Whatever your fitness goals for 2023 are, persistence is key. Frequently, a significant aspect of sticking to an effective workout regime is having the right kit and accessories to optimise your performance. Whether you’re eager to build muscle, increase your cardiovascular endurance or simply just move your body more, there are helpful products and accessories that could make your gym trips a lot easier and more productive. Here are some suggestions for must-have gym bag extras.
Liquid chalk is a must-have gym accessory for weightlifters, gymnasts, rock climbers and any other athlete who requires a solid grip on their equipment. Liquid chalk generally comprises magnesium carbonate (chalk), alcohol and various other ingredients like resin and water to create a drying effect by soaking up the moisture on your palms and fingers. Many athletes prefer liquid chalk to regular chalk as it coats the hands evenly and leaves minimal residue on equipment and clothes.
Foam rollers are excellent for relieving soreness, tightness and inflammation following a workout by allowing you to massage painful knots and tense muscles. Simply place your foam roller underneath you and roll over any painful or still areas - this is known as myofascial trigger point therapy, which focuses on reducing pain by easing tension and tightness. Consequently, a foam roller could significantly reduce your recovery time so you can enjoy faster fitness results.
Lifting Straps and Belt
Powerlifting can be exceptionally dangerous if not performed correctly. Fortunately, there are various products and accessories available for making workouts safer and more productive. Lifting straps are by no means necessary, but they could improve your performance by enabling you to lift more weight without worrying about your grip failing. Lifting belts are mainly used for reducing stress on the lower back and increasing intra-abdominal pressure for improved core stability.
Compression garments improve blood circulation and help to reduce muscle fatigue and joint inflammation. Knee sleeves are a commonly used compression garment, providing warmth, better control and stability. You may need to wear knee sleeves whenever you need extra support for physical activity such as running, jumping and knee-centric exercises like squats and deadlifting, which are notorious for putting a tremendous amount of pressure on your joints.
Before, during or after a workout, you may need a quick boost of energy, particularly if you engage in endurance sports like marathon running and competitive cycling. While small snacks like protein bars and dried fruit may do the trick, caffeine gel is specifically formulated to replenish your depleted carbohydrate stores and give you that much-needed energy boost in as little as three minutes after consumption.
A typical gym is the perfect breeding ground for germs - warm, humid and full of people. Frequenting the gym could expose you to various forms of bacteria, viruses and fungi, potentially leading to issues like ringworm, athlete’s foot and staph infections. You can minimise risk by practising good hygiene whenever you go to the gym - protect your feet, wipe down the equipment after use and use plenty of hand sanitiser.
Many gym goers find recording their progress in a diary keeps them focused and on track to smash their goals. For example, if you’re training for a triathlon, you could keep a log of your current stroke count and running speed. Alternatively, you could track your progress using a smartphone app such as MyFitnessPal or FitNotes. You could even pair your phone with a smartwatch to monitor your heart rate, pace and elevation.
Muscle recovery cream or balm can be an effective way to soothe aching muscles after an intense workout. The majority of recovery creams contain counterirritants like menthol, which has long been used as a natural pain reliever and causes a cooling sensation on the skin. This supports the healing process and reduces recovery time so you can return to training as soon as possible.
Yoga blocks, usually made from foam or cork, provide support and stability, helping you to achieve proper alignment and get the very best results from your yoga practice. They also make specific yoga poses more accessible for individuals with varying levels of flexibility, injuries or other physical limitations. While a yoga block isn’t absolutely necessary for your practice, it could increase your range of motion by helping you deepen your stretches.