also like to ensure that I can keep cool – either with multiple fans, open windows, or air conditioning.  If I’m at the gym then I usually hog the oscillating fan(s) and also make sure the overhead fans are so (I’m nagging for air conditioning).  If I’m working out at home I usually have the windows open or the AC on (if it’s summertime).  And if I’m teaching a class I take advantage of what’s available (inside = fans or AC / outside = shade and hopefully a slight breeze).

MUSIC

iPod

I 100% need my iPod when I’m working out, especially if I’m running.  The right song can keep me going.  (My song of choice for my run lately has been Anyway You Want It by Journey.)  When I ran my first 10k a few years ago I ran along to Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen on repeat.  It kept my perfect pace.  If I’m strength training I will put on a random play list and let the iPod work its magic.

HAIR GEAR

hair ties

This includes hair ties, headbands, hats, and bobby pins.  I have naturally curly hair and a whole heckuva lot of it and it is constantly in my face.  It is my second biggest peeve when I’m working out – right behind being hot.  I can’t stand little fly-away hairs in my face so I try to make sure I have what’s necessary to keeping my Wookie-do out of my eyes.

FITBIT

FitBit

I totally had buyer’s remorse when I first purchased my FitBit, but now I am addicted to it.  I love being able to track my steps, my distances, and my heart rate when I’m working out.  I picked up the HR Charge specifically to keep track of my heart rate. Since I have a heart condition, I figured it would be interesting to track the pattern and BPM and anything else that would correlate.  I also love the step challenges – within a group or simply on my own.  I am very aware of how active I am throughout each day and honestly make more of an effort to get up and move – especially if I have been sedentary for too long.

APPs

Aaptiv

I’m really not an app-y person when it comes to my exercise routine.  I’m fairly rogue that way.  I’ve downloaded apps in the past and rarely utilized them.  But one great new app I’ve reviewed is Aaptiv.  Aaptiv is an on-demand audio fitness app that combines the guidance of a trainer with the perfect playlist.  If you are considering a fitness app as part of your routine, you should definitely check out Aaptiv.

Aside from proper footwear and a good sports bra, that about does it for my list of workout must-haves.  What are some of your favorites?

~FB

Pleased

I was born premature.  I spent a lot of time in the hospital when I was young; too much time.  I was a very sick little girl.  I grew up with lung and breathing issues, which, in my older age, have not subsided.  I am prone to pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma and other breathing difficulties that leave me panting and puffing like a 40 year smoker.

When I was 16 I developed eating disorders.  Lots of them.  My eating disorders lasted for several years and I put my body through Hell.  I disrespected it.

When I was in high school it was discovered that I  have a mild heart condition.  I was told that I’d have a pacemaker by the time I was 30.

I was afraid of everything and I hated my body.

Then years ago I discovered running.  And I fell in love.  I get that runners’ high and it’s incredible.  I used to run every day.  I could not wait to get outside and run like the wind.

But after surgery a year and a half ago I put running on hold.  I was back in the gym but I could not bring myself to run.  I just couldn’t get into it.  Sure I ran here and there as I prepared to match my friend’s 10k, but I was running for the wrong reasons.  And I resented it.

A month ago I decided to run again.  I realized just how much I’d missed it and now I’m running nearly every day.  I crave it.  AND, what I’m really impressed with is my stamina and my ability to not gasp and gag and pray for air.  My breathing is better and my heart rate is steady and I’ve been able to run for longer distances than I ever had before.  I feel incredible.

I have only been able to take advantage of an outside run once so far this year so I’ve been running on an increased incline on the treadmill each day.  That, along with my steady lung flow, makes me feel like I’m on top of the world.  When I’m in my zone, I feel like I’ve accomplished so much – even if just personally.

And I really have to thank Darius Rucker (aka Hootie) because his song Wagon Wheel has become my go-to running song (it’s great for keeping a pace, bolting when needed, and generally rockin’ out – don’t judge me).

I am tipping my hat to myself and am hoping that I can will keep up with my running pattern and increasing my abilities – and I thoroughly look forward to getting back outside for my run, should the Nova Scotia weather choose to cooperate.

~Fit Bitch

runners-high

I’ve Got the Music in Me

Whenever my cell phone rings I don’t want to answer it.  The reason?  Because my ring tune is “You Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer.  Old school, I know, but whenever I hear it I can’t help but dance a little (sometimes a lot).  That’s why I urge you to listen to music when you’re working out.

Music will push you.  There’s a growing body of evidence that music can improve your exercise routine and the benefits you get from it. Costas Karageorghis, PhD, of Brunel University School of Sport and Education in London, has shown that music actually “moves” you:  Your body hears the music and it just can’t sit still. Music is also distracting, he says, so it can increase your endurance because listening to music makes it easier to ignore any discomfort from your workout.  Gray often recommends that people make a playlist for their exercise routine, and the faster the beat the better, she says. “You’ll work out at a more intense pace if you’re listening to something like Billy Idol’s ‘Dancing With Myself’ than Johann Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D Major.'”

Whenever I’m out for a run or on the treadmill, or on the eliptical, stationery bike, lifting weights, etc., I find that I’m more motivated to keep going when I’m listening to upbeat songs.  I say to myself “the song’s not over yet, you can keep going.”  And it works.

Songs that I love to listen to while I’m working out:

Loser Like Me – Glee (I know, I know…but the song is catchy)

Pourin’ Rain – Calobo

Faith – George Michael

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynard Skynard

Come Back Song – Darius Rucker

Just about anything by Fun

Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepson

Footloose – Kenny Loggins

Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

Rock DJ – Robbie Williams

Take On Me – A-Ha

Just about anything by Pink

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

Forget You – Cee-Lo

Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira

Just about anything by Twisted Sister

You get the idea.  Choose fun, upbeat, motivational music to keep you running, lifting, sweating, moving!   And don’t forget to have fun! (The other day I sent this text to a friend: “OMG I’m at the gym by myself and totally just busted out the Robot on the treadmill.” – No, I have no shame.)

workout_music

~Fit Bitch