Gearing Up for a Healthier 2020

Jessica Thiefels Personal TrainerWhen the calendar turns to a new year, plenty of people focus their attention on fitness and starting a new workout routine. If that means investing in a new treadmill or weight lifting equipment for the home gym, great. But getting ready for a more active lifestyle can be as simple as adding a few accessories or making sure you're outfitted for the task. Jessica Thiefels has a few tips to help. 

Jessica has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a content marketing consultant, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Honest Body Fitness. Follow her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for health articles, new workouts and more.

When you’re outfitted for success, you’re more likely to reach those 2020 health goals because you feel great during every workout. To do this, however, you have to plan your workout gear based on more than just looks. Choose clothes that fit your workout needs and accessories that fit your body’s needs. Use this gear up guide to do exactly that. Prep for a healthy new year and a healthier you with the right gear.

Sneakers and Gym Shoes

Shoes support your entire body and the right pair is not only comfortable, but can also help you avoid injury and carry you through a tough workout. Whether you’re running or lifting weights, there are many factors to consider when choosing shoes, and Thomas Watson, UESCA-certified running coach, ultrarunner, and founder of Marathon Handbook breaks it down.

For Running

First and foremost, you need to know what kind of running you plan to do because running shoes come in three broad varieties, says Watson, including:

  • Road-running shoes: Designed for the tarmac, sidewalk, and treadmill.
  • Trail-running shoes: Designed to be worn in rugged terrain and provide better grip for off-road running.
  • Cross-training shoes: For gym and funcitonal training workouts, and not usually suitable for longer runs.

While barefoot running has become popular, when choosing shoes, Watson advises picking a style with some cushion. If you do want to experiment with barefoot running, start slow: “For runners keen to try out natural or barefoot-style running, the message is to ease into it. This style means a huge change in running gait, and runners will often experience aching calves and soles as they transition to a minimalist style.

Focus on finding shoes with cushioning that feels good on your foot. “For me, the number one factor in choosing a running shoe should always be comfort,” says Watson.

A few other technical considerations:

  • Make sure that there's roughly a thumb-width space between your toes and the end of the shoe.
  • Make sure there’s no rubbing or tightness. “Any slight discomfort you perceive when trying on a shoe will simply get worse when you start running in them.”

For Cross-Training

When choosing cross-training shoes, it's important to focus on both comfort and functionality, suggests Watson. He explains, “When doing gym work you want a shoe with little cushioning and minimal heel drop—this keeps your feet in contact with the ground, which is useful for ground feel and stability during cross-training. If you’re strictly a gym goer, shoes with minimal cushioning is okay. However, “If you're going to mix it up with some running, some cushioning is necessary.”

At the end of the day, comfort is critical as well. Two ways to make sure the shoe is comfortable include:

  • Focus on foot type: narrow, regular or wide.
  • Check the toe box: “Make sure there's a thumb space left between your toe and the end of the toe box.”

Sports Bra

Supporting the chest is important for women of all shapes and sizes, but choosing the right sports bra can be challenging with so many styles and brands to choose from. Bridget Kilgallon, founder of Tera Kaia, explains the first step toward finding that perfect fit. “Finding a sports bra that fits well is difficult because most companies use the same standard measurements and don’t take into account different body types. It can be frustrating, so look for companies who are really doing something different when it comes to fit.”

For example, at her company, Têra Kaia, all their sports bras based on feedback and measurements from many women with a wide range of body types. This means you’re more likely to find one that fits as good as it looks. Regardless of the brand you choose, you still need to determine your unique size. To do so, follow these steps, according to REI:

  1. Measure your rib cage, just beneath your breasts. This measurement  translates to band size.
  2. Measure your bust size at the fullest part of your breast—then round up to the nearest inch.
  3. Subtract the rib cage measurement from the bust size measurement to get your suggested cup size.

In addition to fit, don’t forget to consider which style of sports bra will be most supportive during workouts. For example, you may need more chest coverage for high-impact activities, like running, versus low-impact activities like weight lifting or yoga. Just because it looks great doesn’t mean it will support you, so take all factors into consideration.

Headphones

If you get pumped up with music during workouts, you need the right headphones. In 2020, you have many options, making it hard to choose the best fit and style for your needs. Start by choosing between standard versus wireless:

  • When running, you can get away with standard AV wire headset, though the chord may bounce against your body.
  • When weight lifting or doing HIIT, having wireless headphones is suggested. These tend to be more expensive than standard headphones.

One of the most popular headphone styles, both wireless and traditional, is the earbud style, yet these can be poor-fitting, especially when you begin to sweat. To get them to stay in your ears during your workout, check out these sizing tips from Suzanne Kantra with Techlicious:

  • Most earbuds have silicon or foam tips—foam tends to provide a better fit for those who struggle to get earbuds to stay.
  • You may need two different sizes for each ear, so try all the tip options for each ear.
  • Put the earbud in correctly. “Try gently pulling on the outer rim of your ear to ease the tip into a comfortable position. You should notice a drop in ambient noise when the tip is seated correctly,” explains Kantra.
  • If needed, pull the wire up over top of your ear with the “left” earbud the right ear and vice versa, to hold the earbud in.

You can also avoid earbuds altogether and use traditional, over-the-head style headphones.

Spandex and Pants

If you’re gearing up for the gym, you’re likely throwing on some sort of comfortable pants that are easy to move in. When choosing between workout pants and spandex, Caleb Backe, Certified Personal Trainer and Health & Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, explains: “Even though spandex yoga pants are extremely comfortable, they aren’t ideal to run in since the additional nylon will trap in heat, causing you to sweat more and may cause more chafing.”

As a runner, focus on choosing spandex that allow for breathing and have moisture-wicking features. The best material for that is: polyester. Backe says: “Many think that they need to avoid polyester, but in actuality, polyester can be weaved in a certain way to make it a wicking fabric. It can basically help cool down whoever is wearing it.”

Ultimately, however, Backe suggests that exercise pants might be more comfortable than yoga pants, even during a yoga class, especially if you think you’re going to sweat a lot. When gearing up for your 2020 workouts, invest in a mix of spandex and standard workout pants to make sure you have an option for every type of workout.

Turn your new year resolutions into a reality by finding the best gear for your workout needs. With the right fit, you’ll be more comfortable, making workouts more enjoyable.