The New Year is here and the gym and running paths are more crowded. The slew of New Year, New You hopefuls is hitting a crescendo. If you are one of them, outfitting your efforts may seem overwhelming as there are a slew of athletic companies vying for your motivation-to-move dollar.
Fitness editors test a slew of pants, shorts, shoes, weight lifting gloves, sports bras and tops, any new fitness gadget and even socks. So ConsumerSearch asked them: Which items have become a staple in your gym bag and why?
Rachel Crocker, Fitness editor at Oxygen
Her go-to workout wear is: ICE Gear Tights Compress
And here's why: "Snug without being revealing, these tights provide great range of motion for everything from biking to Pilates. As a bonus, they are slim enough to fit under regular workout pants, which means I can continue running outdoors even in the harshest of Canadian weather. (I've even been known to wear them under my SpongeBob PJ pants on a camping trip or two!)"
Her favorite fitness gadget is: A Reebok 6 kg medicine ball
And here's why: "Even though it's a simple tool, I turn to it time and time again when I'm looking for a fast, heart rate raising routine. Though barbells and dumbbells may be my favorite exercise gear, my one-bedroom apartment simply can't hold larger, heftier pieces of equipment. Triceps push-ups on the ball, weighted crunches, full-body ball slams - with my med ball, the possibilities are endless!"
She can't workout without: Her iPod Nano. "Nothing gets me more revved-up for an exercise session than the perfect playlist. Plus, I can time my planks with the stopwatch and measure my lunchtime jogs with the fitness features. In recent months it has truly (and sadly) become my best and most compassionate friend."
Bill Geiger, Group Editorial Director of MuscleMag International/Publishing
His go-to workout wear is: A sleeveless shirt or tank and shorts. "I like the UnderArmour workout shirts and shorts best -- lightweight and breathable. But I always feel my best when wearing my USC shirt."
And here's why: "I sweat a lot so I like something light and keeps my cool. Even a cap increases my body temperature."
And here's why: "The belt provides good support for my lower back (I have a herniated disk) and the straps help me with pulling moves (such as rows) on back day."
He can't workout without: His iPod! "Don't have to listen to gym music and I can tune everybody out."
Danielle McNally, Associate Fitness editor at SHAPE
And here's why: "UA's pieces always fit right, look cute, and perform well. I'm never tugging, pulling or feeling constrained. Plus, in the winter it's super-warm!"
"Asics have been my go-to running shoe for years. I over-pronate a bit and the way the laces are angled helps keep me aligned. Plus, I've never had any issues with them. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Her favorite fitness gadget is: "I'm not super-gadgety (I hardly ever use an iPod!), but I use a plain ol' stopwatch to track my pace and splits. And I'll use Map My Run (either the app or the webpage) to calculate distance."
And here's why: "I'm a late adopter to most technology. I know that using it can be very helpful (I write about it all the time), but what I like most about running is that you can just get out there and do it -- you don't need any gear."
She can't workout without: Throlos Experia Socks. "They are so comfortable -- padded at the heels and toes with compression at the midsole -- and never give me blisters."
Shawn Perine, Editor-in-Chief of Muscle & Fitness
His go-to workout wear is: Brooks cross trainers.
And here's why: "Currently I wear Brooks, which are ideal for people with relatively flat feet. Cross trainers provide a great balance of stability and flexibility, so they're good for the gym as well as the track."
His favorite fitness gadget is: Ab wheel
And here's why: "The ab wheel is a very underrated piece of equipment. Although simple and inexpensive, it packs a big punch. Not only does it hit the [main abdominal muscle], but all the muscles of the midsection, including the "core" muscles. It even works the lats, chest, triceps, biceps and hip flexors."
He can't workout without: Music. "Studies have shown that training to music results in an increase in exercise intensity. It definitely does the trick for me. Of course, the music has to be something driving, and something I like. A stream of Barry Manilow songs probably wouldn't do the trick for me."
Marissa Stephenson, Fitness editor at SELF
Her go-to workout wear is: Lululemon Run: Swiftly Tech V Neck top, Champion Double Dry+ Spot Comfort Max-Support Sports Bra, Nike Legend Tight Fit Print Capri, Point 6 Active Tipped Light Micro socks and ASICS GEL-Nimbus 13 women's running shoes.
And here's why: "The Lulu top is extra long and lightweight, and stays dry through SoulCycle Spin sessions and total-body conditioning classes. The Nike bottoms have a fun, little-bit-flashy print, and they suck in all the right places (hips, butt, thighs) and make your legs look sleek. The Champion sport bra is one of the few that's truly comfortable AND supportive, and best, it doesn't flatten my boobs. I literally have five pairs of the Point 6 socks, and wear them for any kind of workout. They're cushy, comfy, and won't wear out after several washes. Last, the ASICS shoes saw me through my first NYC marathon, and, after trying no less than 20 different kinds of running kicks, I think are truly the best for distance runners who want the extra support and cushion and aren't looking to go minimal."
Her favorite fitness gadget is: Yurbuds Ironman Inspire earbuds
And here's why: "These won't, I mean WON'T fall out! It doesn't matter if you're sprinting or dancing around in your apartment (and yes, I have wear-tested them doing exactly that). They're the only earbuds I've found that feel comfortable in my ears, won't budge a millimeter, and have awesome, full sound."
She can't workout without: NordicTrack 3-in-1 massage roller. "After any challenging workout, I'm going to feel muscle kinks and tightness, and this 3-in-1 tool makes rolling them out (self-myofascial release) simple and feel good. I like to use the larger-sized blue roller for my quads and hamstrings, the smaller and knotty yellow roller for my calves and hips, and last the massage stick for any super-tight areas. I can absolutely tell the difference when I have used the rollers post-workout and when I haven't!"
Cindy Whitehead, the Sports Stylist® has styled hundreds of health, fitness and sports commercials and editorial layouts, plus she is a former pro skateboarder.
Her go-to workout wear is: Lululemon
And here's why: "Their clothes last forever, fit perfectly and are flattering!"
Her favorite fitness gadget is: A jump rope
And here's why: "Because it fits easily in a suitcase or bag for when I travel."
She can't workout without: Asics Hera Diva no-show socks. "They NEVER slip in the heel - which means no stopping during training to fix your socks that slipped down."