Entries Tagged as 'Fitness Week'
Whether running on the Mall or working out at Golds, I inevitably bump into someone I’ve previously encoutered in my day job. I feel that all work out wear is not created equal. I despise both those skin-tight black running capris (provides muffin top or doesn’t stay up) and both the diaper-butt nike shorts that every woman in America seems to own. Further, I get dirty looks when I show up to a spinning class with my political t-shirts or alma matter tees.
Can’t a girl just get a sweat in? What do you wear to workout in?
I workout…oh, what’s the word…infrequently. I made a valiant attempt at a regular workout schedule this winter, but it was a phase–like listening to punk rock or dying your hair purple. I just don’t have the discipline for it, but if you do, I salute you. Also, since I live in a building with a nice gym, the only thing I wear to work out in is a sports bra, Nike Phantom shorts
and a cotton tee. So to answer your question with more specificity, I decided to turn to my resident health and fitness expert Miss M.
You are on the right track, (Ed Note: I apologize in advance, I didn’t know M was going to use puns.) and I applaud you for wanting to improve your workout look. Because when you look better, you feel better. And when you feel good, you are more likely to keep up on your exercise routine.
We can’t control who we might run into while working out or how the mirror-covered walls reflect all of our assets at the worst possible angles, but we can control what we wear, so let’s choose wisely. I realize that you said you hate black workout capris because they either create a muffin top or fall down. We just need to find you the right fit, an updated style, and a quality product. Well – bottoms up, sweetheart.
Lululemon Recognition PantIf I know of a product that creates the illusion of lift for my backside, there is a huge chance I will purchase it, and an even greater chance that I will want to shout the name of said product from the Elliptical.
Bia Brazil has an amazing line of basic workout bottoms, including some with a bit more “personality.” (I love color and pattern, but I am loyal to black pants because they show less sweat downthere.) I like this cropped pair with a wide waist band. It also comes in a wider leg crop style and a full-length flare.
Another option to remedy the appearance of an unsightly mid-section (muffin top) is to find a pant with a fold-over waist band. This allows you the flexibility of folding over the waist at the spot that is the most comfortable and flattering on your body – because let’s face it, every person’s body is different, and a fold-over style is customizable. Lululemon’s Recognition Pant ($98, at left) has a foldover waistband, and is a great choice in terms of performance wear. Need something cheaper? Victoria’s Secret makes a good pair that cost $29.50.
Lastly, I’d recommend Lucy’s soon-to-arrive X-Training pant. (What can I say, I like to have options.) This pant rests close to the body, has a full leg, and is mid-rise, it also has easy to mix/match options and a handful of color stories to choose from per season. They also make an X-Training pant with a low rise ($89) and a cropped style ($79).
Hate capris? Hate shorts? Hate pants? Try a skirt – this style has adjustable sides, is still made with sweat-wicking fabric, and has built-in shorts so you can wear it for running, yoga, pilates, whatever workout you fancy.
Now, let’s move on to tops. There are a variety of styles for ultimate flattery depending on what parts of your body you like to emphasize or camouflage. So make sure to chose the one that’s right for you.
If you’re conscious of your mid-section, and would like some coverage, this Nike Elastika top ($30) is great for staying cool during summer months. It has a great body-skimming shape, instead of being so tight you feel like you’re wearing a sausage-casing.
Another high-performance top with a bit of breathing room is the Charm Banded top from Under Armour ($40). (Ed. Note: I own this top. In addition to all UA’s moisture-wicking benefits, the looser fit makes it really comfortable if you’re moving a lot.)
Sometimes it feels good to have sleeves on in these super air-conditioned gyms. The Lija Virtue Top ($70) is relaxed and incorporates strategically placed ruching – not just for jersey dresses and mini-skirts! This Danskin yoga tee also has sleeves and light ruching for a wallet-friendly ($18).
Need a workout bra that doesn’t give you uniboob? Try handful.com Belle also likes Under Armour’s Armour High Impact line which provides support whether you’re an A-cup or a DD. Need to go beyond DD? Panache workout bras go up to 40GG for maximum support.
As for shoes, workout shoes are 100% a matter of personal preference. What fits you best? What is most comfortable for you? What will help correct your stride? When traveling I love Nike Free shoes ($54) – lightweight, moderate support, and easy to pack.
What are your favorite workout must-haves?
The Beauty Product Guinea Pig column (BPGP) typically features lotions, potions, creams and glosses designed to make women lok and feel their best. But today, I’m reviewing a different kind of beauty product: running shoes. Because being in shape is beautiful (and gasping for air like an overworked golden retriever as you climb the Metro escalator is not attractive).
The last time that I purchased running shoes Bill Clinton was still in office. So when I started a real workout routine back in October, it didn’t take long to figure out that it was time for new shoes. But which kind to buy? The last time I purchased shoes there were 20 choices, now there are 20,000.
A friend of mine who runs three or four marathons per year lent me a pair of odd looking Vibram Five Fingers to try. I was really excited to give the shoes a whirl since she swears by barefoot running and promised me on a stack of Bibles that I’d like it. But since I have two toes deformed by an improperly healed break, the Vibrams caused me so much pain that I couldn’t wear them without wincing. Separating my toes was clearly not an option.
