Happy Friday! Okay, so lately I’ve been getting full-swing into fitness mode. I think it’s the change of seasons and the excitement for warm weather, or maybe it’s because the winter blahs made me feel like a bear in hibernation. Anyone feel the same way? Lately, though, I’ve signed up for a few fitness classes, I started power walking workouts, and I’m feeling so much better. If you are stressed out while planning your wedding (or, simply living in today’s fast-paced world) and you feel stuck in a winter rut… this is the post for you! Today, I (Emma here!) am sharing twenty of my favorite fitness accessories to inspire you. Whether you want to get rid of excess stress, shed a few extra pounds from the winter, or want to put those endorphins into high-kicking gear (and feel good!) you’ll love these fitness accessories. Each of these items is one I would recommend to family, friends, and, of course, to you, my dear readers, as I’ve tried each of them and wholeheartedly love them. Read on to be inspired…
Top 20 Fitness Accessories
1. A copy of The Biggest Loser on Kinect.
If you have an XBOX 360 and you’re considering Kinect, this would be one reason to get it. This is perhaps the best workout I’ve ever done. I’m not even a huge fan of The Biggest Loser and yet I love everything about this workout. You can select either Jillian or Bob as your instructor and then you set your workout goals depending on how much weight you want to lose (or simply to tone and get exercise). My favorite part? There is a WEIGH-IN, and not one you “type in” – it scans your body and gives you an assessment! It’s amazing. You can also pick from a variety of workouts, like kickboxing (my favorite on the game), a total body type workout that conditions and tones, yoga, etc. There are also “game” challenges. It’s awesome. You can grab a copy here.
2. A pair of toe-less yoga socks.
I got a pair of these yoga socks from my husband this Christmas after spying them at Target. I thought, hmm, would I really like my toes being separated in a pair of socks? The answer: YES. You’ll find me wearing these during yoga, Yoga Meltdown (mentioned below), while doing laundry, reading… okay, I wear them too much but I don’t care. They’re SO comfortable. Plus, they have these grippies on the bottom so you can stay put during yoga. And, if you don’t like to go barefoot at a yoga class, you’ll really love these since they’re way more hygienic. You can buy them at Target or here. I have them in blue.
3. A pair of capris that makes you sweat.
Full disclosure on this one: I received a pair of these workout capris by Delfin Spa in exchange for my review. However, as with all product reviews, I promise I wouldn’t tell you I like them just because, nor would I recommend something that doesn’t work to you, our dear readers. So… I received these capris pants that promise to make you sweat more during your workout. And, let me tell you, THEY WORK. They’re made of a bio-ceramic material that generates something called Far Infrared Rays (FIR) that reflect your body’s own FAR infrared rays (FAR relating to the size of the wavelength, mentioned in greater detail here)… basically, to make you sweat more. After a regular cardio workout, I notice far more sweat than with a traditional pair of capris and these workout capris really do the job! Plus, they’re recommended by Dr. Oz, so, really, they must be awesome. They even have a pocket for your iPod. Plus, they’re higher-waisted (without looking nerdy) which means you can mask a muffin top. You can buy them here and find out more at Delfin Spa.
4. A little bit of Zumba® in your life.
Ah, Zumba. How I adore you so. If you’ve never tried Zumba, I urge you to try it today. I recommend signing up for a local class which is so much fun. (TIP: The key to not looking like a dork is to always keep moving, even when you have no idea how to do the step. That’s what a woman told me on my first day and I swear by it, because, let’s face it, I’m no dancer.) Or, if you’d prefer to keep your dance moves hidden in your living room, try the official Zumba DVDs or, if you have Kinect, try the Kinect Zumba Rush, which I have and use. But, no matter what, everyone needs a little Zumba in her (or his!) life. (I’ve never tried the Zumba DVDs, but I hear they’re quite good. I have taken the classes, though, and I’ve tried the Zumba kinect below.)
5. A comfy, EXTRA-LONG, colorful yoga mat.
One of my favorite fitness accessories is a long-length yoga mat. I’m tall. 5’11”. Yoga mats usually leave me with my toes hanging offthe mat and touching the floor… but I finally found yoga mats that are extra-long. Thanks, Bean Company, for making these mats for people like me over 5’5″. Oh, and hot pink? Sign me up.
6. A copy of Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown.
I take yoga classes, and then sometimes I want to do yoga (with a mix of cardio) at home. Now, this DVD isn’t typical ‘yoga’, but rather a mix of yoga-inspired poses mixed with a cardio workout. You’ll definitely feel the burn on this one and you’ll get lean, tones muscles. This is my favorite of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs, and one that I keep going back to time and time again. Grab your copy here.
7. A zip-up weatherproof jacket with headphone wire holes.
One of my most-used fitness accessories? This jacket. My husband and I love to go walking together and are known for walking around six miles a day (except in the winter). For breezy days, rainy days, or days when it’s still a little chilly but I need to talk myself into walking, this jacket is AWESOME. We found them at Eddie Bauer and they’re part of the First Ascent brand. A bit pricey, but they’ll last for a really long time. We’ve had ours a few years now and they still look brand new after plenty of wear. And, it has a spot for your headphones and pockets for storing your iPod, phone, or keys.
