10 Best Places for Workout Clothes

If you recall my post about getting motivated to exercise, you’ll know that I love to use cute workout clothes as a reward for sticking with an exercise plan. This post is all about my 10 favorite places to score sweet workout gear. I am 5’3″ tall, weigh 130-140 lbs depending on the time of year, and am bottom heavy. My calves, thighs, and butt are definitely where I carry my weight. I’m smaller chested, but have arms that are proportional to my chunkier legs.

IMG_5879Whether this is your body type or not, I hope you will find this list helpful:

1. TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Nordstrom Rack ($)
Best for lots of brand names at a discount! I tend to find great running tights and capris for $20 and fun tanks for $10-$15 at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. I seriously need to limit how often I shop at these stores because I always find tons of cute stuff at really reasonable prices. These are great places to buy socks, too! The only thing I haven’t had luck with are the shorts.

2. Target ($-$$)
Another reason to love target! I’ve purchased a couple of the Champion brand tank tops and my favorite long sleeve running pullover here. You can usually find nice things on the clearance rack, but full price can be justified if you spot something you really love. It still won’t break the bank. I bought some sports bras here awhile ago, but they stretched out and looked unflattering after a short time. I wasn’t crazy about the fit of the shorts or capris either.

3. Forever 21 ($)
I just recently discovered that F21 has activewear! I scored a cute highlighter yellow sports bra for $9. I’m willing to bet it won’t hold up very long, but their workout gear is a good option if you like to shop for stylish new pieces fairly often.

4. Victoria’s Secret ($$)
I’ve only bought workout clothes here during their semi-annual sale to keep cost down. I really like the PINK brand shorts; they have a nice wide waistband, fun colors, and flattering fit. They’re only $15 if you find a pair on sale! I haven’t tried on their sports bras, but a friend tells me they make your cleavage look fantastic. Makes sense since they specialize in lingerie, right?

5. Fabletics ($-$$)
Generally I would say you should definitely shop for workout clothes in person, not online. You can’t be sure that something will fit well until you try it on and it can be a pain in the rear to return clothing online. When I saw that Fabletics was offering a whole outfit for $29, I made an exception and signed up for the introductory offer. I stuck with Fabletics for two months. My first outfit consisted of a V-neck, awesome sports bra, and AMAZING capris. The next month I got a tank top with built in bra and the same fabulous capris in a different color. With Fabletics, you pay $59 per month and pick out a new outfit each time. If you don’t like it, you send it back and pick another. After two months, it didn’t seem worth it to me anymore because I wasn’t loving everything I ordered. Cancelling was a breeze, though. I think you should at least give the intro month a try!

6. Old Navy and The Gap ($-$$)
Old Navy is a bit less expensive, but selections are hit or miss. I have a couple of really cute running jackets that have lasted me a few seasons from there. Stuff at the Gap looks adorable, but I haven’t bought anything yet because it’s a little pricey and doesn’t suit my shape very well.

7. Nike Outlet ($-$$)
I love Nike sports bras. They’re cute and last forever! I sometimes find them at Sports Authority or Dick’s in the clearance section. I used to love the shorts, but now I realize that they look kindof puffy on the front. Nike tanks and pants are flattering, but not my favorite either.

8. Lorna Jane ($$$$)
I probably would have never shopped here, but Colby surprised me with a gift card! Let’s just say that $100 won’t even buy you two sports bras… I tried on at least a couple dozen things in the store and was only thrilled with a few unique pieces. The bright colors are stunning and I like that the sports bras have generous, removable padding that makes me look like I’ve had plastic surgery. For the price, I’m surprised that Lorna Jane clothing requires such heavy maintenance. The tags state that clothing must be soaked in salt water, then cold washed in a garment bag, then line dried and not allowed to lay wet. Yeah right, like I’m ever going to do all that! The return policy is ridiculous too. You aren’t allowed to return anything because of “changed your mind”, and exchanges are only allowed within 21 days if all tags are still attached and clothing has not been worn. That’s just too much of a gamble… Worth it only if you want your boobs to look super hot.

