What I Wore to the Gym: Plus Size Activewear (Week 3)

I'm baaaaaack and I'm working as hard as I can to keep this series consistent. However, the recent Easter Holidays and my mini-travel staycation has put me behind schedule a little bit. I am honestly more excited for next week's activewear recap as I have picked up a few new items that are shoppable and current, over the past week! Still, here is a roundup of last week's activewear choices, by day and exercise. As this concept develops, I hope to bring new elements for you to enjoy! Would you be interested in a more detailed description of my gym activities??? 

If this is your first time reading one of these posts (by me), I must inform you of the following: I exercise multiple times per week to build strength, endurance and honestly, a routine. This is absolutely not a weight-loss thing. If you are interested in understanding a bit more about the "why" - please direct yourself to my YouTube video. In this video, I discuss how I almost became paralyzed and how I was hospitalized last year. 

I had a busy day, which left me very little time on Monday so my workout was pretty basic. I was on the bicycle for 40 minutes and I lifted some weights. I hadn't used our pulley mechanism to work on my balance in a while, so I took to that as well as the leg extension/curl machine. These were all exercises I have been instructed to do by my physiotherapist at the rehab centre. 

These reversible workout legging from Addition Elle's NOLA brand are probably my favourite pair of workout pants. Except, I keep forgetting that because they are extremely form-fitting, I struggle with comfort while on the recumbent bicycle (my go-to). My shirt is a super super old GAP find (which used to be small on me so it sat in my closet). I just felt like I needed a pop of colour because my workout was super late and I was not particularly motivated. I was carrying a bunch of stuff to the gym, including my hand weights and kettlebells. Due to lack of time, I lifted these weights while simultaneously riding the bicycle. The sweater was necessary so I could toss my keys, phone, headphones and water bottle. I'm not an octopus you know????? 

This was a "new" kind of look for me and it gave off a distinctly different vibe (I think). I was in the middle of laundry day and was low on suitable athletic gear. I obviously have more than a week's worth of activewear, but nothing really seemed to match in my closet. However, when you're writing a blog post specifically about what you wore to the gym, you probably should look coordinated at least. 

I chose to wear this sweater, which I inherited from my late grandfather (love you, Papa!) and is from the early 1980s I believe. This is both his and my ALMA MATTER! He attended Teacher's College there and I completed my Masters of Social Work in the next door building 60-ish years later! How coincidental! There is a common misconception that wearing sweaters/long-sleeves/hoodies to the gym will increase your body temperature enough to "burn more calories" or "lose weight". However, this is not correct! Wearing heavier clothing that makes you sweat, will only make you sweat. Technically, it might make you lose fluids or "water weight" but you will just gain that back when you eat/drink again. This is not sustainable and honestly to me, feels like it fits in with diet culture and associated fads. However, excessive sweating can be a great natural detoxifier from all the chemicals and well... toxins we ingest on a daily basis! For me, I prefer to stay cool when I workout so I probably won't be attempting this again. 

The shorts were a conscious choice, because of what I had planned to accomplish that day at the gym. I have been having some intermittent problems with sitting lately, due to my Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). I knew that I would be skipping the recumbent bike this day, so I took the opportunity to wear my super short shorts from Forever 21+. They are from a previous season, so they're gone but I have seen similar styles at Nike (here is a different Forever 21+ pick). I tend to avoid any sitting or laying down at the gym when I am in shorts because they ride up and have the potential to flash a whole lot of people! I love these shorts because they are so damn comfortable, but I don't really wear them outside of my apartment because of the flash-factor. My well-loved black and white Nikes were chosen to compliment the athleisure vibes of the shorts. I just purchased a new pair of Nikes, so these have moved on to my mom's house as a backup pair of shoes! Hallelujah! 

