Beginner to beginner (or not – share your input below gym bunnies), I thought I’d share some some snippets as to what I’ve found to come in handy in order to begin my little fitness kick I’ve been on. Whenever I looked into exercise regimes before they required huge hunks of equipment (not great for my tiny postage stamp-sized flat), attending a gym (my incessant grunting, groaning and moaning means that’s out of the question) or it cost a ridiculous amount (I’d rather spend my dollar in Space NK), so I always gave up at the first hurdle. But now I’ve found something I enjoy – the most important factor – a mix of running and toning exercises in short 20 minute bursts every weekday, I’ve realised that actually you just need a few key items that don’t cost the world and you’ll use every single day. Meaning that you won’t be dreaming about those countless Space NK hauls you could have had…
A Mat. I’ve had a mat for years and it comes in so handy for yoga or pilates style routines meaning you’re not lolling about on your floor and it makes the surface nice and soft.
Dumbbells. Before I got these 2kg bad boys I was performing arm exercises with champagne bottles as weights (not as fancy it sounds, Mark and I don’t drink it and it was left over from our housewarming), which certainly added some risk to the whole get-up. A boring purchase, but adding some resistance has really helped me to gain just a smidge of strength in my upper body.
A Water Bottle. Sports ones are generally a little easier to hold and sip from quickly. Though I have to say I’m not in love with this Nike one for running, any other recommendations are welcomed.
A Phone Armband. Not really necessary unless you’re incorporating some kind of running into your regime, but now I can’t imagine my jogs without it. It’s not only a handy way of bringing your phone with you for emergencies, I blast out some tunes with it (only through one ear for safety reasons) and use the Nike Running App to track my progress. It’s all kinds of nerdy and I love it.
Leggings. You could plump for shorts, but that would mean that your legs would have to be hair-free everyday. Groan. Personally I’m in love with the ones I’ve got from Nike and they are so comfy I’ve even pondered wearing them outside the house when I’m not working out. Don’t judge.
A Top. Start with just the one and see how you go. I may be a little Nike whore but the shopping experience in there just makes me feel pumped and the Dri-Fit stuff really does keep you cool and it actually dries so quickly after washing meaning it’s ready in time for the next morning.
Sports Bra. When I asked for fellow runners to share their top tips on Twitter, the most given piece of advice was ‘Get a good sports bra’. Now you guys have obviously never taken a good look at my chest because the fact that my family call me ‘Two Fried Eggs’ is not a coincidence. I squeeze myself into a tight crop top and that keeps what I do have in the boob area pinned down. But ladies who are a little more blessed, listen to the runners advice.
Trainers. Here’s where things can get a little pricey. Before I just used my Nike Free Runs that I owned anyway (and wear most days), but after realising that training for a half marathon meant getting in a lot of miles I thought it was best to invest in a pair that gave a little support. My tip here would be to get fitted out a specialist shop – leave this one to the experts (FYI apparently I overpronate and picked mine up from Run in Hove).
Of course, as with anything you can splash out on the high end stuff or scout the sports discounts sites (Mark uses Wiggle all the time, and the orders arrive with a free mini bag of Haribo – schwing), but either way it’s a hella’ load cheaper than a years membership at the gym.