Upgrade Your Workout for Under $20

It’s amazing how making a few small changes to your workout routine can make such a big difference. For me, wireless headphones were a game changer–no longer do I get tangled up in the cords! That was a pricier change, but there are plenty of products I’ve found costing under $20 that have forever changed my workouts for good. Here are 5 of my favorites.

photo 1-2lululemon Light As Air Thong, $16

I know, spending $16 for a pair of underoos sounds crazy. But these thongs are ridiculously comfortable, leave no visible panty lines, and come in simple solid colors and fun prints, like this camouflage pair.

photo 1Sweaty Betty Hair Toggles, 5 for $8

I have extremely thick, hard to manage hair. In the past when working out, I’d use 2 thick hair ties to keep my hair in place, and it still ended up falling out–usually just a few minutes into my workout. These hair toggles really grip your hair and keep it firmly in place. I can now make it through an hour-long power yoga sequence without worrying about my hair flopping into my face during downward dog.

photo 2-2Master Lock Speed Dial Combination Lock, $7

This easy to use lock makes it simpler than ever to keep your belongings safe at the gym. It unlocks using a series of movements (up, down, left, right) rather than numbers or a key.

photo 2Sparkly Soul Headbands, $15 (thin band)/ $17 (thick band)

In addition to being untamable by hair tie, my hair (or maybe my head) tends to repel headbands. I’ve purchased countless bands to try, but only Sparkly Soul has stood up to the task of staying put. They come in tons of colors, and add a fun touch to any workout outfit. I’m in love.

photo 4Lorna Jane Secret Sock, $10

I hate when my socks fall down during a workout, but I also hate socks that stick out ridiculously far from my shoes and rub me the wrong way. These socks strike the perfect balance–they are comfortable and remain perfectly hidden. I have them in black and white, and they also come in a nude shade.

What are some of your favorite bargain fitness finds?

Sweat Worthy – Link Love #3

Hello, Sweathearts! It feels good to be writing here again. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me–I won my first local title in the Miss America system, an am delighted to represent my community and take my first trip to the Miss New York pageant. When I relaunched Sweatsational, I was not expecting to win a title. My schedule is now going to be a little tighter, but I’m dedicated to making Sweatsational a success! Keep an eye out for more of the usual posts, but also a series related to preparing for the Miss New York lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit competition! I’m not trying to lose weight, but want to build lean muscle tone so that I’m at my best fitness level when I hit the stage.

I hope you enjoy the links I’ve gathered this week. A few are very near and dear to my heart!

MOVE TO END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – I’m an advocate for empowering teens (and adults!) with the tools they need to say no to domestic violence. I work closely with My Sisters’ Place, a local organization dedicated to providing support (in many ways) to survivors of domestic violence and educating the community. Their newest initiative, Team MSP, allows you to get your sweat on while raising funds to support these needed services.

gratitude-attitude

CULTIVATE GRATITUDE – I discovered 12 Months of Lent through the lululemon blog a few months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever sense! This recent post by blog author Dani features an excellent 60 second stress-buster aimed at fostering contentment.

LOVE A GOOD WORKSHEET? – I used to love worksheets when I was still in school. I know, I’m a nerd. I was extremely happy to see these fabulous worksheets on the Move Nourish Believe blog this week. They are designed to help encourage your positive mindset and help work through any insecurity you may be struggling with. I’ve printed them and will be using this weekend!

How-Use-Small-Exercise-Ball-Effectively

Photo from PopSugar

SMALL CHANGE, BIG RESULTS – I’ve only ever used large fitness balls–I’ve never even seen one this small until this week! In my PopSugar Must Have Box for the month of March, I received this small pink fitness ball that I had no idea what to do with. Thankfully, they have a how-to guide online, which I’m sharing here. Have you ever tried a mini fitness ball before? How did you like it?

What links have you been loving this week? Leave a comment here, as I’d love to check out your picks!

*The link to PopSugar Must Have is a referral link, which means if you purchase a box through that link, I will be credited for referring you. You do not have to use that link to purchase 🙂

Monday Mantra: So you had a bad day…

Happy Monday, Sweathearts!

As usual, I want to help you start the week off with some motivation. Have you ever had a bad day? I’m guessing the answer is yes. I’m even willing to wager that a few of you are having a bad day today—it is Monday, after all. I’ve had my fair share of bad ways. Some have been bad for silly reasons, and I’ve woken up the next day already forgetting the cause of my bad mood the day before. Others have been so bad that they’ve stuck around for awhile. Once we find ourselves stuck in a bad day rut, it can be hard to get out of it. Here are some of my favorite ways to remind myself to find the silver lining in cloud-filled situations.

Sweat it out: Okay, you had to know this one was coming. This is a fitness blog! But while I typically enjoy hitting the gym or a class to get my workout on, when I’m in a bad mood one of my favorite ways to move is an outdoor run. There is something about breathing in the fresh air and taking in my surroundings that helps to calm me down. Even in the winter, I’ll bundle up and take a quick jog around the neighborhood when I need to clear my mind.

