I know we’re hot off the 9 Tips for Healthy Hair post, but a friend suggested I should break up the hair blogs, however keep going with the tips. Because my life mostly consists of writing, lashing and working out, and because I just got my results back from my 23andme (email if you’re interested in doing 23andme, I have a 10% discount code) and it turns out I’M AN ELITE ATHLETE YOU GUYS, I’m going to share some of my favorite health and fitness tools.
Let’s start with the things you put inside your body to make you healthy because it REALLY makes a difference. As with everything else I recommend – I AM obviously NOT A DOCTOR, talk to your doctor before you start a diet and exercise program. I hired a fitness coach two summers ago because I just couldn’t get my body to where I wanted it to be. I felt bulky and sluggish, rather than lean. It turns out I was eating the wrong portions, not eating often enough and I had to add a VERY IMPORTANT key to my workout routine. Just so you know, this is a very general article on workout tools and fitness. There is so much more to getting really fit besides what I’ve listed here, but I don’t want to overwhelm, I just want to share with you what I’ve used, like and disliked.
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Supplements and Greens
BCAA’s and L-Carnitine. Both of these are amino acids that we do not produce on our own. I’m not going to go into they scientific jargon on glycogen and mitochondria, but I’ll tell you they gave me energy (without stimulants like caffeine and weird fat burner stuff), and therefore more effective workouts. Also, because it tastes so good, it made me drink my water. Bonus.
360Cut BCAAs This is HANDS DOWN my favorite BCAA; I like the taste and the price. Also, it doesn’t have caffeine or creatine in it, that is very important to me. For some reason this company is very low in stock on this product, I don’t know what is happening. I used to get the Mango but it’s currently unavailable so here I gave the link for the watermelon. Y’all please read the labels before you buy – I’ve almost bought a product with creatine in it and that is something most of us do not want to take. I also bought a product with 55mg of caffeine in it and had to give it away because that little amount kept me awake until the wee hours of the morning.
Because the above item is so low in inventory, I researched another brand and found Sascha Fitness. Again, no caffeine or creatine and this has the L-Carnitine included, so one less thing to worry about! We love that! Just FYI, I did order this product and I will be trying it out for myself.
Now if you DO want to take your L-Carnitine separately, here is the one I use, but let me tell you unless you’re taking it at home, this stuff is a pain in the butt. The bottle always leaks and it’s a bit cumbersome to measure out a cap-full before going to the gym. If you can, get the pills. But if you can’t…
*get 3000 in the L-Carnitine
I’m not great at cooking, or eating…so I typically drink my nutrition and here are my favorite ways to get my super foods and my protein. I’ve tried other green powders and they have too much fake flavor in them and with the protein…to be honest, Vega has the best taste and texture to me. I tried several whey proteins and I didn’t like them.
Country Farms Super Greens – sometimes I have a chef who makes my food (I told you I’m a bad cook) and she had a look at the ingredients in this product and it got the stamp of approval. Not only was it good in her opinion, it was a little too good. She suggested that I either not take it every day or I cut the dosage. I’ll probably take it 3-4 times/week because too much of a good thing is too much.
Sugar and honey replacement. Replacing sugar is a no-brainer, but I understand why some of you would be opposed to replacing honey. It’s good for you, it’s good for the bees, we need bees. But in case you DO want to cut sugar out of your diet, I’ve found a 1:1 replacement that tastes exponentially better than Stevia. It’s called Monkfruit. I have this specific brand it is pretty great. The chef approves of monkfruit and says it tastes just like sugar if you mix it with a bit of lemon juice.
Water filter – this may not apply to a lot of you, depending on where you live, but there are a lot of chemicals in tap water. Those chemicals can do a number on your system, especially when you’re trying to get healthy and absorb nutrients. I live in Los Angeles and our tap water is terrible; you can smell the bleach and the chemicals. Therefore, I have a water filter on my kitchen sink (my shower as well but that’s another day). Because we mix our BCAAs and our protein shakes with water, I recommend you use clean, filtered water, but please do not buy bulk bottles of water; plastic is really harming our world, especially plastic water bottles.
PUR water filter – this is the filter I use, however I live alone so keep that in mind when ordering yours. You may need something that can handle more traffic/people.
Aquasana under sink water filter. This one is 50% off so I like that.
And here are some water bottles to hold your tasty clean water and your protein shakes. I know I said no plastic, but these are reusable. I do not recommend the shaker bottle with the wire ball, it just doesn’t work as well as the mixing grid.
20oz Blue Peak shaker bottle – great for protein shakes.
28oz Blue Peak shaker bottle – great for water as well as your daily BCAA mix.
Bands – if you’ve ever looked up one fitness account on Instagram then you’ve seen these bands. Here area a few options:
1. The updated version – These Fabric Resistance Bands made of cloth with a non-slip inner layer, which means they won’t roll up your thighs. They’re a newer version of the latex bands, so there are not a lot of reviews on them
2. The whole kit and caboodle – The Odoland 16 Piece Set has everything: bands, handles, ankle clips, resistance bands, and more, making it very convenient to create your toolkit.
