If you’ve been following for a while—or even a little bit—you’ll know that I’ve been working out since January. I’ve stuck to it since and have gotten a pretty good hang of it, I’d say. So much so that over the past few months, I’ve come up with a list of the things that are essential to me and my workouts and may help those of you who are exploring working out or need a refresher course.
WATER + BOTTLE. Duh, right? My gym is kind enough to provide us with disposable cups for water but walking back and forth to the cooler when you only have 20 seconds of rest isn’t always ideal. Especially if it’s you and three others. Plus, a water bottle is reusable and that’s better for Mother Earth. I like to carry a 32oz water bottle that I drop a few ice cube into, keeping every swig as refreshing as the last. The best part is, even if I don’t finish it all during the workout, I can carry it around during the day and remain hydrated.
PRE + POST WORKOUT SNACK. I usually grab a banana or apple right before a workout to give me a bit of energy without being too full or upsetting my stomach. And since I sometimes run errands after a workout, I have an “after” snack to hold me over until I can get to a real meal. I usually make a protein and water shake in a blender bottle which is easy to make and portable to carry. The best part is I’ve consumed about 20% of my recommended protein intake in one shake (which I struggle with).
GLOVES. This might sound crazy but I tried to go without these for a while and I do not recommend it. I lift. Not very heavy, but I do and those metal handles are a killer on my hands. I have since developed calluses in palm and in an effort to slow that down, I had to get gloves. They range from pretty inexpensive to expensive but the ones I have were $5 from a department store. I do see why the expensive ones are expensive but these $5 ones work just fine for me, for now.
FITNESS TRACKER. While this isn’t essential for everyone, I find it easier this way to track my movements, calories, steps, heart rate, etc. I wear a FitBit Surge and while I wouldn’t have purchased this if I didn’t win it in a giveaway, I still think it’s pretty neat. I use it mostly as a timer and a heart rate tracker, but it’s nice to see how I’ve performed in comparison to other days/workouts. I am also learning the importance of heart rate tracking so it’s super handy to have one of these strapped to my wrist during workouts.
“What isn’t measured can’t be managed.”
GOALS. Speaking of measuring and managing things: GOALS! Before you even start working out there should be a goal in mind. I feel that without one, it will be easier to fall off track because you don’t feel like you’re working towards anything. I have mini goals set for myself as well as one big goal. Your goal can be fitting into an old pair of jeans, being able to run a 7 minute mile or anything in between. Set it and DON’T forget it!
SCHEDULE. This should go alongside your goals. Do not tell yourself you will workout “when I have the time”. Make time for your workout. Once you decide what time works with your schedule and you commit to it, it will become habitual and that’s what you need. If you continue to workout only when you have time, working out will always play second fiddle.
WORKOUT CLOTHES. What I really mean are workout clothes that make you feel good. It isn’t an essential, but as you start to build a better body, you’ll want to show it off and be cute. It’s cool if you want to wear old T shirts and sweat (they are equally as effective) but I do think a new cute bra, headband, or compression shirt will give you a little boost if things get dull. What is essential is that whatever you wear, it is comfortable for the activity of your choosing. Including shoes, if necessary. Make sure your footwear is appropriate for what you’re doing.
Those are what I’ve learned I’ve needed so far. What are some of your essentials?