Theres nothing quite like trying something new, falling in love with it, and incorporating it into your daily life. This goes double for finding a workout routine that for once fits in with your lifestyle and leaves you feeling refreshed when youre done.
But, sometimes, getting started with a new workout routine can be tricky, especially if youre joining a class of established athletes who all seem really put together with all of the right equipment. Not having the right equipment or sporting ill-fitting workout clothes can distract you from focusing on your wellness, cause you to feel unnecessarily uncomfortable, or worse, even accidentally cause you to strain yourself during a workout.
To minimize the guesswork (and maximize your wellness), weve rounded up the best workout gear for every purpose and fit. Scroll down to see them all + our advice for picking the workout gear that is best for YOU.
Source: Mark Zamora | Unsplash
Whether youre doing Bikram, yin, ashtanga, or any other version of a yoga practice, its important to find apparel constructed from light, breathable fabrics so you can move efficientlythrougha flow or rest comfortably in a hold. The cornerstone of any collection of yoga gear is agreatpair of leggings and supportive bra. Lululemon is a go-to for many, but Athleta, Sweaty Betty, Girlfriend Collective, and Outdoor Voices are alternativebrands with a wide range of bra sizes and some of the softest leggings on the market.
Incorporating blocks, straps, or a blanketare another great way to round out your yoga practice and help you get the most out of your poses and your time on the mat.
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If youre new to running, the first piece of equipment you should research and invest in is a nice pair of running shoes catered to effectively supporting yourgait and promoting good form. A lot of brick-and-mortar stores dedicated to selling running shoes will have helpful staff that can observe yourgait and help you find a fit that will best support you. But, in the meantime, starting with Nikes classic Pegasus running shoe willset you off on the right foot.
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Boxing is a hobby that requires a little more research to get started than most. There are a lot of variables to consider when purchasing gear, like hand wraps, gloves, a mouthguard, or proper shoes, if you plan on sparring. If not, a pair of 12-oz boxing gloves and a fewsetsof semi-elastic hand wraps will be enough to get you started and practicing on a heavy bag.
Spinning is a great way to incorporate low-impact cardio into your workout routine. It can also be a great way to recover if youre regularly lifting or participating in HIIT. Best of all, its one of the most forgiving activities you can take up, as it lends itself nicely to the workout gear you may already have in your closet. All you really need is an easy-to-hold water bottle and a heart rate monitor if you want to get the most out of every class.
Here are some things to keep in mind if youre considering incorporating new workout gear into your repertoire.
Check in With Yourself More
Next time youre in class and you get that nagging feeling that something isnt coming together for you, take a moment to take an inventory of what youre currently wearing and whether or not your clothes are serving you properly. For example, when youre squatting with a heavy barbell or dumbells, does it feel like your feet are unstable, like youre standing on a couch cushion? If so, you might need to invest in a pair ofshoes that are built for liftingwith a flat, hard sole. When youre transitioning into the next yoga pose, does it feel like your clothes are fighting your movement? If so, you may need toinvest in a less restricting bra.
Its hard to figure out what you need after you walk away from your barbell or hang up your yoga mat. So next time you find your mind wandering during a workout because something feels off, take note of that specific feeling and use it to help you find a better option the next time you stock up on athletic clothes.
Do Some Research
OK, yes, this might be an extremely obvious thing to point out, especially if youre new to a sport or practice. But believe me, when you do Bikram Yoga once with a washcloth-sized towel you dont make that mistake again.
The problem was, I didnt do my research. I didnt realize before I stepped in the studio just how hot the class actually was and I almost stormed out in the middle of the practice because I was so frustrated with sliding around on my yoga mat. Now, thanks to some research, I have found out that a lot of yogis who practice hot yoga will instead invest in special towels that are the same dimensions of their yoga mat to prevent slipping, or buy a pair ofsocks with texture to grip the mat.
Doing adequate research and coming prepared can mean the difference between enjoying something the first time you try it and swearing it off completely. Doing research will also prevent you from buying the first thing that comes along that might sound like what you need, but in practice just isnt right for you. Workout gear is highly, highly subjective and even potentially unorthodox in some cases, so dont be afraid to do the research and make a decision that is right for your body and your sport.
Stock Up on Your Faves
It goes without saying that when you find something you love, you can kind of become obsessed with it, and nowhere is this proclivity more common than in the world of fitness. When you finally go through the necessary steps to get acclimated with your new routine, take an inventory and conduct a little research. There will come a time when youre mid-workout and you realize everything feels good. Those are the moments when you realize youve found exactly what works for you and you can go back and stock up on different colors, different levels of support, materials, etc. and actually create a workout wardrobe that is not only functional, but also cute (if thats important to you!).
Block Out the Noise
I love crossfit, but I will be the first to admit that people in this community haveopinionsabout everything from shoes to wrist wraps. At the end of the day, it doesnt matter if youre a Reebok stan or a Nike aficionado, what works for you works for you and thats all that matters.
When I bought my first set of wrist wraps I had two objectives: I wanted them to be thick enough to keep my wrists straight during overhead lifts and I wanted them to be a neutral color. It took me a long time to decide which brand to buy (trust me, I dwelled on it for a long time) and when I finally landed on a color and length that I wanted from a brand with high reviews, Istillgot raised eyebrows at the first time I broke them out at the gym.
At the end of the day, people are going to have their opinions, no matter what. And you can save yourself a lot of effort trying to consider everyones advice when choosing which brand is going to best suit your fitness needs.