Today, my sister of Sad Robots fame is guest blogging some exercise product recommendations.

Lauren is great at giving beauty product recommendations, but beauty starts at being active and healthy, so I thought I’d recommend some great fitness products that I’m not sure I could live without.

I used to tell myself that as I worked out more, I would reward myself with exercise-related items. I found that this didn’t really work and that I would avoid working out because I didn’t have the proper equipment. So I did what I (and my father) do best and did a ton of research to find the best, cheapest pieces for my workout routine.

Vibram FiveFingers

Lauren said she would never post anything about these, so I’ll keep it short. I live by these shoes, which will, no matter what, make you look like a total tool. People will stare at you. Some will ask you about them. Others will point at them to show their friends while they think you’re not looking. It’s okay, though, you know why? Because they’re the best thing you could ever possibly do for your feet. Maybe Lauren will let me write a post on why I believe this, but I don’t think she will, so I highly recommend a book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

Before I started wearing them, I had all sorts of horrible body aches while I worked out that I had no idea were caused by my shoes. Every single one of them went away immediately upon transitioning to Vibrams. Really.

Active Fit Workout Clothes from Old Navy

You could go to Dick’s Sporting Goods and spend several hundred dollars on some good workout clothes for skinny people. Or you could go to Old Navy and spend around $100 for a ton of excellent quality exercise apparel that won’t make you look like a poorly packaged sausage. The best part is that, unlike other stores, Old Navy doesn’t assume you already look hot running a 5k. They make exercise gear for those of us who still look like struggling beached whales when we run. My personal favorite items are the sports bras (some of which have a reflective stripe on the back, which makes no sense to me because I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing just a sports bra), the bubble tanks, and the yoga pants/capris. I went on a spree a year ago, spent $45, and got three quality outfits for all my fitness needs.

Skull Candy Headphones

I was really surprised how hard it was to find a good quality, cheap set of headphones to wear on my runs. Ear buds were no good for me because they always fell out. Over the ear headphones were too hot. The ones that cost a dollar plus shipping on Amazon fell apart. When it came down to it, I knew I had to splurge for some Skullcandy headphones that wrap around my ears. They’re pretty, they have excellent sound quality, and they’re under $20.

Propel Fitness Water

I started drinking Propel during my workouts when I was actually skinny many years ago. I don’t know if it’s a real effect of the beverage or if it’s in my head, but I always seem to be able to push myself extra hard after downing a cold bottle of the stuff. I buy a six-pack at the grocery store once every other week for about $5 and I’m set. I prefer the grape flavor because it reminds me of Dimetapp, which is for some reason one of the weirdest, tastiest things ever to me.

Interchangeable Weight Set

I don’t have a particular brand, set, or price to recommend, but I do encourage you to put down the little pink 2 – 5 pound weights you think help with resistance training and pick up and interchangeable weight set. If you have a used fitness equipment store, they usually have these in spades, and you can get a great, varied set for about $20. Start off with 10 pounds and go from there. When you need the dumbbell to be heavier, you can just drop a couple more bucks on heavier weight plates until you get into the bar bell range of lifting. Women, if we lift heavy weights, we won’t bulk up, we will tone up, and we will look damn good.

Water Bottle Holder Thingy

One irrationally complicated struggle I had when I started running was what to do with my water. I didn’t want to set it down and pick it up every time I did a lap. I hated that my hand got all cold and wet when I just held it. And I also had nowhere to really put important items while I ran (keys, a couple of emergency dollars, etc.). Long distance runners have those little water backpacks, which are great for 20+ miles. Some of them use the multi-bottle fanny packs, but honestly, and I hate to admit this, those don’t fit me, because, you know, they’re for people who already run 10+ miles a day and not for those of us who still struggle through 2. The link is the one I have, which has a decent sized pocket, an adjustable strap, and a reflective stripe on it. It’s also the perfect size for my Propel bottle.

Scarlettcraft’s Homemade Moisture Wicking Exercise Headband

These headbands are perfect. They’re cheap, handmade, durable, and multi-functional. I wear mine for my workouts, when I’m too lazy to shower but I still have to be seen in public, as an earwarmer in the winter, and for keeping hair out of my eyes when I wash my face. It’s light, it stays put, and it does the job better than anything else I’ve managed to find.

If you’re having trouble getting in the swing of exercising, you should probably join this great site called Fitocracy. It helps you track your workouts so that you level up and it’s just a really great, supportive community. Registration is now open to the public. You can join here and follow me here: sadrobots.

I’m not an expert in anything, just a compulsive learner/researcher, but if you have any questions, feel free to email me at