I love New Year's resolutions and the chance to hit the reset button on your life, but I've always steered clear of health-related New Year's resolutions because I've never had any specific fitness goals. That changed this year, when I decided to finally tackle my fear of running, making it my priority to run 10 miles in 90 minutes (and now that I've written it on the Internet, I really can't go back on this). As I make this lifestyle change, and learn how to run, I've been most surprised at the ways in which my style and beauty routines have changed since I started working out.
In a rare moment of foresight, I decided to get a head-start on the new year and began my training plan at the beginning of December, and I've been really happy (and and pleasantly surprised) with the progress I've been making, even in just a month. I can now run up to four miles without wanting to pass out, which feels like a huge success since I could barely run a single mile a couple of months ago.
While making progress toward this physical goal has been rewarding, I've been even more surprised at the impact working out more has had on how I get ready in the morning and carry myself through my day. So here are 13 of the most intriguing ways that working out more has changed my style, beauty practices, and, well, me.
1. Athleisure Finally Makes Sense
Though I have nothing against leggings as pants, I never jumped on the whole athleisure trend until I started working out more. Finding cute clothes to put on in the morning when I'm running errands or grabbing coffee with a colleague that I can also wear to the gym in the afternoon makes so much sense. It's one outfit for everything. And means I can also feel like I look cute while I'm running, which makes the whole thing more bearable somehow.
2. I'm A Sucker For Fancy Leggings
C9 Champion Women's Performance Legging in Rain Cloud, $27.99, target.com
Expensive workout clothes, of course, are not necessary in order to get a good workout, but getting excited about putting on a chic new hoodie has helped motivate me to actually get out there and do. As a result, I've spent more time scrolling through Bandier than I'd like to admit, and if I'm really going to spend $100 on a pair of leggings, you best believe I'm getting my money's worth. But any colorful pair of leggings from Target makes me just as excited.
3. I'm More Disciplined With Skincare
Not all of the changes have been good. When I started working out more, I also started breaking out more, in large part because I was doing a really terrible job of washing my face after sweating. A month into regularly working out, I've become much more disciplined with following a regular skincare routine, washing my face in the locker room immediately after wrapping up a yoga class or as soon as I'm returning home from a run. My skin's still a hot mess these days, but I'm hoping that being more aware of keeping my face clean will help things out.
4. I Wear Less Makeup
Since I am much more conscious about clogging up my pores these days, I've been going without makeup more often, which is probably a nice break for my skin. Plus, if I know I'm going to go on a run or to a yoga class in the afternoon, the idea of putting on a full face of makeup on in the morning seems wasteful because I know I'll just have to take it off in a few hours.
5. I've Grown Obsessed With Wet Wipes
Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, $3.69, amazon.com
I've already had a long-running love affair with wet wipes, because they're the ultimate lazy girl makeup remover, but our relationship has really blossomed into a new phase now that I'm working out more. It's perhaps the easiest way to keep up with that aforementioned skincare routine, so I've got a pack in my gym bag, another sitting on my nightstand, and several more stowed away in my bathroom.
6. I Swoon Over Lightweight Down
Patagonia Women's Nano Puff Jacket in Black, $199, patagonia.com
It was a mild December in New York City this year, but winter hit with a vengeance as soon as the clock struck midnight on the 31st. It's cold right now, and it's only going to get colder. So I've started stocking up on lightweight down everything because if I want to run outside, I'm going to need some warm gear, which I've just never owned before because I thought it looked too heavy. But now, let me tell you: Outerwear is exciting. And a warm yet light synthetic down jacket doesn't need to make you look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I've been wearing this sleek outwear even when I'm not running.
7. I Do More Laundry
New workout clothes are great, but they can also be expensive, and building up a new wardrobe takes some time. I have enough gear to last me through the week, not a day longer, so I've started actually going to the laundromat regularly as opposed to when I run out of underwear. This means I've been wearing some of my favorite pieces of clothing more often, rather than letting them ferment in my hamper until I get around to it. And since wearing clean clothes could make you more successful, this is probably a good habit to get into.
8. I Found A Signature Scent
Tom's Of Maine Deodorant Stick in Long Lasting Lavender, $6.62, amazon.com
I've never really put much thought into perfume. But sometimes, I can't hop into a shower as soon as I'm done working out, so I've had to dig around for a good deodorant or scent to help make me presentable in decent company. I'm still looking for the perfect smell to mask my musk, but right now, the lead contender is definitely Tom's Of Maine's lavender-scented deodorant.
9. I Can't With Heels
I had an adorable outfit planned for New Year's Eve that included a delightful pair of black booties with a three-inch heel, but then I went running on the 30th and woke up on the 31st with throbbing quads and just literally could not with heels. Now, I've started planning my outfits around my workouts, and heels are basically out of the question since my body is sore most of the days of the week.
10. A Good Conditioner Is A Must
Mane 'N Tail Detangler, $7.52, amazon.com
My hair is long and has always been thick, so I'm no stranger to tangles. But the rate, density, and severity of knots I get in my hair after going on a run is unprecedented. I've had to invest in a good conditioner, a heavy-duty detangler, and a wide-tooth comb in order to cope.
11. Accessories Are Optional
In everyday life, I always wear three rings on my fingers and a watch on my left wrist. Without these, I feel naked. Accessories, however, are not always compatible with working out, so I've become more comfortable with going out without jewelry as a security blanket, even when I'm not at the gym. I've instead replaced the watch with a hair tie, which I seem to always need, and started playing around with nail art to compensate for the lack of rings.
12. I Carry Myself Differently
I definitely feel sore, with my legs heavy and my obliques aching, after finishing a run or leaving a yoga class, but I also find I hold myself differently. My posture is a little straighter; and as Elle Woods would remind us all, endorphins make you happy, so my mood is generally improved. I also feel more capable — like I'm doing something worthwhile with my time, and I like to think that this confidence shines through any outfit.
13. I'm Still Me
Perhaps the biggest surprise has been how little my style has actually altered even as I've been making these lifestyle changes. I've always preferred wearing all-black, and I still wear all-black outfits to the gym and in the rest of real life. I just have a whole other part of my wardrobe that I can tap into, along with a newfound self-assurance that really is the best accessory.
Images: Maxine Builder