Elizabeth Lowry

I'm a member of SparkPeople's editorial team and I write, edit and manage the content you read. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and enjoy cooking for my family and friends, running, strength training, teaching weekly spin classes and playing outside with my kids. I also love a good challenge and recently found that in Barre class. That's not to say I don't enjoy a good indulgence once in a while--wine and chocolate are two of my favorite things. I am grateful to be here, helping our members reach their own healthy living goals.

Read More of Elizabeth's Blogs:

6 Accessories You Need Before Exercising in the Sun

Unfortunately, you can't "roll-over" workouts like you can phone minutes. To stay in shape, lose weight or maintain weight, you have to do the work and do the work often. This can mean swims in chilly water, walks in snow flurries or runs, bike rides and outdoor yoga sessions in the high humidity and heat of summer.

While you can't predict the weather, you can prepare for it. When the heat and stickiness of summer threaten to put a damper on your outdoor workout, fight back with the right attire and accessories to keep you cool.

Posted 7/16/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 62 comments   43,741 views

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Spark Spotlight: Tiffany (JAPANGURL17)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.
This Week's Spotlight: Tiffany (JAPANGURL17)
Age: 27
Location: Imazato, Osaka-Shi, Japan (Hometown: Kahoka, Missouri)
Small Success of the Week
Tiffany is happy to report she ran her first 2.5 miles ever without stopping! 

Posted 7/16/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 26 comments   4,424 views

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10 Athleisure Brands Plus-Size Women Will Love

Shopping for clothes can be a pain no matter what size you are. What looks cute on the model in the store, online or in a magazine almost never looks right when you try it on in real life. Because finding the exact right fit is such an ordeal, many people either stick to the brands they know and love or shy away from shopping all together.

At SparkPeople, we believe that no one is too big too exercise, and to exercise effectively, you need the right clothes. They don't have to be fancy or expensive but you'll appreciate the difference once you've experienced the benefits of wearing a sweat-wicking shirt instead of a cotton one on your next bike ride. From roomier sandals to shirts designed to move with you (and not cling!) these plus-size apparel brands are not to be ignored.

Posted 7/10/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 49 comments   17,743 views

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Spark Spotlight: Karen (STEEPERSLOUNGE)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

This Week's Spotlight: Karen (STEEPERSLOUNGE)
Age: 56
Location: Chicago, Illinois

Small Success of the Week

When we first noticed Karen's small success, she had posted on the Community Feed that she hadn't eaten added sugar in a whopping 171 days! She has continued that streak and is now up to 190 days sugar-free. Karen also reports she's in her best health ever and has gone from taking 14 medications to zero.  

Posted 7/9/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 38 comments   7,713 views

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5 Workout Machines for Your Home Gym That Are Worth Every Penny

There are lots of exercises you can do that don't cost a thing, like taking a walk around the block, doing squats while you brush your teeth or performing biceps curls with water bottles. However, sometimes you want more--more strenuous cardio, more options for lifting weights or more machines that can help you sculpt and grow your muscles better than your own body weight or pantry items will allow.

Unfortunately, that "more" often comes with a price tag. Whether you choose to pay gym fees, purchase a package at a boutique studio or take the plunge and invest in your own home gym equipment, sometimes to get what you want you have to be willing to pay for it. If you do decide to purchase exercise equipment for your home, you'll find there's something to be said for the convenience of getting in a full gym workout without leaving your house.

Although major pieces of exercise equipment aren't exactly cheap, remember these pieces are worth the investment if you want to invest in yourself. You'll be grateful for your treadmill or stationary bike when the weather is too cold, too hot or too rainy, and you'll thank yourself for purchasing that home gym system when you catch your first glimpse of muscle definition in the a mirror. Plus, with major fitness equipment only a few steps away, you'll finally find yourself out of excuses for not making fitness a priority.

Take the Dread Out of the Treadmill

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

We've reviewed our favorite treadmills before, but, newer models come out all the time. Built to be better and last longer with fun features (fan! iPod holder! lifetime warranty!) added all the time, it's worth doing new research every now and again to check out what's on the market.

This treadmill by ProForm has four stars on Amazon, and for good reason. With the ability to push your incline up to 12 percent and your mph up to 12, you can choose any combination from walking to running, flat roads to hills and everything in between for a custom workout suited to your needs.

