After last week’s rant on the weather, I realized I’d forgotten about that one solitary day of lovely “warm” (i.e., 40-plus-degree) weather we had two weeks ago — warm enough to take a long run outside in the middle of January in Chicago. It was absolutely glorious. I now know what a bear feels like once it has emerged from hibernation — I felt like I was running at the speed of light. I was just ecstatic to be outside, in the world, rather than trapped on the elliptical or, worse, treadmill (I literally count to 60 over and over again until I can get off of that contraption) at my gymnasium. I also had a new suite of songs to listen to, which put a little extra gas in the tank, and at the top of that list is Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen.” OMG, this is one of those songs where you feel like you’re conquering the universe and dominating lives as you run. Check out my other picks by clicking the image below (it will get bigger).
The experience led to a new burst of exercise enthusiasm further bolstered by some new fitness gear purchases. First — some new running leggings. I love all things Nike when it comes to work-out gear — their products last, they fit well, and they aren’t exorbitantly priced (ahem, Lululemon). I bought their Pro Core II Compression capris ($40) in heather gray. Super comf. I wore mine with a persimmon orange sports bra (genius because it’s reversible, so you can play with color – $15), a new running headband ($10) — a must because I recently got bangs –and a plain white tee (I buy Hanes little boy tees in bulk — they are SUPER soft, have no tags, and serve a wonderful purpose in their afterlife as dust rags):
Perfecto. (Side note: I must admit that when I’m not wearing Nike running gear, I will wear my one pair of Lululemon Inspire II running leggings. They’re smartly designed and fit wonderfully. But I feel guilty spending nearly $100 on a pair of running pants…) I also recently bought some new lavender Nike Free Runs ($100). The Nike Free Runs have changed my life. They are so light-weight and yet provide plenty of cushioning. Love.
(My Gap style won out because, well, there’s a Gap beneath my gym. And also because my Gap one has extra long sleeves with thumb openings to keep your hands even warmer while running.) When I’m running, I like a light-weight windbreaker to protect myself from the elements without making me too hot (not usually a concern in Chicago, but I’ll only go running when it’s above 45 degrees. Otherwise, my eyes turn into faucets and just run for the entire time. Highly unpleasant and slightly dangerous since I can’t see while tears are streaming from my eyes. Also, I probably look like the most emo chickadee that ever ran the streets of Chi-town: just sprinting full-force, with tears flowing.) Anyway, I found this cheery style at Gap, on sale ($47), and in now seeing my little collection of lavender, white, gray, and bright orange/red, I’m thinking I may need to add these lilac-tipped running capris to my cart ($50):
When I’m not running (outside or on the treadmill), I use Tracy Anderson’s videos. They are such great little workouts, and she just released a new 15-minute session in conjunction with Gwyneth Paltrow’s uber popular blog, goop. (I enjoy Lady Paltrow’s blog, but she can be excessively snobby about things. One of her posts mentioned selecting her air travel plans based on the type of plane she would be taking, as some were more comfortable and accommodating than others…woosh, right over my peon head.)
Someone sneaky (God bless you) has also posted a bunch of Tracy Anderson’s webisodes to YouTube and the leg/thigh workout routine in particular is incredible. It only takes 15 minutes and your legs burn for days. For these workouts, I wear yoga pants (love this pair I also scored from Gap recently…are you noticing a trend?!) and a sports bra. (These workouts make you sweat — and also involve a lot of different crazy moves that can become cumbersome with a lose-fitting tee-shirt. I roll out my yoga mat ($29) and dust off my dumbells (“3 lbs or less” is Tracy’s mantra — she claims anything heavier will make you bulk…which is fine by me because 3 lbs of resistance for her exercises KILLS — $9). I also need a towel at the ready, and these eQua fitness hand towels are super absorbent ($16):
Oh — and don’t forget lots.and.lots of H20 — a cool, cool beverage (title of post and also my favorite line from Kanye’s “Clique”) — especially when in one of these CamelBak bottles ($14):
The other essential is, of course, my iPod shuffle ($49). This is the most genius Apple product ever. It is super light and clips onto the band of your running pants. Every month or so, I’ll update the contents to include some fresh jams. It’s perfect.
Also — die over the colors. Now, just because I’m working out doesn’t mean I look sloppy. I don’t like when girls wear a full face of makeup to the gym, but I will make sure to swipe on some blush (love this natural color from Benefit — $28) and waterproof mascara ($25 — I swear by this stuff!) beforehand. I keep Neutrogena makeup wipes, Tocca solid perfume in the Cleopatra scent ($30), Dove deodorant in Wild Rose (I think this kind of deodorant claims to be “hair growth impeding,” but I don’t think that’s accurate…the scent is great, though — non-deodorant-ish! I hate the smell of baby powder so it works out well for everyone), and hand sanitizer in my gym bag at all times, too. (I’m religious about sanitizing after the gym — lots gross sweaty people using the equipment and NOT wiping it down afterwards. Tsk, tsk.)
I throw it all in my gym bag (recently, I’ve been using a beautiful chalk-colored Kooba bag called the Barkley, which is no longer available):
My sole requirement for a gym bag? It has to have lots of pockets and enough structure to stand up straight. So, ladieeees? Anyone else revved up for a gym session?!