It’s certainly no secret by now that I am getting into shape and working hard with a personal trainer (I was lucky enough to bag myself some sessions as part of a portfolio agreement where I literally have to bare all every 6 weeks in exchange for being shouted at in the gym!) as well as eating a much healthier diet and I’m well on my way to losing my third stone.
I’ve been getting so much encouragement as well as some lovely comments and messages from my readers, some people telling me how they have been re-inspired to get back into the gym, go for a run or a swim and generally get fit and healthy thanks to watching my candid photos and advice as I go.
I can’t tell you how amazing this feels to know that my honesty is helping others, but one comment or question I get a lot recently is “what do you wear when working out?” as fitness outfits don’t seem to come cheap in most shops you look.
Recently I was walking through Leeds and Manchester and both cities have a huge amount of running shops, bright, colourful and they lure you in with their sparkly trainers and twinkly running jackets, but at a high price in some instances, it’s a vice that I personally need to keep under control as I get more and more into my outdoor pursuits.
If you are just getting started, be it in the gym, a run or a game of netball to get you motivated, I would say don’t spend a fortune when cheaper sports wear is available and, in my opinion, is just as good.
When I first started out back in late November, I first stocked up in our local Sports Direct store in Cambridge. I still spent out a fair whack of money to adorn myself with lycra and a sports bra that might fit me (as a larger woman, it can be a daunting shopping experience when trying to find a skin tight bra that actually fits both your bust and your waistline, it’s stressful in all honesty!)
So here is what I currently wear when exercising, I hope that this helps a little and any questions, I’m happy to answer, just drop me a line.
To The Sports Bra:
It is said that most sports bras are tested in just one area, the breast bounce, however more designs are coming in and testing new areas such as chafing and general movement, I’d love to chat to the people behind this science and find out more, it’s actually really intriguing!
To start with, I simply went for a USA PRO lycra racer vest top, first in black with a crossed back and padded bra in place. This vest straps in the girls AND sucks in my body, which actually helps me with my posture when thinking about my core muscles, it’s great.
In fact, it passed the “bounce” test for me so much so that I went back and bought a second vest a few weeks later, this time in neon pink for a splash of colour.
For me, this does the job and it’s comfortable under everything else I wear or alone if it’s a warm day or a particularly sweaty session. I wore this for hot yoga and it helped to soak up the sweat dripping from me as I went, it’s perfect and cost me just £8.
My Bottom Half:
I’ve collected so much sports wear over the years, so I had a few M&S capris and joggers to continue with, however I did invest in two pairs of USA Pro three quarter leggings and they are perfect for running and squatting in the gym in.
These are made from a lycra material and have a small zipped pocket for change and a key should you need it when out and about. These came in at £12.50 a pair and I wear them most of the time currently, as I have long legs, these don’t look too odd on me, whereas some three quarter lengths can look like shorts on me at 5ft 10!
I did also buy myself some Puma shorts, however these I can’t quite get to grips with as they ride up my inner leg as I run and I spend most of the time pulling them out of unladylike positions, so I tend to go for stretchy leggings now, much more flattering and I feel “held in” as I race around.
I’m currently on “Operation Funky Trouser” to slim down enough to look amazing in a pair of geometric running tights – zebra print I reckon ; )
I have quite a collection of t-shirts, some plain old logos such as a comfy blue BENCH top and David Bowie prints on them for more casual exercise and some are more professional style tops to wick the sweat and do cost a little more money as a result.
When it came to going a little more “pro” on my running and cycling gear, I headed to Go Outdoors in Bedford, a huge outdoor warehouse with everything you could ever wish for, including a life size model of a horse that you can mount, should you so desire… ahem!
Here, I bought myself some short sleeved running t shirts, a North Ridge lightweight top (£10) that can be worn over my vest for a gym session, a Technicals lightweight cycling t shirt (£15), and an RAB microlight baselayer to wear in a breeze for running or under a jacket for cycling in the Lake District later this year. It wicks the sweat and keeps you warm, it’s the perfect addition to my clothing drawer and cost me around £20 with a Go Outdoors Membership card.
