Being healthy and living an active lifestyle is transcending across the globe, and that includes both living and looking the part. Luckily, we’re out of the phase of old t-shirts and oversized shorts to make room for athletic wear that makes us feel powerful and strong. But are the expensive brands really worth it? Here are a few thoughts to consider when selecting your workout gear:
Quality is Better Than Quantity
If the cost of some of the better brands is concerning, keep in mind that swiping your card on one solid pair of yoga pants or running shorts is ultimately better than purchasing multiple pairs of inexpensive workout clothing.
Athletic clothing is often designed from materials that provide amenities such as UV protection, waterproof, or windproof that allow the fabric to both last longer and perform the way you need them to. While something more affordable may look and potentially even feel the same, it’s likely that it doesn’t provide you with the same benefits a more expensive piece would.
To keep you from overspending, make sure you’re investing in workout pieces that will receive the most wear and tear, and that you’re selecting items that will be most effective to your workout.
For example, you don’t need a luxury winter running wardrobe if you’re not training for a marathon and you don’t need overpriced yoga pants if you’re not a yogi. If you’re unsure of the most effective use for some of the nicer brands, check the tag! Brands work to effectively design athletic pieces for specific uses, so you should be able to find the information you need on the tag.
Improve Your Motivation
Making time for fitness can be difficult, and one of the best ways to keep yourself motivated in your journey is to invest in clothing items that make you feel like a boss. Dropping a few extra dollars on the right apparel will not only allow your workouts to be more effective but will encourage you to actually use them!
Simply put, different styles and materials will change the way you work out. Nicer materials and better design technology is totally worth the extra cash!
What Brands Should You Consider?
While the leading athletic wear brands such as Lululemon or Athleta are an easy go to, there are quite a few brands out there that fly under the radar. Here are a few to try!
- Cynthia Rowley Fitness
- Sweaty Betty
- Splits 59
Don’t hesitate to check out Old Navy, Gap, or Target as well! Find the right athletic wear that will work best for you, your workout, and your bank account!
Social media is a powerful tool, especially for the fitness world. Instagram offers the opportunity to keep yourself accountable on your fitness journey, a variety of workout options to fit your lifestyle, a chance to build a community for support, and more. There are countless fitness personalities on Instagram that offer daily or weekly workouts, diet tips, and of course, selfies of well-sculpted bodies with inspirational quotes or anecdotes looking to encourage others.
But the overwhelming exposure to such a vast assortment of fitness subculture through Instagram can have extremely negative effects on body image and even be dangerous to our health. What is the dark side to Instagram fitness programs? How do we keep ourselves from falling into the black hole of the perfect lifestyles that are portrayed by social media? Here are a few things to consider:
It’s natural to assume that someone who looks fit, toned, and thin is an expert in health and wellness. Plenty of Instagram fitness personalities, including Kayla Itsines with over 9 million followers, have managed to develop their own programs and turn their following into a substantial business. Kayla offers a variety of different programs, encourages participants to share their before and after stories, and has proven that her methods can deliver results.
One thing to remember, however, is that not every fitness personality is an expert. Someone sharing their fitness regime on their Instagram story is not a guarantee that they are aware of the safest and most effective ways for you to get healthy. Social media is saturated with so much fitness content that some of it, flat out, is not going to be good for everyone. Not everybody can handle high intensity workouts, restrictive diets, or lifting heavy weights- what your body needs and where you are on your health and wellness journey is unique to you.
The most important thing to remember is that most of the influencers offering health and fitness tips are offering just that- tips. They’re not guaranteed to show you the results you may be looking for, so be sure to put your own health first and avoid practices that could result in injury or other negative results.
No one can argue that these influencers and other social media personalities have good intentions in sharing their fitness tips and suggestions, and the countless comments from grateful people does show that lives have changed for the better. However, there is a lurking harmful underbelly to this culture that could be causing the positive message to be backfiring.
Despite the attempt at promoting self-love and body positivity, the fact remains that there is a huge disconnect between the images being posted and the inspirational quotes that accompany them. Many of these celebrities or fitness personalities will encourage you never to compare yourself to others including them, while displaying a photo of their washboard abs.
