The New Year is a great time to get into shape and there is no better way to do so than with the perfect workout gear. From stylish activewear to motivational yoga mats, become a fitness enthusiast this year and look chic even when you sweat!
1. Molami Bight Nappa Black and Gold Headphones, BUY NOW, $200
Molami is the ultimate in sleek headphone design and quality headphones can really make or break your fitness routine! The brainchild of industrial designer Maria von Euler, these headphones are sculpted to frame and enhance the feminine face. From their braided textile-wrapped chords to their gold and silver plated accents, no detail is overlooked. The Bight Nappa Black and Gold style is futuristic chic with excellent sound quality. They’ve only recently launched in the United States and have already been spotted everywhere from the runway to Style.com‘s fashion radar.
2. Blake Brody In-Studio Footwear, BUY NOW, $98
Blake Brody makes extremely stylish In-Studio Footwear designed specifically for use while practicing your dance moves, yoga poses or Pilates. People Magazine, Vogue and Allure have featured these flats, which are ergonomically designed to compliment the foot’s natural range of motion with their elastic collar and padded footbed for comfort. These adorable flats are on every yogi’s radar and recently caught the attention and foot of fashionista, socialite and Marie Claire blogger Amanda Hearst.
3. Red Daisy Ginger Low-Rise Long Pant, BUY NOW, $95
The Red Daisy Ginger Low-Rise Long athletic pant is a stylish long tight with special side panels engineered with horizontal and vertical stretch that provide light compression throughout your legs. Their double fabric technology contours the body, slimming your silhouette to make your butt and thighs instantly look thinner! They are a total style upgrade and their fabrication gives you a more efficient workout than regular cotton leggings.
4. Alo Uber Cozy Hoodie, BUY NOW, $89
Layering is crucial for staying warm and healthy while working out during the winter months and I love this Alo style. The zip front hoodie is lined with super soft sherpa and is great for an outdoor run or post work-out cover up. Jessica Alba, Eva Mendes and Ellen Pompeo are notorious Alo fans and have been spotted in the activewear while working out and running errands around town.
5. Yogamatic Keep Calm Personalized Yoga Mat, BUY NOW, $89
A great way to practice yoga is atop the motivational mantra to “Keep Calm and Carry On” on Yogamatic’s personalized mat! Did you know this recently popularized slogan originated in 1939 as a way to ensure the people’s awareness that King George VI was adequately defending the country? And although I love this style, Yogamatic will custom make any image into your favorite yoga mat. The personalized gear are favorites of celeb yogis Halle Berry, Kate Bosworth and Molly Sims, whose mat is an adorable picture of her dogs.
6. Anatomie 3/4 Sleeve Henley in Pink, BUY NOW, $89
This 3/4 sleeve Anatomie Henley is one of my favorite tops to wear over a workout tank when going to the gym or exercise class. It is super soft, perfect for layering and has snap-button details for added style. Jennifer Aniston’s yoga teacher, Mandy Ingber loves their stylish and high quality designs.
7. Red Daisy Princess Camisole Tank, BUY NOW, $81
Designed out of the overwhelming need for a sleek and supportive workout bra, Red Daisy specializes in creating sports bras that provide excellent support from inside the bra cups rather than relying on bulky straps. Their comfortable and strong fabrics are made out of patented material from EuroJerseySPA, a specialty Italian mill and have been featured in both national and international publications like Women’s Wear Daily. I love the color of The Princess Camisole Tank, it is feminine and chic with great overall support.
8. Primsport V-Neck in Watercolor, BUY NOW, $72
Notorious for their intricate patterns and stand out designs, Primsport is perfect for spicing up a drab workout wardrobe. In fact, it was born out of three women’s passion (including the wife of Vogue veteran Tom Florio) for fitness and a vision to put the life back into traditional tennis clothing. Their V-Neck in Watercolor design is stylish and a great option for the fitness gal on the go as it looks like a regular shirt when worn with jeans.