When the Vibrams came up bust, she suggested that I purchase a pair of Nike Free Run 2 shoes ($90). According to the Nike website, the shoes “simulate barefoot running to strengthen your lower leg and foot,” so they’re a bit like the Vibrams in practice.
Since I started wearing them, I’ve noticed that my form has improved markedly and that my lower back no longer hurts after a run. I still wear cross trainers when I’m not running, but these shoes have made my time on the treadmill a little less awful. And for that, I am truly grateful.
Whether they’re working the muscles in my legs in a different or improved way, I can’t really tell. No because the tone of my legs isn’t improving, but because, since I’ve never been a “runner” before, I don’t know how my legs would be developing in another shoe.
For you outdoor runners, these shoes are also equipped to hook into your Nike + iPod Sport Kit, allowing you to keep track of your speed distance and calories on your iPod. Should I decide to leave the comfort of my treadmill at any point, I may invest in the $28 kit. But, to be honest, being able to watch TV while I run is about the only thing that makes running bearable.
The shoes also come in a shocking number of colors. So whether you want plain white or bright neon, you can find a color to suit your personality. Who says you can’t be fashionable while you workout?
This weekend, Miss M returned from her honeymoon, and upon discovering that I had done Fitness Fashion Week without her (M is a gym aficionado), she was a bit perturbed. She was equally disappointed that while I wrote about supportive bras for the well-endowed, I had failed to provide my own kind (the not so well-endowed) with any good suggestions. So, she made a recommendation of how I might rectify this oversight.
This is the Handful Bra by Lucy ($48). According to Miss M it’s like “having implants without the back pain.” According to the website the bra is “designed to flatter— not flatten— lifts and separates the girls.”
All around, it sounds like a very good thing for those of us who God felt were blessed enough without breasts.
I’m not what you would call…outdoorsy. In fact, I moved to the Big City so that I would never again have to breathe fresh air or climb anything more strenuous than a set of stairs. Thus, I don’t do much running outside. So for this post, I let my friend CK, President of a running club, triathalete, and Iron Man finisher choose the outfit.
New Balance Full Zip Running Jacket (Amazon, $49)
While I believe that New Balance is the choice of terrorists (see video evidence), this jacket is pretty cute. CK likes this one because it wicks away moisture, dries quickly when it rains, and has “thumb holes” so you don’t have to wear gloves.
Mizuno Jinx Sport Top ($37)
CK swears by Mizuno, and since she’s small chested like me a medium compression top like this works fine. If you’re a C-cup or large B-cup, you need something underneath as well.
Mizuno Split Short ($28)
Garmin Forerunner Heart Monitor/Watch (Best Buy, $99)
According to CK it’s reaaly hard to take your pulse during a strenuous run, so if you care about getting your heart in shape, you need a heart monitor. She likes Garmin, you can choose a cheaper brand if you want.
Vibram FiveFingers Women Sprint ($80)
When I saw these “shoes,” the conversation went something like this:
Belle: What the hell are those?
CK: They are Ah-May-Zing.
Belle: They look ridiculous. And how do they provide any support?
CK: Listen daytripper, they’re very supportive. They have cured my low-back pain and I have the best runner’s calves of anyone I know. Barefoot running, wave of the future.
Oh, and they’re machine washable, so no more leaving my shoes on the balcony overnight to air out.
Belle: Fine. But they’re ugly.
CK: Don’t diss my Vibes.
A few months ago, after a multi-year absence from the gym, I decided to start working out again. My motivation was simple: I’m quickly approaching 30, and if I don’t start taking care of my heart and lungs now, I will probably regret it at 50. So it was with a disgruntled soul and a less than motivated body that I started running again.
Because it had been such a long time, I asked a neighbor who works as a personal trainer to give me a few pointers on improving my form. Imagine my surprise when her first suggestion was that I buy a more supportive sports bra. “No bounce. Bounce is bad.”
Unsure whether this was some inside joke used by personal trainers to punish rubes who’ve avoided the gym for a solid half-decade, I did some Internet research and discovered that breast injury is in fact, a real thing.
Apparently, because the breast muscle is buried so deep in the tissue it doesn’t provide your girls with a lot of support. Instead, your breasts are held up by ligaments that don’t have the strength to deal with the shock and movement caused by strenuous activity. As a result, “runners bounce” stretches and strains these ligaments, which over time, causes saggy breasts.
(Feel free to gasp in horror. God knows I did.)
While bounce is a problem for all women, it is particularly disconcerting for me. For nearly a decade, I have proudly referred to my minimal bust as “gravity defying.” Why? Because one day, when we’re old and grey, the large-chested women will find their breasts have fallen into their shoes while mine will still be in their original location. (The revenge of the flat-chested is sweet indeed.)
Thus, the idea that I could be damaging my chance for retribution is terrifying. I must prevent The Bounce at all costs.
If you too would like to protect your bust (ample, flat or otherwise) from the dreaded Bounce, you need to buy a more supportive sports bra. The trainer recommended a compression level four. Sadly, some of these bras are more conical than should be allowed, but others are fairly normal.
BounceBGone Compression Bra (Cabela’s, $28)
Champion Powerback Sports Bra (Athleta, $40)
Shock Absorber Sports Bra (Figleaves, $36)