Starting a fitness journey can be incredibly daunting – stepping into that gym for the first time, looking at the rails and rails of workout clothes and not really knowing where to begin. This year I started my own fitness journey, a mission to feel better, shed a few extra lbs and become more motivated like I used to be a few years back. I’m not after a quick fix or something that I can’t adopt in the long term – we’re going for ‘Life Friendly Fitness’ here and so far I’m absolutely loving it – I’ve lost 12lbs and am really starting to feel like myself again! Over the past few years I’ve tried out a lot of fitness gear, clothes and tech to help me get in shape so I thought I’d put together a big old round-up post for you all with my top picks for your very own Fitness Starter Kit!
I love using MyFitnessPal to help me monitor what I’m shovelling into my body – you wouldn’t believe how many calories are in your favourite foods when you look into it…no wonder I was putting on the lbs! It’s a really great idea to keep track of the food you’re eating so you can help keep cheat meals under control and understand where you’re ‘spending’ a lot of your daily allowance. It’s really helped me to adjust my intake as I was eating loads at lunchtime which I just didn’t need. I shifted it to breakfast and felt so much better! I also recently wrote a funny blog post about MyFitnessPal after using it solidly for the past 7 weeks, if you’ve used it then feel free to have a little giggle with me about the struggles we all go through when using the app – number 14 is a popular one!
Something else that’s really helped me keep track of my fitness journey is an activity band/tracker. They monitor how much you move and help tell you how many calories you’ve burnt throughout the day. I started off with a polar loop band but as I got a little more serious about my exercise I changed to a Fitbit HR and haven’t looked back. I also use my BellaBeat to keep track of movement when I want to look good, it’s so pretty and makes sure to count those extra calories burnt on the dance floor! From £30-300 however much you want to spend an activity tracker is definitely an essential for me – take a look at my comparisons below in full:
Admittedly not an essential but something that’s really helped me out with my abdominals having quite a weak back and being unable to blast those crunches like I want to. I first gave Slendertone a go a couple of years back and my before and after results were AMAZING but I haven’t used it much since. I’m currently testing out their new and improved Connect Belt that syncs with your phone and the battery life is incredible – I’ll definitely be writing up a blog post about that soon with hopefully some results like my other ones!
A Well-Fitted Sports Bra
Being a larger busted lady I’ve always struggled to find a sports bra that supports my girls enough when we’re jiggling around, however during my foray into fitness I’ve come up with three sports bras that I’d 10% recommend to anyone. I’ve written a full review on each one so they’re definitely worth checking out:
Yep, you read that right, leggings that make you sweat! I love my Zaggora leggings even if peeling them off after a workout is one of the grimmest experiences ever! They’re great for helping you target problem areas (for me my thighs) and yes, they really work.
Kick Ass Gym Gear
Whenever I post a gym selfie (yes, I’m one of those people) I get so many comments on my gym gear from you guys! I love love love bright colours and prints at the gym, they make me feel powerful – can’t explain it, they just do! I’ve got a real variety of gym gear right now because I go so often I need a set pretty much for each day of the week. I get all of my gear from Sports Direct because, well, it’s really cheap!!! I’m LOVING USA Pro right now for their crazy prints and capri pants that actually stay up when you’re going for it on that cross trainer. They’re tops are also really sturdy and tend to keep you sucked in a little which also helps the old self esteem! They recently gifted me a new gym set with a moisture wick hoody and a couple of tops along with some new footwear (which we’ll come onto in a moment) and I can’t get enough.
Another brand I’m a big fan of for good looking (and good quality) sports wear is Sweaty Betty. I reviewed an outfit from them the other year when my neon gym gear obsession started and everything from that post is still going strong through years of gym sessions and washes – just keep your eyes peeled for the sales!
There are so many sports bottles in our house! I have two big litre ones from Sports Direct that I take to the gym because it’s so important to keep those water levels up, but in the day I drink form my Infruition bottle that was gifted to me by Joy The Store last month. It’s great to help you jazz up your water intake throughout the day and I just pop some berries in there and leave it in the fridge overnight.
A Great Playlist
Never underestimate the power of a good soundtrack to get you motivated at the gym or out on a walk/run. I’ve recently re-discovered Spotify and I love to listen to the UK Chart playlist, a Running Album or even some Tropical House during my workouts!
We don’t have time to fiddle around with our ears, we’re here to train! Make sure you get some headphones or earphones that work for you and stay in or on when you’re working out. I have a gold and white pair from Philips that not only sound great but also look pretty cool too! Popping your phone in an armband like the one above is great for when you’re on the machines and don’t want to worry about holding your phone or risk popping it in a pocket.
Get The Right Footwear
I never used to own any sports footwear and now I have four pairs that all do different things….I don’t even know who I am anymore! But from hitting the treadmill, fighting it out in the ring, sweating over circuits and even being a bit bendy in a yoga class I’ve come to understand that you do need the right footwear otherwise you can do damage to feet, knees and shins! For an all round (and totally beautiful) pair I have my USA Pro Quartz Training Shoes* which are super supportive, true to size and effortlessly comfortable. For running and walking I wear my Nike Free Runs and for kickboxing I rock my Nike Bionic Women pair because they’re incredibly supple and feel the closest to bare feet.
Another recent and glorious find that I can’t stop chatting about in my weekly vlogs are these USA Pro Slip On Trainers*. I walk to the train station a lot when the weather is dry to help get my steps up, but tottering along for 40 minutes in ballet pumps usually ends up in blisters and as you can see, my trainer selection get’s quite a few stares when paired with ‘normal’ clothes! These slip on trainers are PERFECT for rocking during the day or slipping on for a walk to work. They have a memory foam insole and literally feel like you’re walking on CLOUDS. My name is already down for a grey pair when they come back into stock next month!
Join a Gym or Do It At Home
At the start of January I joined PureGym and I honestly haven’t.looked.back. It’s £10.99 a month with all my classes thrown in and everything is brand new in our branch. It’s no frills, the trainers are really nice and it’s not breaking the bank. If you have a PureGym near you I’d 100% recommend joining and if you do please use my referral code: 155p5233 and I might win a holiday – you’ll get your own code when you sign up too!
If gyms aren’t your bag and you prefer to exercise behind closed doors then I’ve also done and seen amazing results from the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide – it’s tough but it’s well worth doing for some serious results in just 12 weeks – check it out HERE!
You Don’t Have To Do It Alone
Everyone’s different and some people prefer to knuckle down and get shizz done on their own but don’t underestimate having a gym buddy in your kit bag for days when your motivation is slipping! If you end up letting someone else down by not going then you’re more likely to get off your bottom and make your way to that treadmill. It’s nice having a chat before and after a class or even just knowing that you’re not alone or having someone to talk to about your struggles and successes! Sometimes other people can be the best motivation when you’re not feeling it – help each other out and get strong together!
I’m aiming to do a progress post with some food and exercise diaries in soon – I just want to get my holiday out the way and head back on track after a week of indulgence first! Let me know if that’s something you’d like to see in the comments below because I’m really loving my new found fitness journey so far – here’s hoping we can keep it up!
“Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.”