For most of my life, I’ve been extremely sporty. I started competitive sports very early on, switching from dance to swim team to soccer to mountain biking throughout elementary school. By the time I hit high school, I had a coach, sponsors, and had placed second at Nationals in my age category for cross-country mountain biking. I also did snowboarding, running, triathlons, road cycling, and hiking, plus a few other sports here and there. In short, I was very fit, and for awhile, I dressed as such.
But then, my lazy rebellious teenage years arrived, and I quickly decided that sports and the tracksuits that went with them weren’t really my thing anymore. I ditched my sneakers in favour of high heels, and dropped out of every team and sport on my list. I became so lazy I even refused to walk to school whenever possible. Needless to say my very fit parents weren’t too impressed by my newfound independence, but eventually they gave up on me being an active member of the family.
Flash forward a couple of years, and I’ve become a little more aware of the benefits of exercise than my younger, more bratty self. I find the less I exercise, the more sluggish, tired, miserable, and down I feel. For me, working out doesn’t really connect to how I look, but to how I feel, and honestly, I feel awful when I’m not pushing myself to do some form of exercise once in awhile.
This winter was particularly hard on me workout-wise. I usually ride my bike almost year-round, and walk any other time, but the polar vortex really kept me off my feet (aka bundled up in bed watching re-runs of "Sex and the City"), and by the time spring finally arrived, I felt horribly out of shape. For a few weeks I did nothing; I was miserable and stuck in a rut, and I didn’t want to force myself to feel better. In the end though, I used workout clothing to get me back in shape.
OK so I know this just sounds like a load of shopaholic bullshit, but changing up your workout gear to something you’re excited about can really help with motivation. As I took on more and more fun new exercises and routines (weekly runs, a trial period at Barreworks), I found myself shopping for more workout wear, slowly upgrading my outdated collection, and suddenly I was looking for reasons to get out and wear everything! My workout gear got so cute, it made me want to work out more, and in my books, that means it was worth the investment. Here are some of my current favourite things to sweat in/on:
Eco Friendly Leggings
There’s a company called Teeki based out of the U.S. that makes the coolest printed leggings ever, and I'm totally obsessed (though I've yet to splurge on a pair of my own). We’re talking leggings with moon phases down the back, and bright beautiful photos of palm trees with sunsets blown up to cover your legs. Handmade in America, these pants are designed for working out, and they’re made out of plastic water bottles! Talk about up-cycling right?
Colourful Water Bottles
I’m all about adding colour to my life lately (have you seen my hair?), and BKR’s candy-colored glass water bottles have really added some much-needed life to my workout routine. Whether working on the computer at home, or heading to a yoga class, I always have one of these super sweet bottles filled and at my side.
Go Commando Yoga Pants
Remember how a certain Canadian corporation made some very problematic yoga pants not too long ago? Well Dear Kate (also known as my favourite superhero underwear brand) has made it their goal to make sure something like that never happens again, at least not on their watch! The talented ladies behind high-tech period underwear are at it again, and this time they’re creating the yoga pants to end all yoga pants. They’re designed to never be see-through, never give you camel toe, they come in plus sizes, and best of all, they’re made specifically so you can go commando in them! Help them make their magical pants a reality by pre-buying through their Kickstarter this month, and say goodbye to overpriced, poorly designed yoga wear once and for all.
To be honest, designing a custom pair of shoes was the main reason I made myself get out there to jog again when the ice finally thawed. Using Nike's online shoe design system, I came up with a pair of white leopard print runners with mint details that I absolutely loved, and in a matter of weeks they arrived at my front door.
I used to wear a lot of specialty fabrics and tight clothing to workout, but these days I’m really into plain old loose T-shirts and tanks paired with a sports bra instead. True, they don’t breathe as well, but I’m more comfortable in them, so I think it’s worth the trade-off. I especially love rocking shirts with inspirational sayings on them, like the new “Just be Your F***ing Self” tees by Studio Mucci, or Topknot Goods’ “No Rest For the Rad.”
Working out is never any fun without music, right? There are so many great workout playlists on Songza now that it’s possible to run every morning and still always have something new to play, but in order to truly make this a reality, we all need a good pair of headphones. Personally I have weird ears that refuse to wear headphones (they fall out or start hurting), but I’ve finally found a pair that works for me. Ban.do’s earplug headphones may look like pieces of candy, but I promise they’ll be helping you burn calories in no time!
What helps you get your ass in gear?