9. Lululemon ($$$)
This is the ultimate place to get activewear! It’s pricey, but not as expensive as Lorna Jane. The sports bras last and last and last (here’s my fav). The fabric is odor resistant. I’ve had two sports bras from Lulu for the past four years and they still fit great and look new. I don’t do anything special to wash my Lulu clothing. I just machine wash it with everything else and even throw most things in the dryer. I am in love with the running shorts (my favorite here) from Lulu and their bras. Tanks are great, too! I could just buy everything… Their bread and butter are the running tights and capris, but I don’t own a pair of those yet. I have to give spending $90 on workout pants some serious thought, especially since my $20 pants from Marshall’s have held up great and are comfortable to exercise in!

10. Mika Yoga ($$)
This is the place to buy hot yoga gear! Specifically, this is the place to buy booty shorts!! I love the fold-over shorts. They are short, but don’t roll up your butt or thighs and the waistband stays put without digging in. Even Lulu’s booty shorts can’t compete with these! BTW, these look promising, too. Some of the colors are on sale right now!

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5 Tips for Making Exercise a Priority

Ok, so you want to get in shape, but you only work out sporadically. The benefits of exercise are plentiful, but knowing something is good for you doesn’t do the practical work of putting knowledge into practice. If your goal is to make exercise part of your lifestyle, I have some tips for you! I’ve gone through really motivated months leading up to my wedding and vacations, but I’ve also faced weeks and months when it’s been a constant battle to get myself excited for working out. Looking back, these 5 things seem to make getting into a flow of daily physical activity easier.

1. Start with something you love

When picking a workout routine to get into, don’t assume you have to go to the gym and spend 30 mins on the treadmill. If that’s relaxing for you, go ahead and bring a magazine to read or music to listen to. If that sounds boring to you, pick something else! Maybe you like sports, dancing, rock climbing, hiking, or trying new things. Deal websites like Groupon and Living Social can be great places to find unique fitness opportunities in your city for a trial period. You may find ballroom dance, yoga, or Crossfit in your area. I’ve seen trampoline fitness, barre, and striptease fitness on Las Vegas’ deal websites! Remember, you don’t have to be great to start! If you’re nervous at first, recruit a friend to try a class or workout with you.

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2. Schedule your workouts each week

At the beginning of each week, write out your workout schedule on a calendar or day planner you use. Consider your appointments to workout the same way you would any other obligations. You wouldn’t consider skipping work without a good reason, would you? I’m also guessing you wouldn’t be quick to break appointments you set with friends or doctors. Everything we do is created twice, first in our minds and then in reality. By creating a blueprint for success, you’ve already designed what it takes to get in shape! All you have to do now is stick with the plan!

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3. Make exercise incredibly convenient

Whether you decide to go running outside or take a class at a fitness studio, pick a place that’s close to your work or home. Picking a place that’s near your home or on your commute to/from work will crush the common excuse of having to go out of your way to work out.

Pick classes that fit seamlessly with your schedule. Coming home after work for an hour before your workout can tempt you to just stay home, so pick a class time right after work and change at the office.

If you’re working out early in the morning, it can be tempting to stay in bed. Make the decision to go workout as easy as possible. Lay your workout clothes out the night before or even sleep in them for morning exercise.

Take everything you need for your workout to work with you. Keep running shoes in your car or at the office. Think of every possible excuse and tackle it head on! I always keep an extra change of workout clothes in my office, just in case I forget to pack something!

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4. Reward your commitment periodically

When you follow through with workouts for a certain period of time, give yourself rewards! Things like manicures, spa days, money set aside for vacation, or other non-food treats work well. I like to treat myself to a new tank top or sports bra when I’ve worked out consistently for a month or so. New workout clothes get me pumped up to stay on track. Find a reward that motivates you! If you think you can’t afford rewards, consider cutting out another luxury for the sake of having a reward budget. The cost of a latte a week will easily get you a nice $20 reward by the end of the month. This cute top was only $15 and I can’t wait to wear it!

