$150 ACTIVITY TRACKER VS $20 PEDOMETER

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WHO WILL WIN?

Have you noticed all the articles about activity trackers lately? Apparently I have, because I bought one. I’ve always thought: that’s just an expensive pedometer, you idiots. But then I got it in my head that I wanted to go to fat camp, looked up what it costs, and said “waaaa. I can’t afford fat camp, so I’m going to buy myself a fancy tracker.” I’m a very rational person. Anyway, that’s how I ended up with a Jawbone UP24 around my wrist. Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 7.31.52 PM

MMmm. So tech-y. 

I’ve been using a little $20 pedometer for years. It works just fine, and it’s just as motivating as it needs to be. (The $10 ones break too easily.) It taught me that when I work full time in an ad agency and don’t walk to work, I only get 2500 steps a day. (A normal human being, not even working out, is supposed to get 10,000.) That is useful, life changing information. You could give $20 to a friend and ask her to tell you to slap you every hour and walk more, but she won’t be able to paint so stark a picture about how little you actually move and how close to inanimate you actually are. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

LIFE CHANGER!

So whatchoo got, Jawbone? Can you top that? I’ve been wearing the Jawbone UP24 for two weeks and here are the pros and cons:

PRO: wearing an activity tracker does communicate to you and others that fitness is a priority in your life.

PRO: It tracks your sleep. And it has made me realize I’m getting a lot less sleep than I thought I was.

PRO: It gives you updates on your progress and tips throughout the day. Like when it saw me only get 6.5 hrs of sleep for four days in a row it told me to catch up on some zzs over the weekend. Aw. It cares about me!

PRO: it’s always synching to your iphone via Bluetooth and the battery lasts a good few days.

PRO: You can set it to buzz to give you reminders when you’ve been inactive for too long! You don’t need to pay a friend $20 to slap you every hour and tell you to get up and take a walk.

PRO: smart sleep alarm: it can wake you within 20 min of your planned wake up time, but at a point when you’re in a light sleep, and before you slip back into a deeper one. Less zombie-like mornings.

PRO: I don’t have to clip it on my pants or put it in my pocket or take it out of my zipper pocket in boot camp when we lie on our back for abs.

PRO: you can synch it up with lots of other apps like My Fitness Buddy and track my run for even more accountability and insights.

CON: I’m pretty sure it counts hand clapping and bumpy car rides as steps. So that means it probably counts regular car rides? That’s not cool. Pedometers do not do that.

CON: I’ve somehow lost the USB plug and I can’t charge it until I find that stupid thing. The charge lasts a few days. The pedometer uses a watch battery that lasts months.

CON: no heart rate monitor, so no calorie burn feedback. Some do have this. They are big ugly watches as far as I can tell.

CON or PRO? no display on the bracelet itself. At first I thought I wanted a display, so I was considering the Nike fuel band. But I didn’t want to deal with made up fuel units (nike tracks “fuel” not calories or steps I don’t think).  And I thought it might be distracting to have flashing lights going off all day, so, I went with the jawbone instead of the Nike. It is nice to see how many steps you’ve gotten at a glance. But it’s on your phone, so all you have to do is glance at your phone. And it shows you what percentage of your step goal you’re at so far, so that’s extra motivation.

CON: I’ve been told that the new iphones can use their accelerometer like a pedometer and there are apps that basically turn it into an activity tracker. If you have it on your body at all times. Which I don’t. But, you know, FYI. Those exist. And many are free.

CONCLUSION:  Up 24 Loses. Technically. Rationally. Why? Because if you want a bracelet tracker, there are cheaper trackers that I’m sure do the same thing, and work with more platforms. And unless it’s a (big ugly) heart-rate tracking one, it doesn’t do anything that fancy. It is a useful app to hub all of your tracking in one place, but I don’t think that’s really worth $150.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. 🙂 Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

EMOTIONAL RATIONALIZATION BONUS!  Hey. If seeing a fancy little thing on your wrist all day makes you more committed to getting your steps and whatnot, maybe that is worth something. And it does make a statement. And it is a conversation piece. And it’s easier to keep track of than a little slippery thing you have to put in your pocket every day. I have lost my little pedometer a few times. Pedometer = “Wait. What pair of pants was I wearing yesterday? Did I put it in my jacket pocket?” Plus, the sleep and inactivity alert things on the UP 24 are pretty rad. (I’m sure other trackers have that too, though.) But seriously, if you’re broke but want to track your steps, look for an app, or go on amazon and get this little pedometer. The ones at the drugstores and Target have springs in them, and they break. I’ve gone through many. I like the Omron brand. They’re solid. This isn’t the one I have, but I think it’s the one that came after. Close enough!

