There have been about five key things that I have found that I can’t live without, when it comes to my fitness routine. We all have those things that we must take with us every time we go to the gym, go for a run, or for a quick workout at home.
Here are my 5 must haves:
(links get/purchase each item is included in each section)
If you haven’t heard of Songza, you are really missing out. I stumbled across this free music app one day while ready an article on shape.com. Songza is much like Pandora, except without all of the commercials and with a more comprehensive selection of playlists that you can actually choose from, as opposed to searching blindly.
To give you an example, you can choose the “Brand New Music” icon, which brings you to six music categories to choose from- Big Hits, R&B, Pop, Country, Rap, and New Playlists. Whichever one you choose, you will be lead to comprehensive playlists that includes songs that you can thumbs up (keep on the list) or thumbs down (remove from the list).
There are even playlists that reflect your mood or your current activity. There is a category for driving music, singing in the shower, waking up happy, and more!
My fave playlist for working out is “Today’s Club Bangers” found under the “Working Out” category under “Fast-Paced Rap.” This list is full of all new rap songs that, as suggested in the title, you would hear at the club- perfect for a rigorous workout. Tracks from Wiz Khalifa, B.o.B, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Eminem, and even Justin Bieber. I may have only thumbed down about five songs. And the great thing about the playlists are that they are automatically updated. What may have been a “club banger” three months ago will be replaced by a new banger this month. Awesome!
To download to your phone, go to the app store for your device. You can also listen on your computer at songza.com.
2. Cell Phone Armband
I recently purchased a Samsung Note II armband from ebay for for $4.50. It is made of neoprene, which helps it from slipping down my arm and keeps the sweat away from my phone. I could have easily gotten an armband from a regular store (for about five times more than what I paid), but it has been my experience that those armbands don’t fit my arm correctly. They either slipped down my arm all of the time or the velcro didn’t go around the band far enough, so that it could be secured.
It has two areas in which you can put the band through, depending on your arm size. And it also has a place for your key, in which I place my gym locker key. This is a great feature because I don’t usually have pockets to put it in.
This was a great deal for less than $5.
3. Weight Belt
If you lift weights, whether light or heavy, a weight belt is a great addition to your workout gear. The weight belt helps you to stabilize your core and your back to help prevent injuries when lifting. It also helps to lift heavier weights easier.
I’ve had some ladies tell me that they thought weight belts were only for men. This is obviously not so. You can find weight belts in lots of different colors and designs tailored to women. I did not go the feminine route with my belt. I bought a plain black leather one from amazon.com for about $15.
So do yourself and your back a favor, invest in a weight belt and start getting the most out of your lifting.
4. African Shea Butter
When you start to really taking care of your body by consuming all of the right foods to take care of your inside, you want to make sure you are also taking care of your outside.
I used to put Vaseline on my skin to keep it moist and smooth, but when I realized that I was putting petroleum on my skin, which according to livestrong.com, “side effects of petrolatum include finding the petroleum byproduct in breast tumors, suffocation of the skin, premature aging and aggravated acne.” Um, no thanks!
I first discovered African Shea Butter at a hair show with some friends. I saw a man shaving the shea butter out of a huge shea nut with a huge knife. He was shaving the shea right into the container from which they were selling it. You can’t get any more natural than that! Needless to say, I bought a couple of tubs of it on the spot. You can also purchase it from amazon.com.
Raw unrefined shea butter is said to be effective for curing skin rashes, skin peeling after tanning, scars, stretch marks, frost bites, burns, athletes foot, insect bites and stings, arthritis and muscle fatigue. Yes, please!
Using just a little bit goes a long way. Because I shower two times a day because of my two-a-day workout schedule, must make sure I stay sufficiently moisturized. When I get out of the shower, I apply some while my skin is still a little damp to really lock in the moisture. Results- healthy, glowing skin all day for less about $10, lasting about 6 months!
5. Yurbuds Earbuds
Over the years, I have tried all kinds of earbuds and have never found ones that would accommodate my abnormally small ears. Maybe I’m alone in this, but my ears are so small that I can’t even put a pencil behind them without it falling off. The same is true for any and all earbuds I have used in the past. I put them in my ears (using the smallest bud selection that comes in the package) and about 5 seconds into my treadmill sprint or one rep into my weight lifting set, they fall out of my ears.
I all but gave up and started using my wide head bands to keep my earbuds in my ears. That worked fine in the winter and cold months, but I don’t want a band around my ears in the summertime making the sides of my head sweat more than the rest of my body. No, thank you!
Fortunately, I found the answer to my earbud prayers while perusing the electronic aisles at Target a last week on Mother’s Day. Lo and behold, there is a product out there just for me and my fellow small-eared ladies.
Yurbuds created a line of earbuds specifically for women with small ears and are “guaranteed never to fall out”- just what I need! Being the skeptic that I am, I was still a little unsure, but was quickly proved wrong. When inserted correctly, these babies don’t move and fit snug in the ear without any movement at all. For about $30, they have acquired a customer for life. To top it all off, the buds were designed by a woman for all of us small-eared women. Thanks, Anna Karayiannis!
Are there any must-haves you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you.