We all have things we like to wear when we exercise, eat to keep us energized, listen to keep us motivated and use to keep us feeling strong. Here are ten of my all time favorites. It’s a mish mash of a list, but these are truly staples that I’ve come to use often and will continue to use for years to come. 

1) Running Tights
My closet is full of all sorts of running tights. When I run, or do any sort of workout, I don’t like when my tights cut me off in the middle of my stomach. I either want the waistline at my hips or just shy of my natural waistline. To be honest, I remind myself a lot more often to keep my abs in when I’m working out if I’ve got something over my tummy. Plus, on my “bloated” days, I feel a little tighter. And who wouldn’t love that? I have three favorites – and all happen to be different brands:

  • a pair of lululemon capri running tights. The material really is great, and I like the pocket (aka iPhone compartment) on the left hip.
  • a pair of Under Armour long running tights. I wear these inside and out. I like the material and think they’re flattering. 
  • a pair of adidas long running tights. They’re warmer and quite soft. They’re great for outdoor running. 

2) Comfy Sweats 
I have a pair of gray “walking pants” (yes, that’s actually what the label said) that I bought at Old Navy at least a year ago when I was looking for socks for one of my daughters. I paid right around $15 for them. They’ve kept their shape, they’re loose enough for me to feel comfortable on the days I just need to feel comfortable, and again, I only paid $15. I wear them over shorter leggings on the way into the gym, and have been known to change back into them on the way out of the gym. I wear them on the weekends, and occasionally on Friday nights if all I want to do is stay home and watch a movie. My husband winces a little when I wear them, but I don’t care. I will buy a new pair or two before the New Year rolls around.

I just love this!

3) Running Tanks
A good running tank with a built in bra will always be near and dear to my heart. Years and years ago, I had this blue Nike V-neck tank top that was long, but really fitted. The material was ribbed and it had adjustable racer back straps. I wore that tank top until I could wear it no longer. Last month I found a tank top that could pass for the Nike tank, but it’s from a company called NUX. It’s really fitted, but flattering. I give it a thumbs up. Another tank that runs a close second is a sweat-activated shirt by VIEWSport. I was so excited to see that my tank said “Train Harder” on the back after I finished a run, I stopped a stranger and asked her to take a picture of it. 

4) Heart Rate Monitor
I can’t say that I wear a heart rate monitor each and every time I work out, but I do wear one often enough to know what the intensity of my workout translates to in terms of heart rate. There are plenty of days when I feel like I’m working my tail off, but my heart rate monitor is telling me something else.  As a general rule of thumb, when I feel like I’m having a difficult workout, but my heart rate is still relatively low, it’s a sign I need to take it easy anyway. I’ve got a POLAR heart rate monitor right now. Back in the day, the heart rate monitor straps used to be a hard piece of uncomfortable plastic. Today, they’re a softer fabric that I can wear anywhere, anytime. 

These Cloud Runners are getting some good use.

5) Running Shoes
A good pair of running shoes can make or break a workout, and can even play a role in injury/injury prevention. Over the last ten years, I’ve primarily run in New Balance, Saucony, Brooks or Asics. Right now I’m trying a new shoe called On Cloud Runners. They’re fairly new are designed to fit a runner’s pace, not their gate. I’ve been running and racing in them for about eight weeks, and have had no problems. 

6) Juicer
Technically, my juicer is a fitness helper. I have concocted a bunch of different juices that my body loves. When it comes to traditional juices (apple, orange,

Turmeric and ginger juice = health on the inside!

cranberry), I steer clear. All that extra sugar does a body no good. Instead, I tend to juice foods like ginger and turmeric. Both are great cleansers. I dilute them with water, add a little stevia and I’m happy.  As far as the juicer I use, it’s an Omega masticating juicer. Masticating? Yes, masticating. This type of juicer grinds foods, squeezing out the juice. It works well for small foods, like turmeric. The Jack LaLanne model is an example of a centrifugal juicer. It spins and chops of the food, yielding juice. If you’re juicing, keep it up. I prefer masticating models as they generally get more juice and less pulp. 

7) Protein Powder
I switch back and forth between different types of protein powders, but a few things remain consistent. My protein powders 1) do NOT contain soy, 2) do NOT contain non-nutritive sweeteners, other than stevia, and 3) contain at least 10 grams of protein per serving. If I’m doing a cleanse, I stay away from whey-based protein. Again, the only reason I do that is for a cleanse. Otherwise, I think whey-based protein is great. During my cleanse periods, I like pea or rice-based protein powders. The powders I enjoy include: Vega (plant-based), and Isagenix (whey-based). Protein powders can be very expensive. If you’re not sure how or when to use protein powders, just stick with real food. For what it’s worth, I will occasionally blend a protein powder into my oatmeal in the morning, or drink as a post-workout snack. 

8) Coconut Oil
I have coconut oil in two places in my home: the kitchen and my bathroom. Coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride, which means it converts to energy much faster and stores as fat much less (in comparison to other fats, particularly corn, soy or canola oil). I used it to cook each and every day. It’s also anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. I have it in my bathroom because coconut oil is a great carrier oil and, personally speaking, has been fantastic for my skin. As far as oils go, it’s fairly dry. I don’t wake up in the morning with a bunch of goo all over my face. 

My TRX just hanging around.

9) TRX
If I had no other piece of fitness equipment, a TRX suspension system is all I’d need. Isn’t it amazing how the simplest ideas can make millions? The TRX system is one of them. Really, it’s only a long piece of braided nylon with a handle at each end that mounts in the middle to some fixed point. Still, it’s genius, and I’m sure it’s been greatly refined since its inception. I use my TRX most days of the week. I do core, upper body and lower body work with it. It’s all body weight-based and easy for anyone to use. 

Tunes that keep me moving.

10) iPhone
I listen to music a lot, and it’s especially helpful when I’m working out. Motivation stays higher, and if I’m having a tough day, it’s a little easier. Most of us probably work out with music. Here are a few of my favorites. What do you like to listen to when you exercise?




Want more tips like this? Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.

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