Getting that fit physique is a tough challenge. No matter how many fitness trackers and home bodyweight workout routines we try to use, or how many super effective new diets we try, there always seems to be a last five pounds to lose. While we always support self-love as the trick to accepting ourselves as is, there are plenty of other reasons we want an effective sweat session.
Working out just feels good. Everyone loves the way that they feel after achieving something. Isn’t it great to push yourself into furthering your workout achievements by upping your workout game? We think so. That’s why we put together a list of the 20 best, most effective, easy-to-find gadgets and gear out there. If you’re curious about whether you’re really working at the top of your game, or if your gains have been sliding over the last month, we’ve probably got the answer. There’s everything on here; from the best leggings to wear for you next lifting competition to the best protein that’ll help you keep zen after your hot yoga practice. Take a look, then get sweating! You might want to grab your wishlist first, though.
20 The Proper Items For Support
Let’s start at the top. What’s a person with a chest’s main concern when working out? Containing that chest. It’s uncomfortable to have jiggles and unacceptable to have spillage. While it might work for gym selfies, it just gets in the way when you’re trying to work on the elliptical. Not all under clothes are made the same, however, and it’s really step one when trying to comfortable workout. Best Health Magazine recommends finding a piece that fits your band and cup size properly (no more generic small, medium, or large) and that’s suited for your “highest impact activity”. So if you’re a runner who lifts, shop for the jog and not for the mat.
19 A Heart Rate Monitor
Not sure why this might be useful? There are a few reasons. Often time exercise machines have an unreliable take on calories burned and heart rate levels. Heart rate is super important. Steady Strength tells us we, “should exercise your heart at 50% – 85% of your max heart rate at least 3 times a week in order to increase heart health.” By keeping a heart rate monitor with you (oftentimes conveniently located on your wrist) you’ll be able to track how hard you’re working in your workout, as well as ensuring you’re hitting your target health goals. Plus they usually come with a stopwatch function, which means you don’t need to always carry your phone.
18 A Deck Of Cards Adds Some Surprising Fun To Workout Sessions
Livestrong lists a deck of cards as one of the top thirty items you should have in your gym bag. The trick itself comes from Kelly McGovern, whom they say is a trainer. Apparently, she has a game where each suit in the deck represents a type of exercise, and the number on the card is the number of reps. We’ve also seen it done where people just write exercises and reps on the cards and then draw them at random to build a workout. Whichever method you choose, a deck of cards is a way to shake up your regular bodyweight routine. Plus, if you’re traveling, they’ll also give you some entertainment.
17 Resistance Bands Really Work
Nearly every list we read had some form of resistance bands on it. Whether you’re looking at the circular ones to stretch over your thighs, or the open-ended ones to do some resistance lifts with, there’s a type of band out there for you. While Men’s Health recommends the TRX System, we’re partial to the regular old stretchy bands you can get at Winners. Integrating resistance bands into your workout won’t take up a huge amount of space in your apartment, and it absolutely won’t break the bank. You’ll get more of a burn though, and you’ll get more muscle activation… Which definitely means an upgraded sweat session.
16 Protein Bars For Your Post-Workout Snack
Protein bars are a no-brainer. You’re probably already using these, whether you know it’s going to enhance your workout or not. As Livestrong says, your body is a machine. You need to fuel it to properly get the results you want. You also need to give it rest and love, but that can wait until after the gym. Protein bars are an easy way to get the nutrients you need, but there’s so many out there. While Livestrong does recommend a particular brand, we recommend you experiment to find the brand that works best for you. A good place to start is backwards. Figure out what the effects are that you want (muscle building, hunger satiation, etc) and find a brand that fits.
15 Get A Cheap Kettle Bell
The Telegraph has some excellent advice when it comes to home workout gear. While we’re not exclusively talking about home gear, it makes it easier to stick with your workout plan when you’ve got all the goods at home. The Telegraph says kettlebells, “can replicate most of the exercises you would perform with dumbbells and also bring an element of momentum and functional training to your workouts, providing 100s more variations without taking up much extra space in your gym.” We would recommend trying them out at your local gym before investing in one. Once you get used to the grip, though, we think you might never go back to bars!