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5. Set your mind on success

Remember, everything you do starts with a decision to do it! Even if you never exercise or are in a “funk,” consider all the benefits of getting active and forget about the excuses. Use whatever it takes, create a Pinterest board of motivational quotes, craft a physical vision board of pictures reminding you why it’s worth it, or read a list of the benefits of exercise, and forget the excuses!

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Bikini Body Countdown

July is almost over, but there’s still time to rock a bikini this summer! Follow these tips to feel more confident in your bathing suit by next week:

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Step 1: Buy a good quality, brightly colored bikini. Victoria’s Secret has a great selection of colorful and flattering suits. By sporting a bright color, you’ll instantly look more tan!

Step 2: Exfoliate! Get your skin looking silky smooth by using an exfoliating glove or sugar scrub in the shower.

Step 3: Increase the intensity of your workouts. If possible, workout in the morning and again at night for one week. Include a mix of high intensity cardio and strength training. Here’s what I’ll be doing:

Day 1: AM crossfit, PM cardio dance
Day 2: AM crossfit, PM high intensity interval cardio
Day 3: AM crossfit, PM trampoline fitness
Day 4: REST day
Day 5: AM rest, PM trampoline fitness and yoga
Day 6: AM crossfit, PM high intensity interval cardio
Day 7: AM crossfit, PM rest

Working out twice a day can be exhausting long term, but it’s totally doable and confidence boosting if you try it for a week! Remember to take a rest day.

Step 4: Eat clean. Cut back on carbs, focus on small, balanced meals every 3-4 hours. Including lots of produce and healthy fats will make your skin glow, while cutting back on starchy foods will flatten your stomach and show off the muscles you’re developing in your workouts. Here’s a sample of my plan:

8 am: breakfast sandwich on paleo bread, coffee
11 am: basic green smoothie
2 pm: 6 oz protein (fish, chicken, pork, beef, or turkey) and 2 cups of vegetables
5 pm: Plain Greek yogurt with 1 tbs lemon curd (SO GOOD!)
8 pm: 6 oz protein and 2 cups of vegetables
10 pm (if a craving strikes…): protein shake

This will add up to approximately 1600-1800 calories per day. The macronutrient breakdown is close to 35% carbs, 35% protein, and 30% fat. This distribution should keep you from feeling sluggish. If your energy dips down, add some more fruit, sweet potatoes, brown rice, or oatmeal to the meal plan. The goal isn’t necessarily to lose weight- instead, the workouts and meals are intended to make you feel toned, healthy, and comfortable with getting into your new bathing suit- fast!

What to do when you’ve cheated on your diet

I blew the sugar detox BIG TIME today. It was the perfect storm of bad circumstances. I didn’t eat much breakfast this morning because I forgot about a doctor’s appointment. The appointment was one of those really unpleasant ones. Then I got stressed out about a scheduling mishap with a cooking demo I’m doing this Wesnesday. Finally, I spotted my kryptonite at work: shortbread cookies from Scotland. Tired, hungry, and PMS-y, I had one… And another… And when I was counting the wrappers in my trash can after this disaster, I counted 19. Eeek!!

I’m sure this has happened before to even the most motivated dieters and detoxers. Here’s how you can recover quickly and be back on track in no time:

1. Forgive yourself. Be kind! Don’t beat yourself up about this. Even a BIG slip up (like mine) doesn’t have to derail you for good! You’re human- you can’t be perfect all the time.

2. Think about how you feel physically. Are you bloated? Jittery? Distended? Sleepy? Nauseous? Take note of how you feel and use it as a reminder that the temporary pleasure of eating the junk food you’re craving comes with some unpleasant side effects.

3. Drink tons of water. Think about how the water is going to help clean you out! The more water you drink, the better. Give yourself credit for doing this. Try some mental praise like, “good, drinking water shows that I am capable of making good decisions!”

4. Reflect on what caused you to make the bad food decision you made. Was it a circumstance? A tempting food you shouldn’t keep around? Were you thinking too much about something that’s not part of your food plan? Identify the trigger and come up with a game plan for similar situations in the future. For example, if browsing the Pinterest dessert boards makes you crave unhealthy treats, make the decision to stop looking at “food porn!” If you know Cheetos are too much of a temptation, don’t keep them in your house.

