I’m always on the lookout for products to improve workout performance – not like my drawer full of running clothes isn’t packed enough already, but still. Whether it’s an innovative new piece of fitness wear (hello Zaggora HotPants!) or a long-time trusted nutrition friend (Clif Bar, anyone?), there’s nothing more exciting than seeing what’s out there that can help you finish that tough workout, post a faster time, or just push yourself a little harder. I’ve found a couple new must-have fitness goodies, and it would be cruel not to share. Here are my picks for the best products to improve workout performance.
1. Lunatik Compression Socks
Compression socks have long been hailed as one of the best products to improve workout performance, and these by Lunatik are my own personal favorites, for two reasons. One, because they’re incredibly well made, designed to last for years. And two – this may sound shallow, but here goes – because they look so cute! I tend to use these compression socks more as a recovery tool, wearing them after a long run to keep soreness and cramping at bay, but some athletes wear them during a run or workout. Try them, and see which works best for you!
2. Clif Bars
Clif bars are the quintessential performance food. They contain all the fuel you need for a long run, a challenging hike, or a distance bike ride, while still managing to be addictively tasty. This fall, my favorite is the iced gingerbread flavor – but there are more than a dozen flavors to try, from Apricot to White Chocolate Macadamia, so there’s bound to be a flavor you’ll love. Best of all, they’re loaded with wholesome whole grains, protein, and fiber, to keep your mind in the game (or on the hike) without the distraction of a growling tummy.
3. Zaggora HotPants
I’d seen Zaggora advertised for months before I tried on my first pair, and now I’m a complete convert. I won’t wear anything else, because they feel so good and because these HotPants kick up the effectiveness of your workout by harnessing your body heat to help you burn more calories as you work out. I’m not kidding – they’re amazing!
4. Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salts
There’s nothing quite like a long soak in Epsom Salts to relieve sore, achy muscles after an intense run, hike, or workout, and even better than your generic salts are the Dr. Teal’s brand. They’re formulated to provide long-lasting comfort with a little aromatherapy thrown in for good measure. Simply choose your favorite from their range of blends – I love the Eucalyptus Spearmint – then add two cups of the salts to your running bath water. Soak for 20 minutes and relax as the minerals soothe your aches away.
5. Chomps Energy Gels
They’re tiny, but remarkable – humble little Chomps give you something of an edge when you need a little more energy than you can muster, just to finish a long run or a tough workout. Think energy gel, only easier to ingest, and you have a Chomp. They come in a range of fruity flavors – the Peach Tea and Lemon are my favorites – and each is loaded with the carbs, amino acids, antioxidants, caffeine and electrolytes you need to finish strong. Order online or pick up a packet at your local sporting goods store.
6. Headbands of Hope
Nothing on earth will encourage a more intense workout than a reminder that a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes, and you have to power to help them. And what better reminder than a pretty (and functional) elastic headband from the angels at Headbands of Hope? For each headband you buy, one will be provided to a little girl battling cancer, giving her a much-needed lift in spirits, and giving you enough feel-good glow to get through even the toughest workout. That’s how one little headband can help your workout performance. Magic!
7. Brooks Glycerin Running Shoes
I’m sure you already know what a game-changer the right pair of running shoes can be, but if you haven’t tried the Brooks Glycerin II running shoe, you’re missing out. I’ve never worn a more comfortable shoe, and that’s not an exaggeration – they’re like heavenly pillows for your feet. You’ll never want to take them off, even after a long, hard run. They’re a neutral shoe, with lots of cushion, and they’re seriously sweet. Try them on, and you’ll wear them home.
8. Adidas Climawarm+
Using fibers that mimic a polar bear's cozy fur, this workout gear will allow you to stop obsessing about the cold and focus on your workout! I love the pullover and the leggings look so warm! I'm definitely adding a few pieces to my winter-time workout wardrobe. Available in leggings, pants, pullovers, tops, and zip-ups, the only question is, which pieces do I need (or want!) the most?
Isn’t this an exciting list? I love every product here, and use most of them every single day (I hate days when I can’t wear my Brooks). Have you tried any of these goodies? Which do you like best, and why? Or is there another performance-enhancing workout item I need to try?