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 4.06.41 PM OH HAI!

Why fitness fashion matters.

Hey Aimee, isn’t this super shallow? Writing about losing weight AND on top of that, looking cute while doing it? Well. If you’re a gym bunny who takes slutty butt-selfies and that’s your gig, yeah. That’s totally shallow. Also, cut it out. Go read a book.

Working out to lose weight and feel stronger, more capable and happier is not shallow. And looking good while you do it is actually a scientific tool you can use to make working out easier.

I’m serious. One of my college professors, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson is an expert in social psychology and positive psychology. Look her up, she’s a badass. She did that famous study where they had men and women take math tests with a mirror in the room, with no mirror in the room, and after trying on BATHING SUITS. Guess what happened. The women did worse with the mirror and after the bathing suit. The men did better. How sad is that? Women see themselves and LOSE CONFIDENCE and literally get dumber. Their cognitive ability actually declines. Men see themselves and think “I’m hot shit” and do even better. http://www.academia.edu/2096369/That_Swimsuit_Becomes_You

Now you might think that focusing on your looks before or during a workout might bring up self-consciousness and self-criticism, and lower your confidence. So why on earth would I have you focus on your looks before working out?

Because you’re going to catch yourself in the mirror no matter what you’re wearing. Even if there is no mirror, you’re going to look down at your thighs at some point. Or feel something jiggling. Or look down your shirt while in a plank and see your stomach sagging down way farther than you thought it would. There’s no avoiding self-awareness completely when working out. SO. You need to do everything in your power to make sure you FEEL POWERFUL when that happens. You need to feel like a guy would. You need a little tip in the “I’m hot shit” direction. You need the good pants and the good bra that are supportive, so you don’t jiggle. You need to wear something wicking so you don’t feel like a sweaty water buffalo. You need to at least cut the neck or arms off of that old T-shirt so it’s apparent that you made some effort and care about what you’re doing. It’s not a message to others, it’s a message to yourself.

It does not have to be a full-on head-to-toe LuluLemon situation. That’s annoying. (And not very creative.) It just has to be something that makes you feel confident, capable, and covered. Something that shows what you like and hides what you don’t. Something that makes it look like you actually like yourself. (And if you don’t like yourself yet, try pretending. Put the outfit on, and when you see yourself in the mirror at the gym, you might start to change your mind.)

Feeling put-together when you work out (wearing WorkOutFits) is not about dressing for others. It’s about dressing to feel good about yourself. It’s pre-emptive psychological warfare against negative self-talk. It communicates respect and enthusiasm for what you’re doing. (Wearing a WorkOutFit says: “I’m into this. I’m here. Let’s do this!”) Also, cute clothes are fun.

If you can’t tell by now, I am super passionate about this. I wrote an entire Piperlime ad campaign  about the power of dressing well. I’ve been a work-from-home person for three years and I KNOW how wearing sloppy clothes affects my work and my mood. I want you to see how changing your clothes can change your outlook.

Try it. Send me before and after outfits. Tell me how it felt. Maybe we’ll send some testimonials to Dr. Fredrickson for an addendum to her article. “The Effect of Fashion on Trig Functions and Tricep Dips” or something like that. 🙂

Anyway. The point is: Get those purple shoes, my friend. They WILL work better than the sad boring ugly white ones.

How to pick the perfect workout pants.

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At first you might think that all black workout pants are the interchangeable. Or that you can just get a pair for $20 because it doesn’t matter. Then, you’ll go for a run in what you thought were snug leggings and spent the whole run pulling them up. Or go to barre class thinking your cotton pants were a great idea, until you were on your back, in happy baby with your undercarriage on display for all to see.

