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Real women share: My must-have workout gear

You’re late and running out the door to your workout. Quick: What’s the one fitness item you take with you? We asked women about their favorite must-have exercise items. From exercise mats to fitness balls and jump ropes, here’s what they had to say. Some may surprise (and intrigue) you. One or two may become part of your own must-have gear.


No surprise here: Many of you can’t work out without your tunes, and who can blame you? Studies show music makes exercise seem easier. If you’ve ever run out of battery power in the middle of a workout, you know this firsthand. Choose from the economical Shuffle to the Nano, the Touch and the classic model.

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Cost: $59 and up



Where do you keep your keys and ID when you go out for a run? The SPI or “small personal items” belt holds an iPod, Blackberry, keys, gels and other small items while you focus on your walk, run or bike ride. It won’t ride or shift around and is available in tons of fun designer colors.

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Cost: $19.95


Have you ever finished your workout and then realized you forgot to bring your undies? If you hit the gym before work, nothing’s worse. Why not pack a spare? Made of 100 percent cotton, these shrink-wrapped panties-to-go (the size of a pack of gum) fit easily in your gym bag and are always there for backup.

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Cost: $10.00

4Polar Heart Rate WatchPolar Heart Rate Monitor

Trying to figure out your heart rate in the middle of a spin class isn’t easy. An accurate, easy-to-wear heart rate monitor does the trick. Many women swear by the Polar brand’s wide variety of monitors. You can stick with the basics to monitor your heart rate, or, if you’re a serious athletes, you can track all your workout data and download it onto your computer.

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Cost: Varies from $45.00 and up



Runners and walkers have their iPods, but what if you prefer your workouts underwater? FINIS’s waterproof SwiMP3 player enables swimmers to enjoy music as much as their land-locked buddies do. It attaches easily to a snorkeling mask or swim goggles and contains an 8-hour rechargeable battery. Olympic gold medalist Pablo Morales founded the company — and who’s better qualified to understand a swimmer’s needs?

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Cost: $149.99

6Manduka Pro matManduka Pro mat

The right yoga mat makes all the difference in your ability to enjoy your workout, especially when low-quality mats cause you knee pain. Yoga aficionados swear by this thicker, denser foam mat and its simple design.

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Cost: $90.00

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