A good friend of mine suggested I compile a list of essentials in starting a workout journey of your own, or simply a list of some of my favorite products. So I’ve been working pretty diligently to get a list together & find resourceful info for y’all!
I’ll be linking some online sources for some of these products. These are just some examples, but of course, you should shop around and find items that better suit your needs & style!
1. Workout Tops
I like working out in old t-shirts I’ve collected over the years from various 5K’s, concerts, community events, etc. But sometimes, I prefer to have clothing that is moisture wicking and comfortable. Two of my favorite tops are a plain Dri-FIT Nike T-shirt and then an orange Reebok tank top. I buy most of my workout apparel at Burlington Coat Factory because the prices are amazing & I can find clothes in my size, but you can also shop around online to find what suits you best!
Also important note for my ladies, sports bras! They will be your best friend during a workout! I’ve gone through many, many different kinds & I have found that medium impact bras work, but high-impact bras will provide much more comfort in the long run. I prefer a bra that is going to move with me, hold everything together while simultaneously providing comfort for the girls. Like my tops, I find a lot of bras at Burlington that are both true to size and affordable.
2. Workout Bottoms
Like the workout tops, I also have stuck with a small collection of bottoms that I’ve accumulated over the years. However, now that I’ve been losing weight, I’ve been having to go out and buy new bottoms! Ross & Burlington have some good deals, especially on bottoms. I absolutely love Spalding bottoms & recently found a pair of Reebok tights that have deep pockets. Pockets are super convenient for taking a run or working out at the gym. It eliminates jingling keys and having to put your phone down or carry it in your hands.
This may be a weird topic to cover, but I wanted to highlight socks because I recently bought a pack of socks that changed the way I work out. I saw this pack of Copper Fit socks & I thought they were the coolest thing, mostly because they were black with bright colors, and anyone who knows me knows I love bright colors! Well let me tell you, these socks are so comfortable! They offer great arch support and they are also lined with copper, which is supposed to be beneficial for pain management. Me and my messed up ankles are very grateful.
Feel the difference with Copper Fit socks here!
Here is where things get a little trickier. I wear many different pairs of shoes to the gym. This isn’t because I’m trying to be stylish (well, not entirely, anyway) but my shoes of choice usually depend on what kind of workout I’m planning on doing that day. I highly recommend something with a good insole, something you don’t mind standing on or putting impact on for long periods of time. Training shoes are good for this purpose, as are running shoes. I prefer Nikes, but maybe I’m just biased. My favorites are Nike Free, as these shoes move with you, and provide both comfort and flexibility for your feet! I own two or three pairs of these shoes & I honestly couldn’t see myself in a different shoe. They are good for high-impact workouts and running, making them the ideal shoe for any general workout.
Get a pair (or two) of Nike Free shoes here!
I recently covered some of my favorite music on my workout playlist in a blog titled, “Feel the Beat,” which you can check out here. As I stated in that blog, it’s important to have music that will get your blood pumping but also to have music that suits your taste. Many people will have a metal playlist and some will listen to pop music. Hell, some people even workout out to country music! It’s all about how you work. So experiment & find what works for you!
Along with the music, it’s important to have a good set of headphones to work with. For the longest time, I relied on my wireless PowerBeats headphones, but have recently been turned onto the Apple AirPods craze. Honestly, any headphones can work for you, wired or wireless. I personally prefer wireless because that’s less distraction during a workout. Plus, it’s very easy to get wires caught on machines & weights. The less hassle, the better!
Hydration is key! Keeping a steady fluid intake is extremely important, not just during your workout, but before & after as well. I usually try to keep a few bottles of water in my desk at work and in my gym bag as well. You can use just plain plastic bottles, or invest in a glass wide-mouth bottle that can be both sleek and drop-resistant! Whatever you choose, just remember to stay hydrated! The last thing anyone wants (or needs) is collapsing mid-workout from dehydration.
Women’s Health’s 10 Water Bottles That Actually Work While You’re Exercising
Many people will forgo this item. I used to be one of them. I never figured that I needed a protein supplement so long as I kept a good diet and exercise routine. I wasn’t entirely wrong, but I will tell you that it is so much more convenient to have a go-to protein when you’re on the go or in a hurry. I turn to protein shakes for my weekday mornings when I don’t feel like having oatmeal or cereal (or a taco lol).
