The Gear You Need to Get in Shape
Don't let gear get in your way! In fact, there are really only four items you must have to get started: athletic shoes, a good sports bra, a water bottle, and a resistance band. Learn more about these essentials and a few nice-to-have items too.
What You Don't Need
Before you worry about going broke on a bunch of fancy athletic gear to lose that baby weight and get in shape, remember that legions of mothers sweated off the pounds with Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda back in the 1980s wearing puffy white Reeboks and a leotard. Today there are Kenyans who run marathons in their bare feet and a pair of cotton shorts. Getting in shape does not require lots of clothing and equipment. It’s a different world from those old workout tapes (three cheers for that!). Research and experience have shown that simplicity can achieve your goals quite well. Get a chuckle from the fads of yesteryear (at left) and then click next to see what you need for the years ahead.
Essential for Your Fitness Plan: Shoes
It doesn’t matter if they’re running shoes or cross trainers, as long as they feel comfortable to you. If you’ve already got a pair, make sure they still fit because some women’s feet expand along with their bellies during pregnancy. If you’re buying new athletic shoes, don’t look for bells and whistles, go for comfort that you can afford. We’re not competing in the Olympics here; we’re just trying to break a sweat every day.
Essential for Your Fitness Plan: Sports Bra
Do not exercise in your regular bra. It will dig into your skin, trap sweat next to your body, and won’t offer the support your mama breasts need when they’re moving up, down, and all around. Invest in a decent sports bra that keeps your girls locked in place during your workouts. If you try on a bra and it pulls on your shoulders, it’s too small or not the right brand for you. Find one that is comfortable but strong. (If strength is lacking, you can always double up; that’s right, wear two.)
Essential for Your Fitness Plan: Water Bottle
Drinking water during and after your workouts is essential (especially if you are still
breastfeeding). You can buy those cases of bottled water and keep one with you, but it’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly to buy two or three plastic sports bottles and reuse them. Look for plastic labeled BPA free, or opt for lightweight steel. Glass works too and is easy to clean, but is heavy and breakable; use your judgment on what’s most appropriate for your workout setting!
Essential for Your Fitness Plan: Resistance Band
You won’t need to use one of these for a couple of weeks, but resistance band workouts are coming, so you might as well grab one if you’re at the store. Get a medium resistance band with handles. They cost around $10 and are in every sports store and big-box superstore. So, shoes, bra, water bottle, and resistance bands are your essentials. The items on the following slides are nice-to-haves.
Optional for Your Fitness Plan: Baby Jogger
Chances are you’ve already got a stroller, which will work just fine for brisk walks. Joggers are a little lighter and tend to turn more easily, but they’re also expensive and take up more space in your garage. You can pick up a gently used one at a consignment store or a friend with older kids. No matter what, please follow the manufacturer’s age limit recommendations. Some joggers aren’t designed to support an infant’s delicate neck and head.
Optional for Your Fitness Plan: Running Socks
You can walk,
jog, and take aerobics classes in any sock, but running socks offer extra cushioning to prevent blisters, and they won’t slip out of place like other cotton socks. They’re also made of material that wicks sweat away from your skin, keeping your little piggies dry.
Optional for Your Fitness Plan: Sports Watch
Inexpensive plastic and rubber watches (various models available, some for as little as $10 at Target or Amazon, for example) are great because they’re weatherproof and they have timers to help when you’re performing
walking or jogging intervals or cardio/weight intervals.
Optional for Your Fitness Plan: Portable Music Player
A little music during a solo workout provides motivation and inspiration. Or you can dial in a radio station and catch up on the news while you sweat. If you don’t already have one, you could give one to yourself as a reward for dropping the first 10 pounds!
Optional for Your Fitness Plan: Lightweight Ball Cap
Thin, sporty ball caps not only keep the sun out of your eyes (and off your face) while you walk, run, bike, and
hike, they hide your messy hair too. If you’ve got medium or short hair, hats are great for keeping it out of your face. And they look cute!
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