Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or fitness guru. I am sharing what I've learned through research and experience; you all must use your own judgment in deciding what is best for your and your own health, including checking with your doctor before beginning any exercise or dietary program.
I have not received any compensation for reviewing the products mentioned in this blog post.
Okay. We're going to be a bit blunt here today, discussing body parts and the not so fun casualties of exercising.
Also know as chub rub, heat rash, nipple burn, you name it and someone has a slang term for it. What I'm talking about is a friction burn on your tender parts, namely your inner thighs, your bikini and bra lines, your armpits and anywhere else your clothes rub against your skin or your skin rubs against your skin. It's especially prevalent when we're overweight. Ladies, it hurts. It swells up and turns red. In extreme cases, the skin cracks and bleeds. So not fun.
What can you do? I recommend wearing bike shorts or compression pants under your clothing instead of panties for working out. The fabric protects your thigh skin from chafing, and there's no elastic band to chafe delicate areas. Same on top - invest in athletic shirts made from tech fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin and protect it from chafing. You don't need UnderArmor or other expensive brands - I like the BCG generics from Academy, usually in the $10-$15 range.
Then, there's your new best friend, Body Glide. It's basically lanolin in a solid stick, like deodorant. Apply liberally to all sensitive parts before you put your workout clothes on, and no chafing. You can pick it up at any sporting goods or athletic stores; our local Walgreens carries it. It does come in a "Women's" variety that smells pretty and comes in a pink tube, but it costs more than the regular stuff. I use the regular stuff.
Unless you have the figure of Twiggy or are a six year old girl, you need a good, supportive sport bra for serious exercise. Regular Maidenforms won't do the job. Sport bras come in a wide range of styles for different levels of exercise - I recommend getting a bra for your most strenuous exercise and wearing it for everything, especially if your are abundantly endowed.
My personal favorite is Enell. I'll just be straight up here - I AM abundantly endowed. The girls have shrunk considerably with my weight loss, but they are still substantial. I've run through the gamut of sports bras - UnderArmor, Champion, JogBra, Nike - and I have never found one that really does the job. Some are too compressive, to the point of pain, some don't have adjustable straps, some have so much elastic that you come away from a workout with chafe burns that even Body Glide won't stop. Most of the brands and styles I've tried just don't stop the bounce. And bounce, though it looks intriguing to the male bystander, just sucks the fun out your workout.
Enter Enell. (Insert angelic voices and sparkly light streaming down from heaven.) According to the mission statement on their website, "Enell, Inc. is dedicated to providing well-endowed women with the opportunity to fully participate in an active lifestyle by offering state of the art, high quality performance apparel." Okay. Goody for them. But will that bra really work? YES!!!!! IT DOES!!! And you can get a PINK ONE!! Sports bras do their job either through compression or encapsulation, smashing the boobs flat or holding them firmly with structurally reinforced rigid fabrics. Compression is uncomfortable, encapsulation makes you look like a Viking Warrior with pointy metal chest plates. Enell combines both methods, with remarkaby comfortable, supportive results!
The bra fits like a vest, with a long row of hooks up the front; the shape is the compression part. The inner fabric is silky against the skin with no stretch at all; this is the encapsulation. Put on one, and voila! No Bounce! NO BOUNCE I tell you! Enell's wonderfullness is pricy, but for no bounce workouts, it is worth every penny. Check them out at http://www.enell.com/.
I can't emphasize this enough, especially if you choose running as your favored form of exercise. You MUST have properly fitted shoes. Properly fitted shoes provide necessary support and flexibility for your feet, legs and back. "Properly fitted shoes" does not mean "so expensive you want to cry" shoes. There are dozens of choices out there that are affordable, and will still protect you from stress fractures and tendon strains.
Go to a running store and get a proper fitting. They'll put you on a treadmill to evaluate your gait and then let you try on several styles to find the right one for you. Fittings are generally complimentary, and you don't have to buy shoes from the running store. Note the brand and style, then hit the internet or your local Academy or DSW and get the same shoe for half the price!
Don't believe that shoes make that much difference? Hop over to Betty's blog and let her tell you all about it!
Not just stinky sweat, but the ingrained stench your workout clothes acquire after a while. If you just really can't stand your shirts any more, there is something that will remove the smell. Penguin Sport Wash. Its residue-free and non-allergenic, specifically made to keep fabrics odor-free by washing away residues left by regular detergents, removing dirt, neutralizing bacteria, and restoring breathability, moisture-wicking, and factory applied waterproofing. Yep...you can wash down coats in it, too. It will also remove blood and grass stains.
Keep the Faith.