You can also connect this treadmill to your favorite outside running and walking routes using its iFit-compatible linking to Google maps. If you are looking for another route to take, choose from one of ProForm's 22 built-in workout apps designed by a personal trainer.

With a 60-inch belt length, you can feel free to stretch those legs long, while proshox cushioning softens the noise so you won't have to worry about waking up others in your house during those early morning workouts. The treadmill is easy to lift, move and work out to your heart's content, and you can rest easy knowing you'll have a lifetime frame and motor warranty, two-year parts warranty and one-year labor warranty.

What: ProForm Performance 600i Treadmill
Price: $775.99 (+$18.82 for optional assembly)
Dimensions: 82.5 x 30 x 13.5 inches; 224 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

Crush It With Your Own Home Gym

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

If you roll your eyes even thinking about a Bowflex, you're not alone. It's hard to not recall their cheesy infomercials from the 1990s and believe they are still around and selling home gyms. But the truth is, the home gym is a great addition to any, well, home gym.

While barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, resistance bands, nautilus equipment and other tools that help you gain muscle and strength train are great, wouldn't it be nice to choose from among more than 65 full-body exercises in just one piece of equipment?

Your Bowflex home gym comes with up to 210 pounds of progressive resistance. And, if you need more, you can always upgrade to 310 or 410 pounds in the future. The Xceed also features a squat station, bench press, leg attachment and a lat tower, so you can move between arm day and leg day with ease.

What: Bowflex Xceed Home Gym
Price: $699.99
Dimensions: 100 inches of side-by-side space required; 185 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

Love to Ride Your (Indoor) Bicycle

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

If you're looking for a more economical and low-impact machine to add to your home, then this recumbent exercise bike by Marcy might be the perfect fit.

Safe for those with back or knee issues, the step-through design allows for easy on and off from the bike and is heavy duty enough to hold up to 300 pounds with its sturdy construction and 14-gauge steel tubing.

This bike also offers eight levels of resistance, an LCD computer screen that displays your distance, time, speed and calories burned. The padded seat will keep you comfortable through rides of every length and the counterbalanced pedals are weighted to help you control your ride while supporting your feet. The pedals also come with adjustable foot straps to make your ride as comfortable as possible.

What: Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
Price: $139.00 (+ $73.69 for optional assembly)
Dimensions: 55.5 x 25 x 37.5 inches ; 60 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

Row, Row, Row Your Way Fit

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

A rowing machine is a perfect piece of fitness equipment to add to your home gym or as a standalone, full-body workout machine in its own right. It's also a mid-priced piece of equipment that is low-impact and provides both strength training and cardio in one workout.  

This magnetic rowing machine by Sunny Health & Fitness allows you to row through eight levels of resistance, so you can find the one that's perfect for you at every level. The LCD screen displays your calorie count, time spent on the machine and your strokes, and the padded seat and handlebars with non-slip grip ensure you'll enjoy your entire workout in comfort. If your workout space is small, you can easily move the machine from storage to your workout area and back again thanks to built-in wheels.

What: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower
Price: $209.99 (+ $81.03 for optional assembly)
Dimensions: 82 x 19 x 23 inches ; 59 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

Ski Your Way to Slim

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

If nothing compares to the elliptical for you, but you get tired of waiting in line for your turn at the gym, consider adding one of these popular machines to your home.

Sync up your Bluetooth device and move to your own grooves on this Nautilus elliptical trainer. Move among 25 levels of resistance to vary your workout intensity or choose from 29 program options: 12 profile, nine heart rate, four custom, two that test your fitness level, one quick start and one recovery.

You can also sync the RunSocial app to the elliptical, training through 27 preset routes and 19 locations with other people using the app all over the world. The inertia drive system in the Nautilus trainer is high-speed and has a perimeter-weighted flywheel to make the beginnings of your workouts run more smoothly and consistently. You can even charge your devices and enjoy a cool breeze as you sweat from the machine's adjustable fan.

What: Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer
Price: $999 (free assembly)
Dimensions: 20" precision stride path; 198 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

What kind of home gym equipment can you not live without?

We hope you love these products a much as we do! SparkPeople may collect a small percentage of revenue from links on this page. Prices subject to change.

