I started exercising more often over Christmas break because I had more time on my hands, and because I needed to offset all the eating and drinking. (Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today, right?) The extra salsa dancing and elliptical sessions felt great: I'd forgotten how much more energy I had, how my mood improved, and how soundly I slept when I was moving my body instead of sitting at a desk all day.
This year I vow to not let exercise fall by the wayside when things get hectic. To motivate me, I even upgraded my workout gear, opting for adorable yet affordable picks from Gap, Joe Fresh, and Old Navy that won't break the bank. Having extra tops and running shorts on hand, and a few grooming essentials to transition, eliminates "I have no clean gym clothes" and "I hate leaving the gym all sweaty and gross" as viable excuses for skipping a workout.
1. A water bottle with a lot of heart. ($35)
2. Slip on a classic grey sweatshirt for the cool down stretch. ($24)
3. Sport socks with slight pattern variations make it easy to spot which one is missing its mate. ($6)
4. Had an ultra-sweaty session but just washed your hair this morning? Opt for a cleansing conditioner instead. The creamy low-suds formula cleanses and conditions in one step, gently refreshing hair without stripping away moisture. ($5.99)
5. Sweat pants so comfy, you'll want to wear them around the house. ($19)
6. Stretch tense calves and shoulders with a yoga strap. ($6.99)
7. I had a yoga instructor teach us a modified pigeon pose once using blocks, and it was the deepest, most satisfying pigeon pose I'd ever done, so of course I had to buy yoga blocks so I could do it at home. ($10.99)
8. Lululemon yoga mats are spendier than other versions, but wow do they last. I've had mine 5 years and counting. ($68)
9. A tee to motivate. ($14)
10. A sports bra to keep the girls in place. Necessary. ($39.95)
11. Cleansing cloths wipe away sweat, oil, dirt, and makeup with minimal fuss, and are super-convenient—just throw a pack in your gym tote and you're good to go. ($5.99)
13. A tiny dry shampoo is easy to slip into your bag and to use when you're in a hurry. This one absorbs oil with tapioca starch and won't leave white residue. ($1.99)