Talk about it: When I’m frustrated, it is so easy to shut myself away from the rest of the world. I want to be angry, and I want to be angry by myself…because if I talk to someone, chances are they’re going to help me see the good in a bad situation. They’re going to encourage me to keep my chin up and move forward. And even when all I want to do is curl up into an angry ball and throw a pity party for myself, I force myself to talk through situations with my parents, my sister, my girlfriends, or my boyfriend. Their advice is always spot-on, even when I don’t feel like I’m ready to take it.

Treat yourself: I’m a bit of a shopaholic. I know that I get a little endorphin rush whenever I click the “buy” button on my favorite website. It is a weakness of mine that I have to keep in check, but I budget a certain amount of “fun money” for myself each month. When I’m feeling down, I’ll treat myself to a new book or small gift to bring a smile to my face. I’m not advocating going on huge shopping sprees whenever you’re having a bad day, but a small treat can be a great mood booster.

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My idea of the perfect pick me up: workout gear with motivational messages! (Image from Lorna Jane)

Eat healthy foods: The struggle is REAL when it comes to pigging out on junk food when I’m feeling sad. But I’ve noticed that giving in doesn’t make me feel better at all after the initial food coma wears off. I typically feel sluggish or sick after eating food that I’m not used to, and end up breaking out a few days later as well. Not worth it! I try to have some go-to healthy comfort foods: freshly brewed tea, smoothies, a savory egg dish, or fruit.

Remind yourself that it’s a bad day, not a bad life: Perspective is one of the most important things that I try to remind myself of. I try to gauge things by the “facebook laugh-o-meter”: If I posted what was making me upset on facebook, would people laugh at me? If the answer is yes, it’s time to put things in perspective. It’s not the end of the world to scuff a pair of shoes. It isn’t going to kill me if I don’t win my next pageant. My life is still an incredible one, and I should transform my negative feelings into positive action: helping those around me whose bad days are far more troubling than my own.

How do you like to cheer yourself up when you’re having a bad day?

Best of Sweatchester – Sweaty Betty’s Ballet Bootcamp

Hello, Sweathearts!

I was planning on sharing a clean recipe celebrating Valentine’s Day on the blog today, but something a little bit more exciting and far more time-sensitive came up that I want to share with you. This is the first post of my ‘Best of Sweatchester’ series, which will review fitness stores and studios in Westchester and the surrounding area. Are you ready to get your dance on? Let me explain.

A few months ago, my mother, sister, and I discovered that Sweaty Betty, a premier British active wear line, had opened a boutique in Greenwich, CT. It is only their second US based store—the other is in NYC—and we immediately fell in love with their styles! Their clothes are on-trend, functional for workouts, made from luxurious materials, and fit well. Needless to say, we always make a point of stopping by the store when we are out in Connecticut.

The Greenwich Sweaty Betty boutique offers weekly fitness classes at their store for free, including an excellent pilates class sponsored by Core Pilates (a post on them is in the works for the future!). This month, Sweaty Betty decided to shake up their regular schedule and is offering a free Ballet Bootcamp class! This class is extra special, as it is a collaboration with Sleek Technique.

Sleek Technique is a fantastic ballet bootcamp program developed by professional dancers Victoria Marr and Flik Swan. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting them in person and taking a ballet bootcamp class taught by the graceful duo!

Sleek Technique

With the fabulous Vicky and Flik of Sleek Technique!

The class was SO much fun! Set to upbeat music, it goes through a variety of moves designed to strengthen your legs, arms, and core. There are sequences that incorporate dance technique (ballet positions, some small turns/rotations, plies, and leaps). However, you don’t have to be a dancer to keep up! The class is a great mix of cardio and strength exercises. I was sweaty and sore by the time class came to a close, and (in my mind, at least) a step closer to having a fabulous ballet body.

Sweaty Betty Swag

I also left with this sweet giftbag of Sweaty Betty goodies!

Are you interested in giving ballet bootcamp a try? If you’re in the NYC or Greenwich, CT area, Sweaty Betty will be hosting classes at the following times:

Greenwich, CT – Thursdays in February – 6:15 PM – Call 203-717-1095 to book

Soho, NYC – Saturdays in February – 9:30 AM – Call 646-386-7003 to book

If you don’t have a Sweaty Betty nearby, no problem! They’re made a ballet bootcamp video featuring Victoria and Flik available on their website:

Do you plan on giving Ballet  Bootcamp a try? I’m planning to incorporate this video into my workout routine moving forward!

Sweat in Style…For Less!

Hello Sweathearts,

I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for cute workout gear. Lululemon, Nike, Under Armour, you name it! I’m pretty laid back when it comes to the rest of my workout look–hair in a messy ponytail, and no makeup allowed–but I love picking out workout gear that is cute and functional. By functional, I mean that I don’t have to worry about anything hanging out or showing through. Being able to deflect sweat well is an added bonus–I don’t like to half-ass my workouts, so I’m always drenched by the time I’m through.