Posted 7/5/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 46 comments   8,979 views

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Spark Spotlight: Liz (BIZZIEE)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

This Week's Spotlight: Liz (BIZZIEE)
Age: 54
Location: Kelso, Washington  

Liz's Small Success of the Week

Liz just completed her first 5K! Even though she had a million reasons running through her brain about why she couldn't do it, one positive thought pushed the negative aside as the mantra: "But what if I can?" Those five simple words were enough to keep her going all the way to the finish line!  

Posted 7/2/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 21 comments   5,825 views

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Spark Spotlight: Pamela (PAMBROWN62)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

Posted 6/25/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 28 comments   6,569 views

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14 Things I Learned in 14 Years As a Spin Instructor

Fitness class can be a scary place. Let's face it, even watching one of those classes can be intimidating. Whether you walk past a boutique studio or find yourself staring through the glass at an aerobics class at your gym, the jumping, body contortions or the crazy amount of sweat can be enough to send you running the other direction.

Posted 6/13/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 36 comments   15,134 views

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Get 90 Days of Personalized Training and Nutrition: Join The Oxygen Challenge 4!

“It’s important that people learn to love themselves no matter what stage of their weight-loss journey they’re in, that it’s never too late to start, and that being healthy has no age or weight limit,” says 2017 Oxygen Challenge 3 participant Stacey A. Byrd.

We all know the importance of exercise and nutrition in the quest to live a fit and healthy lifestyle—but it's easier said than done. Knowing which exercises to do on any given day, what kind of meal plan you should follow or how to keep yourself accountable are all factors in making sure you not only start a plan, but also stick to it.

That's where The Oxygen Challenge 4 (OC4) comes in. For more than 20 years, Oxygen magazine has been at the forefront of women’s health and fitness. The Oxygen woman is strong, confident and healthy. She isn’t training just for aesthetics—she wants to increase strength, endurance, performance and mobility to improve her overall wellness. Sound familiar? We thought so.

This marks the fourth year for the Oxygen Challenge series. Beginning July 15, 2018, participants will be guided through a 90-day fitness and nutrition program instructed by movement experts and coaches Jen Widerstrom from NBC’s The Biggest Loser, and Karina Smirnoff from ABC's Dancing With the Stars. These women have a lifetime of experience with exercise, training, nutrition and competition, and are ready to share their extensive knowledge exclusively with you!

Coach Jen’s program focuses on transformation, whether you’re beginning an exercise program from scratch, want to lose fat and inches or take your training to the next level. Coach Karina’s program combines yoga, self-defense and cardio with—of course—dance, creating a unique and exciting workout unlike anything you’ve seen before. She breaks everything down into its simplest components so that anyone—dancer or not—can do the workouts and succeed. Both programs are well-rounded and progressive. Each month, you will grow and face new challenges, ultimately getting into the best shape of your life—all for less than $1 a day.

"I found a lot of healthy new options to mix in and break up the monotony while keeping my energy high," says 2016 Oxygen Challenge 2 participant Virginia Cooper from Bakersfield, California.

By signing up with coach Jen or coach Karina (or both!), you will receive instant access to three months of detailed video programming that includes step-by-step instructions to guide you through your workouts. Anyone at any fitness level can participate, and each coach offers modifications and intensifiers, enabling you to tailor the program to your own purposes.

In addition, OC4 includes a nutrition component, complete with grocery lists, preparation tips and detailed recipes crafted by your coaches which they themselves use to get healthy, strong and lean. They will take the guesswork out of meal planning, and will make getting in shape delicious and easy.

"I now eat to stay healthy and don't look at healthy eating as a diet. I am loving every moment of my life and loving the new me," says 2016 Oxygen Challenge 2 participant Michele Scheilbelhut from South Bend, Indiana.

By signing up you’ll also gain exclusive access to a private Facebook group, a community of women just like yourselves who will sweat, laugh and transform right along with you! Accountability is an integral part of success, and this group can help get you through the rough patches and give you a push when needed.

OC4 is an all-encompassing training, nutrition and motivational program that gives you the tools you need to make lasting changes to your physique and your lifestyle. Coach Jen and coach Karina will be with you every step of the way, encouraging and educating you and helping you achieve your goals.

