Friday, August 2, 2013

Fashion Friday: Work out style! 5 Ways working out is good for your career.

My love affair with Nike started in June of 1983.  It was my 12th birthday and I recieved the two of the best gifts I've ever received.  I know this to be true because 30 years later I still remember exactly what I got.  The first gift was the Michael Jackson Thriller album (I still remember opening up the album cover to see Michael Jackson spread out across the cover in his white suit with the tiger on his knee).

(The Michael Jackson "centerfold" in the Thriller album)

The second was my first pair of Nike tennis shoes -  they had a purple "swoosh" and were the coolest shoes I had ever seen in my entire life!  There have been times in my life that my only motivation for working out was putting on some cool and comfy workout clothes.

(Found these in an Etsy shop - they were categorized as "vintage" Nike shoes.  That makes me feel old!)

So, I tell you this story as a lead in to my post today about working out and workout clothes. I think it is very important for women to commit to a healthy and fit lifestyle.  Establishing a regular fitness and workout routine will contribute to your personal and professional health and well-being.  I don't need to quote research findings and stats on the benefits of exercise but I did want to share with you why this career girl and working mom makes time in her VERY BUSY day for exercise.  And even I was surprised to see this list is more about how is makes me FEEL and not about how it makes me LOOK.

Here are 5 ways working out is good for your career: 

First and Foremost, It builds confidence and self-esteem:
Let's face it, as women we are hard on ourselves.  The worst possible critics.  This idea of trying to be the "perfect woman" has been ingrained into our psyches since we were very small girls.  We are constantly surrounded by images of unrealistic and unobtainable bodies and then tricked into believing that is normal and expected of us.  The reality is that very few of us are ever going to look like a swimsuit model (no matter how hard we work out) and that is perfectly fine.  As professional women we contribute to society in much more powerful ways.

But saying that is easier than believing it, for sure.  Working out doesn't build confidence in women because it puts us closer to those unrealistic body images, rather it builds confidence through empowerment and boosting self-esteem.  I don't know about you but after I have finished a cycle class taught by Essie (a woman who would put any drill sergeant to shame), a body combat workout, or a four mile fun I feel like I could take on the world.  It builds by confidence and self- esteem not because of how it makes me look but because it empowers me and gives me the confidence to speak up and take on tasks at work.  Also, I do believe that staying fit increases your personal presence which is something I do have to be concerned about because the nature of my work calls for me to regularly stand up in front of large groups and give presentations.  Knowing that I am doing all I can to stay fit and in healthy shape makes me more comfortable standing in front of those groups. (Much the same way dressing in a polished and professional way increases my confidence when presenting to large groups).

Decompression Time:  
I typically exercise right after work (although I have been hitting the gym on occasion during my lunch hour for the past 8 months) and this is a great buffer or transition hour for me.  It gives me that "me" time between the demands of my work day and the responsibilities of home.  I can decompress from the day, think through a problem at work or home, or just lose myself in the loud music and rhythms of my activity.  Working out is something I do for myself - it's a mental and physical activity for me. 
It increases Endorphins and makes you happier:
Exercising increases endorphin and serotonin levels which makes you happier, impacts your mood, reduces stress levels and makes me sleep better.

It increases your productivity and ability to get stuff done:
Increased physical activity has a positive impact on your mental activity as well.  Fitting a regular work out time into my busy schedule forces me to manage my time better (and time management is definitely not one of my strengths).  I think it also portrays an image of hard work and commitment which spills over into your professional image.
Fewer sick days.
I am rarely sick and I attribute that to my commitment to exercise and fitness.  The Journal of Exercise Physiology reported in a study, The Relationship Between Fitness Levels and Employee's Perceived Productivity, Job Satisfaction, and Absenteeism, that working out can decrease absenteeism by 22%.
The bonus benefit:  Networking
If you work out at a gym then you have one additional way that working out is good for your career - the opportunity to network.  Who knew the nice lady I took a step class with was also the Executive Director of University Organizational and Professional Development, a connection that was a good one to make.  Also, I often exercise with two co-workers and this adds a different element to our working relationship.

But today, after all, is my Fashion Friday post.  So, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite workout clothing brands (besides Nike) that produce chic, stylish and comfortable workout gear.

This is a new product line and my good friend, Amy Shelton, is a regional director with the company.  The clothes are amazing and a lot of thought has been put into every detail.  You can honestly wear the clothes to the gym or out for errands and lunch with friends.  Check it out:

Are you tired of looking around at the gym or in races and wondering why everyone seems to look the same? Lets face it, the athletic apparel for women runners just isn't flattering or stylish. Well, now it is! Swirlgear is a 100% women owned company that is responsible for bringing Fun and Functional to the running apparel for women. Lacie Whyte was inspired by the single idea that every woman should be provided with the highest quality apparel for their respective discipline. Why Swirlgear??  Swirlgear is cut longer in the arms and body, has flat stitching that means no chaffing, is made of moisture wicking fabric that feels great all day,  and the apparel is made of  vivid colors that stand out in the crowd. Most importantly though, Swirlgear is a LIFESTYLE piece. Swirlgear can take you from your most intense workout to your daily errands or stop at a coffee shop on your way home.

Check us out on and use code 870 for free shipping of your order. Continue to watch for our new Fall line coming out in mid September. This line will include racerbacks, tanks, running pants and running capris."

Also, at TJ Maxx I have run across these brands and I am loving their styles as well.

MPG (Mondetta Performance Gear)

Marika The Balance Collection  (currently holding a promotion for $30 off a purchase of $100)

What's your favorite workout gear?

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