Back in the day, a pair of black Topshop leggings and an oversized t-shirt used to be my gym uniform (when I did actually go to the gym). I wish I had photos of us bundling into the car at uni to go to the gym…and then to the McDonald’s drive through on the way home.
I wish I was joking.
One time we couldn’t find a parking space at the gym so we just went home. Luckily I’m a little more diligent with my workouts now, and opt for a recovery smoothie rather than a milkshake.
Fitness gear has moved on a long way since then too. Lots of high street chains have jumped on the fitness bandwagon but their quality is often not up to the same standard as speciality workout wear. So when is it worth spending your money on Lululemon, Nike or Sweaty Betty, and when can you get away with a high street stash?
If you’re just an occasional gym goer you can probably get away with buying a lot more from the save list than the spend list, however if you’re out running miles and miles, or hitting the gym with regularity, it might be worth investing in these items;
Trainers – number one on the spend list. A decent pair of trainers, fitted for your gait, will not only help prevent injury, but could also improve performance. A great way to save money is to buy last season’s shoe, the fit will be almost identical, but the colours might be out of fashion 🙂
Sports Bra – After you’ve spent part of your pay check on your trainers, take a little more and invest in a couple of sports bras. Get them properly fitted by a specialist – you can always try the right ones on in person, then google for discounted versions online, there are often great deals to be had!
Leggings – No-one wants to show too much through their leggings, or to spend their workout hoisting your bottoms up. You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on Lucas Hugh, but paying a little extra for a great fit is worth it, particularly if you’re going to be training for a marathon in them. I’d spend a little money on a decent black pair, then buy some fun, cheaper patterned leggings for gym time. My absolute favourites are Lululemon – and they last for years without losing their shape!
Socks – they may seem minor, but wear the wrong socks during a marathon or half marathon and you will regret it. Cotton socks are not the one, they retain moisture and can cause blisters. You’ll want a blend of polyester/synthetic material to wick away moisture. You don’t need to spend too much, many brands produce great socks for little £! My favourites are Feetures.
Tops – in the same way you should avoid cotton for your socks, you should also give it a miss for your tops, both short and long sleeved. Opt for something that will be sweat wicking, and that doesn’t cut in anywhere (this should avoid chafing).
Jacket – surprisingly for this big ticket item, you don’t need to spend a lot. It’s actually more important to be wearing appropriate layers below, as long as your jacket is windproof, waterproof and breathable, your jacket doesn’t need to cost a fortune. H&M, Ronhill and Adidas have some great affordable options.
Shorts – I’m not fussy when it comes to shorts, as long as they’re not too tight or too short, they do the job. If you’re using them in the gym it might be wise to choose a pair with an inbuilt liner, otherwise something lightweight and comfortable is perfect.
Gloves – Unless you have very severe circulation issues, I’d recommend getting a couple of pairs of gloves that you can wear on runs and to races, and ditch them if you get too warm. I stocked up at the Primark sale last year – a great decision!
Fitness tracker – with so many awesome free apps now available, you don’t need to spend a fortune to track your run. If it’s wearable tech you’re after, the sales and Amazon are a great place to buy last year’s model, or pre-loved watches. There are also some great GPS watches available out there for under £50- like the Timex Ironman Rugged 30.