Last week, I gave you the scoop on the psychology of making exercise a habit.
Using the power of psychology is a big help, for sure. But I also know that having the right tools makes exercise way more fun…and more likely to stay a habit.
Things like functional and attractive workout clothes. (Admit it…you’re more likely to head to the gym if you feel pretty in your workout clothes. You’re human, after all.)
Or great teachers who know exactly how to help you get the results you want.
A couple of fitness industry friends recently sent me some goodies to try. I’ve played around with them and decided they’re cool enough to share with you. (I don’t say nice things about products I don’t think are valuable, even if they’re made by people I know and like. I’m picky like that.)
So if you’re looking for more ways to turn exercise from drudgery to fun and fabulous, read on for two of my new favorites.
As a fitness geek and professional, I’ve tried my fair share of fitness apparel over the years.
Until recently, Lululemon was my brand of choice – with their durable fabrics, flattering designs, predictable sizing, and thoughtful performance details (like key pockets in the running gloves), it was easy for me to walk into a store and pick stuff up without even trying it on. The fitness instructor discount didn’t hurt either. ;)
But sometime last year – even before the mini-scandal with the founder of the company – I’d lost interest and no longer loved the design direction Lululemon was headed.
So when I met the founders of Turn It On Fitness, I was in full “I need a new fitness apparel brand!” mode and more than happy to try their new “designer fitness wear.” (Full disclosure: I spoke with Turn It On about consulting for their company towards the end of last year, but that relationship didn’t materialize. We’re just friends.)
Designed by a Project Runway finalist and manufactured entirely in the U.S., Turn It On gear intends to bridge the gap between fashion and fitness.
Both did great while I was cycling – stayed put and were generally comfortable. I particularly loved the open back design of the top…a cool and different detail. I also wore the top under a jacket one day as “real clothes” and loved it except for the fact that I couldn’t wear a bra underneath – even a strapless bra because of the open back – and it doesn’t have bra cups in the bust (one of my favorite features of Lululemon tops).
If you’re looking for fitness apparel that’s functional and fun to wear, definitely check out Turn It On. The pricing is comparable to most other high-end fitness brands, and I’ve learned from experience that it’s worth paying the extra money for quality when it comes to workout clothes. They just last longer.
Brooke Siler and her book The Pilates Body are the reason I became a Pilates instructor. And her new book, a collaboration with Women’s Health Magazine called (appropriately) The Big Book of Pilates, is quickly becoming my new Pilates bible.
Brooke is the owner of re:AB Pilates in NYC and a sought-after fitness expert and celebrity trainer. When I first discovered Pilates in the late 90’s, I picked up a copy of The Pilates Body to self-train until I could afford to workout at a studio. Brooke’s knack for breaking down exercises and offering visual cues for how the exercises should feel in your body is truly masterful.
Fast forward through my Pilates instructor training and several years of teaching in both NYC and Seattle, and I still refer to The Pilates Body on occasion when working out myself or helping clients understand the exercises.
Brooke sent me a copy of The Big Book of Pilates, and I’ve loved using it in my workouts lately. As both a student and teacher of Pilates, I’ve been blown away by how comprehensive and useful it is.
Organized in several different ways – by training goal, postural challenge, and skill level, to name a few – The Big Book of Pilates allows you to customize your workout and never get bored. And while I’m not actively teaching Pilates, I found it incredibly useful as a resource for creative class routines/ideas…something that every instructor needs on occasion.
If you’re just starting out with Pilates, I highly recommend taking a few private sessions with a qualified instructor before going it alone. The Big Book of Pilates will be a valuable addition to your home workout library once you’ve gotten the hang of the basics.
What about you? Have you discovered any great new fitness tools lately…things that help you feel great about exercising and stay on track? Share them in the comments.
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