The problem with some of my favorite brands? They’re expensive. SUPER expensive. Not-realistic-for-a-college-student-who-works-as-a-babysitter-expensive. But I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that have helped me add Lulu, Nike, and UA to my wardrobe without breaking the bank.

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I didn’t pay full price for ANY of these items!

  • Sporting goods stores aren’t your only source of workout gear! I’ve picked up some great Nike pieces from Kohl’s and Nordstrom. Neither store offers a full range of product, but their small selection is often eligible for markdown and couponing (Kohl’s) or hits the clearance racks at a great price (Nordstrom).
  • But sporting goods stores DO offer great rewards programs and deals. Dick’s Sporting Goods is my go-to store based on their reward program. I get coupons regularly from them that range from $10 off a purchase to 25% off of an item. My local Dick’s also offers GREAT clearance racks at the end of each season that feature already marked-down items at an additional 50% off. I’ve gotten Nike shorts for under $10, and a Hard Tail Tank for under $20.
  • Outlets are the real deal (pun intended). I live about 40 minutes away from Woodbury Commons, a popular outlet center for locals and tourists alike. While I generally don’t find deals on everyday clothing there, the deals at the Nike, Under Armour, and Lululemon outlets can be incredible! Because it’s a long drive, I try to hit the outlets only once per season. I scored a Lululemon Vinyasa scarf for $29 in outlet that I had seen listed on eBay for close $80!
  • Give flash sales a chance. The Zumba capris pictured above? I found them listed on Zulily, a flash sale website geared more towards moms & children. My mother, a teacher, spotted the sale and alerted me to the deal. Since then, they’ve featured other fitness brands, such as Lucy. ACTIVE GearUp is a flash sale website that exclusively features fitness gear, but even the traditional websites such as HauteLook occasionally upload workout brands.
  • Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s a bargain hunter’s way of life. If I fall in love with a newly released item from any store, I try to wait it out. It’s really tough for me–my instinct is to buy right away so that I can make it my own. But I’ve found that being patient often results in markdowns and worthwhile extra savings. I wouldn’t recommend doing this for something you absolutely can’t live without, but if you see something, bookmark it and check in every few days. Chances are, you’ll be able to score a deal.

What are some of your favorite ways to workout in style without paying a high price? I’m always looking for more ways to save money while leading an active and fashionable life!

 

O2 MAX Accelerator Program – Day 2

Hi, Sweathearts!

That lovely spring weather I mentioned yesterday? Well, today it was interrupted by a not-so-lovely torrential downpour this evening. I’m not a huge fan of such heavy rain, but I will admit that the accompanying thunderstorm was pretty amazing to watch. Weather aside, I had a pretty great day fitness wise. I took an incredible yoga class at Hastings Yoga, then headed home to tackle day 2 of my O2 MAX Accelerator Program.

ImageDay 2…yoga style!

One reason I’m loving the Accelerator Program already is the fact that you workout your entire body via six easy moves each day. Today, the moves focused on legs (2 exercises), chest, shoulders, lower back, and abs. I know that a lot of people swear by workouts where they focus on a different body part each day, and I know how effective that method is. But I love to switch it up for two reasons. First, I get bored if I don’t! Second, I like targeting multiple body parts at one time because it makes the pain a bit easier to bear the next day…rather than wanting someone to carry me around all day because I did one too many leg exercises!

As always, that is just my two cents! How do you like to plan your workouts? Would you rather target one area per day, or get a full body workout in?

O2 MAX Accelerator – Day 1

Hello, Sweathearts!

Well, the weather in the greater NYC area is finally beginning to show signs of spring! For me, it’s about time. I’m so tired of lugging my down jacket around with me, never knowing when the air is going to take a turn towards the too-chilly.

With spring comes so much fitness fun: outdoor runs, anyone? Yes, I know you can run outdoors in the winter—but isn’t there something awesome about taking on a trail in the spring, when flowers are beginning to bloom and it isn’t swelteringly hot yet? I’ve also used the beginning of spring as an excuse to refresh my workout routine. I’ve recently tried some fabulous classes at Hastings Yoga and Soul Cycle Scarsdale. They’ve both challenged me in different ways, and I’ll be reviewing both studios soon here on my blog.

Today, I’m refreshing my workout routine in a new way by kicking off a 10-day Accelerator Program with O2MAX Fitness. I recently completed their 3-month Event Ready Program (I talked about it on my previous personal blog, linked here) and I absolutely loved it. Their program is easy to follow at home, and fits well with my busy schedule. Karen Jashinsky, the founder of O2MAX invited me to try out this accelerator program for free, so I couldn’t resist. For the next ten days, I’ll be posting a brief update regarding my daily workout here. This will give me a way to stay accountable and check my progress, and will give you an introduction to O2MAX. I hope you enjoy this mini series!

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Here’s my Day 1 picture!

Today’s workout included one of my favorite moves — bicycle crunches! What are some of your favorite fitness moves?