There’s a reason I have 20 different pairs of workout pants. Different cuts and materials and features work for different things. And some don’t work for anything but watching TV. Here, let me break it down for you:

First some quick terminology.

PANTS: are usually for hiking, lounging, or yoga/barre/studio. They go to your ankles and are loose at least in one place.

LuLu Studio Pantcn4403797

YOGA PANTS are yoga pants. You know what they look like. Tight, crotch-showing stretchy things with a little flare leg. They’re sexy. They move with you. They’re girlie. Watch out for the flares when you’re working on machines or doing drills. Not the best for running, because you get air up your leg and the flares can get dirty.

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LEGGINGS or TIGHTS are exactly what they sound like. To the ankle. And on the skin. Pros: they are definitely an “I’m serious about this workout” look. And they don’t get in the way. Cons: warmer. And there’s no hiding your shape. It’s very “Here’s what I look like. Let’s all just deal with it.” Although they’re helpful for winter walking because you can just tuck em right into your boots.

Athleta Plie Tight

CAPRIS are any kind of pant that hits below the knee and above the ankle. My favorite cut because they cover my thighs but aren’t as warm as something that goes to the ankle. Pretty flattering for everyone. And they don’t get in the way.

LuLu Embody Crop

KNICKERS: are pants or capri-type objects that stop around the knee. Think football pants. It mind seem kind of nitpicky to call something knickers and something else capris, but I do have two pairs that definitely are knickers, not capris, and there is a difference. As far as I can tell, the only place it would matter is in trapeze or something where you need knee protection.  (Trapeze is totally fun and not as hard as it looks, btw.) Knickers are good, simple, athletic, I’m ready to go, coach, a little less everywoman than capris, let’s kick some ass pants.

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FOLD-OVER WAIST: If you’re pear-shaped like me, or any shape that has a smaller waist, these are useless. The waistband will just unfold/ roll up and be bunchy and weird. Even if you low-ride them so they stay around your hips, you’ve got muffin-top potential, and another layer of fabric to make a weird shape exactly where you don’t need it. PLUS, why do we want another pattern going on? They’re for skinny 15 year olds who wear jog bras as shirts.

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SKORTS: are awkward and embarrassing for everyone. Unless they’re for biking, then they’re kind of cute. Infinitely cuter than just bike shorts. That being said, Athleta has these little ruffle-bottom ones for working out that aren’t golf-y at all, so times are a changing. But a less confused-choice is the TWO-IN-ONE: which is a pair of leggings or capris with a skirt attached. All the benefits of leggings plus a little coverage. And they look more like clothes if you have to run to the store or something.

cn7537451acceleration athleta

SHORTS: I don’t deal in. Go find a skinny person and ask her. But those Nike tempo running shorts are pretty popular so they must not ride up too much? All shorts ride up on me because my thighs overlap like a venn diagram.

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HOT PANTS/ BOY SHORTS: I’m about 40 pounds away from those being appropriate so, ditto. But I have to say, these are getting more mainstream by the second. So, get used to seeing girls working out in basically underwear, I guess.

Nike

NOW onto the what pants to wear for what.

RUNNING

half-marathon-2RUNNING is fricking hard, so wear whatever you want, you viking woman, you. Just don’t wear a Tutu, please. You can wear lots of stuff to run. Running pants / leggings / capris / knickers / or even shorts. But the more you do it, the pickier you’re going to get. Which is good. At that point, you’re going to want to remember these three words:  Wicking. Tight. and High. (or WTH)

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WICKING. Why? No matter what the season, you need your legs to breathe. Even thermal running tights should be breathable. Even wind-proof pants should allow moisture to escape. That means no cotton. As they say in marathon training, “Cotton is rotten.” For socks, tops, and yes, your pants. Cotton shows sweat. And if it shows sweat, that means it doesn’t wick the sweat off of your skin and into the air, so you’re running in damp clothes. Which can get heavy and sag, can make you cold, and can chafe.

