As you may already know, if you have been keeping up with my new Youtube series, Shape up with Stef, I have been working on getting a good gym routine in place. Today I thought it would be fun to share my absolute gym essentials with you, from my new wireless headphones to the right pair of shoes.
The Right Shoes
I have two pairs at the moment. Both are from Nike. One is a pair of black Lunarglides for running, that I’ll probably have to replace soon and another pair of Nike Frees 5.0, designed to allow your feet to spread evenly when working out – therefore perfect for gym work.
My Fave Leggings
There are a few essentials things about a pair of leggings. These ones from Sweaty Betty do it all for me. They are high waisted, so I don’t have to keep pulling them up. They pass the squat test (i.e. they stay opaque when you bend over). Plus, they are are really comfortable and let your skin breathe. I love the mesh design down the side too.
Good Sports Bra
At the moment, because I do a lot of circuit work in the gym, I don’t need high support. When I run, I wear Sweaty Betty, but for simple gym workouts, I like to wear bright fun colours, like this turquoise one from Running Bare, which I got from Active in Style, which was covered in my haul in SUWS Week 3 below.
I seriously don’t know how I survived in the gym without wireless headphones. If you are someone who still deals with the wire of your headphones getting tangled, then I feel your pain. My personal fave was when it used to get caught on the cross trainer handles and violently yanked out of my ears – or when I was trying to do burpees or weights with it tucked into my sports bra. Yeah. Not the one. Luckily, the lovely folks over at Verve Life by Motorola sent me over a pair to try out and I have been completely converted ever since. The only issue is that I have the Verve Life Rider headphones, designed for cyclists so they still aren’t great for running, but I can just about deal with burps and jump squats without too much difficulty. Wireless headphones are absolutely one of my most essential gym essentials.*
My Garmin Vivosmart HR+ GPS
I got a hold of one of these by accident this summer, but I thought I would check it out as I had been looking for something to make sure that I was using myself as hard as I could in workouts. I tend to sweat pretty quickly when I workout, so I can have a sweaty workout without actually getting into the ideal training zone. This heart rate monitor helps me to keep an eye on that. It also has GPS which is helpful on my runs, however it doesn’t always register where I am, which is frustrating.
I can’t stand wearing sleeves to work out. I don’t really know why. I had to train myself to run outside wearing layers in the winter. My current favourite is an Adidas open back top which is long, loose and comfortable, and looks great layered over a colourful sports bra. Great value too. I got mine from Active in Style
A Sweat Towel
As I mentioned above, I can get sweaty pretty quickly so I always like to have a fresh sweat towel in my bag to use to not only wipe my brow, but also to lie on when using mats in the gym, which I just think is a little more hygienic, both for me and for the person who uses the mat afterwards. I think it should be one of everyone’s gym essentials too.
I started using BCAAs – Branch Chain Amino Acids – about a year ago. They are flavoured powders that you add to your water during and after workouts in order to aid muscle recovery and combat muscle soreness (those damn DOMS!) which means you will be able to get back in the gym quicker. I believe that they really helped me train for my marathon and increase my workouts over the last few months – and I really notice when I don’t have them with me, like when I was travelling in October, for example. My current fave is watermelon.
Spiral Hair Ties
I LOVE these things. I find them perfect for chucking your hair up on your head and then being able to take it down and have NO KINKS. Just brilliant. They are such a good investment. In fact, I almost never use normal hair ties anymore. I sleep with my hair up in one of these too.
My iPhone 7 Plus
Finally, I need my phone with me at all times. Luckily, it no longer has to be in my hand (thanks to my wireless headphones) but I do keep in nearby as I use Spotify cardio playlists to fuel my workouts. I also keep notes and workout plans and ideas in my Evernote. I get a lot of my ideas from Youtubers, such as Sarah’s Day and Whitney Simmons and like to note down the workouts before I hit the gym, because I always like to go in with a plan so that I’m not just hanging around doing some low intensity cardio and watching daytime tv. We’ve all been there, right? Get a plan.
Do you have any gym essentials that you cannot live without? Let me know in the comments below!