Consistent exposure to photos that are so perfectly posed suggesting programs that guarantee that same body in 6 weeks is causing participants to engage in habits that are far beyond the reaches of a healthy lifestyle. In attempts to obtain the “ideal” body type, or rather the photo they’re being shown that sets the bar higher than may be possible, users are actually hurting themselves. It can result in having a negative relationship with food, over-exercising, or injuries trying to gain the perfect Instagram body.
Additionally, making your fitness journey about before/after photos shifts your motivation to get healthy to your physical appearance, rather than internal health. You’ll end up finding yourself comparing your after photos to fellow participants wondering why your results weren’t the same, causing damage to your self-esteem.
Health Comes First
Of course, there are positives to the Instagram fitness influencers and what they offer to their audience. These plans and programs provide an outpour of support from fellow participants and are offered at a relatively lower cost than other fitness options. However, it’s important to remember that your emotional and physical health come first.
Not all of these influencers are qualified to hand out advice, so it’s important to take their tips with a grain of salt and be sure to run any new fitness or diet program by a professional first. Listen to your body, know your limitations, and most importantly don’t follow any accounts that cause you to feel bad about yourself. Social media shouldn’t become detrimental on your journey to overall better health and wellness- fill your exposure with positive messaging to prevent the development of dangerous habits.
Most importantly, remember that fitness and health are not about sweaty selfies, developing six-pack abs, or those before and after photos. It’s about finding the right habits you need to incorporate into your life that can allow you to become the best version of yourself!
For additional health and wellness tips, including 5 Ways to Make Living a Healthy Lifestyle Easier, be sure to check out our blog!
Sushi bowls can be just as delicious as sushi rolls (and much easier to prepare at home)! Whip up this great salmon, avocado, cucumber Sushi Bowl today!
2 wild salmon filets (raw or cooked)
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
½ English cucumber, sliced
4 sheets nori
½ avocado, sliced
2 cups cooked sushi rice
½ cup mayonnaise with olive oil
1 tablespoon sriracha
- Prepare sriracha aioli: Stir together mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl until combined. (You can also skip the aioli and just drizzle with soy sauce for a lightened up version.)
- To assemble Salmon Sushi Bowls, divide sushi rice between two bowls. Top with salmon, edamame, cucumber, nori, avocado and sriracha aioli. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.
Living a healthier life doesn’t begin and end with the gym-it starts with taking a look at your habits. If you’re looking to live an overall healthier and happier lifestyle, it starts with getting rid of bad habits that may be responsible for keeping you from seeing the progress you should be seeing. What are some of the habits that we should quit to achieve both health and happiness? Here are 11 common bad habits that you can quickly kick to start seeing a better you.
Being a Couch Potato
Downtime is important for you to recover from the stressors of daily life, but too much can be unhealthy. As a general rule, you should be getting around 150 minutes of moderate exercise, 75 minutes of rigorous exercise, or some combination of the two every week.
Included in your exercise should also be strength training. This doesn’t mean you need to train for the Olympics, but at least two days of strength training a week is better for your overall health. You will also find that strength training increases your metabolism and makes everyday activity easier.
Too Much Booze
Drinking a lot is a quick way to become unhealthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heavy drinking is defined as 15 drinks or more per week for men, and 8 drinks or more for women. Going above these amounts regularly can lead to weight gain, chronic diseases or even cancer.
This doesn’t mean you need to cut out drinking altogether! Moderate drinking is perfectly fine- however, keep in mind it’s not necessarily adding to your health. If you are drinking often enough where you are getting regular hangovers, it’s likely you’re overdoing it. Make sure you’re sticking within the parameters to prevent the detrimental effects drinking too much can have on your health.
If you’re a smoker, you’re lowering your life expectancy every time you light up. Smokers boost their risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and a variety of other health issues that are nothing to turn your nose up to.
Contrary to popular belief, this does include e-cigarettes. E-cigs contain nicotine and several other harmful chemicals that are harmful to your health. If you’ve considered quitting but haven’t followed through, now is the time! While quitting smoking is way easier said than done, it’s completely worth it to improve your overall health.
Not Eating Healthy
This goes without saying, eating well is important for your health. However, there is another aspect to unhealthy eating habits- those who constantly attempt strict diets and end up falling off the wagon time and time again.