8. A few colorful, oh-so-comfy sports bras.
Fact: working out with a comfy, colorful, really cute sports bra is way more fun than a boring one. I swear by these sports bras by Champion and you can find them in a variety of colors at your local Target. They retail for about $16.99. I’ve put mine through the wash a zillion times and they always come out looking like new, so I think they’ll last for a long time.
9. An exercise headband that actually stays put.
I have long hair and it is always falling into my eyes during a workout, even when it’s back in a ponytail. I finally found an elastic headband that works for my hair and holds it back with little grippies. These are by Goody and they’re called “Stayput Headbands”. You can buy them at your local drugstore in a variety of colors.
10. A pair of lightweight, can’t-believe-these-are-really-running-shoes shoes.
I LOVE THESE SHOES. If I could, I’d go barefoot everywhere, but since I can’t (and trail running would really, really hurt if I did) these shoes are the next best thing. These shoes, Go Run by Skechers, are so lightweight and perfect for running or power walking. They’re really comfortable for running errands, too. I wear them everywhere. Mine are in coral (shown below); you can find this shade and other colors here. When these wear out, I’ll be buying another pair of the very same kind. (Sidenote: They say GO RUN in big letters on the shoes which sort of give you inspiration to, you know, go out and run.)
12. A solid workout mix that keeps your heart-rate up.
What’s a workout without music? Boring. Give this workout mix a try; I love it because it keeps your heart-rate between 133-135 BPM to help you burn more calories. Plus, the remixes are awesome. Single Ladies, Dead and Gone, Boom Boom Pow… you get the idea. Snag your copy here.
13. A pair of behind-the-ear headphones.
Once you have the solid workout mix (and your favorite MP3 player), you’ll need a pair of comfortable, workout-ready headphones. I love these behind-the-ear headphones because they stay put and the sound quality is superb. You can find them here.
14. A sports armband for your MP3 player.
If you’re going running, walking, or to the gym on the treadmill, you need a sports armband to hold your MP3 player. I have an iPod nano from years ago that I still use and I bought an inexpensive sports armband that works great. Find it here.
15. A yoga towel that’s also a mat.
I received this as a gift and love it. Sometimes, you need a solid workout towel (this one absorbs so much sweat) and the bonus of this towel is it can also act as a yoga mat (it has grippies on the opposite end). If you’re planning a really killer workout where you know you’ll be sweating, save your other yoga mat the yuck and go with this towel. It’ll absorb your sweat and can be washed to be just like new. Grab yours here.
16. A sturdy balance ball for crunches.
I prefer doing crunches on a balance ball and find that I get a deeper stretch. I like to pair crunches with light hand-weights for extra toning. This is the balance ball I have at home. This one is available here.
And now, my very own secret for power crunches. First, grab an (edited) copy of Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Turn it up. Lay on a fitness mat (or use your balance ball if you’re able to balance) and do crunches to the beat of the music throughout the entire song (or as long as you can). During the chorus I switch to rotating crunches, where I lift to the right side, back down, center, down again, and to the right. It’s a great way to work your obliques. (And, of course, use this suggestion at your own discretion; I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv. I simply tried this one day and love it. Plus, whenever I hear the song now I feel like I should be doing crunches.)
17. A pair of neoprene handweights.
Everyone needs a pair of hand-weights. These are nice and small and weigh only 3 pounds each. When getting back into a workout routine, I like to start small at 3 pounds and move my way up to 5 pounds (then 10 pounds).
18. A copy of Jillian Michaels’ Six Week Six Pack.
Okay, so I’m a big fan of Jillian Michaels. True. But her DVDs really work! I like how she is a tough trainer and her workouts make you work. If you do this DVD daily, and REALLY put your effort in, you’ll definitely see results. I didn’t see a six pack in six weeks, but I did notice lots of toning (and I admittedly didn’t do it every day for six weeks because, well, my muscles HURT!)
19. A water bottle that actually keeps water ice-cold.
When I go on these aforementioned walks, I bring water with me. In the heat and humidity of summer, though, I want something ice-cold. Some water bottles promise to keep water cold, but don’t – these by Polar do. They’re insulated, store 24 ounces, and are available in a variety of colors and styles. I use mine daily. Find yours here.
20. A blender to give you plenty of healthy pre-workout fuel.
Okay, so this last one isn’t a fitness accessory, per se, but it’s just as important. I started making smoothies in my blender at home and they are jam-packed with good-for-you nutrients that get you fueled up for your workout. I mix a green smoothie with ice, water, bananas, spinach leaves, strawberries, and blueberries. YUM. Once you get past the weird green color, you’ll like it… and you don’t even taste the spinach. I like this blender because it has a glass container, which is easy to clean (and doesn’t absorb smells like plastic can). You can buy it here.
Disclosure: These products worked for me, but I don’t make any claims or promises they’ll work for you. I’m just giving my honest-to-goodness opinion on these products I’ve tried myself. Use at your own risk.
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