9. Lululemon Power Y Tank in Lilac Heathered Coal, BUY NOW, $52
Lululemon’s Power Y Tank is one of many great pieces from the activewear line which has a cult following of everyone from Michelle Obama and Kelly Ripa to Gisele Bundchen and Jennifer Lopez. The body skimming fit ensures that this top won’t ride up, regardless of the intensity of your workout. This sleek activewear looks feminine in lilac and has a built in shelf bra that is lined with COOLMAX technology to wick away sweat. These tops are preshrunk so they run one size small.
10. Things Remembered Stainless Steel Water Bottle, BUY NOW, $25
Water bottles are essential to every fitness enthusiast. They are not only better for the environment, but unlike plastic, the stainless steel bottle makes sure water tastes pure with every sip. This 16 oz. design has a unique flip-top straw and the bottle can be engraved, so you can choose to etch on your favorite motivational mantra!
11. SPIBelt Small Personal Items Belt, BUY NOW, $19.95
The SPIBelt Small Personal Items Belt is a must have for runners! These slim pouches won’t bounce or ride up during the most rigorous of workouts, so it’s no wonder that it has become a favorite of marathon winner Jeanette Wang. They stretch tremendously to fit your phone, iPod and keys, and come in a variety of colors to suit any workout wardrobe. I am loving mine and they sure beat the look of a fanny pack.
I realize you may wear a suit to work or some kind of formal office attire that requires you to change before hitting the gym, but what about on weekends? Or when you leave the gym after a workout? Save time by dressing in fitness apparel that’s more transitional–something you’re proud to be spotted wearing. I’m talking about sportswear that’s sleek, comfortable, and stays dry so that you can easily go from lunges to lunch.
Nux USA makes beautiful seamless body-wear and cover-ups for a stylish, layered street-wear look after the gym. The Refresh Poncho ($40) is a perfect example because it dresses up leggings and a tank. Nike Lunarglide+ 3 Shield shoes ($110) are great for running outdoors because they’re built with reflectors and enhanced water proofing. When it comes to your favorite scene-y lunch spot, their fashionable gray color makes them easier to get away with and it also hides any sign of dirt.
IMPORTANT TIP: The best way to create a transitional look is to invest in activewear that is built to reflect everyday fashion-wear trends. I like to look at fabric construction, embellishments, and fit.
Here are a few trends that will help you shop for some great Fall/Winter pieces:
- Snakeskin prints
- Drape-y cover ups (“the new hoodie”)
- Motorcycle biker chic inspired leggings & accessories (with zippers and faux leather)
- Jewel tone colors like sapphire and ruby reds mixed with shades of gray
See how I’ve mixed some of these trends in the fit look below. The gym bag shown is the Stella McCartney for adidas “Fun Bag” ($40)
Stella McCartney for Adidas also has these great Snakeskin Print Ballerina Shoes ($90) (sold in-store) which are beyond comfortable and easy to slip on and off before yoga or pilates. I’ve been wearing them everywhere and they’re easy to throw in your gym bag because they’re light as a feather. Toesox makes these great grippy socks which you can wear during pilates/yoga (for those of you who don’t like to go barefoot), and you don’t have to take them off after class. Just throw your sneakers back on and you’re off.
I’m always talking about BodyRock Sport because their collections are consistently delicious and eye-catching, like their Moto Jacket ($125), pictured at the top. Don’t be scared to push the envelope with pieces that have funky embellishments like shoulder chains. Workout clothes are usually pretty understated and a dressy item will step up your look (people won’t be able to guess that you were just at the gym).
I like to pair the Moto Jacket with a colorful capri or legging but if you want to stick to dark bottoms (which are usually more flattering), I recommend Splits59’s Nova Capri Tight with Sports Lame’ ($98). The vertical lame panels give your legs a longer, leaner look. Plus, it looks like leather, which I love! Both the jacket and capri bottom are made with spandex for stretch and moisture wicking…so even if you did get a little sweaty at the gym, you won’t look like it. And with this outfit on, you certainly won’t get kicked out of your favorite lunch spot.
