After I had my last baby, I started taking more interest in my health and fitness level. I’ve always been very active, but never focused much on truly being healthy. And being strong. I shared my weight loss experience and how I lost all my baby weight (from all four babies that added up over time–over 50 pounds) in my “Getting Healthy” series which you can read about here.
Today I wanted to share some of the things that help me reach all my health and fitness goals. I’m currently training for a marathon in May (well, still trying to talk myself into this one–it’s a huge time commitment), a triathlon sometime this summer, and a Spartan race in August (soooooo excited to do a Spartan race for the first time). All of these things below I use on a regular (or daily) basis to help me train and reach all of my fitness and health goals.
Can we talk about how many times I’ve launched my phone across the room from hitting the chord on my earphones while running on the treadmill. An embarrassing number of times. It’s a really good thing I have a tough-as-nails case for my phone. It’s been airborne and I’ve nearly had a Youtube worthy spill trying to dodge it more times than I’m comfortable with.
These wireless earbuds are my favorite. No more flying phone on the treadmill. And no more tangled chords when I’m running outside or riding my bike. I can put my phone anywhere near me and they work great. And they stay in my ears super well, even when doing high intensity activities (like burpees). By far one of my favorite purchases lately.
This is one thing I wish I would have used when I was initially trying to lose all my baby weight. You can read all about this Polar Heart rate monitor here and why it will make losing weight easier here. Definitely worth the investment to get some sort of heart rate monitor (doesn’t have to be this kind–I’ve had a few but like this one the best).
THREE: Camelbak Eddy Bottle
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, drinking loads and loads of water makes a HUGE difference in losing and maintaining weight. I leave a water bottle out on my counter and take one in the car with me so I remember to drink all day long. I don’t know the science behind it, but drinking more water makes a difference. I like Camelbak water bottles. I also like the bottles with hard straws so I can take quick sips every time I walk by.
FOUR: Procompression Socks
I’m new on the compression socks bandwagon and I plan to stay on the bandwagon. I LOVE these socks for days I do long runs or sprints. They’re comfortable, they’re cute, and they help my legs feel better. True story. They’re awesome. I get the Procompression brand–they always have GREAT sales so keep your eyes out for those and stock up! I often wear them for hours after I’m done doing long runs as well.
FIVE: Good Shoes
This one will be different for every person. But investing in GOOD shoes that fit your feet right is important. I’ve tried a lot of different brands of shoes. Right now, I’m loving the Nike Women’s Free 5.0+ Running Shoe for running. After reading the book Born to Run, I decided to try a more “free” type shoe and loved them. It took my feet some time to get used to not having much padding, but now these shoes work great for me. I have a different pair of shoes when I do cross-training stuff (exercise videos or lifting). My suggestion is to go to a store that is specifically catered to selling running/exercise shoes and do a running test on their treadmill. They can give great suggestions for what type of shoes work well for the way you run/exercise and for your specific feet. Or they can give recommendations for cross-training shoes (activities other than running). I personally like something light-weight and not bulky. And the arch has to hit my foot in just the right place.
SIX: Garmin Vivoactive
I don’t have the Vivoactive, but I’d love one. They track a lot of things I’d love to track. And you can get a chest strap for these so it can read your heart rate (as talked about above). They can also track distance for exercise.
I do not have a step tracker (Fitbit, Nike Fuel, Jawbone, etc.). You can see what I discovered when I wore 7 different pedometers on the same day at the same time here. It was really interesting.
SEVEN: Garmin 305 Forerunner
This is what I have for tracking distance when I run or bike. Although lately I’ve been using my phone more. I use the app Map My Run (you can change the setting for when you’re biking). I also hear great things about the app Strava. If I didn’t already have this, I’d invest in a Vivoactive.
This is great to put my protein shake in after I exercise. I make this protein shake often and love having the Blender Bottle to put it in. The little wire ball helps keep the shake mixed up. And it’s the perfect size to hold my after-exercise shakes.
NINE: Good exercise clothes
This will sound super shallow, but having “cute” workout clothes I think makes a difference. If you’re wearing a baggy t-shirt and 10 year old sweat shorts, I think you feel different than when you’re wearing something you feel good in. Does that make sense? The clothes we wear can often affect the way we act and the way we feel. So I recommend investing in some exercise clothes that make you feel like a bad a**. And lay those clothes out the night before so you’re all ready to put them on and exercise the next morning! I like to get clothes from the Nike outlet (I especially like Nike’s running shorts) or the Under Armor outlet when they have good sales. Old Navy sometimes has some good exercise clothes as well.
TEN: Exercise Program or specific goal.
You have to find some sort of program you like. Or set a specific goal. If you’re working toward something, it makes exercising so much easier. I did the BeachBody program Insanity to lose my baby weight. My husband likes P90x (I didn’t so much). I’ve also done T-25, Insanity Max:30, P90X3, and Body Pump. I like having a set number of days, knowing exactly what to do each day, and working toward that goal. I’ve also trained for several races which helps me know how much to run and when to do it.
If you don’t like exercise programs, try joining a gym like Crossfit or OrangeTheory fitness where you go to a set class and have some accountability to show up. Or come up with a specific workout program to do at home so you aren’t aimlessly making up things to do each day. You do NOT have to go to a gym to lose weight. But having specific goals and/0r programs can definitely help us be more efficient in the time we spend trying to lose weight/gain muscle and be healthy.
ELEVEN: The right food at the right time.
I shared some of the food I ate while losing weight here. People say abs are made in the kitchen. And a widely used statistic is weight loss success is 80% food and 20% exercise. You can’t out-exercise bad eating habits. Eating the right kind of “real” food (at the right times) can make a HUGE difference in your success. I also shared a few good food finds here.
I also share a bunch of super good healthy (and easy–easy is my jam) recipes on my Pinterest boards (come follow me there!). I’d also recommend following @cleansimpleeats on Instagram. I have no affiliation with her (don’t know her personally) but she shares a lot of really good recipes.
Getting healthy, getting strong, staying healthy, losing weight–it’s all a LOT of work. And it’s hard to find time. But if we’re smart about it and set ourselves up for success, it’s completely doable. We make time for what matters most to us. And health should certainly be on that list. Here are a few more tips to help you on your journey to good health.
If YOU have anything that has helped you on your fitness journey, I’d LOVE for you to share them with me.
(affiliate links to amazon included in this post. Nothing is sponsored. I just use and LOVE these products.)