3. Just the bands, please – Simple, easy, classic, but cute. MVN Resistance Bands are the regular bands we know and love BUT they have different exercises printed on the bands and I don’t know about you, but I’ve gone to the gym several times and just sat there, clueless as to what I should do next.
Gloves – I know a lot of you don’t like to wear workout gloves because it affects your grip but at the end of the day I want soft hands more than I want a strong pullup. I have a pair from Nike, but I was not able to find a link to my exact pair. I’m going to include some different gloves that have a similar-looking grip, however I’ve not tried them.
1. Minimal – The Fit Four Grip Gloves cover just the areas we typically callous. While it may feel similar to having your pants around your ankles, I can also see the allure of a barely-there glove. I’ll probably order them because my Nike gloves are falling apart.
2. Classic – These Nike gloves are the closest I could find to my actual gloves, but the palm padding looks different.
3. Freaking Rad Gloves – Leopard Print lifting gloves – I’m probably going to get these. These or the minimal ones for sure. And then I found THESE at Sparkle and Sweat Shop. They also have dreamcatcher gloves and space gloves and American flag gloves, but I like the palm trees because I live in LA.
Hip thrust pad – so this was a fun research project. If you’ve ever done glute bridges or hip thrusts on then you know how much it hurts to have the bar dig into your hip bones. I wasn’t a fan of the hip pad that everyone is suggesting, however I’ll give you the link in case you want to try it anyways. Then I saw these squares and thought “that looks perfect!” however I couldn’t stop there, because you know what it looks like to me? A garden kneeling pad. So here are your three options to protect those hip bones.
1. Iron Bull Squat Pad my least favorite but the most popular and versatile. It just looks like it would still be painful to do glute bridges.
2. Clever Yoga Balance Pad This one is my favorite.
3. If you’re feeling experimental, here is the garden kneeling pad.
Rx Smart Gear Jump rope – One of the best forms of cardio and you can do it almost anywhere. But I see a lot of people jumping rope at the gym and unfortunately they’re making it harder on themselves. The rope is either too long or too light and the handles are all wrong. I know y’all don’t like it when I get dogmatic and self-righteous but I am TELLING you, this is the only rope you should ever buy. This is a genuine recommendation I do not get any commission from telling you about this product…yet. A few tips on buying this rope:
· Order according to your height
· I recommend the Elite cable weight
· Get fun colors. It’s fun.
PRO TIP: I do not recommend you get this rope from Amazon because the Rx Smart Gear rope is custom to your height. This is SUPER important. There is a page on their website dedicated specifically to helping your find your rope length. Read it.
Ankle clip on thing – Yes, that is the correct name for it. Ok this is one of my favorite tools in my tool box. I always see the Instagrams of the girls doing the butt workouts at the cable machines and when I first started working out I tried to do those moves with the little triangle handle thing. It sucks. These ankle straps make it SO MUCH EASIER to do glute kick-backs and abductors and adductors and all of the micro moves that make a perky bottom. I chose these ankle wraps at random, they’re all pretty much the same, you can’t really go wrong. But I do recommend buying a 2-pack because then you can just switch the cable from ankle to ankle, you don’t have to take the strap off, put it on the other leg, then take it off and put it on the other leg, etc.
PRO TIP: when doing your glute exercises, stand the resting leg on a on plate; it will give your working leg a deficit and allowing you to work the muscle in a deeper and controlled way. Don’t get it? Just google “deficit lunge” or “deficit deadlift”.
Headphones – gone are the days of being physically attached to your phone, because there are Bluetooth headphones and they are one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The first pair I bought was from TaoTronics and I do not recommend them because they didn’t get very loud when it came to listening to music. If I was talking to someone on the phone it was totally fine, but I was not impressed by the volume.
So then I bought the San.Como Bluetooth headphones and they are MUCH better for half the price! *Update! They DO bounce while you run, so I suggest you look for headphones that have a lighter volume box, however that may mean weaker volume levels, I used the clip to attach it to my sports bra and that helped. I’ll do more research on this.
I can’t talk about headphones without mentioning the Beats By Dre headphones so here is a classic pair to give you a well-rounded list of options.
A friend rolled into the gym with these Jabra headphones and I wasn’t THAT impressed until he told they monitor his heart rate AND they track his reps (like push-ups). Oh and the sound is great. I realize they are pricey but that technology may be worth it for some.
Put It All In This
Gym Bag – Now you need a place to put your BCAAs and your jump rope and your cute gloves and your gym clothes. Here are some of my favorites.
J World Sport Duffel Bag I found this one on Target (online only), it’s a great size for the gym and a great price.
Adidas Squad III Duffel I actually thought I was going to get that bag from Target until I found this one and I love all of the color combination choices.
And then I found the Gaiam Yoga Mat Bag. It has straps to hold my yoga mat, and it’s great for gym or travel, for less than $30. Win.
And there you are! A list of my favorite products to put into your get fit toolkit. I hope these items make it easier and more fun for you to get the results you’re looking for. Please comment below with any questions you may have!