Last but not least, these Menziessi Runner Shoes ($150) by Stella McCartney for Adidas leave me speechless. The snakeskin silicon print on the outside is trendy but subtle, and the shoe itself is more of a warm-up shoe than a bulky sneaker. Black sneakers always look dressier and the slimmer the shoe, the less attention they call to your feet or to the fact that you were just at the gym.
I think I’ve proven my point, ladies. All it takes are a few transitional items to make getting to the gym (and getting out of the gym) less of a hassle. The more you love your activewear, the easier it will be to pencil in that workout. I promise!
|Bianca Jade is the Founder and Editor of fitness, fashion and wellness website, MizzFIT.com. Featured on the Today Show as a Fitness Trend Expert and Celebrity Sportswear Stylist, she brings her readers from around the globe the latest trends in fitness apparel, gear and accessories. Bianca is committed to furthering a movement of feel-good exercise and female empowerment through her writing and webisode series called Fashionably Fit with MizzFIT where she teaches women how to Style Up 2 Shape Up.|
As an exercise professional in the fitness industry for almost 30 years, I have seen a lot of fads, trends, and crazes regarding classes, programs, and equipment. From high-impact to low-impact to step to spin; the constant focus on “cardio” has been and still is a very important component in the movement plan of many people. What’s easier than throwing on a pair of sneakers and going for a jog or a brisk walk? The gratification of cardio exercise is almost instant as you work your heart and lungs, challenge your breathing, endurance, break a sweat, and build detoxifying heat. Plus, the activity helps you to reduce your stress and relax.
If you are one who craves a group class rather than the lonely road there are the ever-popular spin classes where you ride a bike with a small group of other determined spinners to see who can go the fastest, ride the hardest, breathe the heaviest, sweat the most, and do it in a club-type setting with great music and atmosphere. Plus, even the most uncoordinated, tight-hamstring, slightly soft male can get on a bike and compete. The ladies are happy because now they can get their guys to accompany them to an event both social and physical: A spin class.
As a teacher who has worked with thousands of students who are on a mission to change their bodies and lives, I can honestly tell you that there is more to fitness than cardio workouts.
Almost like the media scares us into thinking we need flu shots, the public is also greatly misinformed when it comes to types and styles of exercise.
Is there any real need to work our heart muscles to an extreme over a 45-minute period? Does the heart muscle get stronger with such challenge? What are the systemic benefits of regular heart-muscle and cardio challenges like this? Am I healthier? Leaner? More fit? More flexible? Will I have a better chance of living longer because I do regular cardio exercise?
In most cases, the answer to all of these questions is either no, or not necessarily so.
Let’s take a look at what cardio exercise means:
Cardio is short for cardiovascular, which refers to the heart. Cardiovascular exercise, or “aerobics” as it was referred to in the ‘70s, is exercise that raises your heart rate and keeps it elevated for a period of time. The kinds of exercises that are associated with cardiovascular workouts are things like jogging, fast walking, spinning, and swimming, where there is no break in the routine. Exercises that emphasize stretch and strength, like pilates or yoga, are generally not considered cardio exercises, although both of these exercise systems can be performed with a “cardio effect” with the right pace and flow, and can certainly be combined with cardio workouts to great effect. There are more and more hybrid-style classes these days. At Exhale we teach our award-winning Core Fusion Cardio and Core Fusion Boot Camp classes, which combine cardio-type pace and flow with light weights and strengthening moves.
