fitness & fashion

So one of the things I've focused on since moving back to Nebraska is my health. I've been going to the gym several times a week for the past seven months, and I'm arguably in the best shape of my life. It has taken -- and continues to take -- a lot of determination, drive and patience, but I love feeling so strong and powerful. Last week, I shattered my long-term goal of squatting 200 lbs and actually maxed out at 210 lbs. What's crazy to think is that even at my skinniest -- say, when I was 15 and a size 4 -- there's no way I'd have been able to squat that much. While I'm now much curvier and have put on some weight in the past decade, I'm learning to embrace those curves (specifically my big ol' butt and thighs) and capitalize on their inherent strength. I'm learning to obsess over toning muscle instead of dropping pounds. In short: I'd rather be strong than a stick. Since I'm frequenting the gym more than ever, one of the challenges I've faced is finding a balance between my daily/work clothes and activewear. Not saying I'm proud of it, but I've totally become that girl who's more comfortable in workout clothes because wearing them means I can go straight to the gym. No fuss, no hassle. That being said, "workout clothes" doesn't have to mean some-ratty-shirt-from-high-school and "trashbag" running shorts. Yes, believe it or not, you can still look put together at the gym and I'm here to show you how!

While I love an old, worn-in T-shirt just as much as the next gal, it feels so much better to work out in tops specifically designed for physical activity. This turquoise training tee with climalite® fabric sweeps sweat away from your skin, making that last mile or rep a little more doable. I paired the top with these awesome bright pink leggings with the Adidas logo screenprinted down the right leg. The turquoise lettering perfectly matches the tee -- LOVE when that happens! I wore my pink Adidas Adipure Crazyquick running shoes with black Puma socks to complete the look. Underneath, I'm wearing a black New Balance Tenderly Obsessive sports bra.

A really big misconception about cute, quality activewear is that it's pricey and not worth the investment. Those are both lies! I scored both this training tee and the leggings at an Adidas outlet store for a little over $20! I also sift through the activewear racks at T.J. Maxx for deals on activewear essentials like sports bras and socks. However, once in a while, yes you will have to splurge on something to really go the distance physically. More than likely, that something will be shoes. A good pair of trainers is hard to put a price on. Expect to pay anywhere from $100-$200 for awesome shoes that will help you elevate your workout routine.

Top: Adidas (similar)

Leggings: Adidas (similar)

Shoes: Adidas (similar)

Socks: Puma (similar)

Sports bra: New Balance (similar)

Mekita Rivas