I was struggling hard on Wednesday. Honestly, it was the first time I had been in the pool in a while. In the summertime, I literally swim everyday that I am home. My happy place is anywhere the water is! For me, swimming is incredibly relaxing and it almost puts me in a trance-like state, meditative state. However, I had only been in the pool a handful of times since the summer and I think only on one occasion was recent. The pool that I visited with my hometown bestie is a full-sized training pool and it is extremely deep. Now, I don't mind this; however, it is not what I have gotten used to (Read: dinky condo pools). Also, my goggles broke during my laps... so that sucked. 

I have a typical routine that I stick to when I swim. I alternate between my four favourite strokes (in this order): Breast Stroke, Back Crawl, Front Crawl, Sidestroke. My rationale is this: breast stroke is my absolute favourite. It's so smooth and it stretches your hip flexors (which is integral in my SCI recovery). Then, I switch to a stroke where my face is not submerged, so I can catch my breath...back to front crawl underwater (my stroke when I used to competitively swim) and sidestroke is just a breeze. Depending on the length of the pool, the number of laps change, but I try to swim 100-150 metres of each stroke for a total of 400-600 metres. 

Fun Fact: You might have guessed that holding your breath underwater works to increase your lung capacity. I just learned that it improves the balance of our nervous system as well! How cool is that? The nervous system is essentially the switchboard of our body, controlling anything and everything including: sensory impulses, organ function and our functional abilities. I guess it keeps everything stable acting almost like a mini-reset button for your body. I love that! 

Bathing suit is from Addition Elle (previous season); similar style found here

If you follow along on my Instagram, you would know that last weekend I went to Niagara Falls, ON with my mom! We stayed at a Hampton Inn, which I am quite fond of. In addition to the great ammenities they offer (full breakfast, 24/7 coffee & tea, pool, gym), I absolutely love their branding. How cute is this little mantra printed on the top of the mirror? Energizing my mood is one of the main reasons why I workout. It has become my safe and healthy coping mechanism, instead of me reaching to more harmful tools that I had once used to cope. There was another mirror in the gym as well that said "Energize your Strength" which is also compatible with my gym goals. 
How was this my first ever hotel workout??? I guess that question is actually rhetorical because I already know the answer. I wasn't motivated to work on my well-being; I was stuck in a place of complacency. Also, I have been on quite the consistency streak lately. I work out 5 days per week (no excuses) unless I am travelling somewhere and don't have the time or proper equipment. If you know me well enough, you will recognize that being on a "streak" is one of the most motivating factors for me. I hate breaking a streak because it feels as if I am failing myself. However, since working on being more self-compassionate I have come to understand and accept my shortcomings a bit more. 
This workout ensemble was probably one of my most hodgepodge ones yet. Due to traveling, I had minimal space available in my one duffel bag. I'm wearing the same reversible Addition Elle leggings I wore Monday (I have two pairs) and I forgot to pack an activewear top, so I just wore this grey tank. I also only had room to pack two pairs of shoes, my teal Nike's (see Tuesday) and these. They are Champion from Payless Shoes (available here) and I love them so much that I own 3 pairs in different colours (P.S. they're on sale for $20 right now). I mostly reserve these heather grey slides for walking and everyday life but sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. I had left the Nike's in the car and it was raining... so these won. 

This was one of my favourite workouts of the week because I was on vacation and in the pool! I had warmed up after Wednesday's tough session and was good to go! I am wearing the same bathing suit as Wednesday, because of space in my suitcase. I felt there was no need to bring a second suit just for the diversity while traveling.
After I finished my regular laps, my mom seemed to have quite the fun time snapping pictures of me in the pool. I might post some more of those pictures later, but this probably gives you a good glimpse at who I am as a person. I am smiley and social but also weird and quirky. I enjoy being a bit of a goof or as my mom calls me a "ham" in front of the camera. So basically, this is the real me. 
Wow... Erica. 

Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day! Workout at your own pace and for your own interest. Don't prescribe to diet or weight-loss culture. This is about health, both physical and emotional! Catch you next week for the 4th instalment! XOXO

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