Pretend Shopping Trip: Cute Winter Workout Wear from Sweaty Betty

Heyo. I haven’t been posting a ton of pictures lately because, well, I’m pregnant! Which also means I’m working out less, gaining baby and burrito weight, and can’t buy all the cute new things that are out in the land of fitness fashion this fall. But you can! Here are some fun things I’m noticing. Happy shopping!

SWEATY BETTY: They’re British, but have a few stores in the US. Because they’re British, they use funny words. Jumper = Sweater. Vest = Sleeveless Tank. Stuff like that. Silly British. Also, their catalog features a “40% off introductory offer.” I’m not sure how to get it through their website, but maybe if you call they can hook you up.

SWEATY BETTY : Optimal Training Hoodie $190

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SWEATY BETTY: Allegro Knit Dance Jumper $155 : dig the mesh raglan sleeves

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SWEATY BETTY: Coupe Layered Dance Vest $85

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SWEATY BETTY: Dance Workout Capri $110 : How comfortable do these look?

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SWEATY BETTY: Yama Knit Jumper : $155 : love the different shapes and layers and cut outs

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SWEATY BETTY: Bakasana Yoga Vest : $95 : This is my favorite. Drapey 2 in 1 with an open back? Yes.

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Workout Review: The Dailey Method

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I’m going to review the three workouts I’ve been doing the most this year. Starting today with The Dailey Method. First, here’s a little bit of my history with going to fitness classes. If you don’t give a rat, just skip down to the review I won’t hate you. 🙂 Long story short: I used to hate classes, but now I dig ’em. Note: being a bit pre-fit makes a huge difference in how pleasant or un- they can be.

MY HISTORY WITH TAKING FITNESS CLASSES: 

In the past I’ve been pretty anti-class. I tried some at Crunch in San Francisco, and they just made me feel fat and gross because everyone else was all skinny and fit and rocking full WorkOutFits. This was ten years ago, when I was still wearing mesh basketball shorts and before I ran a marathon. Before then, I was very into home workout videos/DVDs. And before that I did home workouts that were on TV, like Body By Gilad. I was an original Firm believer. Knew about Beach Body back when they sent out a paper catalog, did Tae Bo, all of that jazz. Then I went to the gym to do the stairmaster, treadmill, elipser, and use the weight machines. A little Body for Life. Then I got more into running. Then P90X and then I tried classes again: some spin and some yoga and some Zumba.

Spin was tolerable because it was dark so it was easier to block out the skinny bitches and avoid comparison. Zumba I started doing when I moved out to the burbs, and it was full of old biddies so I felt like a rockstar. Yoga usually draws all types so it’s generally non-threatening. FYI, the spin class I used to take in the burbs was in glaring full yellow light, with a boom box of country music, and it took place literally on a basketball court, during a basketball skills clinic for five year olds. For real. Not quite the same as the dark, cool, techno experience at Crunch in San Francisco. But highly entertaining nonetheless. Anyway, that’s my history with classes.

ENTER GROUPON…

In the last year or so, I snapped up a Groupon for Dailey Method and gave it a shot. I have a lot of friends who did it in SF (where it’s from) and loved it. (I just never had the time to do it, or anything at all for that matter, when I lived there.) And I have the Physique 57 DVDs and so I kind of had an idea of what it would be like.

SO WHAT IS DAILEY METHOD LIKE?

Friggin’ hard. That’s what it’s like. If you’re not strong already, it’s frustrating and painful. And even if you are in shape, it’s still going to be awkward at some point because you’re getting into all sorts of weird positions and then you’re going to be pulsing. Yep. Pulsing. Gross.

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IT’S HARD. HARD!

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Also? Dailey Method doesn’t count for hardly any steps according to my UP 24. 😦 Bullshit.

But it’s also FANTASTIC. This is a rich lady sport, so the studio is clean, and bright, and colorful and feels kind of like a spa. It’s a lovely place to be. Everyone is paying out the wazoo to be there, so everyone takes it seriously, focuses on their own shit, and generally brings it in the fitness fashion department.

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I kinda love it!

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There are people of all shapes and sizes and ages and even stages of pregnancy. My favorite classmate is a proud breast cancer survivor in her late 60s who rocks the brightest tights I’ve ever seen. Every. Single. Class. She lost 30 lbs doing Dailey and didn’t change anything else in her life. She kicks all of the ass.

There’s a lot of emphasis on getting into proper position/ alignment first and then working. You work a muscle with light weights or body weight and high reps until you’re burning and shaking, and swearing under your breath. I’m serious. Shaking is a good thing in Dailey Method. It’s not the end, it’s the midpoint. Then when you think you’re going to collapse because you no longer have legs, just jelly sticks, or that flames will literally start shooting out of your quads and melt your stretch pants, you do some more. Then you stretch that muscle.

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There are a lot of planks and on-your-toes squats and plies and sometimes there’s a shitty terrible awkward position like pretzel sometimes there’s not. There’s always something that sucks to do but builds rock hard thighs FAST. And there is always a ton of core work.

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RESULTS?

Yes. I definitely got results from doing The Dailey Method, and I never went more than 3 times a week. I also bought both DVDs and use those when I need to. My results looked like this: a general “tightening” of my whole torso, everything sucked in and shrunk. My thighs got BIGGER because I was growing strong quads and my butt got smaller. My arms got tighter. And the “bottom butt” or “second butt” or “pooh bear butt” or the “butt under the butt” went away.

COST? 

Dailey Method is very expensive (at least $150 for a monthly pass). But if you frame it as a hobby instead of a gym, then it’s easier to wrap your head around. $150/4 weeks = $37.50 a week. How much do you spend on lunch? Or on random shit you don’t need at Target? Just sayin’. It can be done. And it’s much more valuable than a lot of other crap I unthinkingly spend money on.

IN CONCLUSION:

THREE WORD REVIEW of THE DAILEY METHOD: Hurts. So. Good.

I’ll review the Boot Camp I went to next. Coming soon.

Here are some pictures from my Dailey Days.

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They’ve got home videos too.

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Dailey Method: work up a sweat standing still.

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Barre stretches feel good.

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My favorite exercise. Standing leg hold.

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May & June WorkOutFits

Here are some of my recent WorkOutFits. Apparently I like two things: neon pink, and black grey black. I could wear pink on top of black or grey on top of black all week, and not repeat an outfit. Some of these look like repeats, but I swear they’re not. ha! The yellow and purple is a total anomaly. But…pretty fun I must say.

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You’ll notice I wear mostly tunics. Because I’m a pear, and it just kind of grazes over my figure. I wear a regular tank top for boot camp, because they often have us on our hands and feet jumping around, so you don’t want your shirt to fly up. I should be wearing something snug in the middle to Dailey Method. But…that’s more of a fashion show scene, so I don’t care. I bring out the good tops for those classes.

I love capris and knickers. That’s all I wear. I have been rocking a baggy shirt tight pants look since I was 13. What works for your body works. Stick with it. Like Mr. Rodgers. Plus, capris and knickers are the most supportive, easy to move it, easy to forget about things there are. Maybe shorts work for you, great. Not me. Long pants? only in the winter. They feel too damn hot. Calf sweat? Ew. I dress like a football player. Just without all the terrible color choices and ugly graphics. And white pants. Seriously, they need to cut that out. I could really help the NFL with their styling. It would actually be a dream job, so if you work there, gimme a call. 🙂 Please. I mean it.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.