Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shopping for New Year Fitness Goals

Ready to get moving? Well, you know you need some gear. May as well get it while the prices are right. Here is a list of the essential items. Check your closet first, and then hit the stores! Keep in mind that you probably don't need everything for the first day, but you probably need to at least get dressed for the workout.
1. Shoes. There are lots of foot types and shoe types. I would recommend that your basic shoe for most people would be a running shoe. Most cross trainers are too heavy, and running shoes are great for most types of exercise. Try on shoes by Adidas, Nike, Asics, and New Balance to find one that works best for you. Take a brisk walk or jog around the store before making a decision. If it feels like you are wearing nothing, then you probably found a good shoe. If you have specific foot problems that cause you pain, make sure you check with your podiatrist about inserts.
2. Clothes. Bulky cotton sweats won't do it. Nowadays, you will find lots of choices in breathable synthetics that adhere to the body well, wick away sweat, and don't get in the way. Adidas, Nike, and Champion have good options. Check Target for the C9 line; it's well priced and does the job well.
3. Home gym or fitness center? If you know you won't workout unless you go to a fitness center, do your shopping now while they are running specials. Find a gym with cardio theater, fitness classes, and a good training staff (check certifications by NASM, ACE, AFAA, AFTA, or ISSA). Also, do you need good childcare? Check out the facility for the kids. Check cleanliness in the facility and locker room. Need a pool? Specific classes? Don't waste money on a lesser facility that doesn't include everything you need. If you want to workout at home, or you know that working out at home is your best option for now, here are some basics to keep in your home:
- handheld weights: a heavy set and a light set (new exercisers go for a pair of tens and a pair of fives)
- exercise bands with handles: Gold's Gym is selling boxed sets this year at Walmart.
- Pilates/yoga mat: sticky mats work best
- balance ball: choose one that you can sit on and the knees bend at 90 degrees.
- workout videos or training systems: Wii Active, Wii Zumba, Wii Dance Workout, etc. optional
- planning to learn to run this year? Download a 5K training system on your computer or phone, such as
- Netflix membership. For $9 a month, you can instant stream tons of exercise videos by Crunch, Self Magazine, and others. And you'll never get bored of your system!
- check the ACE website for constant video updates and proper form information.
- optional equipment: a trainer watch. I like the Garmin Forerunner 60. It has a distance calculator, heart rate monitor, and calorie calculator. Keep track online with their Garmin Trainer system.
- optional: join a peergroup, like at
- running or biking: you need motivational music. Try the podcast for your ipod. Perfect beats to keep you moving.
- need a trainer? Check the ACE or IDEA website for a good one properly certified in your area.

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