Be Well: Nike Women's Training Club

2012-12-11_23-56-10There's a new workout regimen in my life, and I think it's about time you heard about it. It's an app called Nike Women's Training Club, and it's like having your own personal trainer.

IMG_1104I'd like to clarify that this post is in no way sponsored by Nike (although if they're reading, I wouldn't be opposed...). My friend introduced me to this app about a month ago. Since then, it's revolutionized our workout routine. I've tried quite a few workout apps over the past couple years, and I can unequivocally say that this is the best one I've come across so far.

You start with the screen above - choosing if you'd like to do a workout aimed at being lean, toned or strong. My friend and I like to switch between the three types day to day, week to week, in order to add variety to our workouts (the more you keep your body guessing, the more calories you burn!).

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Next you move to the levels screen - choosing whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. The first time we did a NWTC workout, I immediately picked advanced. I shoot for five workouts a week, so I thought it was obviously the category for me. So. Wrong. So. Hard. Do not be ashamed to start at intermediate and work your way up - they've really gone all-out on the quality of these workouts.

IMG_1106Once you pick a level, you get to pick between eight or so different workout regimens. This is one of my absolute favorite things about the app - between the various difficulty levels and the workouts within, you can go weeks without repeating a workout. While many of the same exercises appear in a bunch of the workouts, they are always for different amounts of time and paired with different types of exercises, which, as mentioned above, keeps your body guessing!

IMG_1109Finally, you get to the workout. Not only does the app have a built-in timer that tells you just how long to do each exercise, it also has built in step-by-step instructions as well as instructional videos to show you how to do each move. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

The #1 reason why I recommend this app is for the efficiency it brings to your workouts - you never realize how much time you're taking in between exercises until you have an app beeping after each interval and forcing you on to the next exercise. The workouts are 30 or 45 minutes of back-to-back exercises that always work your entire body. As a bonus, it will take you a long time to get bored of the app - with so many workouts, you'll be doing pushups, kettle-bell swings, and lunges in different orders until you are one fit cookie. Best of all, it's free! If you've hit a plateau with your workouts lately, hit "download" on this bad boy and start getting in shape!

Dress Well: Workout Clothes

Everything in the collage above is something that I actually wear to the gym. They're my standbys, the little things that brighten up my workout. I've found it's so much easier to drag yourself out of bed and into the gym if you dress comfortably AND look cute - don't you agree?

1. American Apparel sweatshirt. Essential for bundling myself up on my way to the gym on cold San Francisco mornings.

2. Lululemon tank. Ain't nobody who can do tanks like Lululemon. The rest of their stuff is great too (I'm sure I'll post about their fantastic crops at some point in the future) but the basic Cool Racerback tank is a tried and true staple. You'll wear it all the time and it will last forever - pretty darn good for gym clothing.

3. Champion sports bra. I bought my Champion sports bras from Target back in high school (circa 2004). I still wear them (and love them) all the time. Not bad for under $10.

4. Thermos water bottle. Obviously this is my one workout item that you can't live without. I understand. You could buy it for $18, OR you could do what I did and wait for a friend in marketing to give it to you because her corporation had leftover free swag. I'm clearly very particular about my water bottles.

5. Asics socks. It's ridiculous. These socks are $10. My husband and I bought some a few months ago because we were desperately low on socks and the Fleet Feet store that we wandered into DIDN'T PUT PRICES ON THEIR SOCKS (who does that?!?!). So we accidentally purchased six pairs of $10+ socks. But you know what? They're really awesome, cushy, zero blister socks. And I wear them all the time.

6. Nike tennis shoes. Every SINGLE time I go to buy myself a new pair of tennis shoes, I tell myself, "You don't need the Nikes. Just something simple and relatively inexpensive." Then I walk into the athletic store and see the HUGE Nike shoe display with all the fun colors and I become that moth that's stuck in your light fixture. Then I walk out of the store with a $150 pair of shoes. Damn it, Nike.

7. Nike running shorts. My nineteen-year-old sister tells me that Nike running shorts are no longer "in." It's all about different brands of running shorts now. Girls are branching out, moving on. Well, I will not be branching or moving. I'm basically in a committed relationship with my Nike shorts. I've tried other running shorts, but nothing is nearly as comfortable as Nike. So goodbye, other girls! More Nike shorts for me.

8. Creaseless ponytail holders. I blame my mother- and sisters-in-law for my inclusion of these ponytail holders on this list - I borrowed some from them over Christmas last year and I was hooked! It's a little ridiculous that I'm even including them on this list - it takes two of these to hold my hair back when I'm working out because my hair is so straight and slippery. But I love them anyway, and I will keep buying them for $2 apiece. Ridiculous.

Do you have gym tried-and-trues that you rely on?