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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… 

EQUIPMENT: 
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. 

CLOTHING: 
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.

  • http://www.sophieballinger.blogspot.com Sophie Ballinger

    Oooh, you’ve inspired me to get working out now!! xx

  • Abi Thrasher

    I want to buy this all and start working out! ahha! http://rosebeautynow.blogspot.co.uk/ x

  • http://stellaryder.blogspot.co.uk/ Ella

    need to get myself a phone armband!

    Ella xx

    http://truthfullyella.blogspot.co.uk/

  • http://www.kimmiberry.com Kimberley Ann

    The phone armband is such a good idea, why haven’t I thought of that?! Thankyou!
    Kimmiberry xo
    http://www.kimmiberry.com

  • http://rinicawrites.blogspot.co.uk Rinica Warner

    Even if you’re super flat chested a sports bra is still an absolute essential as you can still cause damage/sagging in the future! I really need a new pair of trainers the Nike free runs are on my wish list :) x

    http://rinicawrites.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Avanti

    I always keep fit by running, walking etc which is inexpensive and effective. You don’t need fancy gym memberships to keep fit. Great recommendations!

    Avanti
    xxx
    Avantigarde.wordpress.com

  • Manouk

    I try to go to the gym as often as possible. I don’t use fancy equipment though, I’ve got my leggings, my top, my sportsbra, trainers and that’s about it I guess!

    WOMANOUK (beauty and portrait
    drawings)

  • Emily Marsden

    You have inspired me, and i have a goal to prove to my self that I will work out then I wll kit my self out! http://livingthenow23.blogspot.co.uk/ x

  • TR

    Its winter in Australia and freezing where I live.
    I work out at home, I use DVDs and my water rower and by best friend is as PT
    Resistance and cardio training in my favourite. I have been thinking about joining cross fit as well.

    My tips.
    Warm up and warm down for at least 20 min each. Its so important
    When ever i do a intense workout i have an epsom salt bath, I don’t feel so stiff the next day.
    Hydrate ( I add some mint or lemon sometimes)
    Set out goals e.g. push up start of with 10 and then each week add an extra 5 more.
    Take a picture of when you start and take them monthly so you can see your improvement. I feel really proud of myself when i see the improvements.
    Key point my PT told me is get a good amount of sleep, keep hydrated thorough out the day, eat well (I have a cheat meal once a week). And exercise in the morning. you will be a lot more energised for the rest of the day.

  • Anna Blush

    Great tips Anna! I think getting the right stuff around you really helps inspire a more active lifestyle. Especially with a pair of cute trainers and a good playlist! x

    http://anna-blush.blogspot.com

  • Andrea

    2kg dumbbells are a waste of time and money. That sort of weight will do absolutely nothing. Anyone reading this who wants a good body – get yourself down to the gym and lift some HEAVY weights!

    • Jo

      Yeah I agree. If you truly want results, lift heavy!

    • salad fingers

      Disagree! Check out pure barre or other ballet/pilates inspired workouts. You can do a lot with with small, isometric movements focusing on your form and using your own body as resistance, in a much lower impact way. I’ve been doing barre for a couple of months and have seen dramtic results. Anyway, I think the point of this post is figuring out manageable ways to get into fitness, emphasising that you can start with little.

      • http://www.smart-twenties.com/ Samantha Brown

        I agree that you don’t have to lift big weights to get results! I’ve been doing circuit training and there are barely any weights at all involved in that and I’m getting amazing results only a few weeks in!

        The circuits consist mainly of body weight exercises like push-ups, burpees (such a killer), a lot of squats and a lot of plyometric (jumping) exercises – I definitely recommend circuits like this for anyone who wants to get really great results with short workouts (only about half an hour each). But I have to warn you – the workouts are HARD!

        But if you want something you’ve never had you have to do something you’ve never done!

        Sam xx
        http://www.smart-twenties.com – how to make the most of your twenties

  • http://mymoiety.com/ Maria

    Getting a good sports bra was essential for me. It feels like your boobs are taped to your chest, but helps with the bouncing, which is painful. Oops… That might have been a bit TMI…

    My Moiety | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

  • http://www.lifeofprinkie.com Daisy

    A good strong hair band is essential for me. I have thick hair and I need a bobble that will keep my ponytail in place through 50 star jumps…!

    Lifeofprinkie.com

  • Lauren S

    i definitely need some heavier weights ! Blogilates has really great routines, i’m on my 3rd month (2nd high intensity) and although it’s still like ughh working out i look and feel better about my body :) Cassey is super motivational too even when you’re dying
    Lauren x

    Please nominate my blog for Best Lifestyle Blog and Newcomer here !

