I overheard someone on my way home from the gym today talking about how they couldn’t afford working out because it’s so expensive. Now, I believe that working out can be pretty much free if you want it to be – the nature is there for everyone, and there’s not much stuff you need to live a healthy lifestyle. Forget all the super-foods and seeds, forget the designer workout clothes and forget the ab-roller from TV-Shop, here are my personal essentials to being active and healthy every day.
Proper running shoes
I cringe inside whenever I see people running in Nike shoes with no support. Try twisting the shoe and it won’t even resist you from bending it in two. Yeah, they’re awesome, they look fresh and they are fashionable, but they will eventually injure your feet, legs and back. Get your feet checked out by a specialist and listen to their advice regarding what shoes you should wear. A person who has supinated feet and runs half-marathons will be needing other shoes than the best friend who pronates and likes running intervals. I’ve tried numerous brands, but have come to swear by the Asics Nimbus model or Mizuno’s shoes, based on my feet and my exercise needs. These brands have started following Nike in terms of cool design, so if you’re one of those running with Nike’s on your feet – pretty please find a better alternative.
A heart-rate monitor
Yeah, it’s a tad expensive, but exercising becomes so much more fun if you have one. It’s of course a bit more useful for running in terms of logging distance etc, but I only run intervals once a week (inside), and the rest I sort of only do weights, and I still use it every day. It’s great to pay attention to what heart rate zone you’re working in in terms of what your goals are when you lift weights, it’s motivating you when you run and it helps me stay in the fat burning zone when I do cardio at night. Mine also has the option of downloading workouts and will thereby tell you when to rest between your sets etc. I prefer Polar, but I’m sure there are others out there that are cheaper – mine gives me a star or trophy if I’ve worked hard enough that week too. Bonus points.
Lifesum App (previously called ShapeUp)
When I was losing weight, I tried paying attention to the amount of protein I ate based on my exercise, and also made sure I ate the amount of calories I needed. In the beginning I sort of wrote it all down and made calculations online, but that proved to be slightly time consuming, until I discovered the app that was then called ShapeUp. It lets you put in your details, your goals etc, and makes calculations on how much protein/fat/carbohydrates/calories you need. Now, I’ve had some questions regarding if you should trust this app, and the answer is to some extent no. Let it serve as a guide, but don’t obsess over it, I’ve found that it for example suggests the minimum amount of protein you should eat each day, rather than the optimal amount. Let it track your food and workouts, but use it with a little dose of common sense – we’ve learnt to not fully trust technology by now, haven’t we?
Don’t worry about the supplements, or all the complicated things you can get into when researching exercise. Just get started!