In the dead of winter, motivational gear may be the only way to keep some training goals alive. Here are five accessories worth adding to your fitness mix.
1. An App to Stay on Track
With those New Year’s resolutions in full effect, having an app that will keep you on track could be a lifesaver. But with so many free and subscription apps on the market, it can be hard to wade through what’s right for you.
So sometimes it takes something unexpected outside of big branded technologies from Fitbit, Apple, and Nike, for example, to move the needle in your personal fitness world.
Here’s one I bet you haven’t even considered: Motivation Quotes. No, it’s not a heart-rate tracker or any sort of fitness monitor at all, because those are of no use if you can’t get out the door or to the gym in the first place.
Surprise: This daily affirmation app might do more for building a physical fitness routine than you imagined. Customize your daily digital empowerment with backgrounds, reminders, and categories.
2. Solid Sound System
Music can be a huge motivator for training of any kind. But it’s especially helpful indoors when you don’t have nature to entertain you. Ever experienced enlightenment when the right Spotify playlist takes your workout to the next level?
Again, dialing in a sound system looks different for different types of exercises. If you’re on a stationary bike in front of a big-screen TV, it could mean upgrading your soundbar.
Others will want a wireless earbud setup that can stay home or go to the gym. But Bluetooth headphones may not be something worth breaking the bank for. There are many out there, some of which we’ve covered or reviewed.
But the Jaybird X3 is a simple setup at a good price that delivers strong battery life and quick recharging (15 minutes for 60 minutes of playback) in a more rugged look that can move from the indoors to the outdoors.
3. Fresh Gym Bag & Shower Kit
There’s nothing less energizing than a raunchy gym bag filled with residual sweat and moldy shower sandals. A new year calls for a new fitness bag — and healthy accessories to go in it.
Everyone has a personal preference in a gym bag. Do you like the duffel? Or maybe you need a sleek backpack that can transition from work to workouts.
I’m partial to the most basic, packable outer bag — something in line with the unisex Flyweight Duffel by The North Face, but that’s up to you. It’s what goes inside that I tend to splurge on a bit.
A clean, zippered shower caddy like the Pack-It Specter Quick Trip from Eagle Creek is a nice choice. It’s got just enough room for essentials and is easy to carry to the shower.
Add some luxury hair and skin products in there. Those herbal smells and skin-replenishing extras will become a small but welcomed post-workout reward.
I also recommend an easy-sip water bottle that stays with your new gym bag so there are no excuses for poor hydration. I’m partial to the CamelBak Eddy.
4. Next-Gen Weight Set
At-home dumbbells have gotten pretty smart these days. There are a variety of comfy, easy-handling, next-generation free weights made for functional fitness. That means no more static routines with the dusty, rusty irons from the basement.
I’ve been using one brand called GRIPBELL for a while, but I only recently put them to use for some more dynamic upper body weight training. They’re pretty fun, and that’s coming from an endurance junkie.
The dynamic weights can even work for kettle-bell moves. And the GRIPBELL color-coded weight set comes in different weights, but the sizes are universal, so you don’t have to modify your lifting as you get stronger.
5. Yoga Mat ‘Rug’
By now, most of us know yoga is good for supporting almost any active lifestyle. But it can be hard to prioritize this exercise if it means getting to a studio. So having a dedicated stretch space at home can make all the difference between getting more mobile and, well, staying stiff.
I leave a yoga mat unfolded in my home office. I see it every time I swivel my chair. That reminds me that, yes, I can probably fit in a 10-minute yoga sesh at lunchtime. But not everyone has enough space for that, especially if you live in tight urban quarters or with roomies.
Enter the yoga mat-rug. It stays out as a decoration or draped on a chair. There’s a more technical but beautiful one called The Ritual Rug that would even work for hot yoga.
But you could also get away with a simple woven (cotton or hemp) yoga mat. Huggermugger has some striped yoga mat rugs that look good enough for an apartment accent rug.