How to Work Out:
Some Thoughts and Tips on Exercise
The other day a friend and I discussed our New Year's Resolutions over lunch. She told me that she wanted to get into shape but that she didn't know HOW to work out or what,exactly, to do at the gym. That kind of surprised me. I mean...It makes perfect sense, but I had never really heard it expressed in those words before. It got me thinking about the psychological challenges of being a "beginner." Starting anything is hard. It's easy to get discouraged by the smallest thing, right? If you've been going to the gym for awhile, it probably seems easy. But if you have NEVER been to a gym, it's hard to know where to start and you're probably reluctant to ask someone.
I'm not a fitness expert or a trainer. I'm just further down the line. I'm a regular exerciser that runs, swims, and lifts weights. I lie and tell people I do yoga. I've been fat; I've been thin. I've stopped and started fitness programs again and again and again.
So, I'm somewhere in the middle, grey area of fitness. The mystery zone between the 5K and the marathon; a 1 lb. weight and a 20 lb. kettle bell. Lots of folks are thinking about New Year's Resolutions right now so it seems like a good time to talk about "what works!" I can't answer every question, but it seemed to me that I could give some pointers to newbies that a personal trainer would never think to tell you.
Eventually I'll figure out a way to tie this to Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays but if I don't? That's o.k. I just want you to be happy. I'm going to break this up into at least two posts; possibly more. I'd love to hear comments and suggestions along the way.
First: Find Some Workout Clothes that Work
- Modest is hottest. Generally, if you're serious about your workouts you keep your bosoms inside your shirt and that's good advice for beginners as well. Short-shorts are just too short. Seriously. Very few people look good in them. You don't have to wear them. Ever. I wear capri pants at the gym year round.
- Don't wear light colored sweatpants, yoga pants, or shorts. There are just too many things that could go wrong, including, but not limited to, the sweat marks that will show in the butt crack area.
- Workout bras deserve a post all on their own. So check back in a few days.
- Do invest in a pair of black "tech" fabric workout pants. My everyday choice are the capri GapFit pants from The Gap. They cover what needs to be covered and wash well. They are also a pretty reasonable price. Anything cheaper is a lottery ticket - it could go either way. How much is it worth to you not to have see-through workout pants that make a noise when your thighs rub together? $59.95 is a good price point for me. Personally myself? I have a hard time coughing up $100 for workout pants but I do have a few pairs of expensive compression tights for running. When you advance with your training, you'll know what other kinds of stuff you'd like to wear. Keep it simple for now; you can always invest in new stuff down the road.
- Any comfortable shirt will do if you're just getting started. As you progress in your fitness you might find you have a preference for a moisture-wicking top or a tank instead of sleeves but it's not necessary to start out with a tech shirt. Just pick a t-shirt you don't mind getting all sweaty that doesn't make you look too much like a hobo.
- Technical socks help. They really do. They give extra cushion and keep you from getting blisters. I wear Darn Tough by Vermont Sock Company. Buy two pairs.
- If you haven't bought athletic shoes in awhile, you might consider a new pair. Get a good, stable pair of cross-trainers to get yourself started. As noted above - when your workouts advance, you'll know it's time for something more shazam.
- I'm all about those Goody Slide-Proof elastics for my hair. I'm not sure why reviewers gave them 2 stars - I love them.
Thanks for reading! What are some tips and tricks you've learned about finding a good gym? Read mine here. What do you like to wear when you work out?