What to Expect

  • Exclusive training tips and exercise progressions/regressions
  • Comprehensive nutritional guidelines and discussions
  • More than 30 unique recipes
  • Weekly workout charts and breakdowns
  • A grocery list of all needed ingredients
  • Video blogs based on hot topics and participant queries
  • Motivational support
  • Much, much more!

Take part in The Oxygen Challenge 4 and share your milestones with your fellow @OxygenMagazine sisters by using #OxyChallenge, #TeamJennifer and #TeamKarina when detailing your 90-day journey.

Sign Up Now!

Posted 6/8/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 0 comments   25,993 views

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Stay Fit on the Road With These 14 Packable Fitness Items

Travel and summer go together like feet in flip-flops. Exploring new towns and cities, taking in the sights and smells, tasting unique foods and otherwise soaking in a new culture are all reasons people love to travel. But after a few days of all that eating and exploring, you might be feeling rather bloated and blah thanks to all the late-night drinks, foreign fare and lack of physical activity.
While it's good to take breaks now and then from your exercise routine and diet, there is no reason you can't partake in a healthy lifestyle while traveling. There are many fitness items that can be packed in your suitcase without taking up too much room, allowing you to keep up with your exercise routine even when you're on the go.
Packable Gear You Can't Resist (starting at $10.95)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
Fitting nice and tidily in a small, black carrying bag, these five resistance bands are 100 percent latex, heavy duty and great for taking along to your next destination. With a range of resistance levels, you'll be able to use these Fit Simplify bands for all sorts of workouts—from strength-building days to light recovery sessions. Plus, they are great to use when you want to stretch out after a workout or help ease tight muscles. The bands also come with access to a 41-page e-book, an online video workout guide and a lifetime guarantee. 
Fit in Great Cardio ($8.99)

Photo courtesy of 
321 STRONG really outdid themselves with their aluminum jump rope that comes in its own carrying case, making it perfect for packing. The rope itself is over 11 feet long and can be easily cut to fit any height. The ends of the braided steel wire come with vinyl end caps, so you don't have to worry about scraping yourself. The six-inch handles are also padded, ensuring a firm hold on every jump. Pick up this essential piece of equipment so you can always get in a great cardio workout wherever your adventures take you.
Namaste Anywhere ($49.99)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

With baggage fees being what they are, you want to make sure you are traveling as lightly as possible. You'd also like a nice, clean, trustworthy surface on which to practice yoga, Pilates or other bodyweight exercises, though. Enter the Plyopic travel yoga mat. Ultralight at only 2.4 pounds, grippy and able to fold up to the size of a magazine, this travel mat is also eco-friendly. Not only is the rubber sustainably harvested, but for every mat purchased, Plyopic will plant a tree. Who says you can't have it all?
Keep Your Suitcase Fresh (starting at $6.99)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
These odor-eliminating and moisture-absorbing pouches from SmellWell will not only keep your suitcase smelling fresh (so no need to worry about putting stinky gym shoes or workout clothes back in your bag), but also prevents bacterial growth. You can reuse the two bags around the clock for up to four months. Non-toxic and all-natural, bad odors are replaced with a fresh scent in just a few hours.  
Leggings That Take You From Travel to Trail ($79)

Photo courtesy of Athleta. 
When you're traveling, you want to pack light, and that's where these tights from Athleta can do double duty. Comfortable enough to wear in transit, yet flexible enough to take to the gym, these leggings are fitted, flattering and fabulous. Equipped with leg pockets big enough to keep your smartphone or other necessities close by while you attempt to get lost in the next town over, these leggings also come in petite, tall and plus sizes for every body type. Made with a wicking Pilayo material, a wide waistband and a fully adjustable, never-ending drawstring, we think you'll want to buy a few pairs.
Seek Coverage from Germs ($39.99)

Photo courtesy of Leus. 

