Friday, January 10, 2014
I ran into a good friend yesterday when I was working. She had just come from the gym and gave me a hug and I noticed something pretty important. Hence this blog.
There are certain important pieces of "equipment" you truly need when you begin working out.
Two of the MOST important, at least in my opinion are:
1) A GOOD pair of shoes. Don't go to the big box stores and try and save a few bucks. They won't last as long and they won't do your feet, ankles, knees, hips, back, just follow your body up, you get the idea, any favors. You NEED good shoes to support the rest of your body. They don't just protect your feet! Your entire body is affected by your shoes. The last pair of workout shoes I purchased cost me a lot ($70-I have a brand and style I really like and keep an eye out online and in stores for sales, they're normally around $120), but I was able to wear them for almost six months and they never caused me pain even though I knew they were past their "expiration date". I suffer from shin splints (I slightly over pronate) and buying good shoes is critical. I also put a lot of miles on my shoes and need them to hold up.
Please don't chew me out because you think that's too much to spend for shoes and you don't have the budget for them, I understand, I'm just speaking from personal experience. I used to purchase the big box shoes and they'd break down in two months and I'd be in pain. I figure I'm spending about the same amount and not having to shop for them as often.
2) This is what prompted this blog: BUY A GOOD SPORTS BRA. My friend is well endowed and wasn't wearing a bra .... at all. Ladies, you NEED to take care of your breasts when exercising. And it doesn't matter if you're large busted or small, you need to protect and support your breasts. Even if you're just walking you need the support to keep tissue from tearing.
I went to an aerobics class years ago and didn't have a good supportive bra. I am "blessed" in the "girls" department, after just one class I tore breast tissue and was miserable and had long red streaks along the sides of my breasts where tissue had torn. Ouch.
Again, skip the big box, get the correct measurement and buy a good SPORTS bra. Don't just go with an everyday bra, they aren't made to hold you in place and support you during exercise. My current favorite has a sturdy underwire, a fabric sling, foam shaped cups, and a fabric over the top of it all that's high profile. The underwire and sling are critical for support, the foam pads are supportive and an added bonus I appreciate in a bra. I don't like the "headlights" look. I prefer for folks in the gym to NOT know how cold I am. The high profile I like because I'm modest and when I bend over to lift nothing is exposed if I'm wearing a v-necked workout top and that extra fabric helps hold things in place and adds to the support of the bra.
All the fabric is wicking, which is awesome, I never feel clammy or sticky even with the foam cups.
I do have one sports bra that is all this minus the underwire, but is also a compression bra. I like this one for days when I'm going fast, if you're a runner (I'm not- YET), you need to have the compression so your not bouncing. Yes, it flattens you out, but honestly, it's about the workout not how cute you look!
Like the shoes, a good sports bra is expensive, but they're worth the investment and they'll out last the inexpensive ones. Once you find one you like that FITS, shop around online. I just found two on sale ($20 off what I normally pay) because they were a funky color, but I don't care, no one sees them on me, I'm after the support and I know this bra does the job!
Okay, for a bonus, here's a couple more things you might want to consider when thinking about workout wear.
3) Skip the free t-shirts from the local grocery, service club, or other groups giving them away free. Save them for your next house painting. Most are made from cotton and get clammy, stretched out as you sweat it out, and feel pretty gross by the end of a workout. Get some shirts that wick the sweat away from your body and dry quickly. They're so much more comfortable and really aren't very expensive. Some of the big boxes do have these, look for Duo dry or tags that say wicking on them. This time of year you can find them for around $6.
4) Work out pants that are also wicking. Same reason as the shirts. In this case though, I do have an added recommendation, buy the black ones. I learned this the hard way. I sweat when I work out. I don't "perspire" or "glow" or anything close to attractive, I sweat. Everywhere. Including my legs and "rear" area. If I wear black pants, the sweat doesn't show, if they're any other color, well, it looks like I've wet my pants. Yeah, talk about embarrassing, buy the black and the fast drying and save yourself some dignity.
Since we're on the subject of "bottom" wear, skip the cotton panties. For the same reason as the shirts, cotton holds onto moisture and feels miserable next to the skin. Micro fiber panties pull moisture away from the body so they stay comfortable and dry quickly. And I've read up on them, sports experts are saying they're healthier than cotton, a change to what we've heard for years, both for their wicking and breathing abilities.
5) Socks that also wick the sweat and moisture away. If you want they even make them that are anti microbial. They have something in them so they don't get smelly. Your feet and your shoes will thank you for this. Get socks that aren't baggy and fit close to the foot, especially if you're going hiking or this time of year snowshoeing. A loose sock has wrinkles, wrinkles cause hot spots and blisters. If you are hiking or snowshoeing, wear a thin, tight pair next to the skin and a thicker warmer pair on top. That way if you do have a small amount of slipping, the socks will rub against each other instead of your foot causing blisters.
I know this is long, but the below is pretty accurate when describing me! Have some great and comfortable workouts!