I had someone once tell me that whey protein is for building muscle and plant protein is better for weight loss. I personally stuck to plant protein because it is easier on my stomach. Whey protein is derived from dairy, and therefore, people with lactose intolerance may find it a bit more difficult to stomach. Whey protein, however, is a great choice because it has a high protein content per serving and is usually more inexpensive. Plant protein, on the other hand, is a bit pricier, but is more nutrient-rich and is much easier to digest.
I buy Purely Inspired Organic Protein, which you can find at most retailers. I prefer chocolate for the flavor, but vanilla protein also gives you a chance to mix it up with different products to create new flavors. Prime example, I love strawberries in my chocolate protein shakes! That’s something that never gets old for me!
Like music, I’ve also covered pre-workout in my previous blogs. You can read about Lit in my blog titled “How Does She Do It?” and also be on the look out for my new review on Body Effects, which I hope to finish soon!
Pre-workout is another one of those things that isn’t totally required, but it’s proven to be beneficial in my workout routine. I try to take my pre-workout 15-30 minutes prior to a workout in order to allow the caffeine to metabolize and really kick in. If you are sensitive to caffeine, this isn’t something I’d recommend. However, if you want to try something like this, I suggest less than the recommended serving size or even finding a pre-workout with a smaller amount of caffeine.
If you aren’t one who wants to try out pre-workout powders, I would also suggest trying canned drinks! Bang Energy drinks are delicious, caffeinated and don’t give me a crash at all. Likewise, Celsius, which I found by chance in a Planet Fitness drink cooler, is also super delicious & definitely packs a punch! These are great for someone who’s just looking for a quick pre-workout and not wanting to commit to a single flavor.
And so how do you hold it all together? Well in a trusty gym bag of course! I use a Nike backpack that has multiple pockets to keep all my stuff. I started with a duffle bag, but I’ve since found that backpacks are both easier to haul around and fit better in the gym lockers.
10. Other Accessories
I guess this is kind of cheating, but there’s a few other things I didn’t cover in the other 9 categories that I feel have been essential for me:
- Fitbit: I recently started wearing my Fitbit again after taking a short hiatus off the fitness journey. I love having something to track my steps, sleep, and active minutes without me having to manually go in & log them myself. It is super convenient and also has its own app & community of very supportive & encouraging individuals around the world! I highly recommend investing in one if you’re serious about your fitness! (Side note, if you are on Fitbit, add me by email “firstname.lastname@example.org”)
- Towel: this one seems kind of straight forward, but keeping a towel in your gym bag can be advantageous for you. Maybe you had a long workout & wanna shower at the gym before you leave. Or maybe you wanna enjoy the sauna but are afraid to be dripping sweat. Your towel will be your best friend in these situations!
- Locker Lock: I’ve never had anything stolen from a locker at the gym, but I know plenty of people who have! Keeping your belongings under lock & key is important & definitely gives you peace of mind during your workouts.
- Motivators: y’all, hitting the gym with a good set of people is the most important thing, especially if you really need that extra push! Taking my brothers, cousins and some of our friends proved to be amazing for my confidence. Having people cheering you on helps immensely and it helps calm those newbie jitters you might have about working out!
- Attitude: this is the most important of all. Bringing a positive attitude into a new journey is so, so necessary in order to succeed. If you start with a negative outlook, you’ll have negative results. It’s that simple. Don’t be afraid to ask gym staff for help if you’re unsure! They are there to help you! We are all beginners at one point! Making sure we get the best advice ensures our success in the long run!
Overall, I hope you all can benefit from this list. It’s not nearly everything I use, and it will probably change in a month or two, but that’s the whole idea. The journey will allow us to grow & in turn, change some of the ways we do things!
Another suggestion I can make to all of you who aren’t sure what, if any, supplements you should look for, go into a local supplement or nutrition shop! That’s how I found my pre-workouts and even met some friendly folks along the way! (Big shoutout to All Star Nutrition in Harlingen, TX for being friendly & helpful on this journey! Check them out on Facebook or visit them if you’re local! They’re located at 902 Dixieland Rd Ste 103A, Harlingen, TX 78550)
This particular blog took a lot of extensive thinking and researching & I honestly don’t even think it’s nearly as detailed as it should be, but if you have any questions or need any advice, I’m here 110%! Stay tuned for more on the journey! Remember I’ll be taking a trip to Mexico City soon! My fitness will definitely be tested there! Good vibes will definitely be appreciated! Pray that I don’t pass out with all that walking! My poor legs are definitely not ready!
Much love, y’all! 😘