    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography – http://www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

  • http://personally-true.tumblr.com/ Alisa

    That’s what I love about running, you only need a pair of good shoes to participate. And from there you can make it as expensive as you’re inclined to. I try to keep it as minimalist as possible. One of my favorite purchases was a water-resistant windbreaker.

    Tip for staying hydrated: just start drinking lots of water when you’re not running, that way you won’t need to lug around a big ol’ water bottle. BUT for longer runs, I like the Hydraform by Amphipod that you can strap to your hand.

    Keep us posted on your progress!

  • http://www.dot-daria.blogspot.com Daria

    Love this post! I’m going to start working out when I’m back home and it will be a gym-free kind of routine so I’ll definitely keep this list in mind ;) xx

  • http://jodie-melissa.blogspot.co.uk/ jodie moores

    One thing that I have found is that you really step up your training and see massive results from the weight of your weights! using 2kg is good for a start, but the more intense you make it the more results you will see. lets say you used 5 or 6 with your workouts you would feel the burn a lot more! You may not feel like you’re doing as much because you get tired quicker, but essentially you are doing more! You can’t beat nice workout wear :-) xxx

  • http://godsaveourdressing.blogspot.fr victoria

    loved that post ! i’m going for a run today, will be thinking about you Anna ! :) No pain, no gain as they say.. Good luck with your sporty routine ! :) lots of love from France, Victoria

    http://godsaveourdressing.blogspot.fr

  • http://llyloves.blogspot.co.uk Lily

    An exercise ball is a brilliant addition to a workout routine, you can do so many various toning exercises and even though it may not feel like it’s doing anything, you’ll feel it the next morning. Plus they’re great to sit on and improve your posture, as long as you’ve got the right sized ball. I loved this post and I would definitely recommend shock absorber sports bra’s for those of us with larger chests. They’re brilliant! xx

    llyloves.blogspot.co.uk

  • http://taylor-rambleon.blogspot.com/ Taylor

    I’m with you on the sports bra front – a super fitted crop-top style is all I need. I whinge about my lack of boob-age sometimes but the fact is, I can run without them getting in the way so I’m fine with it haha.

    The last 18 months have been huge for me health and fitness wise – I’ve lost 25kgs. I see a pt once a week but I refuse to get a gym membership. I just can’t justify that expense when I’ve achieved so much without it. I run a lot and do weights training at home with a few bits and bobs my sister and I have accumulated. For me, without a doubt the most useful piece of fitness equipment has been our 9kg medicine ball. It is so freaking versatile! I use it for squats (standard ones as well as sumos), pulsing and static lunges, side abs (sit on your bum, rock back into the pilates c-curve with your feet off the ground then, keeping control, move the medicine ball from one side of your body to the other making sure only to twist as far as you can maintain control. You can do it with your dumbbells too – hold the c-curve with your feet up then punch up in the air across your body) and ball slams (basically just the same as a squat but as you go down you bounce the medicine ball on the ground as hard as you can, catch the ball as you come up and throw it down again on your next squat).

    I’ve also really enjoyed using a skipping rope. It’s great for days when I don’t have a huge amount of time but still want to get some cardio in – skipping burns up calories like no one’s business! You’ve gotta get one that is the right length and a decent weight though.

    Sorry for the epic spiel!

    • http://makelittlejoys.wordpress.com/ Alex

      Great job on your fitness journey! I’m on the same boat when it comes to my lack of boobage. It’s so much easier to find sports bras because of it and I feel like it’s so much more comfortable doing high impact workouts (love the skip rope, too!) because of it than if I was, ehm, more blessed in that department lol

      • http://taylor-rambleon.blogspot.com/ Taylor

        Thanks Alex!
        Haha yes exactly! Good to know there are others in the small-boob appreciation club.

  • Betty Button-pie

    I’ve recently been inspired by you and Lily to take up exercise again after doing a 5k a few years ago and then giving up! I now follow Lily’s routine with some extra skipping thrown in as I’m rubbish at running! I’m going to add some weights to my routine too as I think I’m getting some bingo wings so thanks for your tips! Good luck with the training! My husband is doing the Brighton marathon next year so he is well into his training now! xxx

  • emiller1233

    I’ve noticed that the more workout clothes I buy, they more likely I’ll workout…go figure.

    ErinElizabeth

    • Joanne Sherrell

      I may have to take a leaf out of your book! I didn’t invest much into my fitness gear as I was worried I’d lose motivation, give in and waste money!

