Starting a new workout program can be tough, and it's easy to find excuses to avoid the gym. However, if you stay focused and motivated through the first four months, your program just might stick for life. Help keep yourself stay on track by rewarding your dedication weekly with fun and tangible incentives. Here are more than a dozen $10 fitness rewards that are sure to keep you focused and fit.
After a week of tough workouts, your muscles may be stiff and tired. Schedule a five- or 10-minute chair massage to get a few of the kinks worked out. It will feel so good that you'll be ready to hit the gym again, just to take advantage of the reward! Most chair massages are offered for $1 or $2 per minute.
Fitness or wellness magazine
Stephanie Mansour, CEO of Step It Up with Steph, reiterates the importance of keeping your fitness rewards focused on health and wellness to reaffirm your new, healthier lifestyle. She suggests splurging on a few glossy fitness magazines or signing up for a subscription to your favorite mag. Many fitness magazines offer 12-month subscriptions for less than $10.
Soothing aromatherapy bath products
Head to your local bath and body store and pick up aromatherapy bath salts or bubble bath. If you're feeling stiff and sore, look for products with cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, ylang ylang, chamomile or rose, all known for their soothing and relaxing properties. When you get home, turn on your favorite music, turn down the lights and enjoy a long, relaxing bath.
A few gym-bag basics
Even if you're not the type to carry a big bag with you to the gym, there are a few little items that every woman should have with her, namely anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and an extra stick of deodorant. These may not sound like glamorous "fitness rewards," but if these are your special gym-bag buys, splurge a little and pick up specially scented items or clinical-strength deodorant.
iTunes gift card
If you rely on your MP3 player to get you through your workout, reward yourself with a brand-new playlist, courtesy of iTunes.
You may not think that the socks you wear while working out matter all that much, but after you reward yourself with a pair of really nice toesocks from Injinji, you'll realize what you've been missing! These socks wick away sweat, allow a full range of motion and they stay put, preventing blisters. While prices vary, you can pick up a pair of performance socks for only $10.
Who doesn't love a new eyeshadow compact, nail polish or a new shade of lip gloss? Hit the pharmacy after your last workout of the week and enjoy picking out an item or two. If you're feeling especially adventurous, opt for fake eyelashes or hair feathers.
Vitabath Fruit Fanatic shower gel
If you take your showers at the gym, having a shower gel that enlivens the senses and prepares you for the rest of your day is an absolute must. While all of Vitabath's shower gels smell delicious, their Fruit Fanatic series, including scents like Pomegranate & Blood Orange, Grapefruit Vanilla and Green Apple & Lily, are especially invigorating after a tough workout routine. For $10 each, they're a steal!
New yoga sticky mat
You may not be able to buy the best sticky mat around for less than $10, but if your regular mat is looking (or smelling!) a little dingy, grab a new mat the next time you're at Wal-Mart, Target or TJ Maxx. You can almost always find a wide variety of mats in fun colors and styles for less than $10.
Donate to a good cause
Sandra Major, a fitness instructor and Camp Fleur de Lis boot camp owner, suggests donating $10 each week toward Susan G. Komen for the Cure or another good cause. It's an especially appropriate reward if you can donate it toward a friend's fitness walk or run, or use it to help raise money for your own walk or run.
Healthy recipe book or app
If you're starting to get tired of your basic diet menu, reward yourself with a new healthy-eating cookbook or app. Look for a cookbook with recipe titles that make your mouth water -- if you start craving the food before you've even bought the book, you'll be more likely to make the recipes when you get home!
Try a fun class
There's bound to be a fun fitness class you've been dying to try. Major suggests shopping around to find a trapeze, dance, yoga or trampoline class for $10 or less. You might just discover your new fitness calling!
You may not be able to afford new gym shoes every month (and who needs new shoes that often, anyway?), but you can keep yours from looking old and tired by switching out the laces regularly. Pick up neon, multi-colored or even light-up LED laces for a fun, new vibe.
Are you getting tired of the water bottle you take with you to the gym? If it leaks, looks nasty or just isn't as functional as you'd like, go ahead and buy yourself a new one! Water is a must-have during a workout, so you definitely deserve a water bottle you like toting with you.
New fitness video
Whether you work out at home, outside or at the gym, it doesn't hurt to have a few new at-home fitness options when your usual routine gets disrupted. You can pick up fitness DVDs for $10 or less from Target or Wal-Mart. If you're on the go all the time, consider getting a HuluPlus subscription for $8 a month so you can access all of their exercise videos from your tablet or smartphone.
Save up for a new workout top
After a few months of little rewards here and there, you may feel ready to bank your reward money to save up for a bigger purchase. If you feel confident that you can keep up your weekly workout routine without weekly rewards, go ahead and scope out new tops online and figure out how many weeks you'll need to save to earn your prize. Then, every week, set your reward money aside in a jar or envelope with a picture of your top on the front. This way it will still feel tangible.
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