Of Recent Note

Exercise Gear

How many fitness-inspired New Year’s resolutions does it take to beat down the average individual? How many recommended items of exercise paraphernalia from the writers does it take to rebuild one’s spirit? The answer is: never enough.

This year, you did it right. You set realistic goals and accessible methods in order to knock out that standard New Year’s resolution to get in shape. You vowed to run when you could walk, climb when you could ride, and figure out your satsang before you cashed in your chakra. You thought to yourself: I’ll have this thing in the bag by February. But now it’s the end of January, and it’s too cold to run, there’s no time to climb, and the only meditation you’re getting is from reality TV marathons. Fear not, brave warrior: Here are a few items of exercise gear that have helped us stick to our goals. Maybe they’ll help you too.


I love yoga, but those sun salutations make me sweat something fierce. My face purples and I look like I’m having a coronary and all of that can be embarrassing—considering the elegant, powder-fresh yoga swans who surround me—and it is devastating to my downward dog. I slip off the mat. My hands start making squishing noises. Which is why I was so grateful to discover the Yogitoes Skidless Premium yoga mat. It absorbs all that nasty perspiration and keeps me from sliding onto the bamboo floor. Namaste, bitches. —Sarah Hepola


Here’s one thing I’ve learned about moving away from New York: Walking from the apartment to the subway to wherever you’re going and then back again racks up a lot of exercise, intended or not. Conclusion: Life driving around in a car while maintaining the same diet has deleterious effects on one’s waistline. So instead of walking everywhere, now I’m driving somewhere to go running—in these Nike shorts. They’ve got these side panels on them that are like fenders or something. Which reminds me: The other thing I’ve learned is that people away from the city spend as much on cars as New Yorkers spend on wardrobes. Apparently wherever you are, you trick out whatever you can fit your ass in. —Andrew Womack


A quick check on the Wilson website seems to indicate that the only basketballs they make these days are composite leather—or fake. I’m lucky to own an original Wilson Jet (like the one pictured, but not), which is in amazing condition and I’m pretty sure made of 100 percent pure cow. I stole mine from a sports marketing company I used to work for, and it remains the best basketball I’ve ever owned, that rare ball that feels as good to shoot as it does to dribble. The guys at my Sunday pick-up game agree, and whenever I’m away and they’re stuck playing with some crummy synthetic ball, they apparently don’t know what to do with themselves. —Pasha Malla


Running in gyms is boring. Running outside? Way better. But this time of year in Brooklyn, the wind whipping along the side of Prospect Park can be brutal. Thank goodness for one of my Christmas presents: a pair of convertible training gloves from 180s, the ultimate in comfort for my hands on cold days. The backs of the gloves are made of double-thick fleece, and the palms are thinner and have grippers useful for digging around in my pockets. But the best part is the windproof mitten, which is attached at the back of the hand. It swings forward to offer extra protection for my gloved fingers until I’m a mile or so in, and then flips off easily to give my hands just a little breath of fresh air. On, off, on, off, on, off. The only bad thing? Now I have no excuse on those mornings when I’d much rather sleep the extra 40 minutes. —Kate Schlegel


My college roommate and I waited until the last possible day to sign up for fitness classes one year, and when Pilates was full, Beginner’s Yoga became our new Tuesday evening ritual. We’d trudge through snow to get to the overheated gym, and I only wish I’d had these American Apparel fleece pants at the time. They’re perfect for the cold weather running that I used to do, as well as for the lying around that I currently do. —Bridget Fitzgerald


It’s not enough for me that my iPod talks to my sneakers. I need it strapped to my brain, giving me cancer, keeping me warm and brand-obedient. Thank you, Nike hatphones: for winter runners, a Nike hat with built-in speakers. There should be a warning about how loud it can go—I get weird looks when I turn up the volume on Jay-Z. But maybe people are staring at the suspicious bulge on the side of my head. —Rosecrans Baldwin


Working out is like practicing the piano: Once you’ve started, it’s actually kind of fun. But making yourself do it is not painless, even for the highly disciplined, so what I need is workout equipment that makes me stoked to walk from my apartment to the gym. Especially when that means leaving my radio and facing the viscera-crunching soundscape of New York City. The Sirius Stiletto solves both of these problems. Granted, if you’ve read my bio you know I’m biased. But this baby not only streams live radio, it also records it. So during my longish walk to the gym, I can indulge my world-news fix, even if my favorite show ended an hour earlier. Then while I’m mastering imaginary stairs and rowing a fake boat, I put on some over-engineered pop that I did not have to download from anywhere. There simply ain’t no holla back, girl. —Lauren Frey


A fitness trainer at my gym introduced me to jumping rope, more or less against my will. I figured jumping rope was for tiny girls and, therefore, a medium-sized man like me would simply whale on that rope, whipping it around my body so fast, so effortlessly that, from afar, it would appear as if I were some kind of levitating super-human being suspended in a translucent capsule somewhere near the overhead lats pulldown machine. Instead, with the jump rope in my hands, my body seemed to want to lurch forward, leading me in a feminine schoolyard skip across the gym, before wrapping around my ankles and resting in a heap on the floor. Eventually, I got the hang of it, and was so grateful to learn this new trick that I purchased my own jump rope. I even have a “home” and “away” rope now, and the Champion Barbell weighted rope is my personal rope of choice, because I am a champion of jumping rope. —Todd Levin

TMN’s Contributing Writers know where to find the purple couch. Long live the pan flute, mini mafia, and Michael Jackson. More by The Writers