I’ve always loved being active and healthy and this probably steams from growing up with a dad who was big into his running – like SA colours at the age of 48 big (he is amazing!!) and I don’t think you can escape some of that rubbing off on you. But, that being said, I’ve also had a rather love-hate relationship with exercise. Some of you know this, others don’t but I was born with congenital dislocated hips (CDH) and had MANY surgeries trying to fix this and at 19 had my first hip replacement (and subsequently ended up having three more) Not terribly ideal when it comes to being active and maintaining ones fitness levels! But, I did grow up with two parents who told me I could do anything I put my mind to and while I can’t run, I’ve always tried different things and kept active. My crazy active husband got me into cycling about 8 years ago and it’s something I love and we can do together for some bonding time. But it wasn’t until October last year when I started Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (BBG) program that I really got bitten by the fitness bug and completely surprised myself with my dedication to the program. If you haven’t heard of her, Google her now – the transformations are truly phenomenal and motivational, although that’s not why I started. While I’ve never been keen on programs as such, I’ve gone to classes at the gym before and kept at it for a couple weeks but would always end up giving up, but this I can do this in the comfort of my own home, with no pressure of looking stupid and modifying the exercises where I need to. Because I know what I can and can’t do and the program gives you alternatives to exercises, there are so many ways to get the most of a workout – you just need to be flexible and switch things up. Now 30 weeks later, I am amazed at how much I have improved and what I am capable of and the best part is the amount of strength I’ve gained!! The feeling of accomplishment when you beat your previous time, squat a little lower or finally nail that one exercise you’ve been working on is quite something. I love that I get excited about my workouts and look forward to the challenges – and when I need some extra motivation, Kayla’s Instagram page gets me off the couch quite swiftly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy but it’s definitely a choice and the more you do, the more you want to do but it doesn’t happen overnight. What I’ve learnt (and it’s taken me a long time to get to this point) is that you don’t need to give up just because you facing a challenge where you can’t do it all or do it perfectly – adapt and do what works for you and the benefits are so rewarding! So while this might be a long story leading up to the post, with getting so into fitness, what I wear to train in and what I carry in my gym bag has become all the more important to me and that’s what this blog is all about for me – sharing the things I love! Another lesson learnt – although not quite as profound as the first – cute gym clothes makes working out so much more exciting (yes, even if you are on your own in your lounge with only your pup as a witness!) So to my gym bag and the necessities…
1. Sweat towel: So generally my gym visits are for spinning class (I am totally addicted to spinning) but regardless of what you do, a sweat towel is a non-negotiable! This is nothing worse than getting to a machine to find it glistening with sweat from the person before you!! Do. Not. be that person – ever!
2. Flip-flops: Two reasons for this actually. 1. I spin with cycling shoes and they are not ideal for walking or driving in so I pop on a pair of flip-flops to make things easier and 2. If I do ever shower at the gym (which is really not often), there is no way I can shower without flip-flops on. Ladies – do not shower bare foot – just don’t. There are all sorts of weird germs and gremlins lurking on the floor of changing rooms and in the showers so spare a thought for your toes and pop on some protection!
3. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water: I did a post on this amazing product a few months ago (check it out here) and it really works wonders for removing make-up quickly and efficiently. Why is it in my gym bag? It is a new addition but I hate wearing make-up while I exercise so I always try to take it off before hand – sweating is like a mini-facial when you exercise and wearing make-up defeats the purpose as your pores get clogged and can actually cause you to break-out. It’s obviously easier when I’m at home but if I come straight from work I have a full face of make-up on walking into a spinning class. Another reason for taking it off though is that I sweat – a lot – and it’s properly awkward when you are quite literally sweating off your make-up and leaving creamy sweat blobs on the spinning bike – *blushing* I won’t lie, I don’t like sporting a bare face in public but it’s definitely worth it. I was super excited to spot Micellar Water in a new ‘On-The-Go’ bottle which makes popping it in your bag so much more convenient – and it’s now available at Pick ‘n Pay (yay!) R34.99 for a little 125ml bottle (personally though I think a 100ml would have made more sense for airline travelling purposes).
4. Deodorant: No surprises here! But I do want to mention the type of deodorant I’m using. For as long as I can remember I’ve used aerosol but a friend told me about Mitchum and it is fantastic. Nothing gets through this and it has a lovely, subtle but fresh fragrance that keeps you feeling clean all day. The invisible solid is also better than roll-on (I find anyway) as it doesn’t need time to dry and you avoid white marks on your clothes. R58.95 from Clicks but available from most supermarkets and pharmacies.
5. Invissibobble: These little nifty hair ties are fantastic! For someone who has very thin, fine hair, finding a hair tie that doesn’t pull out half my hair is always a win. I love that these ties don’t leave a kink in your hair after tying it in a ponytail and they don’t cause split ends or tangle with wet hair. As they are made from (eco-friendly) plastic, they don’t stretch out and return to their original shape after use so although they are pricey, they do last. They come in eight different colours and the two I have are Royal Pearl and Pinking of You. Approximately R80 from Sorbet stores and some hair salons.
6. Garmin: Along with active wear, I don’t think my husband ever thought he would be buying me sports related goods as presents (he is in his element though!) I was using his Garmin for a long time before I got my own – with working out at home I wasn’t getting Discovery points and I’m all about my weekly free coffee! If you not on the Vitality train yet, check it out here. But after using it for a while I learnt the benefits of knowing your heart rate and it’s also a nice indicator to monitor your fitness. I’m really not a techie person so I can’t tell you why I have this particular one (Forerunner 230) since it was a gift but I can tell that it’s super cool with Bluetooth (messages come to your phone and your workouts sync instantaneously), step counter and move alerts (a great reminder when sitting at your desk all day) and multi-function so you can run, cycle and ‘other’ with it.
7. Bits and bots: A snack: (in case of emergency – and I will admit I have been known to get hangry on occasion… Sports bra: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve left this at home and arrived at gym to find its not in my bag so now one stays in there permanently. I LOVE these JT One Seamless Crops available from Woolworths. They are so comfortable, give good support and are easy on the pocket at R199 each – and come in beautiful bright colours! Tissues: I just always keep tissues on me, everywhere. Earphones: I cannot exercise without music so if I’m not spinning or working out at home, earphones are a must – if you have an android phone, check out Google Play Music for your playlists. R49.95 per month gives you access to over 35 million songs as well as ‘radio stations’ that recommend music for you based on what you listen to.
Hope this post inspired you to get out and get active – happy Wednesday friends!