Tag: fitness

Fitness Swellness: Shopping for budget-friendly summer fitness gear

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With the pandemic, I feel as though there are two camps: those who’ve let their fitness fall to the wayside, and those who’ve dived in and are more fit than ever. And to keep your fitness groove on that track, I truly believe getting some proper gear for your workouts will be a big motivating factor. Of course, you can keep using the old apparel you dug out but over time, those sport bras lose elasticity and those shorts have seen better days. Besides that, working out in fitness gear that you feel good in makes it that much more likely you’ll be eager to do another sweat session.

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But everything in the world seems uncertain right now, and many of us are trying to be smarter with how we’re spending (maybe you’ve been furloughed or you’re on CERB, for example). The good news is if you have a small budget, you can still score some great gear for your new active lifestyle. My four tips on how to shop for easy-on-the-wallet gear:

1. Check out retailers outside of the usual brands. Canadian-owned family discount store Giant Tiger, for example. They carry their signature brand of fitness gear, ACX Active, which comes in plus-sizes too and includes shoes, and I can tell you firsthand that the gear is soft and comfortable. I’ve been living in the bike shorts ($6!), and the shoes, while I wouldn’t run a marathon in them, I’ve walked many kilometres in them for the virtual race I’m completing this summer.

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2. Try everything on in the store (even pieces that don’t immediately grab you as your personal style). Firstly, you should try fitness gear on in the store before you buy so you can ensure it is comfortable and suits the activity you’re planning on wearing it for (so if it’s for running, try a little jog in the store, or do a sun salutation if it’s gear you want to wear for yoga). But secondly, you may be surprised by what pieces you like the most once you try the pieces on. Fitness gear often doesn’t show well on a hanger, but once you get it on, you’ll notice the perfect length of a pair of shorts, or the soft drape of the fabric of a t-shirt you weren’t sure about. I knew I loved this orange sport bra ($12!) as soon as I saw it and was even happier once I tried it on and saw how flattering it is.

3. Don’t be afraid to customize the pieces. On the hanger, the piece might not be totally you but don’t limit yourself to wearing the piece as is, and remember this as you’re in the change room trying things on. Think of how you can style the pieces to suit your personal style. Knot that tee or even crop it with a pair of scissors (I love the drape of the blue tank top, and am planning on cropping it).

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4. Add in other summer fitness essentials at Giant Tiger while you’re building your fitness wardrobe. Caps, sunglasses, and sunscreen for example. One of my all-time favourite SPF products is Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Lotion. It goes on and disappears into the skin (it does leave an extremely subtle, flattering luminescence) so I happily slather it on daily (and a derm once told me the best sunscreen for you, if you’re undecided on say SPF 30 versus SPF 45, is the one that you’ll use regularly). For especially hot and humid days (when you’re sweating more and/or plan to be in and out of the water often), another great option is Coppertone Sport SPF 30 Lotion, since it is water resistant.

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Feeling good and looking good as you exercise can be what pushes you to keep up these healthy new habits, and getting some great new options that won’t drain your bank account is worth it. Consider it a small investment into your self-care. 

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Leave a Comment August 4, 2020

Fitness Swellness: Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee race recap

Leave a Comment July 2, 2020

Fitness Swellness: Setting my 2019 race goals

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A better title for this post would be re-setting my 2019 race goals. Because I had spring 2019 goals, that I’ve had to adjust.

I kicked off the year thinking I’d run Around the Bay (I haven’t run it in several years, not since 2014) and the spring Goodlife Toronto Marathon (which I last ran in 2015). And so I ran regularly. Having trained for 12 marathons thus far, I didn’t look at a particular race schedule but rather worked on slowing increasing my distance and mixing in speed work or hills, along with some steady easy runs, and I was more or less on track in terms of total mileage more towards the beginning of the year.

But the winter weather wasn’t very motivating. Add the fact that I seem to continuing my streak of coming down with colds way too often. I also have a persistent pinched nerve in my neck that has me not feeling much like myself for the past five weeks. (I haven’t yet seen a physio yet; the plan was to go this week, and then I came down with a cold!).

I called off running Around the Bay when a couple of weeks ago, I was at the start of my long run of the week and realized my fitness is nowhere near where I’d need it to be to PB in the marathon in May. Since it was highly unlikely I’d run a PB, I didn’t see the point of training for a spring marathon. You have to really want to run a marathon, and with my heart not in it, well, the truth of it is, I know I can complete a marathon…so I don’t want to just finish another 42.2k race. It won’t be significant to me to just complete it or much fun.

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I knew calling off doing Around the Bay and a spring marathon was the right move when the idea solidified in my head to not race them and all I felt was a rush of relief. Not having to plod through long runs through the grey and (then) slushy streets. I felt a hundred times lighter by just deciding to delete them from my calendar.

But today I realized my secondary goal is now out of reach as well. I had thought I’d try to turn my fastest half-marathon. which I have not focused on since moving up to the marathon distance. But I’ve procrastinated (or been out of commission thanks to colds or my silly pinched nerve problem) too long and now the Goodlife race weekend is just four weeks away. I haven’t slashed this from my schedule yet. But if I run it, it’ll be to just run it for fun, because I have not focused on improving my speed so I am not in shape to PB. A half I think can be fun, for me, a marathon is too long and grueling to be fun, no matter how slow and easy you take it.

What this means now is that fall is the focus. Which means a summer of training in the heat. I think I commit to training best when I’ve got a race I am registered for (not just tentative race goals). The easiest would be to just keep it local and run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (I last ran the half was in 2016)…but I’m thinking I should do a destination race.

One fitness goal that I did accomplish so far this year? Making it through all eight weeks of working out with Nike on Thursday mornings (I may have been late almost every week, but this non-morning person got her butt there!). With my scattered schedule for the past several years finally settling into a much less stressful routine, I’m really happy that I was able to attend all eight weeks of this program. It’s funny the things you come to appreciate. I still adore traveling and am itching to get away but it’s also incredibly comforting to be home and follow through on things like this.

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Photographer, Hanna Kim-Yoo for Nike Toronto.

2 Comments April 4, 2019

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