Exercising should be a fun and stress-free experience, but when things like stuffy, unsupportive clothing or pesky headphone cords get in the way (and I mean that literally!), a workout can go south real fast. Fortunately, there’s lots of great tech, attire, and even beauty products out there that can help boost your workout, while also simplifying your daily routine, and your closet too. Here are five to consider adding to your exercise bag…
Multi-Functional Compression Capris
When it comes to exercising, I’ve always found that variety is key. Switching up activities and constantly seeking out new trails and parks can keep things interesting, and dare I say, make exercising fun. But the one struggle that I had when I first started to become more active was figuring out what to wear. Shopping blindly at The Sports Authority and online, I ended up building up entirely separate wardrobes for each activity. I had my running shorts for summer and long tight pants for fall. For hiking, I had my looser cargo cropped pants (with pockets I never used). For yoga, I had stretchy shorts. And for mountain biking, I picked out the most unattractive, loose-fitting, knee-length shorts to ‘blend in with the boys’.
Years later, I discovered the one style that works across activities, and that’s a pair of compression capris. They provide support and keep everything in place – which is great for biking, running, hiking and more – plus they’re super comfortable and flexible, as they move with you. Capris also provide the perfect amount of coverage and keep you warm in the fall months, but also cool in the summer (thanks to the exposed ankles). And bonus – they make packing easier, and they can save space in your closet since they’re so versatile!
No matter the activity, if you’re outdoors, you’re bound to encounter puddles, mud, and sometimes even streams that need crossing. Now, that can be a total nightmare if you’re wearing sneakers and socks. They’ll soak up water like a sponge and have you walking on what feels like cold, slippery mush for the remainder of your outing. And then you have to wash them almost immediately when you get home, or else they’ll start to reek within a few days. This was just one of the reasons why I made the switch to minimalist sneakers – they’re breathable with mesh siding, you can wear them without socks, and they’re practically waterproof!
Another reason is that they make you feel like you’re walking barefoot (or close to it). The term ‘minimalist’ applies to their construction – there’s no arch support or cushioning, and the footbed is very thin and flexible. What they do provide is protection from rocks and other things that can scrape up your feet, along with some added traction and grip. I own an older version of New Balance’s Minimus sneakers, which I love – I use them for hiking, biking, running, and more. The latest version can be found here, and Merrell also has some great ones too!
Portable Spotify Music Player
Although I love a little peace and quiet now and again, most days I rely on music to keep me motivated while I’m working out. Thing is, ever since I started using Spotify, I stopped purchasing music altogether through iTunes. Soon enough, I found myself listening to an iPod Shuffle full of songs that I just wasn’t feeling anymore. I thought about bringing my iPhone along with me to listen to Spotify on-the-go, but let’s face it, it’s big, it’s heavy, and even on the days when I was determined to make it work, 9 times out of 10 I’d either find it on the ground, or slipping down my pants halfway through my routine.
So I did a little searching online and discovered Mighty, an ultra-portable, clip-on music player that’s actually compatible with Spotify! How it works is it downloads your Spotify playlists and then stores them for you to listen to anywhere, anytime, without the need to hook up to wifi. It’s now all I ever use when I’m hiking, biking, running, and even just sitting on the airplane to avoid wifi charges!
Wireless In-Ear Headphones
I don’t know how many times I’ve been running, hiking, or worse, mountain biking, and all of a sudden, the cord of my headphones catches onto something, ripping them right out from either my phone or my ears – the latter of which can be quite the shocker!
Fortunately, that’s where wireless headphones come in handy. They eliminate those pesky wires, and instead, hook up to your phone via Bluetooth. Some pairs have just the one wire connecting the two earbuds around the back of the neck, but you can also find 100% wire-free ones that consist of two entirely separate earbuds, which would be great for yoga, or any other activity that involves floor work or reaching behind the neck.
Mineral Sunscreen Brushes
Back when I was living in Harrisburg, PA with about 5 beautiful trails all within 30 minutes of my office, I’d jump in the car right after work and head up to the mountains. Of course, being outside, I wanted to protect myself from the sun with a little sunscreen, covering the face, neck, arms, and shoulders, at the very least.
But what do you do when you’re still wearing a full face of makeup after work? Apply a little mineral powder sunscreen over top! They’re the perfect way to protect your skin when you’re on-the-go and don’t have the time or resources to wash your face first and then apply SPF lotion. And just in case your next stop is the bar afterwards for some late night drinks with friends, you can still keep your makeup in tact! Colorescience makes one of my favorites. Their Sunforgettable brush-on sunscreen offers SPF 50 UVA/UVB protection in a lightweight, sheer-coverage formula that applies beautifully over foundation! (You can also find it here on Amazon.)
And can you guess the sixth essential that I didn’t mention here? Here’s a clue – they’re ultra-portable and great for on-the-go when you need to re-fuel or re-hydrate! Look out for an Instagram post in the next couple weeks for more deets!
What are some of your favorite fitness essentials?