We may be well into January, but my gym is still crowded. Ultimately this is good thing meaning more people taking fitness seriously but there is a downside to all this health: waiting in line for the always-popular treadmill or elliptical machine. Here's a positive spin on the overcrowded cardio room; use it as an opportunity to try something new.
So many great pieces of cardio equipment get overlooked even though they provide the same (if not better) results as the old standbys. Here are five machines that give great workouts but won't keep you waiting in line to use.
Check out this reader review of Lululemon groove shorts from the OnSugar blog Running Nina.
There are many reasons why I love Lululemon groove shorts. First is because they are a fitted short, which means no chafing! They don't ride up very often — only if I am running a long distance, but even then I'll only have to pull the legs down about two times during the course of my run. The waistband is comfortable, not too big and not too tight, it is just right.
I use them for running, boxing, yoga, bikram yoga, cycling, weightlifting, you name it! No matter how much I sweat, I never feel sweaty and the shorts don't bother me at all. Nothing is more annoying than when you cannot enjoy your workout because you are fiddling with your clothing. I have three pairs, including the grey/purple combination pictured above, which are reversible as well. Turn them inside out for a completely grey short!
At $48 I think they are well worth the money, especially if you work out in them constantly. The material is thick and super durable.
Keeping a health or fitness blog is great motivation. Post healthy eating tips, recipes, your workout routine, or photos of you at your first 5K. Start your own OnSugar blog and your posts could be featured on FitSugar.
Even though I'm OK working out without music, I prefer not to. Fun Summer jams get me motivated, and music helps me relax too. But sometimes dealing with an iPod can be annoying. Wires get in the way, and iPod cases can get really smelly and gross. But Oakley may have a solution. The Oakley Split THUMP sunglasses ($175) come with a built-in MP3 player that doesn't require any wires, and gives you seven hours of play. They come equipped with removable ear buds that attach to the glasses themselves, and the player can be controlled with buttons on the side of the frame.
The glasses are made to be sweat-resistant, and the built-in MP3 player can download music straight from your computer, whether you're a Mac or a PC. While the idea seems pretty cool, I feel like an iPod might be easier to control while exercising. What do you think of these glasses?
July, for me, is the official start of Summer. Well, actually, it's the Fourth of July. After a long weekend away full of barbecue, beaches, and camping, I'm so relaxed that I can handle almost anything. Whether it's a vacation, staycation, or day trip, here are my picks for enjoying your Summer to the fullest.
Watching television is just one of the many reasons people exercise less and eat more. And with so many great shows on TV, it's an easy routine to get caught up in. I already told you about my friend that jogs in place during commercial breaks to burn calories, but she's upped the ante even more by exercising during entire shows. Like Buzz, my friend enjoys guilty pleasures like the Real Housewives of New York and Gossip Girl, but now she only watches them if she is being aerobic at the same time.
After weeks of jogging in place, my friend's challenge started to get a little stale. To remedy this, she went out and bought herself a small stair climber ($79). The machine is portable, light, and fits right under her couch. And whenever one of her guilty pleasure shows comes on, she hops right onto it and gets to work! Besides giving her legs a great workout, the machine also has resistance bands attached to it that you can use to work your arms. If you're looking for an easy way to fit some more exercise into your life while at home or in the office, investing in a small piece of cardio equipment might be the answer. The one my friend bought is under $100, and lately she is more motivated to work out than I've ever seen her before. Best of all, there's no reason for her to feel guilty about watching her shows now!
My hubbie has been singing the praises of his riding bib for ages, but I just couldn't get over how goofy it looked. Something about adding straps to spandex shorts just doesn't appeal to my fashion sense. But is there anything truly fashionable or attractive about biking shorts? Pearl Izumi sent me a women's Drop Tail Bib ($130) to road test and see if my adverse feelings toward the bib style could be improved. After many rides wearing the bib, I must say it's my new fave.
To learn why read more
I have found my new Summer best friend. I am not exaggerating when I say that Klean Kanteen's new Insulated Water Bottle ($26) is the best invention I've seen in a while. Though the concept is simple — this bottle keeps your cold water cold, and your hot beverages hot — it's really changed my life for the better. After all, it's the simple pleasures in life that make it all worthwhile, right?
The website says this insulated stainless steel bottle will keep your iced drinks cold for up to 24 hours and they are not lying! I filled my 16-ounce bottle with ice water, and brought it to an all-day concert last week (it was 85 degrees). I didn't end up drinking it all, and when I opened the bottle the following day, it was still icy cold. I've even kept ice water on my desk without the top on, and hours later, there are still ice cubes floating in it. This bottle is no joke. Another plus is that when you hold the bottle, it doesn't feel cold, and it doesn't sweat like a regular Klean Kanteen bottle would. I'm also a huge fan of the wide mouth that makes it easy to plop in ice cubes, easy to hand wash, and easy to sip from.
For more reasons why I'm in love with this insulated bottle keep reading
Since exercising and listening to music go hand-in-hand for me, I need a way to keep my iPhone on me so it's secure and easy to access. In the colder weather, I had pockets on my clothes, but now that I'm wearing tank tops and shorts, an armband is the way to go. The Marware Eco-Runner ($35) is comfortable, sleek, and the company's first ever environmentally-friendly armband. It's made of flexible and lightweight Eco-Prene, a material made from a combo of sponge-like limestone and recycled PET (plastic bottles). It feels like neoprene, but is far less toxic and considerably more sustainable — it doesn’t contain high levels of petroleum or PVC.
To see if this environmentally friendly armband is runner friendly too, just keep on reading.
I used to have a pretty thoughtless and no-frills workout uniform: black sweats and an old t-shirt. My reasoning was that there was no point in dressing up when I was just going to get gross and sweaty. I have since learned that putting a little more thought into what I wear while working out actually motivates me to get fit.
Because of an awesome sale, I got myself a pretty good-looking pair of Nikes. Almost immediately I scheduled a hiking date with a friend just so I could break those babies in. I'm not sure why it never occurred to me before those Nikes that cute workout gear might excite me in the same way a new dress does. Now I make a point to look for colorful sneaks and cute graphic tees, as well as flattering yoga pants. I also have a collection of bright hoodies that I use as cover-ups after yoga class or to keep warm on an evening bike ride. Best of all, a lot of activewear lines are making great looking clothes that also have practical features like moisture wicking or sun protection.
I'm not suggesting to throw down a ton of money on clothes and gear or to show up at the gym with a face full of make-up. But wearing workout gear that expresses my style and personality helps make me feel more confident and cute, and as a result, I want to work out. How about you?
The other night I was up late channel surfing and I landed on the Home Shopping Network, which was doing a special segment on Skineez™ Skincarewear™ Slimming Boot-Cut Jean. The pants are touted as a "slimming garment", and are treated with a formula that's said to diminish cellulite. I'm not talking Spanx or a body shaper — they claim to actually treat, not just hide your unsightly bumps and lumps. You are supposed to treat them with a replenishing spray ($35) that "helps the garment moisturize, tone and firm and its key ingredients include shea butter, apricot kernel oil, rose hip oil and Vitamin E" after six to 10 washings. Callers seemed to love the set up, which made me wonder — could it possibly work? I guess the idea is you trap the formula in your tight pants and treat your skin with it while you wear it. Have you ever tried anything like this? Did it work?