      Blogdesherrell, x

  • http://www.elisabethrilatt.com ElisabethRilatt

    Loving your work out bits and bobs Anna :) I’m after a little routine like this so would really like to see a mini blog post on your fitness routine if poss :) xx

    http://www.elisabethrilatt.com

  • lucialou

    Running is fantastic, I have been doing it for years and love the freedom of being able to do it any time, any where! I actually have done the opposite to you in terms of trainers – I used to have “support” trainers which supposedly “corrected” corrected my running style and whatever else but for years I suffered from shin splints (agonising) and knee pain so bad that at times I had to take months-long breaks from my beloved exercise. On my last return I decided to give the Nike frees a go as a kind of halfway house between support and barefoot and I have been pain and injury free ever since (18 months now). I am sure this is not the case for everyone and I am certainly no expert but thought I would share my experience. Just read this back and it sounds like Nike spam… I don’t work for Nike in any way shape or form just their trainers happened to work for me ;)

  • Joanne Sherrell

    I’ve been trying to get fit recently too and definitely need to invest in most of your recommendations. I didn’t think I’d stick to a regime so wasn’t prepared to ‘waste’ money on gear I’d only use a few times but motivation is still going strong (for now. Hopefully I don’t jinx myself)

    Also – to anyone else looking to get fitter – I would recommend the app ‘Seven’. It’s a personal trainer for your iPad/ phone/ etc and generates and walks you through your daily workout. It’s a lot more motivating as you have a voice telling you what excersises are next and giving you a good ol’ motivational talking to!

    TK Maxx are also great for fitness gear like running clothes, yoga mats and dumbbells!

    Blogdesherrell, x

  • Parisian To Be

    Camelback waterbottles are great, except they’re not the most sturdy; they will break after a while. Nevertheless, it’s really easy to drink out of them and they’re BPA free and dishwasher safe. If you’re running a lot, invest in a foam roller. Your IT bands (on the outside of your legs, from your hip to your knee) will get really tight. Rolling with a foam roller will help with recovery and ensure your pain free and reduce possibility for running.

    I’m actually a ballet dancer, so I don’t run, but I’d say I have some fitness tips up my sleeve. (: x

    xo Lillian from Parisian To Be

  • The London Turtle

    I’m also starting a new fitness regime over the summer, so this post was super helpful, thanks! :)

  • http://makelittlejoys.wordpress.com/ Alex

    I think it’s essential to have a good solid plan, like Anna does, when it comes to working out, regardless of the fitness level. I found that having goals and measuring my progress really kept me motivated and even excited about working out even though there are occasional setbacks.

    Plus it’s great now that there are plenty of exercise plans on YouTube that don’t require much equipment. My favorites are the calendars and challenges from Blogilates and The Daily HIIT.

    http://makelittlejoys.wordpress.com

  • http://my--socalledlife.blogspot.com.es/ Kate Wilson

    love how everything’s black other than your trainers! x

    http://my–socalledlife.blogspot.com.es/

  • http://mividabonitaa.blogspot.nl/ Savannah Giersthove

    I want a pair of those leggings! x

    http://mividabonitaa.blogspot.nl/

  • http://lookbeyondbeauty.wordpress.com/ Look beyond beauty

    Nike does amazing sports wear & it looks really nice as well :)
    http://lookbeyondbeauty.wordpress.com/

  • Hope

    I need to invest in some small weights, I am currently using bags of flour haha H xx

    http://www.hopesgone.blogspot.com

  • http://roxsyee.blogspot.co.uk Syidah

    It’s bright trainers and toned down workout wear for me too! :D I have a pair of periwinkle blue trainers from Nike and I love them! I think having brightly coloured workout shoes motivates you to work out more too :)

    http://www.roxsyee.blogspot.co.uk

  • Currently Well

    Just looking at the photograph of your work out gear has made me motivated! :)

    http://currentlywell.wordpress.com/

  • http://styladelica.com/ Styladelica

    Love the gear. I would say that even if you’re starting out with dumbbells you can afford to go heavier. Considering most handbags weigh 5kgs once you’ve got stuff in them that’s a good starting point…and no you won’t get bulky. ;)

  • lisa robb
  • Daniella

    great post!

    xx

    daniella

    simplybeautifulelegant.blogspot.com

  • http://www.olive-apple.com Carolin

    Yay! I was hoping for a workout-related article since your may favorites video yesterday. I’m glad you put it up so quickly! I’m just getting back into a workout routine (ok, I’m trying…HARD!) but since I’m not that sporty-spice at the moment and wanted to see where it all goes, I didn’t want to spend that much money on new gear.

    I bought most of my stuff at H&M. Their workout clothes are pretty good and not as expensive as the most “proper” sport brands. But shoe-wise I really recommend – as you said – go to a shop and get fitted. Never mess with bad shoes when it comes to running! I did for a while and after a few runs my knees started to hurt and everything went completely WRONG. Now I have some Asics and the knees are just fine :)

    xx Carolin

    http://www.olive-apple.com

  • http://sandksblog.blogpot.co.uk S and K

    I’m not a running person but I love spinning, its all about finding the exercise you enjoy. Although if you’re thinking of trying spinning I would purchase some padded bike shorts before your first go, or you may regret it the next day!