Even if you don't have room in your suitcase to take an entire yoga mat with you on your travels, at least make room for these fun yoga-mat-sized towels from Leus that can act as a barrier between you and the hundreds of others that have come before you in the hotel's gym. Made of suede microfiber and with an antimicrobial coating, these mats are also absorbent and slip-resistant.
Water-Free Shower ($9.99)

Photo courtesy of goodwipes.
When you find your flight delayed for the third time with no boarding schedule in sight, it might be time to take matters into your own hands and try out some mall-walking, yoga or other bodyweight exercise routines you can do at the airport. When you finally do depart though, you don't want to offend your neighbor with your sweaty stench. Freshen up after any workout or hike with body wipes from goodwipes, a company that specializes in biodegradable, easy-to-use shower wipes you can pull out anywhere you find yourself needing a shower without an actual shower available. Wipe away sweat, smells and other unpleasantness with these refreshing and cooling towelettes that contain tea tree oil, peppermint, ginseng and aloe. Please note, they are to be throw in the trash, not the toilet.
Slide Your Way Through a Workout ($10)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
Targeting your core is hard enough, but even harder when you're far away from your home or gym. These lightweight, flat, packable core sliders from Elite Sportz provide the perfect solution. The double-sided discs will slide on any surface and can be used by sliding your hands or feet away from your body using a variety of bodyweight exercises to strengthen your core, legs or arms.
Take Your Workouts to the Beach ($39.95)

Photo courtesy of Parasheet. 
If you're a get-up-and-go kind of traveler, then you don't want to mess with much equipment. Simply pack this beach blanket by Parasheet into small bag with water, sunscreen and other necessities, grab your sneakers and head out to the nearest beach. Whether you swim out, spend some time surfing or pull out a stand-up paddleboard, rest assured that your sand-secured blanket will be waiting for you when you're ready to lay back and enjoy the sound of waves crashing at the end of your active day.
Travel Train With a TRX ($99.95)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
Suspension training is made for on-the-go workouts. Perfect for both indoor and outdoor workouts, the TRX helps you train your body by using suspension straps in conjunction with your own bodyweight for a full-body workout you can complete in as little as 15 minutes. Weighing in at only one pound and able to be set up in one minute, consider this kit your travel go-to.
Get Swole With Sand or Water Bags (starting at $19.95)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
Iron Core Athletics' genius travel bags allow you to lift weight while lightening your travel load. Made of industrial vinyl, these cylindrical bags are leakproof and can be filled with either sand or water to increase their weight up to 20 or 15 pounds each, respectively.
Recovery on the Road ($22.50)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean you're impervious to pain and soreness. Give your muscles the relief they crave with this mini roller recovery set from JAXJOX. The grippy roller can be used to release any muscle tension, while the massage balls can help roll out specific pressure points anywhere your body needs a little TLC.
Wobble Your Way to a Strong Core ($12.90)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
Pack this portable wobble cushion flat, then inflate when you reach your destination for a core blast you won't soon forget. Great for working on your balance or abdominals when used with exercises such as lunges, crunches or pushups. As a bonus, it can add a little extra cushion to your plane or car seat, challenging you to keep your core engaged while you travel.
Bring a Workout in a Bag (starting at $9.99)

Photo courtesy of 
Keep up with your speed and agility training or just work up a good sweat with this Yes4All speed agility ladder. The rungs are made of durable plastic and can be adjusted for different lengths and levels. When you're done with your workout you can fold it, pack it back in its carrying case and take to your next destination.
What kind of gear do you like to take with you when you travel?

We hope you love these products a much as we do! SparkPeople may collect a small percentage of revenue from links on this page. Prices subject to change.

Posted 6/7/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 39 comments   11,621 views

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16 Wardrobe Staples Guaranteed to Keep You Cool on Hot Days

If you could graph your exercise motivation during the summer months, we imagine it would look something like this: As the temperature rises, your motivation plummets. But there's no reason you can't buck the trend and get outside for some exercise, no matter what the thermostat says.
In addition to taking extra precautions when exercising in the hot weather (such as aiming to exercise in a cooler time of day, making sure you bring along plenty of water and stopping if you feel faint or light-headed), there is a great selection of clothing and accessory items that can help to keep you cool and motivated so you can hit the great outdoors without overheating.

Warm-Weather Workout Wear for Women

Two-in-One Tank (starting at $7.92)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

This versatile tank from Danskin Now is a sleeveless, V-neck tank that leaves plenty of room for freedom and flexibility during workouts. The built-in bra provides extra support, while Dri-More technology coupled with mesh accents help you stay cool and dry when your workout heats up.

