healthy living

Staying Fit: 5 Things To Splurge On

After my great knee fail of 2009, I’ve learned a few things about what NOT to skimp on when it comes to working out…

PROTECTION:  No matter if it’s midmorning or midnight, I always carry pepper spray when I go for a run or bike outside.  I’ve heard too many horror stories of poor girls getting attacked while they’re outside working on their fitness.  Invest in an $8 bottle of pepper spray at the local hardware store and put yourself at ease when you’re outdoors.  It also just helps to know your surroundings and avoid listening to music when you’re in a secluded area.  Another good thing to have is at least one sturdy knee – a swift knee-to-the-groin will hopefully send even the craziest weirdos running in the opposite direction.

SHOES:  After buying “cheaper” shoes that didn’t fit and subsequently injuring my knee, I’ll be benched for who knows how long.  Choose shoes that feel comfy and fit you well.  Too big is always better than too small as your feet tend to expand during workouts.  Since your feet are absorbing the impact for most cardio exercises and a lot of weight-bearing exercises, you’ve gotta have something to support that smokin’ hot bod of yours.

SOCKS:  Seriously, socks are important.  I don’t know how many times my cheap-self has tried to forgo buying new socks for a couple more weeks only to walk out of the gym with blisters bigger than I ever thought could exist.  I’m not saying you need to go out and get super-special socks or anything.  Just try to avoid the holy socks that are so worn down they’re basically 5 white threads barely weaved together.  If you can’t muster up the $2.99 for an entire new pack, you can always wear 2 pairs of socks.  That should do the trick.  (Lord knows I’ve donned 2 or even 3 pairs back in my college days.)

SPORTS BRA:  Ladies! *shakes head*  Even if you’ve got small ones, they’re prone to bouncing a full 180 degrees when you’re huffing and puffing in Step class.  Stop the madness!  Get yourself a smasher, a compressor, a harness, WHATEVER it takes to lock those bad boys down.  No one wants to see that except for the perve in the back of the class – and trust me, you don’t want to give him any more material than he’s already got.  Ew.  On a more serious note:  a good sports bra will save your back and keep the girls in tip-top condition.  An extra $20 is worth it to prevent the pancake effect of your elder years.

SUNGLASSES:  If you are like me, then you probably don’t shell out for an expensive pair of Oakley’s. Most of my sunglasses are in the $10 range from Target.  Make sure you get a wrap-around pair as the whole point of the sunglasses is to save the skin around your eyes.  (Don’t forget sunscreen!)  Did you know that the sun can hurt your eyeballs, too?  Call me crazy, but I’d say my eyeballs are worth at least a $10 pair of shades.

What do you splurge on to keep your work outs going strong?

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  • Instead of pepper spray, howzabout a taser gun?


    A very good list. Thanks 🙂 Esp about the girls. I’ve seen too many bouncing boobies to count. I just imagine them sagging to their knees…

  • DEFINITELY invest in a good pair of shoes. Otherwise, blisters, shin splints, pulled muscles… — had them all and they don’t help you keep up the workout routine.

    My favorite pair of workout shoes — and I never thought I’d ever love workout shoes this much — is a pair of Vibram 5-Finger Sprint shoes. Those things are awesome! They simulate bare-foot running/yoga/tree climbing/whatever but without all the ickiness and blisters. In fact, I’ve worn them from day one without getting a single blister, even though I’ve worn them sockless. It has made such a difference for me because they are kinda fun to wear (walking over gravel is like a foot rub — no kidding!). Plus, like barefoot running, they are better for your form and strengthening foot muscles than traditional shoes which are sort of like running with casts on.

    And the best part? They’re $80 — not nothing, but a lot less then most decent exercise shoes.

    (And no, I swear, the company did not ask me to write this. lol!)

    • @Meg I know! I totally learned my lesson by not having a good pair of shoes. I’ll have to check those shoes out! I’ve had Nike Frees before (which kinda sound the same), but I’ve never heard of the Vibrams. Thanks for the tip!

      @FB LOL!!! I like the way you think. With all the crazies out there these days, I just might have to upgrade to a taser!

  • Not exactly workout clothing, but my hockey equipment is mostly new, and in really good shape. I refused to go down the cheap method while playing such a vicious sport.

    I see my friends skate without shoulder pads during games, or without a facemask on their helmet and it freaks the heck out of me.

    Protection is the most important thing. I buy expensive gear so i don’t have to have my jaw realigned or my shoulder popped into its socket. The value of what i wear is far superior to the already expensive cost.

  • Don’t go too cheap with the sunglasses. They dilate your eyes. if end up without decent UV protection, they can really fry your retina.

    Hey Meg, what kind of workout do you do in your Fivefingers? I love mine for outdoor stuff, but I haven’t tried them for an indoor workout. They are really grippy, which for some things is nice and other things not so much. There is a review of them here for those of you who haven’t seen them.

    My three splurges would be shoes, since I go most places by foot, a bed, since nothing stops a workout short like back pain and lack of sleep, and food. Fresh squeezed juice and a roll of sushi beats some vitamin water and a frozen burrito any day when it comes to staying healthy.

  • Something to entertain me while I’m on the elliptical at the gym. Having my iPod Touch is so worth it because I can listen to music, watch TV shows and videos and it helps pass the time. I don’t think I would work out anywhere near as often as I do (4-5 times a week) without it.

  • @ bscheur Wow – agreed. Protection in such a hardcore sport is definitely not something to cheap out on!

    @Ditto I actually thought about adding in food and water!! You are so right about that – I wouldn’t be able to work out at all without proper nutrition!

    @Shannon – I WISH I had an iPod touch. I have a regular nano and it definitely keeps me going during workouts. I also like to read magazines and watch the TVs at the gym. My old gym had TVs on each machine and I miss that SOO much at my new gym!!

  • As for the sports bra … I discovered this thrifty trick from my sister’s roommate, a hardcore runner. She wears her regular bra over her sports bra for extra support. You can also wear the sports bra over your regular one also but it seems to work better worn outside if that makes any sense.

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