TIGHT Running leggings/capris whatevers should be tight. Tighter than you would normally go for a gym workout. I’m not saying get a size too small, I’m saying look for “performance fit” or “tight fit.” Tight pants are like jog bras for your leg muscles (or in my case, saddlebags) and they also won’t fall down. “Pro” type tight pants or compression pants actually squeeze your muscles a bit for better circulation, support, and supposedly performance.

HIGH Running pants often come with a higher waist. They’re not trying to make you look gross. The higher waist is, again, so they don’t fall down. If there’s a drawstring, even better.  And yeah, if you wear shorts, the high slits on the sides or running shorts are there so they don’t ride up as you stride.

 

YOGA

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YOGA : Remember these three things: Breathe. Bend. Butt.

BREATHE I would rather not workout than workout with visible butt sweat, so I’m all for breatheable tech fabrics and against cotton. If it’s bikram, you’re going to be dripping within five minutes (not exaggerating) so I guess you can do what you want. But tech stuff is still more comfortable. Also, in bikram you can go tighter than normal, because everything will get soaked and then stretch and sag.

BEND You need enough stretch or bagginess to accommodate deep lunges, and you don’t want to have to hike your pants up every time you do one. That’s why harem pants are kind of popular for yoga, as well as tight pants. Duh. But you also don’t want to show any crack, so…think twice about how low cut you want to go. And for shirts, something form fitting, or at least snug at the bottom will keep your shirt from going up around your face in downward dog and inversions. If you wouldn’t do a cartwheel in it, it won’t work for yoga.

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BUTT Remember the see-through LuluLemon pant scandal? Well, let me tell you, all pants are see-through unless they’re not. Touch the floor and stick that ass out to make sure you can’t see anything before you buy. I’ve read the word “PINK” through some someone else’s seemingly innocent an opaque yoga pants in class. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not exactly pro either. Also, look for sheen. Stretch the fabric horizontally and see what happens. Most companies are using black elastic thread now, which helps, but you don’t want stuff to get too shiny when it stretches because that can look see-through, too.

 STUDIO / BARRE

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STUDIO / BARRE: thinkLittle In The Middle”

Wear whatever cut you like. But don’t go baggy in the hip or torso because your instructors need to be able to see your form. Don’t worry about your belly. You have to start somewhere, and your “corset” will never shrink if you’re hiding bad form underneath a baggy shirt. Know that you will be doing “happy baby” and have your legs up in the air with your ass out for all to see. There’s a reason people wear dark, long pants.

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GYM / CROSS FIT / BOXING

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There’s a little more leeway here depending on what you’re doing. Wear whatever makes you feel tough and strong. Go in there feeling like a superhero.  But something too floppy will get in the way of the equipment or your jabs. (So no capes, I guess). Especially in crossfit. It’s hard enough to do a box jump without having to worry about tripping on your own pant leg. Apparently high socks are a thing, too. I’m sure there’s a function…I’ll find out. Oh, here you go: Katy from GonePaleo explains crossfit gear well:

http://occasionalfaileo.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/crossfit-outfits-explained/

 SPIN

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SPIN I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but watch out for yoga pants or anything with a wide leg. They could get caught. Go slim cut or go short. And bring a towel for eff’s sake. Gross. I’m not that serious about spin, but if you are, here’s a good article on good spin pants from Well and Good.

http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2010/11/08/this-is-your-crotch-on-spinning/

So there you have it. Happy shopping. I hope you don’t waste your money on cheap, see-through, butt-sweat showing pants, and you enjoy your new power outfits.

HOW TO AVOID B.S. (BUTT SWEAT)

Sweating is great. It’s proof you’re working, and it’s a badge of honor. But butt sweat is not cute. More importantly, it’s distracting and it can make you self-conscious during your workout, or even make you bail early.  And we don’t want that.

Here are some tips to achieve NO B.S. (no (visible) butt sweat) during hard workouts:

1. No cotton pants. Not even black. Sweat. Will. Show. Up.

2. You want the fake stuff. Sweat wicking is good.

3. Thick or thin but not in-between. Thicker fabrics tend to be higher-quality. Thinner ones let moisture evaporate quickly.

4. Patterns are your friend. The best defense is to go on the offense with a pattern so even if you do sweat a lot, nobody will notice.