Consistently attempting restrictive diets, or “yo-yo dieting”, is not a sustainable method to maintaining a healthy weight and healthy habits. When you inevitably go off your diet, it’s likely that you will gain back the weight you lost, and this type of dieting can cause issues with your health such as heart disease or high blood pressure. Building your life around healthy eating patterns that are not restrictive or rooted in deprivation is going to allow you to maintain the balance your body needs.
Using Screens Before Bed
Putting away the screens before bedtime is critical not just to prevent you from losing sleep, but to increase the quality of your sleep. Lowing your exposure to blue light will prevent your sleep from being disturbed and secure your circadian rhythms.
Put your screens away roughly 20 minutes or so before bed to keep your sleep patterns healthy and allow for better quality rest.
Comparing Yourself to Others
This one is hard with the amount of exposure we have to social media. Seeing people posting constantly can cause you to feel bad about yourself, so it’s important to remember one thing: not everything on social media is what it seems. Social media is a mere fragment of another person’s life, and while some seem to have a plethora of positive changes in their life, you never know what is going on behind closed doors.
If you use social media, browse mindfully. Unfollow accounts that make you question your own choices or make you feel down about yourself. Use social media to follow accounts that allow you to feel connected to people you love and admire.
Worrying Too Much
Anxiety, worry, and stress are all some of the most common and often undetected bad habits that affect your health without you even realizing it. Too much stress can lead to a variety of chronic conditions such as a suppressed immune system or insomnia.
Reducing worry and stress is, of course, easier said than done. But there are a few things to remember. Most of what we worry about is not necessarily true. If you’re caught in tumultuous worry, take a moment, breathe, and ask yourself if there’s any rationale to your worry. It’s also important to ask yourself whether your worry is productive to solving whatever potential problem you have. If this doesn’t help you, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for additional coping mechanisms.
Being Too Negative
When things feel out of control or overly frustrating, complaining makes you feel like you’re doing something about it. Unfortunately, you’re not fixing anything by being negative about the situation. You’re ultimately teaching yourself to seek the negative aspects of a situation rather than the good.
If you find yourself being overly negative or complaining quite a bit, redirect your attention to the positive aspects of the situation. This doesn’t mean you’re accepting something you don’t like, it just means that you’re teaching yourself to look for things that you appreciate.
Not Sleeping Enough
We all know getting enough sleep is important to our health, but it’s common for us to deny ourselves of sleep in order to get everything done in our already busy lives. 1-3 adults currently don’t get enough sleep. However, getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night is vital to your health.
Being well rested doesn’t just keep you from falling asleep at your desk. A lack of sleep could have long-term effects on your cognitive health and prevents your body from recovering. Start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier- you’ll notice that getting enough sleep becomes more of a priority. For details on how sleep deprivation affects your workout, check out our blog.
Being Too Distracted
It’s common for us to enjoy having distractions to keep the negative emotions or feelings at bay- whether it’s scrolling through Facebook, have a few drinks, or turning off our brain to binge a television series. But avoiding the hard things in life is a temporary solution with some dangerous long-term effects.
One of the keys to living a happy life is to face the difficult things head-on with every ounce of strength we have. This will ultimately lead to having better coping mechanisms for when life gets tough rather than turning to a distraction to pretend it’s not. If you find that you have trouble handling the difficult parts of your life, consider talking to a mental health professional.
Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Setting goals is the best way to achieve what we want in life but setting the bar too high for yourself can lead to disaster. Humans are resilient and adaptable, but change is best met with small steps and patience to ensure you develop habits that will cement the habits you need to be successful.
Don’t try to change too much too fast- set realistic goals for the successes you wish to see in your life and continue to make new ones once they’re achieved.
For more health and wellness tips, be sure to check out our blog every week for fitness tips, nutrition, recipes, daily workouts and more!
"If It Burns You’re Getting Closer." In need of a great weekend workout? Look no further! Complete both sets of this intense HIIT workout two times through.
SUMO SQUAT WITH DUMBBELL
When life causes healthy habits to become more difficult to maintain, what do you do? Push back, turn to old habits, and wait for the next “let’s get healthy” kick. Instead of accidentally sabotaging your own healthy life, focus on ways to make it easier. Being flexible with workouts, relieving some of the mental pressure, and focusing on small, attainable goals are just some of the simple ways to make living your healthy life easier.
