Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Inspirational Power of New Gear

Somehow here we are again, December. The year's winding to a finish. The weather's getting cold. One overeating holiday is setting up the next.

Now is the time we need our inspiration more than ever.
We need the inspiration to watch our diets.
We need the inspiration to get out the door despite the cold and hit the pavement.
We need the inspiration to fight for time to squeak in our workouts between holiday parties and shopping.

Not to mention the colds, the flus, the stressful travel and houses full of relatives... all these things vying for your time and trying to squeeze out your precious few moments of exercise.

Enter the power of new gear.
Maybe it's just me, but when I have an awesome new running jacket or a hot new yoga top, I get a bit psyched about when I can wear them for my next workout. Even though I have plenty of workout clothes, there's something particularly seductive about shiny new workout things.
Last year, for Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a runner's hat with a blinky light on the back of it. I never used to be one to run in a hat, unless it was cold, in which case I'd run in a beanie. But never an actual runner's hat... I loved it! I still wear it all the time and I definitely enjoyed heading out into the rain last January and watching the rain drop off of my hat's rim.

As we head into the holiday season, I'd like to reflect (read: drool) on the fitness-oriented loot that might make me more likely to break a sweat. Even if you don't celebrate any gift-giving holidays, consider a small purchase as a kick-off to your fitness new year's resolution. (And no, I'm not being paid by The Sports Basement to write this post).

  • Lululemon: Yoga-inspired sports clothing for men and women. Incredibly cute stuff, though mostly geared towards yoga, they do have things for runners and general workout clothing. Also, rumour has it, their pants give "good butt."

  • Skins Compression Gear: I recently bought some of the Compression tights which I ran my last half marathon in. They were amazing! I'd run a half marathon the previous week in my normal running tights, and my knee was hurting me on all the downhills. The following week, with equally steep downhills, my knees felt great! And protected. I highly recommend these - the tights are supposed to increase strength and endurance as well as help with a faster recovery and less muscle soreness. I also bought some of their recovery socks, which have a double purpose of helping your recovery post race but also serve for reducing swelling when flying. (Other brands out there making compression gear include 2xu and Sugoi, but I haven't tried them. Yet.)

  • While I'm at it, I love Sugoi. Their fits are great and flattering, and they have fun style, like these awesome tattoo arm sleeves. Hot.

  • This list isn't just reserved for things you wear. As far as I'm concerned, anything that's likely to make you workout more counts. For example, my new favourite Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board(which I'll be reviewing soon!). Not really a serious tool for most athletes, but a solid and, more importantly, a fun supplement to a more serious workout routine. Along the same lines, there's a whole slew of other fitness games for the Wii Fit board that look interesting: EA Sports Active, Gold's Gym Cardio Workout, and a few others.

  • A good heart rate monitor - especially if it's as cute as the Polar FT40 Women's Heart Rate Monitor Watch

Well, those are a few of the things I'd recommend for your "Holiday Gift Guide for Runners" or Athletes, or the fitness-conscious. I'd love to hear from you about what tangible gifts might help inspire you to combat the winter blahs and get out there and workout.