10 Workout Essentials You Need For Your Best & Most Consistent Fitness Season

An indulgent summer means autumn is time to fall back in line with your workout routine.


Ladies, it's about that time of the year, again. You know the time I'm talking about. The time where you've watched your winter become spring, summer, and fall; and you've suddenly come to realize that all of those resolutions you've made have been anything but resolved.

Those books that you planned on reading, are still collecting dust.

That hobby you wanted to pick up, is still waiting on you.

And that exercise plan you wanted…still remains there, mocking you, waiting to be picked up in the new year.

But, fear not. Despite it officially being hot girl fall, you still have some time to fall back into your workout routine. And in order to do that, you have to have the right equipment to kick off your victory lap.

Whether you're looking for the right shoes, or simply need the right attitude, here are the top 10 items you must have to ensure the best and most consistent fitness routine.

The Proper Fitness Shoes


Most workout routines are left behind, due to injuries caused by the workout routine, itself. At times, common injuries are created by using the wrong posture, pushing oneself too hard, or attempting to do too much too soon. Other times, injuries are caused by something simpler than that, like having the wrong shoes.

Wearing shoes that are incompatible with your workout routine can have you falling off your exercise plan quicker than expected. And it can even have you reconsidering working out all together. But no worries, this is an easy fix. Instead of heading to the gym or going on your run with the wrong shoes, find the one that is just right for your routine.

Regardless of your exercise plan, your shoes should have adequate room near the toe and your heels should have no room to slip. With running shoes, you want to have the best feature possible, meaning the shoes are light, comfortable, cushioned, and supportive.

For regular gym shoes, you'll want to have light shoes with great shock absorption, and durability. If you're one of those who hate light shoes, consider checking out the men's section for a heavier feel.

Top Workout Shoes to Consider:

Sports Bra: Support


The point of a sports bra is to provide worthwhile support, regardless of how rigorous the routine. Finding a sports bra can be overwhelming, especially if you're unaware of how to differentiate between an underwire, molded cup, removable pads, adjustable straps, etc.

Nevertheless, instead of running away from the endless amount of supportive bra options. Follow the guide below to help you lean into your bountiful options.


Underwires are the most supportive bras out there, and if you're a C or D cup, this is the type of sports bra you should consider. It helps reduce breast pain, by stopping your breasts from constantly moving up and down, and eliminates discomfort often caused by working out. Made specifically for high endurance workouts, it can help with the bouncing and rolling that inevitably occurs. Meanwhile, for A and B cups, this bra is a great option to control natural breast movement, but unless you're having an intense workout, it might not be needed.


Wire free sports bras aren't as supportive as underwire, and for medium or low impact workouts, that will do just fine. Wire-free sports bras are often compression style and instead of supporting your breasts, it presses them to your body. For A-C cups, this bra is always an option and welcomed during fitness activities like yoga or a simple gym routine.

Molded cups, removable cups, and adjustable straps aren't huge factors within your sports bra choice. Although it is important to know whether you want those features or not, this can be decided by what you like in a bra, rather than what your breast size is.

Clothing: Breathable, Sweat Resistant, and Odor Resistant


Instead of grabbing clothes from your closet or drawer that you're willing to drench in sweat, consider spending some coins on the proper fitness clothing.

While looking for workout clothes, you want to make sure that your fabric is breathable, sweat-resistant and odor-resistant. Cotton might be nice to wear during the day; it would be terrible to have during a workout. It retains moisture and makes your sweating more noticeable during the workout and can lead to a heavy amount of discomfort. When searching for fitness gear, you'll want to ditch the cotton and make sure that your clothes are quick-dry, with anti-odor fabric, and strategically designed with mesh construction. This will enhance your comfort during your workout, while keeping you dry and odorless.

Foam Roller


Most workout injuries stem from muscle tightness, which is caused by many lacking the proper stretching routine in the beginning and end of their workouts. This can cause serious injuries and can take you out of the gym or running trail longer than expected. To stop this, it about time you stretch, but it's also about time you've invested in a foam roller.

Foam roller are a self-myofascial release technique, in other words, it's a gift from God. The foam roller can smooth out hard knots created after a workout routine and can help loosen you muscles more than a stretching routine could. Foam rollers ease muscle pain, increase range of motion, reduces cellulite, relieves back pain, and most importantly, helps your muscles to ensure that you are injury-free.

With just an investment of $15-$30, you can save yourself an injury from yet another attempted workout. Whether you choose a smooth roller, textured roller, foam-cover massage sticks, or foam massage balls, there is a foam roller to help the fitness buff in you.

Pre-Workout and Post-Workout Treats


The purpose of a pre-workout meal is simple: to fuel your workout and give your body what it needs to perform. Often, people skip meals thinking it will help one lose weight more quickly, or they simply don't like eating before working out if they know they will want to eat afterwards. Regardless of the excuse, save yourself the trouble and prepare to have a meal, at most, an hour before your workout and, at least, an hour after your workout.

What you eat is up to you, just make sure that it is filled with carbs and protein for the best workout and the best recovery.

Gym Towel


I know, a gym towel? I get it, I hear your thoughts, but hear me out: everyone needs a gym towel. There is nothing worse than going to the gym and sweating profusely without something to ring it out in. And before you suggest your washcloth, or unused bath towel at home, treat your gym towel like you would your gym clothes. You don't want to bring your bath towel to the gym. Not only will you be carrying around a large towel around, but you would be carrying around a large wet, heavy, cotton towel, that absorbs everything and smells like it does, too.

Save yourself the trouble and consider picking out a gym towel that has microfiber or synthetic fabric, dries quickly, and resists odor.

Gym Bag


You see it. You want it. So, get it.

Gym bags are not only fashionable, but they are useful; and finding the right one for you is easier than you think. Whether it is a duffel bag, backpack, or tote, your gym bag can make all the difference in the world for your workout routine. It can get you motivated to crush your workout and it can have you taking your fitness game to new heights.

Plus, these bags eliminate your excuse for having to carrying clothes around all day, or a thousand and one objects by hand, into the gym.

Fitness Tracker


It's clear that inactivity can lead to innumerable health and personal issues, this includes weight gain, illnesses, and low productivity throughout your daily life. And becoming consistent with your workout routines (especially in the beginning) can be difficult, particularly if life manages to get in the way. So, instead of stressing about your workout routine, pre-meal, post-meal, clothes and everything else, take the stress of being consistent off your daily plan and invest in a fitness tracker.

Fitness trackers have become popular in the last decade, and this is due to it doing all of the hard work for you when it comes to keeping note of your health and well-being. It tracks your workout routine, your calorie intake, distance traveled, heart rate, and sleep. All you have to do is make sure it's on your wrist.

A Good Playlist


Listening to music when you head to the gym isn't revolutionary. But it could make your workout routine just that. Research consistently finds that listening to music distracts you from being aware of your body. Meaning you think less about how far you have to go, and instead anticipate the next tune coming on. Songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute per minute have been scientifcally proven to increase your workouts, so find your jam and play it until your ready to put down the weights.

The Right Attitude


Finally, the best thing that you can bring to your workout is great attitude. Despite what everyone says, working out does suck. I know this, and you know this.

However, the difference between those who maintain their fitness schedule and those who don't is how they address this realization. Working out is terrible, but you will feel amazing (and look amazing) afterwards. Know that despite not wanting to be at the gym, it's something you have to do and something that you should do to maintain your health. And the more you go, the less it'll suck.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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