If you’re running out of steam, here are a few ideas to get back on the health wagon once and for all. Living a healthy life doesn’t have to be hard!
Challenge: Getting Out of Your Own Way
It often feels hard to live a healthy lifestyle because we’re so rigid with ourselves.
“No, you can’t eat that!”
“Today I HAVE to do this workout.”
“On Saturday, I better get to yoga.”
The constant mental bullying makes living this healthy life feel hard and, in many cases, defeating. Suddenly, you’ve sucked all the fun out of taking care of your body and mind.
To make your healthy life easier, lighten up where you can. If you want to be active on the weekend, plan a hike or long walk with a good friend and then enjoy a yummy brunch. Instead of planning every workout ahead of time, choose the days you’ll workout and then let yourself move in whatever feels good for your body that day. If you’re feeling strong, make it a heavy lifting day. If you’re feeling mellow, find a yoga class.
Being healthy feels easier when you’re not bossing yourself around all the time or punishing yourself for not meeting your own expectations. Keep living healthy fun and positive!
Challenge: Busy Schedules
Sometimes the hardest part about working out is getting to the gym. Not only does the drive take time out of your already-busy day, but it seems like you lose motivation the second you get behind the wheel. Still, once you get there, you’re glad you went.
On the days when you’re teetering between the gym and the couch, opt for an at-home workout. Not only do you save time by not driving, but you can get moving right when motivation strikes.
Sign up for a subscription fitness service or turn to the dozens of free full-length online workouts. You’d be amazed how much you can sweat with minimal (or zero) equipment.
Challenge: Keeping Fitness Clothes in Good Shape
How long does it take your new fitness clothes to get smelly and worn out? Sometimes it’s just a matter of weeks before you’re back online ordering new pants and tops, which is both expensive and annoying. To keep your clothes in better shape, spend less, and make your healthy life easier, do one simple thing: change your detergent.
“In most cases, high tech fabrics are used to make activewear clothes, which tend to deteriorate when exposed to harsh chemicals. Therefore, pick out a mild and eco-friendly detergent that allows a gentle wash that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. Be sure to pay close attention to care labels as instructions often vary,” suggest cleaning experts at CD One Price Cleaners.
Challenge: Making Healthy Food Choices
Consider this scenario: You wake up late for work, quickly eat whatever you can find for breakfast, and run out the door without lunch. You get talked into going out to lunch with a bunch of co-workers and suddenly you’re digging into a greasy meal of burger and fries. The worst part: you sit at your desk feeling guilty the rest of the day.
If you had prepped your food earlier in the week, you would have had lunch, which may have given you the motivation to say no to your co-workers. Meal prep can also help you with snacks, breakfast prep, and planning healthy dinners.
When prepping, consider every meal and snack you’ll eat that week. Your prep list may include:
- Freshly cut fruit for smoothies. You can even freeze them for longer storage.
- Protein that needs to be pre-cooked for lunches. Think: turkey burgers, chicken, or tofu.
- Snack bags to take to work, including, nuts, crackers, pieces of cheese, fruit.
- Pre-cut veggies that are easy to toss into a pan throughout the week.
- Containers of almond butter or hummus for dipping veggies and fruit.
Challenge: Setting The Bar Too High
It’s easy to get excited about reaching for the stars when it comes to your health and fitness goals, but setting challenging, long-term goals is important, it could make your journey more stressful if they’re potentially unattainable. For example, if you’ve never run a day in your life, and plan to compete in a 10k in one month, the training will likely to be miserable. You may even run the risk of injury by pushing yourself too far too fast.
Instead, push that 10k out for 4 months. Then set smaller goals leading up to your ultimate goal. Starting small will lead to better habits and an overall healthier lifestyle. Here are some ideas:
- Month 1: Run three times each week.
- Month 2: Beat my PR from month 1.
- Month 3: Run the 10k distance at least three times before the race.
- Month 4: Cross the finish line in 30 minutes or less.
In this way, you set yourself up for success while also pushing your body to adapt and change, keeping your stress levels manageable and your goals much more attainable.
Live an Easy, Healthy Life
Your healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard or stressful to maintain. Let a little pressure off, prioritize taking care of clothes (and spend less money on new ones!), and do what works for your schedule and your body. Soon, you’ll love living that healthy lifestyle so much, you’ll never want to go back!