5. Don’t skip your next meal! You may be tempted to, but skipping dinner tonight or breakfast tomorrow can cause you to slip up again and send you on a roller coaster of out of control hunger. At the very least, have a green juice for some refreshing nutrition you can feel good about!

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6. Do something to concretely determine that you are back on track now. Don’t wait till tomorrow! One bad choice won’t take you very far off the path to better health. In fact, the ONLY healthy choice you have to make is your very next one! Take it one step at a time.
Sometimes it’s nice to paint your nails as a symbolic way of drawing a clear line to remind yourself that now you’re going to be back on track with making good decisions.

7. Have some fun to cheer up! Dance, listen to your favorite song, go window shopping, or take a fun fitness class. That’s what I decided to do tonight! After my stomach settled, I drove to Elevé for a workout I hadn’t tried before.

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Elevé offers different types of trampoline fitness classes, including HIIT training, flexibility, dance, and core. Tonight’s class was a combination of plyometrics and strength training with free weights. What a pretty studio!

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The instructor, Alejandro, had a great teaching style and lots of energy! I loved his music, creative exercises, and the the burn I felt afterward. He was kind enough to let me take the class barefoot… I had left my sneakers at work.

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I’ll be sure to tell you about the other classes at the studio as I try them, but so far I can definitely recommend checking Elevé out for a free class!

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Can’t wait to bounce around on one of these next time!

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So the moral of the story is that you don’t have to hate yourself for messing up your healthy eating plan. It won’t matter in the long run! Just stay positive by following the tips I mentioned. If you have any ideas to add, I’d love to hear them!

Elevation Training Part 2

This afternoon and evening were awesome. I made lots of new Camp Rhino friends. We enjoyed a relaxing BBQ lunch and planned out revisions to the morning obstacle course. Next, we tackled the task of building obstacles and marking a trail through the forest.

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After a long day, we came back for hot showers, hammock time, and dinner. I loved that dinner was a huge family meal! And I felt very blessed to be the one to pray over our meal. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to be here this weekend with such nice people and beautiful surroundings.

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Elevation Training Part 1

Just got back from the first part of today’s adventure! First we took a ride down a dirt road in the bed of a pickup truck.

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We got to a beautiful trailhead!

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We hiked to a pond and caught a snake.

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Then we built a fort out of logs and stones (photo to come…) and learned to eat dandelions and ants for survival ;)

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After a jog through the forest, we had a workout consisting of push-ups, jumping jacks, Russian twists, and sprints up a hill.

We hiked back out and rode the pickup to the lodge… Almost. Just when I thought it was over, we started on a follow the leader obstacle course set up in the forest!

We ran up and over and under logs, up a net, up a rope (!!! First time ever !!!), up a hill with logs, and flipped some tractor tires. Finally it’s time for lunch!

Maybe we’ll get some horseback riding in!

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Yurt in for a treat!

I’ve decided that Colby and I are definitely coming back here for a relaxing weekend trip!

Check out these sweet yurts (tents).

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And the rooms are gorgeous too- just like a model home! The owner has put almost a million dollars into renovating Summit Mountain Lodge over the past 6 months. The outcome is a stunning fitness destination resort!

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Enough relaxing already! It’s time for some bootcamp tough training with Camp Rhino! Up next are a few hours of mystery adventure followed by picnic lunch (I’ll show you pictures) and then more adventures!

The Real World: Brian Head

I’m here at the Summit Mountain Lodge with 14 other “victims” of torture that begins tomorrow at noon. We have no idea what to expect, but we’re excited! Check out the sweet lodge we’re staying at:

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Sauna, bathrooms, and showers!

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How AWESOME!
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Last minute crazy decision

Guess what? I’m on my way to Brian Head, Utah for a crazy bootcamp fitness adventure! I signed up for this elevation training weekend excursion yesterday, spur of the moment. I didn’t have time to think it through since I signed up on a last minute deal, but I am so excited!! And freaking out! I have no idea what I’m getting myself into.

Check out our carpool:

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It’s almost like we’re going on a trip to take a picnic:

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Can’t wait to show and tell you more about it when I get there!