Go With the Flow (starting at $18.99)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

This sleeveless tank from Cestyle has a loose, flowy fit and a longer length for worry-free workouts. Available in 10 colors and five sizes, this tank will become your go-to on hot days.
Built-in Sun Protection (starting at $15.95)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
Stay protected from the sun's harmful rays all day long with this T-shirt that features built-in SPF. Made from fabric recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, Vapor Apparel's shirt is made with 100 percent microfiber, plus SPF 50+ UV protection built right into the material. You'll also love how lightweight and breathable this moisture-wicking shirt is.

Work Out in Comfort (starting at $17.95)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

Featuring a looser, flattering fit, this technical shirt for women is made of lightweight, stretchy fabric that wicks away moisture to keep you cool and dry during hot runs, hikes or workouts. The tagless feature keeps the shirt from having any unaccounted-for annoyances. Choose from a variety of colors and sizes up to 3X.  

Mesh Shorts (starting at $10.75)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

These adidas workout shorts have an elastic waist for comfort and come in five sizes. Made of a breathable material, they're great for everything from a jog around the neighborhood to a pick-up game of soccer. At this low price, you can buy more than one pair so you can stretch out the time between laundry days!

Functional and Feminine Skort (starting at $45)

Photo courtesy of 
It might seem strange at first to work out in a skort, but we promise you, once you try it, you'll love it. Skorts are a nice, cool option for those long, hot workouts outside, and this one by Kosher Casual is knee-length so you don't have to worry about bending over to tie your shoe and revealing too much. The shorts under the skirt won't ride up and the handy zipper pocket in the back is great for carrying a few necessities with you.

Keep Sweat and Hair at Bay ($15.99)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

These workout headbands are a popular accessory to keep the hair out of your face and sweat out of your eyes on a hot summer day. A non-slip backing guarantees that it will stay put for your whole workout, no matter what. Available in a variety of colors and patterns, buy a bunch to complement any workout attire.

Cool Duds for Sweaty Dudes

Sun's Out, Guns Out (starting at $4.50)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

This sleeveless men's tee from Champion is made with ring-spun cotton for extra softness against your skin and an athletic cut for more comfort during your workout Choose from a variety of colors and sizes, all at a great price.

Keep Dry With a Tech T-Shirt (starting at $18.12)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

This fitted men’s T-shirt from Nike is a staple of any workout wardrobe. Lightweight with an athletic structure and a mesh panel down the back, this versatile shirt with Dri-FIT Technology will wick away sweat for those days when the sun is especially harsh. 

Shorts With Storage (starting at $14.99)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

These 11-inch men's athletic shorts from Soffe come with side pockets for convenient storage of keys, phone and other necessities. Peppered with many holes thanks to the mesh fabric, you'll be able to feel the cool breeze throughout your hot workout. The internal drawstring also allows for easy size adjustments.

Athletic Shorts That Withstand the Heat (starting at $14.88)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

These budget-friendly 9-inch Nike shorts come in 12 shades of blue, black and gray. Mesh panels on the sides, Dri-FIT material and a built-in liner keep you cool, comfortable and dry. If you're looking for a longer short that won't break the bank, this is it.

Hot-Weather Accessories for Everyone

Keep the Sun Out of Your Eyes (starting at $16.02)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

This running hat from Under Armour is lightweight, well-ventilated and protective against the sun's harsh rays. It's low-profile look and four-way stretch help it fit comfortably to your head, while the reflective logo works to increase your visibility when you're out in the dawn or dusk.

Stay Cool With a Visor ($13.46)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

This popular visor from adidas comes in four neutral colors for anyone who swears by a more monochromatic look. Lightweight with an elastic band on the back, it will help reduce glare and keep sweat out of your eyes without trapping in heat. Climacool mesh panels help control air flow while wicking away moisture.
Get Sleeved (starting at $19.21)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

