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Monday, April 21, 2014

Fitness Gear: Skimp vs. Save

If money were no issue I could easily blow thousands in matter of minutes on new fitness gadgets, clothing, shoes, and equipment.

I mean really, now-a-days most running shoes are at minimum $100 a pair, name brand athletic capris can run you $60+ and of course you need the latest fitness watch to tell you how many steps you've taken, your total calories burned, heart rate and how many times you've pee'd in the last 24 hours.  Ok, I'm joking about the peeing part but I wouldn't be surprised if it's not in our near future.

Is it really all necessary? Yea, it might be nice to have these fancy items they're certainly not essential to your workout.  Coming from a budget conscious family, I've figured out where I can save a few dollars and where I should spend.  

Skimp: Workout apparel.  Don't get me wrong, I love my Athleta and Lululemon stuff but with more and more brands coming out with workout lines like Old Navy and C9 for Target I don't think it's crucial to drop a load of cash on workout clothes.  In my book as long as your comfortable, it doesn't chafe or ride and you like how you look it's good enough!  Check out my article here for more details on my favorite fitness apparel brands.  

Save: Shoes (and socks).  Sore feet suck.  What sucks even more though are knees, hips and backs that ache due to poorly fitted shoes.  A good pair of shoes are expensive (although that doesn't mean you can't find a good deal/sale!) and worth every penny if it means they keep your body injury and pain free.  Most athletic shoe stores offer a gate check to watch you move in the shoes before purchasing.  Some even offer a generous return policy if you're not totally in love.  And before you put those shoes on make sure you have proper socks for your activity.  Socks can be extremely helpful in preventing blisters and keeping your feet dry.  

On a somewhat related note- if you're a runner, buy running shoes.  If you're a group fitness junkie buy aerobics/cross training shoes, if you're a weight lifter buy lifting shoes (i.e. Converse's Chuck Taylors). I'm so tired of seeing everyone in the gym wearing running shoes for every activity they do.  

Skimp: Tracking devices.  Now before you get all huffy... I'm not talking about serious runners who use GPS.  I realize what a valuable tool that can be.  I'm talking about all the FitBit like devices.  Sure, I have a FitBit and it's nice to track my calories/movement when but I can still workout with out it.  *gasp*.  With free apps like MyFitnessPal and Track My Run it is still possible to monitor all your handwork with out the expense.  

Save: Under garments Next to sore feet, bras and underwear that chafe, ride or shift on you during activity is just the worst.  I'm not saying that you can't find great undergarments at a reasonable price.  My favorite sports bra's happen to be from Old Navy and my underwear is American Eagle.  Yes, I'm in my thirties and still shop at AE.  On the flip side it doesn't always mean that expensive bras and underwear is the bet option either.  Buy one to start with and make sure you love it before investing in more.

Skimp: Music Between Pandora and Spotify there really isn't a need to blow $10 every time you need a few new songs for your long run.  These apps are easily customizable, free and already on your phone!  Besides that, I've found it's a great way to discover new tunes I enjoy or old ones I forgot about.

Save: Any safety related equipment Anything proven to keep you safe while you exercise is worth the money in my book.  I know bike lights, reflective clothing, ID tags or even proper nutrition packets for endurance athletes aren't the most exciting thing to spend your dough on but it's not the place to cut corners.  If you run/ride in the early morning hours or at dusk/night this stuff is a must!  

Skimp: Water bottles Is it me or are water bottles getting way outta hand?  I picked up a cute glass one at Whole Paycheck Foods the other day and the price tag is $34.  I about dropped it right there in aisle eight.  What happened to using the plain old water bottles you got free at expos and conventions?  I know someone out there is going to jump on me about all the harmful containments some of these bottle possess.  While I agree that's a valid concern, if it comes down to spending money on a water bottle or shoes and a sports bra, I'd recommend sinking that money into the other two first.  If you need a glass bottle for essential oils use like I do, you can get a great one off Amazon for $20 tops.   

Your turn:  What would you skimp or save on?


  1. I love AE stuff and I am in my 40's so there's that. But buy a lot from Target for tanks and sports bras (because I don't have anything :) I buy Nike shorts and Capri's because they are a better fit. And have to have good shoes though I hate spending money on them. All my tech gadgets were gifts from clients :) good list I love looking at workout clothes!

  2. I've been a fan of target for workout gear, and I've had the most luck at Marshall's. My two favorite running tops and favorite pair of yoga capris are Marshall's finds. The keys are 1) knowing the piece(s) you need; 2) being patient - it'll show up on the Marshall's/T.J. Max racks; and 3) buy it when you find it - pieces don't hang around at those stores. It is totally possible to build a quality workout wardrobe without dropping a lot of dollars!

  3. I have a hard time finding workout clothes that fit. The best fits seem to fall in the save category. Shoes are probably the one thing that will always be in the save category unless I find a great sale.