14 Proper Leggings For Your Sweat Session
In the same way that your undergarments affect the enjoyableness of your workout, so do your leggings. You don’t want to wear sweatpants to run in, but you might want to wear them to lift, for example. The Cut recommends buying a couple different pairs of leggings to suit your different workout needs. Yoga leggings are going to be different from running leggings, after all. Want to stay on a budget, though? No problem. They recommend Old Navy, as they’ve got a variety of leggings for a decent price. There’s also sales all the time, which almost always include the workout gear.
13 “Cuffed” Weights Keep Your Hands Free
Business Insider has our back when it comes to all things fitness. If you’re looking for a product recommendation that really works, look no further. While you’ve probably seen cuffed weights before, the ones coming out into the workout sector now are amazing. Not only do cuffed weights allow you to keep your hands free while walking or jogging, but you can usually attach them to either your ankles or your wrists. These will not only increase your bodyweight workout gains, but they also act as a great replacement for mini walking weights. And the best part? Business Insider quotes them as usually being under $15 on Amazon!
12 Arnica Ointment Will Rejuvenate Your Muscles
While there are a few different brands that sell this sort of thing, Saje is one of the best. Livestrong recommends it on their thirty gym bag must-haves list, which is part of the reason we felt confident about putting it on our list. Livestrong says, “it soothes inflammation naturally without a ton of chemicals, and it doesn't smell like a bunch of chemicals either. And if you suffer any sprains or strains during your workout, this will help soothe the pain, too.” Which means you’ll be able to get back to the grind earlier (and with less grumbling than sore muscles usually bring).
11 Invest In An Exercise Log
When we say invest, it’s more of a time investment than a money investment. You don’t need to go out and buy anything special to make this log happen. While you might want to get help from a trainer, ultimately you can succeed on your own. Steady Strength recommends an exercise log solely for the fact that it’s like personal accountability. You might not have another person to motivate you, but filling in blank spaces on a workout log is pretty satisfying. They also mention that it’s a good tool for tracking which muscle groups you’re working during your weekly sweat sessions. All you need is a notebook!
10 Foam Rollers For Rest Days
These have semi-recently come into fashion, and we love the fact that they’re so easily accessible now. Business Insider recommends them as one of the top 16 effective workout accessories (for under $50), and we totally agree. They recommend a brand called TriggerPoint Grid because it’s “firmer, allowing for a deeper unknotting. It's also less likely to dent or warp over time,” which is a very important point to consider. While you can buy these at the dollar store, we would recommend splurging and getting one in the $20-$30 range, like Business Insider’s recommended brand. Your muscles will thank you!
9 Or, Try The Massage Stick
If you don’t want to lug around a huge foam roller, try looking into the massage stick. Business Insider says it’s “a smaller, travel-friendly option to the foam roller...The Massage Stick can reduce soreness, undo knots, and help prevent injury.” We’re inclined to agree! There are many different variations out there, but you can usually grab one for cheap off of Amazon. They work in a similar way to foam rollers but don’t require the type of full body (and living room floor) commitment that foam rollers require. They’re a great way to work out little knots you might have from travel, or even from moving delivery boxes at work. Keep one in your bag for on the go comfort.
8 Ice Wraps Are Important For Injuries
This one might not improve your sweat session, but it definitely improves your recovery time. Livestrong suggests investing in these Dr. Cool ice wraps; icing your muscles isn’t just for rips and tears. Icing sore muscles can be an effective cooldown method, especially if you alternate it with warmth. Not only will this wrap keep things cool, but it also works by compressing the injury (or sore spot) just a little bit. You can decide how tightly you wrap it, which means you’re in control. Plus, Livestrong says it can also be used during a workout. This is great news if you’re trying to keep cool in the summer heat!
