We’re nearly one month into the new year and I’m already in need of some fitness motivation. I enjoy a good workout and I have every intention of getting to the gym a few times per week, but juggling home life, work, and the kids’ busy school and extracurricular schedules means my fitness routine is inconsistent, at best. Some of the things that have helped me maintain consistency with my workouts include having a workout partner to keep me accountable, scheduling in time for workouts on my personal calendar, and setting realistic, measurable goals. Ironically, even something as simple as packing my fitness bag and throwing it in my trunk eliminates even a simple excuse like not being prepared.
When I think about all of the excuses I’ve made for skipping a workout, not having the proper equipment ranks high on the list. Being comfortable is essential, and having the right clothing, shoes, and accessories can be a motivating factor when it comes to working out. In honor of the new year, I’m sharing my top 10 must-have fitness essentials, all of which can be purchased at your local Walmart. Grab a stylish gym bag and have these items stored in your car so that the next time you drive by the gym, a local park, or the beach, you’ll be motivated to give your body the workout it needs.
1. Comfortable Workout Clothing: As much as I strive to be fashionable, I don’t get overly concerned about style when running around my neighborhood or at the gym. Comfort is supreme and can be the difference between a successful and a mediocre workout. I prefer lightweight, breathable fabrics that allow freedom of movement for stretching and running. Recently, I picked up a pair of performance pants and a textured jacket from Danskin Now. Each piece is semi-fitted which ensures the fabrics won’t get in the way of performance. The moisture-wicking fabric used also helps keep you cool and dry during workouts.
2. Sports Bra: The proper support can eliminate discomfort or even physical damage for a woman engaging in any type of aerobic activity. Runners in particular need to ensure support is sufficient to accommodate the repetitive movements involved with this particular high impact sport. For the past year or so, I’ve been purchasing my fitness essentials at Walmart, specifically their Danskin Now brand. I was surprised when I found a quality-made sports bra for just $9.96. The Seamless Reversible Sports Bra features smooth shaping, no-bounce support and a racerback for optimal fit. Because it is reversible, I can get more use out of pairing it with workout pants.
3. Athletic Shoes: Runners, in particular, know the importance of investing in a supportive, proper-fitting shoe. To achieve the right fit, you must take into consideration your arch and the type of surface you’ll be running on. Always try on shoes and ensure they are comfortable from the outset. If you visit Walmart.com, you can purchase select models from highly-rated brands like New Balance, ASICS and Mizuno.
4. Water Bottle: I’m a total greenie, so I make it a habit of carrying around a reusable water bottle at all times. If your budget allows, I recommend purchasing a water bottle with built-in filtration so that you can fill it up anywhere, anytime. RapidPure’s Intrepid 1.6L Water Bottle features Nano Filtration Technology and retails for $32.95.
5. Workout Towel: The reality is that any small towel will suffice, but if you’re looking for something “fancier,” you might try the Perfect Fitness Perfect Cooling Towel, designed to help you stay cool and dry for hours. It’s pricier than most small towels, but it might make your Spring and Summer workouts a bit easier to manage. Get it at Walmart for $8.97.
6. MP3 Player: One of my long-time favorite ways to exercise my body is to take a run. While some people find the sport monotonous, I like the convenience of running and the ability to pace and even push myself. I don’t need fancy equipment or gym memberships and I can run practically anywhere, making it difficult to devise excuses for not exercising. My personal secret to making running enjoyable is to listen to upbeat music with a vibrant tempo. Being that I am an “Apple” girl, I like the compact, lightweight iPod shuffle, which features 2 GB of storage and up to 15 hours of battery life. It’s available in 7 different colors and retails for just $44.99 at Walmart, making it one of the most affordable mp3 players available.
7. Headphones: If you like the earbuds that are included with Apple’s iPod Shuffle, you won’t likely need to purchase another set of headphones. However, I personally find that they don’t stay put while I’m running, necessitating a different design. With so many headphones on the market, user preference and budget play a major part in determining which will offer the most comfort and optimal sound quality. Yurbuds In-Ear Inspire Headphones, priced at just $28.88, feature a unique TwistLock and FlexSoft technology, practically guaranteeing they’ll stay inside your ear comfortably. Yurbuds are sweat and water-resistant and available in pink and aqua. It should be noted that this particular model is designed for women with smaller ears, but there are several different types of Yurbuds worth considering for both men and women.
8. Fitness Tracker: One of my new favorite fitness tech devices is my Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity Band. More than just a pedometer, this wearable tech device can track steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, and amount/quality of sleep. The silicone band housing the device is water resistant (which means you can swim and shower with it) and the device itself can be synced to provide real-time data on your progress. Whether you’re using the elliptical at the gym, running on the beach or simply chasing after your kids, the Fitbit Flex is a must for helping you achieve your fitness goals.
9. Post Workout Snacks: Admittedly, I’ve never quite understood the proper way to use energy bars and protein shakes. However, I do know that right after a run I’m famished and I’ve often carried a small snack in my gym bag to tide me over until the next meal. Walmart offers a Vegan Raw Protein Powder from Bodylogix which includes pea protein, potato protein, chia seed protein, hemp seed protein, organic sprouted whole grain brown rice protein, and quinoa protein.
10. Gym Bag: Juggling busy schedules means that it is very easy for me to get disorganized. Having a dedicated bag for my workout essentials is a must. I keep that bag in my trunk filled with all of the items on this list so that I can work out at any time in any location without excuses. With a practically limitless selection of colors, sizes, and styles, the perfect gym bag is simply a matter of choice. Walmart offers several affordable bags under $20 and more stylish ones like Jenni Chan’s Signature Soft Gym Duffel. Spacious and stylish, this bag is available in 4 varying prints/colors and retails for $45.99.
What essentials do you have in your gym bag?
For more workout clothing and accessories, visit Walmart.com.