For those days when you'd rather not mess with sunblock on your arms, these sun sleeves from Outdoor Research are your free pass to skip the SPF. Slip on these sleeves with SPF 50+ plus wicking and quick-dry technology and stay cool, dry and sunburn-free.  
Stay Cool and Hydrated (starting at $44.95)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
Although these Hydro Flask water bottles are a little on the pricey side, they make up for it with double-walled, vacuum-insulated TempShield insulation, which ensures your cold water will stay cold for up to 24 hours. Drink right from the easy-access wide mouth or use the straw cap for drinks on the move. The Powder Coat on the outside of the bottle prevents condensation and provides a no-slip grip.
Cool Off in a Snap ($11.97)

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 
Whether you're recovering from a hot workout or find yourself in the sun-soaked bleachers at your daughter's softball game, these cooling towels from Chill Pal are a must-have. Simply soak in water, wring out and give it a "snap" to activate its evaporative technology that keeps the towel cool. If it starts to warm, simply repeat the process—as many times as needed!

What kind of gear do you use to stay cool and comfortable in the heat?

We hope you love these products a much as we do! SparkPeople may collect a small percentage of revenue from links on this page. Prices subject to change.

Posted 5/29/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 59 comments   58,739 views

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Enhance Your Performance With These 15 Essential Running Items

Nearly 64 million people in the United States alone consider themselves runners or joggers, meaning if you're not a runner, chances are you at least know one. Whether it's the elusive "runner's high" or pushing your pace, there's just something about running that hooks people.

Though technically all you need is a pair of shoes and some pavement to run, the truth is, required running equipment can get more nuanced than that. What you choose to run in, what you want to carry and what you might need along the way all depends on your personal preferences and the distance you are running. 

Whether for yourself or for a friend, there are many products designed to help you run more comfortably, make the time pass more quickly, keep you fueled and help to prevent injuries so you can enjoy many more runs to come.

Posted 5/15/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 85 comments   23,747 views

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Living a Fit & Healthy Life Just Got Easier

Launching into a healthier lifestyle can be complicated. Where do you start? What do you need? Okay, what do you really need? What do other people like? What's the big deal with food scales? Do the perfect black leggings exist??

We want you to be able to get the most out of the products we've tried and tested, loved and hated, researched and purchased ourselves over the years. To make it easier to find all our shoppable blogs, we've moved them in all together in our brand new SHOP section. From a treadmill we love that is regularly used in our office gym to and a pasta strainer that helps with portion control, to black leggings we can't get enough of and motivational music that helps you go the extra mile, we have the insider information to find exactly what you've been looking for all along.

Posted 5/11/2018  2:00:00 PM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 44 comments   10,973 views

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Gear Up for Spring With These 12 Fitness Essentials

After the snow, sleet and icy temperatures of winter, we all want to jump at the chance to take our workout outdoors at the first sign of sun. Whether it's grabbing fresh air at a free outdoor yoga class in the park, jumping rope on your driveway or jogging with friends on a nearby trail, finding ways to exercise outside is an easy way to change up your winter routine after a few months cooped up inside with just your treadmill.

Taking your workout outside doesn't come without some requirements, though. Sun protection, on-the-go items and gear that's appropriate for sweat are all considerations for the outdoor enthusiast. In the spirit of embracing the changing of the season, these 12 fitness items are sure to help you make the most of the sunshine.

Posted 5/2/2018  5:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 63 comments   52,451 views

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10 Essential Core Exercises to Help You Tackle Everyday Activities

What do you think of when you hear the word "core"? Maybe an apple core, the center of the Earth, an essential part of a group? In our bodies, the core is the center of our skeletal system, the muscles that keep us upright, the trunk from which our branches extend. Our core is as essential to everyday living as the air we breathe and the food we eat.
Your core is made up of your midsection and all the muscles surrounding that area, including the front, back and sides. You engage your core to do almost everything—from getting out of bed or putting your toddler in his or her car seat to sneezing or walking down the street.
If your core is weak, all of these activities can suffer. To keep from injuring your back from something as simple as bending over to tie your shoes, it's important to keep your core muscles in good, working order. "A strong core is important to me because it allows me to be an active mom," NASM-certified personal trainer and coach Jen Karulf says. "Having five boys, I am constantly chasing, lifting and carrying little ones. A strong core is a necessity."
While there are many core-building exercises you can try, certified personal fitness trainers Cheryl Russo, Mark Westrich and Karulf demonstrate the 10 most common core exercises for all-around strengthening at every level. 

Posted 3/21/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 113 comments   139,569 views

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