5. CYA combos are an option. (CYA=Cover Your Ass = pant + skirt combos aka Two-in-ones).

6. Test your fabric before hand. Put some water on it and see what you see.

7. I love the color grey more than I love people. But I will NEVER buy a pair of grey workout pants. Hint hint.

8. Obviously, something dark and baggy on bottom is the safest bet. But that’s not always the best for your workout, so, see above and below.

9. If all else fails, you can always wear a long tunic-style top.

10. And don’t forget to Wipe. Down. The Equipment. Please.

 

Big list of workout wear brands!

GOOD NEWS! Thanks to Stella McCartney for adidas and LuLu Lemon, the world has caught on and there are a million new fitness fashion lines.

BAD NEWS 😦 There are now a million fitness fashion lines.

GOOD NEWS! I’ve gathered them all with quick summaries for you right here. With a ballpark cost for a pair of to-the-ankle leggings or yoga pants. You’re welcome.

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START HERE These guys on the list have been around for a while, and were some of the first to offer cute workout clothes. So I guess we can blame the “yoga pants in public” thing on them.

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Nike shopnike.com

They’re the ones who made us think we could be athletes. Their apparel tends to be cut a little slimmer. Because that’s their gig. They’re for athletes. Their “Legend” line of bottoms is more forgiving/ flattering. Pants $Wide range of prices

Nike

Nike

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 7.01.53 PM nike shirt

 

LuLuLemon lululemon.com

Official outfitter of soccer moms, barre class-attenders, and everybody else. Pants $100

Lululu lu pants

lulu jkt

 

Lucy lucy.com

A little bit more forgiving than LuLu. Pants up to $100ish

lucy pantslucy

 

Title Nine titlenine.com

T9 usually skews a little too conservative for me, but what they stand for is very very cool. If you don’t know what Title Nine refers to, look it up right now or else turn in your girl card. Their “Bounce” sports bra section is very very good. Pants $80ish

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Athleta athleta.gap.com

Owned by Gap now, so you can use your gap/banana/old navy card bonus coupons to buy workout gear. Bam! Their 2014 offerings are a major turn in the right direction. Definitely giving LuLu a run for the money. Try the Chaturanga tights.  Pants $80ish

Athleta skirtathleta pink athleta green

 

adidas by Stella McCartney http://www.adidas.com/us/adidas-by-stella-mccartney/_/N-1z13svo

This may have been the first really fashion-y fitness line. I used to write ads for adidas and got a discount on product, so obviously I went totally nuts on the first season of adidas by Stella. Fashion-forward. Vegan shoes. Definitely focused on form over function. Pants $95

stella suit stella stella pants

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BUDGET-STYLE Please do not think that you have to work out in ratty old t-shirts just because you aren’t rolling in it. All you really need is two pairs of bottoms and a few tank tops.

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Gap Fit and Gap Pure Body   gap.com

Not my favorite. Fabrics are hit or miss. The fit is not great for my body type (pear). BUT, their bras can be pretty great. Gap Pure Body tops are better, softer, more graceful fabrics in loose, flowy cuts. Pants $50

gap top gap pants

 

Old Navy Active  oldnavy.com

Can be great depending on the piece. Their pants fabrics are thin, but if you get a patterned pair, it’s OK. Also, their cotton yoga pants are a no-brainer lazy day go-to for me. (but not for butt-sweat activities) And their ribbed tanks and tamis (tank meets camisole) are great, cheap basics that are totally viable workout tops and come in tons of colors. Pants $30

Old Navy activeold navy

 

Target target.com

They carry C9 by Champion, which has very, um, “you get what you pay for” fabric. (as in: thin, as in: shows cellulite). But the newer Champion tops are getting more feminine, flowy, and interesting. Pants $25ish

targettarget shirt

 

Fabletics + Ellie  fabletics.com  ellie.com

These two subscription-optional brands claim to be budget friendly. They’re cheaper than LuLu for sure. Ellie has some super cute leggings with different textured panels for $55ish (although I’ve read that the fabric pills quickly) and Fabletics is a bit more basic/broad in style and tries to prescribe outfits for you based on a little survey you take, which to me is a waste of time. Imma dress mahself, thx.  Ellie pants $55  Fabletics pants $50

elliefabletics

 

Soffe  soffe.com

You can get this brand at Sports Authority. It’s super cheap, pretty basic cotton stuff. It’s basically what high-school cheerleaders wear to practice, so if you’re into little sexy little retro gym shorts, go nuts. They cost $7 whole dollars. But they also have a few on-trend tops and sexy little sweats that cost less than a salad. Pants $18

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NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK  (or at least newish to me.)