The benefits of cardio workouts
There is a hefty list of health benefits associated with doing cardio exercise. Here are some top reasons to include cardio in your workout routine:
- It strengthens the heart
- It strengthens the lungs and increases lung capacity
- It boosts the metabolism for the hour and helps you burns calories and lose weight
- It helps reduce stress
- It increases energy
- It promotes restful sleep
A true cardio workout is when you are working at around 60 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate for a minimum of 20 minutes. Simply stated, you should be able to talk while you are working out. If you are too winded to speak comfortably, your heart rate is probably too high and you need to slow down. The fat-burning cycle needs a very specific heart-rate zone, otherwise you won’t burn fat calories and will switch to an anaerobic energy cycle, which is more intramuscular energy supply and results in a different effect.
For the average American, walking is the exercise of choice, and if the walk is brisk and purposeful over time, a person can get the required cardio benefits needed to maximize his or her health. The need to push to extremes with intense cardio does not necessarily give you proportionately greater cardiovascular results in the end. It is the spirit of fun and competition that drives the hard-core runner, spinner, cardio junkie. They love the cardio high from exploring and challenging their limits, but in the end, their net results are no greater than the purposeful power walker who is choosing an activity that is much less stressful on the joints than running or jogging. Eventually, the knee, hip, and ankle joints of the runner could suffer from the pounding effect of the activity. Other forms of cardio exercise, like swimming, begin to make more sense.
What’s important to remember when choosing a movement plan is that the single most important component in fitness to maximize results and create life-enhancing changes is strength training. With a resistance-training program, such as weight lifting, pilates, some forms of yoga, our Core Fusion® classes at Exhale, and other techniques, a person has the potential to increase lean muscle mass. As one ages, the three deficits that grow annually are muscle density, bone density, and muscle elasticity, which reduce our range of motion.
A program that incorporates resistance training will increase muscle density, lean muscle mass, and, most importantly, it will raise your resting metabolic rate, or RMR. This is the rate at which you burn calories round the clock, 24/7, not just the one hour that you are on the bike or going for a run.
By having a body with a high percentage of lean muscle mass, all of your other exercise choices including cardio will be more effective and safer. Muscles support joints, so if muscles are stronger, the joints have more integrity. By incorporating flexibility exercises into your strengthening work, you are promoting suppleness in the body, which is especially important for the muscles that line the spine. As Joseph Pilates once said, “A supple spine is a youthful body,” and in the end, isn’t that why we exercise, to stay youthful, energetic, and vibrant?
You would be wise to make exercise choices that will enhance your lifestyle and make these exercises a part of your lifestyle. Do the exercises that you need to do that will pay off a year from now and should be looked at as an investment. I am talking about the exercises that you know that you need, not necessarily the exercises that you look good doing.
I have trouble getting the competitive male to sometimes take Core Fusion® classes simply because he cannot get into the positions. Hamstrings are too tight, stomach a little too soft, back too tight, but the biggest problem is usually the ego being too big. If there is a will, and humility, a person can start building a physical foundation that simply improves over time. There is not much instant gratification sometimes, but with patience, perseverance, and consistency, it is possible to be in better shape in your 50s than you were in your 20s.
Lifestyle exercise that reduces stress, shapes your muscles, and builds strength and flexibility, all while simultaneously giving you the needed cardio benefits, will go a long way in enhancing your life.
|Fred DeVito, Health & Fitness Contributing Editor
For over 30 years, Fred DeVito has taught New Yorkers to live healthier, leading fitness classes at the acclaimed Lotte Berk Method Studios, and more recently, at Exhale Spa, where he serves as Executive Vice President of Mind Body Training. With his wife and partner, Elisabeth Halfpapp . . . Read more about Fred DeVito
The minute we took the superlight yet sturdy TendoFlex out of the box, we were hooked. With 19 maneuvers adopted from Pilates and yoga, we got flat abs, a slimmer waistline and a satisfying stretch, all without hitting the gym. A full run-through took us only 17 minutes. And at under two pounds, it’s so portable we could sneak in a quick stretch at the office and bring it home again. No sweat. Long, lean muscles, a great stretch and killer abs all in one!? A fitness-junkie’s dream.