When you first start working out, it is challenging to know what to wear, what works for your body, and what tools to use. In fact, it could get a tad overwhelming, especially in the age of the internet where there are 'quick solutions'. But I like to keep things simple, so here are a few tips to remember if you are trying to decide what you need:
No matter what your goals are, everyone needs some cardio whether you are trying to stay heart-healthy, lose weight, or tone up. However, the amount and type you need depend on your individual goals and your environment. For example,
- If you are trying to lose weight, cardio is probably the most important for you as you have to burn more calories than you consume. However, if you live in a very cold region and you hate running inside, you may want to try other options like cycling or using the elliptical.
- If you are trying to run a marathon, you should be running outside to get a feel for the terrain. Your goals are different and so the gear you need is also different. If you are trying to run a marathon in Dubai, your environment is different so you'll probably be training really early in the morning to avoid the sun.
For cardio though, unless you are choosing to run outside or do HIIT, you need some equipment (e.g. a stationary bike or a treadmill) and these are fairly easy to get. And you would need sneakers (or trainers) to move faster comfortably and protect your joints.
Strength training is a little different from cardio because though you burn a few calories, the objective is really to strengthen and build muscle and get stronger. So this involves a lot of resistance exercises where people tend to use weights (like dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, etc.) or use their own body weight. Some strength training exercises require specific kinds of weights like chest presses.
My opinion is that if you are working to build muscle, you need some sort of weights at home. I keep a set of dumbbells and ankle weights for when I can't make it to the gym or it's too cold outside. There are exercises like pushups and planks that don't need weights, but as you advance and really want to challenge yourself, you really should.
As you know, I love yoga. So keeping a yoga mat at home is absolutely required. The great thing about a yoga mat is that I can travel everywhere with it and don't need to much to practice. However, yoga is not the only form of stretching. Whether you do yoga or not, if you work out, you need to make sure you stretch out as well so your muscles can grow the right way and so you can prevent injury. There are many different types of machines you can uses to stretch, but all you need really is a mat.
What about clothes? Really, I choose my exercise attire based on what is comfortable and makes me feel good. In yoga, I would wear different clothes than when I do cardio. In cardio, I tend to wear less cotton because cotton absorbs sweat more. If you play football, you may want to wear a jersey to keep yourself and your team inspired.
Why was I talking about gear today? Well, I know in Nigeria it is sometimes tough to figure out how to start exercise and what you need, especially since gyms can be expensive and people are not sure what to do if they decide to opt out of the gym. These things can be purchased online as well! There is a site called KaymuNigeria that I discovered sells all sorts of exercise gear and equipment and you can have them delivered. And guess what? They have been very gracious to do a giveaway of a N10,000 coupon for one person that would participate in a challenge I am co-hosting throughout May on Instagram called #MayBooty. Check out my Instagram page @eightsnweights or use the #MayBooty hashtag on Instagram to find details.
To check out what options for gym equipment and sporting goods are available in Nigeria, you can go to Kaymu.
Cheers Eights & Weights!