One of the questions I’m most frequently asked as a fitness blogger is “where can I get affordable fitness kit?

I have to admit to being a bit of a kit hoarder… I love to wear beautiful leggings, tops, trainers, etc. and people at the box often comment on how coordinated I am (yes, I am that person who will match her trainers to her leggings and even her sports bra… even though no bugger’s going to see it!). I love to shop around for my fitness clothing and enjoy the variety of different styles brought by different brands – the cuts, fit, colours, etc. change not just from season to season but from brand to brand too.

Making #activewear addictions more affordable with... @matalan Click To Tweet

CrossFit makes this addiction to kit a little more complicated though. Items that may stand the test of time for ordinary gym use get completely put to their paces at the box with deep squats, box jumps, handstands, barbells… not to mention the chalk! The last thing I want is something restrictive, or worse – something ridiculously baggy.

So when MATALAN challenged me to put their activewear to the test I couldn’t wait to try it out.

MATALAN Souluxe - Affordable Activewear

MATALAN Souluxe Activewear

With high street stores up and down the country offering activewear ranges, it was no surprise to hear that MATALAN had re-vamped their kit. I remember them having some basic jersey trackies years ago, but their latest kit, under the name Souluxe, is much more sophisticated.

The Souluxe range has pretty much all you’d need for a trip to the gym, a run around your neighbourhood, or a relaxing yoga class, with tanks, tees, long-sleeve tops and leggings of various lengths. They also sell trainers, which might be fine for the gym, but I’d be hesitant about buying for running or CrossFit. I chose to try a pretty pair of floral capri leggings, a purple top with an attractive cut around the shoulders, and a navy hoody – choosing pieces I could combine or wear with other key items in my fitness wardrobe.

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The Workout Test

I wore my MATALAN kit for the first time during one rep max (1RM) week and we were testing bench press. We warmed up with rowing and wall balls, and the hoody was super comfortable to wear while we warmed up and mobilised.

Moving on to the bench, I found the zip on the back of the top a little annoying when I first laid down, but I didn’t notice it after that. Something must have been working for me though because I got a new 1RM of 57.5kg – a 5kg increase!

We then moved on to the WOD, which was a 7 minute partner AMRAP of:

10 box jumps

8 Russian kettlebell swings

6 burpees

I worked with Kirsty and we got 8 rounds and 8 reps. Leggings quite often start to work their way down your waist during box jumps, but the capris stayed put and coped really well with the demands placed on them. The top also stayed in place as I jumped in and out of the burpees – another giveaway that the fit on these items is fairly good. Overall, aside from a slight gathering of fabrics behind the knees and a not-so-attractive cut at the waist, I’m pretty pleased with how the leggings and top look and perform.

But the hoody… well that I’ve completely fallen in love with! It’s super soft, the fit is really flattering, and the sleeves are so comfortable – definitely my favourite piece.

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Final Thoughts

I usually go for mid-range pieces as there are a few key brands I love and trust, but I also have some very high-end kit, and some cheaper items, and MATALAN does a great job of providing affordable kit that also performs. You can tell a little with the leggings and top that they are at the more budget end, with the fabrics and stitching, but that’s only if you’re being picky. However the hoody I would say belies it’s low price.

Affordable kit that also performs... @matalan's #souluxe activewear range Click To Tweet

Either way you look at it, with the below prices, it’s hard to pick too much at the kit – it really is good value for money.

Leggings, between £9-18

Tops, between £5-12

Hoodies, between £8-18

Browse the collection at http://www.matalan.co.uk/souluxe.

By the way, my shoes in the photos are the Reebok CrossFit Nano Pump Fusion from MyProtein… yes, they do clothing and footwear too!

Have you tried any MATALAN Souluxe clothing? What do you think of the affordable activewear options available on the high street now?

Photos taken by the lovely Elle of Keep It SimpElle, using my Olympus PEN E-PL7* and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm 1:1.8 Lens*

Disclaimer: I received items from the MATALAN Souluxe collection for free. As always, my opinion is my own and not affected by items gifted to me. To find out more about my policy on this and other matters, see my Disclosure page. * Affiliate link. Affiliate links do not affect the price that you pay, but any commission earned helps me to pay the costs of running this site. To find out more about my policy on this and other matters, see my Disclosure page.

Sometimes it’s tricky to stick to a healthy lifestyle – workouts that just don’t want to happen, sweet treats that pop up ready to tempt us. It’s no wonder nearly half of people starting a new diet give up after just a week, and nearly a third of new gym sign-ups have only attended 4 times within a month. If only we could make things easier for ourselves to do the things that we know are going to help us, like eating well and exercising…

Great news: we can!

A while ago I read a book by Paul Dolan that has changed the way I look at my lifestyle and what does and doesn’t make me happy. I couldn’t possibly go through it all here (otherwise what would be the point in a whole book?!), but one of the biggest take-home messages I took from the book (Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life*) is to make it easy for yourself to do the things that make you happy.

For example, are you one of those people who lays their running kit out the night before a morning run? Well, without knowing it, you’ve just designed your own happiness! Love a clean house? Use a lemon-scented plugin air freshener to subconsciously encourage yourself to be more tidy!

So how does that relate to a Fit Kit?

Simple: by having a fit kit around the house you can pick it up for a quick workout and healthy snack whenever you need. It makes it easy for you to get your exercise in and eat more healthfully.

My fit kit at home consists mostly of bits I might need for CrossFit, but also has mobility tools and a couple of healthy snacks should I need them.

Here’s what’s in it:

RX Rope a heavy-weight rope that I thought would give me the magical power of double unders, unfortunately I still can’t do them consistently! But at least now I can practice…

Wrist wraps – for those heavy front squats or cleans.

Resistance Band* – great for assisted pull ups or dips, but also for glute exercises and distracted stretches.

Voodoo Compression Band* – brilliant for stretching: you wrap it around the tight muscles and stretch deeply while the band applies pressure.

Lacrosse Balls* – these are awesome, but painful little balls of death mobility. Roll wherever’s tight – especially underfoot, in your upper back and down your shins.

Ufit milk protein drink – these are super tasty and super handy. A ready-mixed milk protein drink that tastes delicious and isn’t grainy, and it can be stored at room temperature – perfect.

9 bars – I love 9 bars, they are sweet enough for my tastes (I do have a sweet tooth!) and the carob topped ones are just immense. Really handy for a quick snack.

Do you have a fit kit? If so, what’s in it?

Win a Ufit Power Kit for a friend!

If you like the sound of a fit kit then why not nominate a friend to receive one of their own? Ufit have very kindly offered Fitcetera readers a chance to win a Fit Kit for a friend containing items such as:

UFIT Power Kit

Dr Zak’s high protein bagels, a Lonsdale leather skipping rope, Nike wristbands, a Karrimor running bottle, happy egg co. eggs, Bounce balls and, of course, some Ufit shakes!

All you have to do to enter is use the click-to-tweet button below, entering the twitter handle of the friend you’d like to receive their very own fit kit, and the reason why they should win. Keep it short but sweet to fit in the 140 character limit!

I want (insert handle) to win a #Ufitpower kit because (insert reason) Click To Tweet

The winner (UK entries only I’m afraid) will be selected at 18:00 GMT Monday 7th September, so you have a week to enter. Good luck!

Disclaimer

I was given the Ufit drinks to try. As always, all opinions are my own and are not influenced by items gifted to me. If I don’t like something, I won’t post about it!

* Amazon Associates link.