Back in September I made a commitment to myself. One where I would once and for all take care of my body on my own, without the prompt of a college requirement hanging over me. One where I took control of how I felt inside my body.
For far too long, I felt like I was swimming inside of a bodysuit 3x too large for me. No matter what clothes I put on over this “bodysuit,” the clothes didn’t fit as I imagined them. Feeling out of breath when I got up one flight of stairs was so disappointing. Now, six weeks later, I can see a difference in the mirror and in the way my clothes fit. It’s exciting and encouraging and it makes me want to work harder.
I thought I’d list a few items I’ve loved using, and a few items I’m coveting.
Heart Rate Monitor
I started out with a Polar FT4, but recently upgraded to the Polar M400 GPS heart rate monitor. It has been the best investment ever. When I started BBG (Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines) I learned about LISS, low-intensity steady state exercise, such as walking and jogging. Because I was so extremely out of shape, I found my heart racing almost immediately after attempting to jog.
My FT4 let me know what my heart rate was just perfectly, and it helped me learn what my heart rate was when I felt like I was dying. It helped me pace myself for endurance. I did the math and calculated the heart rate zones in exercise for me and my FT4 left me lacking, during my workout, of where I was. Math is not my strong suit, so I didn’t want to memorize what heart rate zone I was in in the middle of a workout.
The Polar M400 has several display options you can scroll through in the middle of a workout. When I’m walking or jogging I choose the screen that displays my current heart rate, and which zone (1-5) I’m currently in. It’s helped slow me down to keep me in zones 2-3 for LISS. With the FT4, I wasn’t always sure what zone I was in.
Truth be told, I didn’t really need a new heart rate monitor, but because I found myself actually starting to like jogging, I thought it would be great to have something with a little oomph. Kayla recommended the Polar A300, which also displays the heart rate zones, but after reading several reviews, coupled with the fact that I want to also get into running, it only made sense to get the Polar M400 runner’s watch as it also has GPS for a few dollars more. If it weren’t for that, I would have gotten the Polar A300 since the face is slightly smaller as I have tiny wrists.
I first saw one of my favorite BBG idols, @jaeatlea, wearing these Albion floral leggings on Instagram and I fell in love…both with her and the leggings. It’s far too warm to wear leggings in Florida from April through October, but I’m hoping I get to wear more leggings next month.
Something I learned pretty quickly was that music made workouts go much faster. We’re Spotify members and I’ve added a couple of great workout playlists that help keep me focused. However, in order to workout at home when Brian’s home, I can’t always stream music on our smart TV. I invested in some quality wireless headphones from Amazon along with a weatherproof adjustable armband to hold my iPhone.
Brian loves making fun of me wearing my yoga pants every day. Let’s ignore the fact that he wears shorts mesh shorts when he’s home and make fun of me, right? These floral yoga pants by Albion are just absolutely gorgeous and a break from my every day black yoga pants.
Confession: I always thought my “body shape” wasn’t cut out for regular shorts and I could only wear Bermuda shorts. In reality, it’s been cellulite and chub rub that have prevented me from wearing much-needed shorts to fight the Florida heat. Come next
summer March, I hope not to have that problem anymore. The Albion Fit sprinter shorts are beautiful and I want them now.
Protein Mix Bottle
Since using MyFitnessPal I’ve learned that I wasn’t actually consuming enough calories in a day…not by a long shot. Some days it’s hard for me to make it to the 1390 calories MFP suggests I consume in order to lose 2lbs a week. Because protein is what is hardest for me to reach, I resort to a protein powder drink to help supplement my nutrients. But the most annoying thing is mixing it with the water or coconut milk as it clumps up. A Blender Bottle will make reaching my protein goals it so much easier (and I won’t have clumps sticking to the sides of the cup or my spoon!).
Foam Yoga Mat
BBG has me doing lots of straight-leg sit-ups on the floor and after my first workout I thought I broke my tailbone. This surprised me because I’ve always had a padded behind and I previously only had a simple floor mat that offered no support. I quickly ordered this 1/2 inch foam mat from Amazon and it’s been a lifesaver not just for my tailbone but also for my knees. I still don’t have enough upper body strength and core strength to do regular push-ups and commandos, so I find myself using my knees a lot. The 1/2 inch foam padding is a godsend.
What are some of your favorite fitness essentials?