Friday, September 22, 2017

Fitness Favorites and Ways to Find Low-Cost Workouts

Lately I've been all about finding ways to sweat at home, whether it's trying a workout I found on YouTube or practicing yoga on my own when I can't make it to class. Life has been crazy lately, which means running has taken a backseat. My most recent long run was almost 12 miles a couple of weeks ago, and it will likely be my last major distance for a while. My plan is to instead focus strength training and yoga, and to be kinder to my body.

My current fitness favorites:

Whitney Simmons' YouTube channel: I like that her videos are short and sweet, and she often shares workouts that can be done at home. I appreciate at-home workouts for days when I can't make it to the gym during child care hours or days when I just don't feel like running but want to sweat a bit.

Resistance bands: I bought these because I've been doing the workouts on Whitney Simmons' channel. She often incorporates these into her training. I bought the red and purple bands, but I have been mostly using the red. I underestimated the resistance and probably didn't need the purple yet. I like that they enhance simple movements such as squats and lunges.

90 Degree by Reflex clothing: I recently became an ambassador for 90 Degree by Reflex, which means I was provided complimentary outfits. I already owned some yoga leggings, but I was excited to try more of their athletic clothing. It came at a perfect time, because I want to transition into focusing on yoga over running in the months ahead.

Carb Boom! Energy Gels: I first used these energy gels to train for the Chicago Marathon in 2016. I loved that they taste so much better than other gels I used to purchase. They never upset my stomach, a major win! They don't contain artificial sweeteners or flavors and are made from real fruit purees/concentrates. My favorite flavors: Grape Pomegranate, Raspberry and Strawberry Kiwi. I stay away from the Banana Peach, Vanilla Orange and Apple Cinnamon because those flavors tend to gross me out during runs. I prefer fruity flavors. I typically order a sampler pack; you can select your flavors. While I won't be running long distances much, I wanted to mention these because they have helped me through multiple rounds of half-marathon and marathon training.

Sources of free or low-cost workouts:

I love finding workouts for free or at a lower cost, especially now that I often have to pay for child care to work out. I find that in a city like Chicago it's easy to find free classes or events.

Some methods I've used to find free/affordable workouts:

  • Many fitness YouTubers include their workouts in the description bar or on their Instagram captions. I screenshot them and see if I can do any of them at home. 
  • Search for free community yoga classes in your area. Many studios offer at least a free class per month or week. Other studios offer a pay-what-you-can class each week. I recently bought a Groupon for a yoga package at a nice discount.
  • Other fitness studios also offer a free first class. Search EventBrite or Facebook events for free fitness classes. On EventBrite, enter your location and fitness (or bootcamp, running, yoga, etc.) in the description and then narrow results by Price (Free vs. Paid).
  • Search Pinterest for at-home workout ideas.
  • Join a running group for meetups or track workouts.

What's your favorite workout right now?