The membership card for this shop costs you £5, a little cheeky, but actually it saves you a huge amount of money on each item as you nosey around the store, it’s worth buying one if you plan to invest a little money into your gear.
A lovely friend I’ve made through running, Ian, also gave us his unneeded Adidas running t shirt, again this wicks any sweat and although is a much heavier item of clothing, it’s perfect for playing squash as it’s not restricting, but holds everything in as I race around. Originally given to my other half, it didn’t fit him, so I nabbed it, naturally – never turn down a freebie!
There’s nothing wrong with some swapping around as you lose weight, I think it’s a great idea, as not everything gets worn a lot when you are on a weightloss mission, so surround yourself by friends who are losing and you might be able to gain a few hand me downs : )
From Go Outdoors, I also bought a blue Dare 2b Intensify stretch top (it’s a mens top as it fits my bust better than the women’s did) and at £25 it was the best springtime purchase I made. This top goes over everything else and acts as a breathable jacket, allowing me to run without getting overheated, as my waterproof jacket would do to me. I wear it all the time, it has a tiny pocket in the back to pop your ipod into and it’s so light, you hardly feel it on, I love it.
I also invested in a lightweight Regatta jacket for snowy and rainy runs and circuits, there is a fab little outdoor and camping shop within Country Homes & Gardens in Melbourn, they always seem to have a little sale on and I picked my jacket and a running shirt up for £30 for the both, bargain central!
Even the mister bought a jacket and was thankful that he did on the cold days, it hasn’t stopped us getting out there, that’s the best thing… he’s hardcore, as he goes out in shorts in the bitter cold too, something I can’t do and stick to long leggings from the supermarket for cold weather leg coverage!
Trainers & Socks:
Socks can be as simple as trainer socks from your local supermarket, of which I go for and they do a perfectly good job for what I do fitness wise, or you can spend £20-£40 on high tech, sweat-soaking running socks, the foot world is your oyster.
What I would say is that if you are planning to walk, especially miles and miles in walking boots, make sure that you invest in some good quality walking socks. I have a pair of Sealskinz and they were the very best investment I made for my feet when hiking miles anywhere. They aren’t cheap, at around £28 a pair, but TRUST me when I say they are worth every penny. These are breathable and waterproof, thick and padded to protect your feet from blisters and soreness, these also protect your ankles and legs around the top of your walking boot where they can sometimes rub on longer walks – pop a pair of base layer socks on underneath for ultra comfort and no fluff between your toes!
I was given a pair of running shoes a few years ago, so these are what I wear today. I haven’t gone out and spent a fortune on trainers, as most people head out to do when they start up, but so long as they are comfortable FOR YOU, it doesn’t matter how much they cost or what brand they are, don’t get suckered in.
If you are going to buy new trainers, I have been told to head to a specialist shop for a proper consult/measure up and find out a bit more from the pros before you decide what you are going for – I’m going to need to do this myself very soon, it’s actually a fairly daunting consideration, so any advice or recommendations welcome!
I spent hours looking for swimsuits after my old one nearly disappeared as I left a spa swimming pool back in February – that moment was mortifying for all involved haha.
Good old M&S came up trumps in the end, going girly with a pink halterneck swimsuit, I found a shaped and padded bra swimsuit complete with detachable straps for various looks. It’s flattering, will last me a fair while and more importantly, everything stays in place when leaving the pool, the most important element for all of us gals. This came in at £29.50 and one thing I would note was that their swimsuits do come up on the smaller side of the sizing, so be warned, lots of squeezing, swearing and breathing in was required..
What do you wear for your keep fit pursuits? I’d love to hear your thoughts below….
Please Note – I paid my own way with every one of these items of clothing and I am in no means obliged to blog or write about them, but I simply choose to share my favoured products with my readers. Any questions or to discuss an independent review or “Secret Stay“, please do email: firstname.lastname@example.org