By Annie Driscoll
In 2014, Americans visited the gym more than 5 billion times. Our appetite for fitness, and new ways to stay fit, just continues to grow more and more each year. The athletic apparel industry is booming. We’re living in a time where there are more workout options than ever before. But, in this sea of options, it can be difficult to figure out which one works best for you on an individual level. Long story short, your workout is about YOU. It’s all about what works best for your body, your mind, and even your wallet. Here are some ideas for how to make your workout work for you.
1. Figure out what you like to do.
Whether it’s running, hiking, swimming, paddling, or weightlifting—find a workout that doesn’t feel like a chore. This could easily involve getting outside. Lots of people hate the feeling of being holed up in a gym. Being outside makes all the difference in your attitude towards getting fit. If you live near a body of water, go for a rough-water swim. If not, try a trail run or a good hike. Whatever you choose, try to make it something you genuinely enjoy doing.
2. Stay safe, and keep your peace of mind intact.
Ladies especially, bring along a whistle or some pepper spray. There’s this cool company called Booby Trap Bras that makes sports bras and sleeves that hold a blade for self defense, equipped with a slash-proof pocket for safekeeping. Invest some time in learning self defense. If you’re working out outside, knowing how to properly defend yourself in the event of an incident will give you some much needed peace of mind. Also, you’ll have one less thing to try to focus on if you don’t have to be as worried about your personal safety. Guys, feeling safe is important for you too. Know how to protect yourself!
3. Bring a friend along.
This ties into the safety thing as well. Working out is way more fun (and safe) with a buddy. Hit the gym with a partner (you’ll have someone to chat with and to spot you while you’re lifting) or catch up outside on the trails. Dogs also make fantastic training partners—the adventure will be great for you.
4. Wear clothes that make you feel good.
Whether it’s bright colors, bold patterns, or new technology, clothes can be a great motivator. You’re more likely to feel your best if you look your best, and wanting to show off your new gear can be a great way to get yourself to the gym. Look for clothes that are long-lasting, sun protective (usually labelled with a UPF rating), and functional both on land and in water. Invest in yourself!
5. Be happy.
Be happy with what you’ve accomplished, but never content. In other words, know that you’ve given it all you’ve got, but strive to always better yourself. No matter where you start, all that matters is that you’re willing to go the distance to get a little better. Happy working out!
– Annie Driscoll grew up in San Diego as a competitive swimmer and I am now a collegiate athlete living in New York City. In my free time I like to hike, go to the beach, and watch The Bachelorette with my mom. She currently writes and helps the team out at Graced By Grit.