7 Music That Pumps You Up (And Sweatproof Headphones)
Business Insider claims that all good sports headphones will be sweat-proof, which we have to agree with. A good workout headphone set should be able to stay in your ears no matter how much moving and grooving you’re doing. We personally love the Phillips brand when it comes to headphones. Business Insider says, “MEE audio's M7P is a well-rounded fitness headphone,” which means you might need to do a little research to find your perfect pair. Proper headphones (and music) really do make a huge difference though. We all know how much more pumped we get when something like Katy Perry’s Firework comes on.
6 A Fitbit Tracks It All For You
Fitbits are really the workout wave of the future. You might have been putting off purchasing one, thinking that there’s no way they could improve your workout that much, but trust us… They will. Men’s Health recommends Fitbits, and the product page will tell you why. Fitbit’s Flex 2 is the classic Fitbit you’ve probably seen before. The page tells us that it not only automatically tracks your workout activity, but it also will “track your steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time…[and] how long and how well you sleep.” This means your workout has moved out of the gym, and into your regular life.
5 A Proper Nutrition Plan
Get Healthy U is the total package when it comes to weight loss and workout help. They offer tons of great suggests, as well as easy hacks to help people get back on track with their workouts. One of the things that will help you with your goals is the proper nutrition plan. Get Healthy U points out, “your workout could be suffering because your nutrient intake is low...calculate your fitness level and ideal body weight based on height, weight, age etc. to determine calorie needs,” and ultimately get back to your sweat session success. However, if you only work out just so you can eat all the junk food you want, feel free to ignore this one.
4 Caffeine Can Increase Your Burn
Whether you drink coffee or not is irrelevant. We’re talking about caffeine supplements, able to be bought at almost any drugstore or pharmacy. The website Muscle and Fitness has a whole paragraph on the benefits of this supplement, but basically: “caffeine taken pre-workout increases fat-burning and endurance and blunts muscle pain during training, which means you can do more reps.” Yes, if you’ve been waiting until after your workout to get your morning caffeine in, you might actually be missing out on a boost. If you drink a protein shake before your workouts, try adding a little caffeine to it. It might just fast track you towards your goals.
3 Body Glide Brings Your Chafe Game Down
And yes, this is a brand that’s highly recommended. According to Livestrong, Body Glide is an “industry standard”, as quoted by Bruce Wilk. Wilk is a triathlete and running store owner, as well as a coach, author, and physical therapist. If Livestrong trusts him, we certainly do too. Body Glide sounds like it works much better than deodorant for our inner thigh rub, as well as any sweat-induced blisters that might come on a long run. No doubt you’ll find that your workout game has improved when using this product. Maybe not in lifting abilities, but at least in comfort!
2 A Really Good Blender Bottle
Once again, we’re going on a Livestrong expert’s recommendation here. The Blender Bottle brand might seem silly to invest in (how many variations can there really be on this thing? Isn’t the off-brand version just as good?) but there is a reason they’re so popular. Protein shakes are important if you’re trying to build muscle and/or curb your ravenous post-workout hunger. Plus, blender bottles can also be used to shake up other supplements as well. You want something that doesn’t leak, breaks up the finest powder and will last forever. Blender Bottles have that, while other brands tend to break down. The fact that Blender Bottle has some cute designs as well? Bonus!
1 A Small Trampoline, Because Why Not Make That Your Cardio?
Shape Magazine has some great news for all of us. If you want to upgrade your sweat session but are tired of running the same route and working out at the same gym, try shaking it up. Trampoline workouts are the way of the future, and you can now purchase mini (foldable!) ones for working out at home. Shape Magazine says, “a workout on a mini-trampoline will get you some of the same get-fit benefits as running, but it won't feel as difficult, according to a new study by the American Council on Exercise.” Say no more-- With all these products, we’re going to be feeling fit and fresh in no time!
References: besthealthmag.com, steadystrength.com, telegraph.co.uk, thecut.com, steadystrength.com, fitbit.com, menshealth.com, gethealthyu.com, livestrong.com, businessinsider.com, menshealth.com, muscleandfitness.com, shape.com