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Sweaty Betty sweatybetty.com

Newer on the scene. From the UK. Pretty, feminine, on trend, edgier than LuLu, a lot of dance-inspired looks. Pants $90

sweatybetty sweatyb pants

 

Without Walls withoutwalls.com

Urban Outfitters’ fitness branch. They have their own label and pick fun/flashy/ironic stuff from other brands that matches their aesthetic. I dig. Pants $74

without walls Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 6.36.03 PM--31030984_009_b

 

BetaBrand betabrand.com

You’ve seen the ads all over Facebook. Yoga pants for the office. And blazers too. Pants $80

betabrand1150x673xblack_dress_pant_yoga_pants__leggings__3.jpg.pagespeed.ic.cvmceyN070

 

 

Nordstrom + Zella Nordstrom.com

 

Has a decent selection, and their own line (Zella) is decent, AND comes in plus sizes so they get 50 points for that. Pants $60ish

zella pantszella

 

Lorna Jane lornajane.com

Australian with free US shipping. A wide variety of pretty cute stuff. Pants $100

lorna janeljane tights

 

MPG http://us.webstore.mpgsport.com/

Canadian. Somewhat basic, somewhat fashion-y. Their owners and models are muscly, and like to lift. So you gotta respect that. Pants $60

mpg back mpg

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SEXY TOWN Oh, so you like a little sheer paneling, fishnet action, and lots of cut outs? You’re a Victoria’s Secret model? That’s nice. You’ll like these brands. Also, they’re expensive.

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Michi shopmishiny.com

This is…let’s say… a more…Kim Kardashian flavor of sexy. Yes, that’s a catsuit. But there are some very cool edgy leggings up in thurr too. Pants $180

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 6.56.07 PMmichi catsuitmishi

 

Nesh neshnyc.com

Holy sh*t this stuff is my kinda sexy. Maybe not the pin-up tights but definitely the sheer drapey-ness of the tops. Reminds me of Stella’s first adidas collection. Pants $112

NEsh Pin Upnesh vnesh tank

 

Nina B. Roze ninabroze.com

This stuff is very feminine/flirty/approaching sexy. They have a ruffled bathing suit and leggings that have a heart shaped seam on the butt. Heart Butt Leggings $100

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 6.10.37 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 6.11.45 PM

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SPENDY Oh. You’re rich! That’s nice. Let me know how you like this stuff because I can’t afford it. Also, you’ll be wanting to look at this website: Carbon38.com

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VPL store.vplnyc.com

Lingerie meets sportswear. Yes it stands for Visible Panty Line. Get it? Pants $150 ish average

vplvpl pants vpl aggro

 

Slog slogstudio.com

Super new. Website’s not up yet. Big potential. These shorts are a snake-print leather-looking fabric. Whoa. $90 at carbon38.com

slog Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 6.23.31 PM

 

Work Out Life workoutlife.com

Did you know there’s such a thing as a hot yoga suit? There is. It’s basically a sexier wrestling singlet. And it costs $164

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 12.27.45 PMworkoutlifetop

 

Splits59 splits59.com

This brand is sold in my local Dailey Method studio and is popular with the teachers. I have one pair of capris and the quality is great, but the cut is a little too low for me at the moment. Check out their Sport Couture section. Pants $100

splits topsplits 59

SO there you have it. That’s my list. There are of course more brands. Some I just plain don’t like. Some I didn’t cover some because they just don’t have enough unique stuff. If I didn’t cover one that’s awesome, please let me know and I’ll check ‘em out and add them to the list.

 

all content (c) Aimee Lehto Schewe and Pretty-Sweaty.com 2014 all rights reserved