So Katie from The Morning Fresh is sharing her training secrets in her series #couchtocrush and I’m trying really hard to improve my climbing and overall fitness so I’ve been hitting the gym a lot more than ever in my life.
A little background: my undergraduate degree is in Kinesiology with an emphasis in fitness and health promotion. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the field (especially once my advisor told me that nobody would hire in-house health promotion positions…yet we have those kinds of positions at my current workplace?) and I wasn’t particularly active. Sure, I took my required fitness courses (weight lifting, fencing, volleyball, rock climbing, swimming, badminton, etc.) but other than that I wasn’t hitting the gym or hiking very much. I knew the mechanics and could put together a fitness routine based on your goals and 1RM but I wasn’t interested in working out at all.
So here I am, several years later, finally interested in being a gym rat and using my degree to help me improve my overall strength and aerobic fitness.
I try to keep my after work gym bag pretty lightweight and only holding the things I totally need. I sometimes stow my bag under my desk at work and I don’t want to lug a heavy bag with tons of extra stuff up and down the stairs. I keep my smaller essentials (hair ties, tampons, etc.) organized in a small pouch so I’m not digging into the bag looking for one damn thing.
I don’t have my bag down to a science and I’m probably missing something truly important so please don’t be shy and let me know what needs to be added to this list in the comments.
My climbing bag has evolved a bit to include a handful of extra things to make going to the workout area of the climbing gym more comfortable and less of a bore. Some of the things in my gym bag are more for comfort/vanity purposes and not things that are required to have a good workout*.
In my “after work” gym bag:
Foot Notes™ Athletic Shoe Charms
I shared a photo on Instagram a couple of weeks ago of the Foot Notes™ on my climbing shoes. There are a few people at my gym with the same pair of shoes so if I leave my shoes in a common area, I sometimes forget which pair is mine (not really, mine are pretty tiny) and I’d rather not have somebody else try to fit their feet into my shoes! These “shoe charms” are cute and lightweight and seem to catch the light right when I need a reminder to not give up and to keep climbing. Since then, I moved the Foot Notes™ to my Nikes to keep me motivated in the gym…especially as I go through some of the #couchtocrux workouts and foam roll at the end of the night. I’m planning on grabbing a pair for my hiking shoes (custom: just wander) and switching these back to my climbing shoes so I can pick out something more running related like 1 more mile and just breathe.
You can get a pair of Foot Notes™ from Momentum for yourself with coupon code: CAMPFIRECHIC for 15% off (good through April 13, 2015). Momentum sent the first set of Foot Notes™ to me for a possible review and I’m glad to share this company with you. I know that Campfire Chic readers set goals and put in the work to achieve those goals…these little reminders are a nice physical reminder that you’re a badass.
Shoes – Nike Lunarglide
Those bright babies in the photo above are Nike Lunarglide 5s. They were from the Nike Factory Store in Portland, but the newer model can be found here (you can find the 5s on Amazon). I need a little extra stability with my shoes and I like a lighter weight shoe, so these are perfect for my current needs. The bright color is a little out of my comfort zone but I fell in love with them (and the price tag!) so now I’m more motivated to put them on and spend some time on the treadmill. I’m a strong believer in wearing things that make you feel good while you’re at the gym so while I technically had a perfectly good pair of shoes at home, these are the ones that are motivating me to keep up my workouts!
If you’re not sure what kind of shoe would work best for you, try finding a running shop near you that offers consultations for customers. You may pay a premium for the service, but you’ll notice the difference right away when you put on the shoe that best works with your movement. My parents would drive me out to a shop during high school so I could get new shoes for cross-country and track and it was such a difference between getting those shoes rather than the cheapest pair from a sporting goods store.
My “Essentials” Outfits from Fabletics
My workout clothes have gotten out of control thanks to Fabletics and their wonderful leggings…okay, so most of their items are going on my basics list. Salar leggings, Suva Run shorts, Aventura and Oula tanks, Vaasa bras, and the Forward Tee style shirt are in constant rotation and are the first pieces I encourage women to try when they are submitting their first Fabletics order. I’m a Fabletics ambassador so if you have questions about the different types of clothes, ask away…I probably own one or two! Also, if you are new to Fabletics, there may be a great deal going on right now, like getting your first look for 50% off when you become a VIP. This is my referral link (helps me get more clothes!).
Figure out what types of clothes make you feel the most comfortable. I know I prefer to wear a pair of quality leggings with an oversized tank top most days so I have plenty of leggings and aventura tanks to keep me happy. I love the Forward Tee so much that my black tee is the first thing I pack when I travel and will sometimes be worn to work when I’m running low on blouses (aka always). When you’re comfortable with what you’re wearing, you’ll be able to focus on the fun you’re having during your workout.
Hairties & Headbands
My gym sometimes has a basket of cheap hairties in the locker room but they seem to disappear quickly (along with the tampons, who is hoarding tampons??) so I make sure to have at least 2 spare hairties and a headband in my bag. I’m slow on the trend, but the tie style hairties are my current favorite because they come with different designs and they’re gentler on my thick hair. The Fabletics ones are a great buy and I also have a set from Loft that have a more Safari theme going on (similar from Loft, similar from Charming Charlie, similar from ban.do). If you’re just looking for headbands, look for types that say they are “no slip” so they don’t fall off mid-stride. You can find generic brands at the drugstore or Target but honestly, the ones from Fabletics are pretty awesome (similar from The North Face) and stay in my hair even if I’m a little on the grungy side.
Wet Wipes…because sometimes a shower can wait
There are showers in the locker room, but sometimes I need to freshen up quickly and get out the door so having some baby wipes to get the chalk off of my face is really helpful. I buy a small travel size pack of baby wipes or stow a Paper Shower in my bag so they don’t take up too much room in my bag.
Fueled By: Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate from Guayaki is energy drink of choice. It’s not like some of the overly sugary energy drinks that may be associated with late drives or long gaming sessions, which puts it toward the top of my list. I also have the regular tea bags at work (in mint and green tea) to keep me awake at my desk. I like these drinks because they don’t make me jittery and they don’t make my stomach feel funny after drinking them. Sometimes the sugary drinks available make my stomach upset and that’s the last thing I want to feel when I’m in my harness and up a 50 foot wall. Try the mint flavored one, it sounds a little off-putting but it’s delicious!
My Yurbuds are my go-to headphones. Alex borrowed (and never returned) my yurbuds a few years ago so I bought a lower model in sea green/mint and I love them. My ears are a little too small for traditional ear buds so the cone shape to these are perfect! I’m able to listen to podcasts or workout mixes (I currently use the RockMyRun app for mixes because I’m too lazy to make my own) while lifting or foam rolling.
*As with any other activity, consult your doctor before hitting the gym or trying a new workout.
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