Consistency and effort are key to seeing results from your workout program. However, even the most diligent of gym rats may look
for ways to spice up a stale gym routine.
Here are 7 workout accessories to improve your workout flow and level up your transformation challenge results!
#1 Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are the ultimate portable workout equipment. They store easily, take up very little room, and can increase the challenge and variety of your workouts.
The difference when using resistance bands as opposed to free weights or cable machines is that the resistance profile increases as the band stretches. This means that your muscles will experience the most tension when the band is on stretch.
The key when using bands is to choose the right exercises to maximize the benefits of the band’s unique resistance profile. Some of our favorite exercises include banded overhead press, chest press, stationary lunges, and overhead triceps extension.
Bands can be added into your current workout program, and they can also be a great on-the-go option when you’re traveling and don’t have access to a quality gym.
#2 Fitness Trackers
Fitness trackers are great for keeping tabs on your overall activity levels during the day as well as tracking your heart rate and approximating your calorie burn during workouts.
That’s their “main purpose.”
But, fitness trackers also have another less discussed/recognized benefit -- they can also help to “gamify” your workouts, which can increase motivation, excitement, effort, ultimately increasing your calorie burning and results!
When “gamifying” your workouts, treat them just like a video game -- aim to set a new high score each training session. This can be in the form of setting a new PR for total reps completed, total amount of weight lifted, or time to complete your workout.
#3 Foam Roller
Recovery is an often overlooked, yet essential, component to staying on schedule with your workouts and performing at a high level during your workouts.
Basically, the better your recovery, the more frequently you can train and/or the harder you can push your muscles during training.
Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a self-massage technique to help reduce muscle soreness, improve muscle pliability, and increase circulation.
While there are many tools to help reduce muscle soreness, few are as popular as foam rollers. These affordable fitness accessories can be found at just about every gym, and if you want to purchase your own, they can be had for under $30!
In addition to helping relieve sore muscles, foam rollers can also be included in the warm up to help prep the body and “work out the kinks” before your more dynamic efforts and warm up sets.
#4 Good Shoes
Training barefoot or with minimalist shoes has been popular for several years now, and while training barefoot does have its advantages (proprioception, strengthening muscles in the feet, etc.), many of us prefer to train in regular cross-trainers and/or some commercial gyms require appropriate footwear to be worn at all times.
While it can be tempting to purchase the cheapest pair of trainers off Amazon, if you’re serious about increasing performance and supporting the health of your feet, ankles, knees, and hips, then it’s worth investing in a pair of high-quality training shoes.
Depending on which type of exercise (cross-training, running, weightlifting, etc.) you’re performing will dictate which type of shoe you need to consider.
#5 Compression Gear
You’ve likely seen athletes wearing all sorts of “sleeves” on their arms or legs, and you’ve probably wondered, “why are they wearing those sleeves?”
Those sleeves are compression garments. They help to increase blood flow to working muscles and reduce soreness. Compression sleeves also offer the benefit of helping you to keep cooler during workouts by wicking away sweat.
#6 Fitness/Yoga Mat
If your gym is anything like ours, you’ll find the yoga mats rolled up near the foam rollers. Traditionally used for yoga, these fitness mats can be used for all sorts of exercises besides your traditional downward dogs and warrior poses.
Yoga mats can make exercises such as lying triceps extensions, crunches, floor flyes, push ups and other ground-based exercises more comfortable.
They also offer a nice barrier from all the grit, grime, and DNA that’s populating the floors of most gyms.
#7 Fitness App
Tracking your progress is another important key to seeing results from your workouts. If you keep doing the same number of reps with the same weight, you’ll eventually plateau.
While you could rely on your memory, that’s an awful lot to remember for most people, especially with the ever-increasing demands for our attention and concentration these days.
In decades past, serious gym rats relied on training logs/notebooks to track their reps and weights. These days most people use fitness apps which make tracking your workouts easier than ever.
We’ve used many of the free fitness apps available today, and came to the conclusion that they were lacking in one (or more) areas. That’s why we created the 1UP Fitness App, available on both iOS and Android devices.
Within the FREE 1UP Fitness App, you’ll be able to track your macros/nutrition as well as your workouts. If you’re new to working out and not sure where to start, we’ve engineered the app to provide customized training and nutrition plans based on your preferences and goals.
Last, but not least, you’ll be able to enter our quarterly Transformation Challenge where you can compete for the chance to win prizes (including cash!) as well as gain access to our exclusive Facebook group. In the group you can ask questions from experienced coaches and trainers, interact with other goal-oriented fitness enthusiasts, and receive encouragement and motivation to stay on track with your plan and get the results you want!