When you train as often as I do, you need lots of workout clothes. They can get pretty expensive, so I am compiling a list of my affordable must haves here for anyone that needs it. I do not get compensated for these links or mentions. (I’m mostly too lazy to set all of that up!)
Sports bras: they tend to be really expensive. I’ve seen them range from $20-$100. Wow! For me, my sports bras have two jobs: 1) help wick sweat and 2) keep me from getting black eyes. Depending on where you are in your fitness journey, you may need to increase or decrease your size frequently. In some cases, you begin loving your sports bras so much that you quit wearing any other kind of bra. (I’m so guilty of sporting a uniboob for most of the day.) At the time of writing, these cost only $27.99 on Amazon for the whole pack. They come with removable padding, which was the first thing I discarded. They can get kind of itchy when you wash and dry on heat, so I usually was using a fabric softener and hang dry.
Workout pants: I prefer capris. Shorts are too uncomfortable for me, because I get too worried about them riding up, or igniting a campfire with my thighs. Pants are a bit too stuffy and warm for me. So, capris are the good middle ground. I also tend to live in my capris when around the house. When I injure myself, they also give enough wiggle room and air for braces and the like. I tend to grab my capris on sale at Burlington Coat Factory, TJMaxx, Target, or Ross. However, I recently found these on Amazon for a screaming deal…$12.60 on Prime Day, but regularly $16.00. I took them out for a quick one-hour workout and they didn’t bunch up in odd places. The stretch was comfortable. The material feels a bit more slinky than what I normally like, but it wasn’t stiff. They mostly pass the squat test. I wore white/black striped runderwear and if I squat down reeeeeeealy low, the stripes were barely visible. I guess you should just count on wearing dark undies with these pants, or working out in a dark studio.
Bluetooth earphones: I’ve been told that these look like more expensive, designer earbuds, but I don’t like spending a whole lot on things that I know will break down or that I will lose in short order. I switched to these from the ones with the hanging things down my neck. I have to say that these are way better! I was first a bit weirded out about having something lace behind my ears, but you pretty much forget that they’re there after you begin working out. These are waterproof, which is nice. My phone is always at my side, so I haven’t been able to test out its range. I’m sure it’s fine if you keep your phone nearby.
Running shoes: There are ways to get cheaper running shoes than just hitting up the local Ross. I got fitted once at a New Balance expo booth at Walt Disney World and I was amazed at how much better my feet felt after running in these. It’s difficult to recommend shoes to someone without seeing them in person, so I wouldn’t take my recommendation on this specific shoe model. However, if your brand is New Balance, I would check out Joe’s New Balance Outlet website. You’ll be able to find last year’s models for pretty cheap.
Swimsuit: These are tough to get right. It’s also almost impossible to buy these online without some weird surprise. However, I took a leap of faith and bought the $17.99 swim suit. I’ve had this suit for three years and it HAS NOT FADED. AT ALL. It is so incredible and comfortable. After my swims, I wash out the chlorine with body wash from the gym and hang dry once I get home. There are thin liners for the inner shelf bra. They got a bit lumpy after awhile but it doesn’t affect the use of the swimsuit. If you are able to fill it out, then it’s not a big deal. In the meantime it looks like I have wrinkly boobs. The cut is cute and not too revealing. It’s great for recovery/training swims, or just hot soaks in the jacuzzi. So far I’ve only used it indoors.
Compression socks: I used to buy a competitor brand until I discovered that these were much cuter. They feel a bit flimsy compared to CEP’s socks, but these will do. They have enough compression that I need, and the fabric is really soft compared to other brands. It is fairly easy to find coupons for ProCompression socks and sleeves. These have been immensely helpful on long plane rides after races, or when I sprained by ankle. I’ve been able to get 5 for less than $100. You could also sign up for Active Advantage and get a free pair on the house! (And yes, you can get the socks while on the $0.99 trial period.)
Gym membership: I actually have three memberships to different gyms, but for the value-minded shopper I definitely recommend Planet Fitness’ black card membership. For slightly over $20 a month, you get an immaculately maintained gym, as well as access to their spa. At the gyms near my place, there are massage chairs and hydromassage beds. There are also tanning booths and red light therapy (never used these). It’s also in a private area of the gym, so if you need to take a call or a break, it’s a nice resting area. I’ve yet to take advantage of the free haircuts, but I suppose in a pinch it would be helpful? My favorite parts of Planet Fitness is 1) the judgement free zone, 2) first Tuesday bagels, 3) well-maintained equipment 4) massage chairs post-workout.
Well, those are my first round of bargain recommendations! There are ways to save money when having fun. I’ll keep sharing my tips with you in future posts.