    S.

    http://sandksblog.blogspot.com/

  • http://everydayingrace.blogspot.ca/ Grace

    I’m on a fitness kick too! Thanks so much for these useful tips, I’ll definitely have to try out those Nike leggings! :)

    Every day in grace.blogspot.ca

  • Cassie

    I love Nike running shorts and gym shoes, they make me want to work out :)

    blushandfairydust.blogspot.com

  • Lilly

    Ugh, I really need to get back in some kind of workout routine. But at least I get a lot of walking/hiking up and down here in NZ ;) And tracking your own routes is a huge motivation!

    smittenlilly.wordpress.com

  • http://www.isobelsbasket.com.au/ Isobel’s Basket

    I think I am more of a Pilates and Yoga girl myself. I am not very good at running. Mats can be expensive but it is much better than hurting my back rolling around on the hard floor, especially when I first started out and had no idea what I was doing (bet you wish you were a fly on the wall for that gym session). I would agree that every girl should have a good pair of trainers and a fantastic sports bra. They are SO important. Makes exercise that much easy which is a worry I don’t want to have when I’m sweating my butt off.

    http://www.isobelsbasket.com.au
    Beauty – Fashion – Lifestyle

  • Ellie

    Try the camelbak

  • Ellie

    Try the camelback podium chill insulated water bottle! I love mine! It doesn’t sweat and it is easy to hold and drink from!

  • Stephanie
  • http://www.aniutte.blogspot.com Anya

    The only thing I need is a lot of motivation and a person, who will kick me until I get up from the sofa and then I’ll go running :)

  • Mari

    Great post, Anna! I do YouTube workouts at home and we have a cycling machine so I alternate with different exercises which also means I don’t need trainers. BUT, I do need to invest in some as I want to start running too and have been a little puzzled but your post has helped a little with that issue! The armband being so nerdy so it looks like my kinda thing haha!

    http://thesimplewishlist.blogspot.com xx

  • http://www.everyella.blogspot.com Ella

    I started working out with @blogilates, she’s amazing and she talks during her videos so the time passes really quickly :)

    http://www.everyella.blogspot.com

  • http://www.glitterandsomegold.blogspot.co.uk Fran

    This is a motivating post, I’m also trying to get into the swing of running…slowly… What exercises do you do with the dumbbells? sounds like a convenient workout! X

    http://www.glitterandsomegold.blogspot.co.uk

  • http://weelissa.com/ Lissa

    You need some heavier dumbbells! :)

  • http://beautifulnotionsbeautyblog.blogspot.co.uk/ Kathleen

    I am currently loving the 30 Day Shred DVD, it’s pretty brutal but really effective! I also love NIKE for sportswear!

    https://www.youtube.com/user/BeautifulNotions/videos

  • Alex Georgie

    I’ve got to start exercising again! Fallen off the band wagon a bit this week. Booo! Great post!xo

    Alex Georgie

  • Kelly

    uhhhhh i never shave my legs and i always wear shorts. legs with hair is normal.

  • Amy

    So glad you’re enjoying running! It’s surprisingly fun once you get into it isn’t it? I recently did the Bupa 10000 and now im really keen to do a half so will be watching your progress with interest!

    I blogged about my race and have included some training tips which you might find helpful over here: http://yngldn.blogspot.co.uk/p/a-walk-in-park-my-bupa-10k.html

  • Lily

    You totally need to get this band called the fitbit! It’s similar to Nike run app but you don’t need to carry your phone around and it shows your sleep, steps and active minutes etc, it’s great! x

  • Ally

    So proud of you and your running adventures! My fav water bottle to run with is the Nathan handheld quickshot. It slips over your hand so comfortably and has a little pouch that fits fuel on the go (perfect for long training runs). I’m going to use it on my next half! Also, Oiselle makes the most amazing women’s running apparel but it’s based in Seattle so shipping might be a headache. Check them out though, the strappy bra is amazing and so cute! It’s a company for runners designed by runners. Seriously cute & functional.

  • Bolette Rose Knøfler

    Well done starting on your fitness journey :) It was really great reading this post. It always makes me so motivated reading about other peoples workout routines and that kind of thing. If you like doing your workout away from the gym I can recommend dancing. There are a lot of dancing lessons on youtube, for a lot of different dance styles. I really like dancing dancehall routines. And trust me, it is a serious workout. :) Keep up the good work :)

  • http://mizzrubiiee.blogspot.com Rubiiee

    Yes! I need to invest in some leggings. It’s annoying to have to keep my legs up everyday – but it’s a little easier in the summer, since I’m wearing more shorts!
    Carolyn | BLOG