5 Things Every Athlete Never Knew They Needed
Have you decided to get serious with your exercise game? If so, being a great athlete takes a lot more than just upping your work out routines and perfecting your diet. Now, while there are tons of things out there that can cost you a fortune (like costly exercise equipment), there are also smaller things that can change your life without breaking the bank. Here are five things that every athlete never knew they needed, from foam rollers to shoes.
1. The Perfect Water Bottle
First off, we all know that water is pretty much the number one thing that you need to stay healthy as an athlete. But, what you may not know is that the type of water bottle you use to hold that water can make a huge difference on your athletic performance. Before you pick one, you need to think about the types of exercise you will be doing, since different styles cater to different forms of exercise. For instance, do you cycle for long periods of time? Find a slim bottle that can slide effortlessly into a bottle rack on your bike. You will also want it to be the squeeze type, so that you can easily shoot water into your mouth while on the move. Do you hike in the heat? Consider getting a bottle that will keep your water ice cold all day long, which will be super refreshing once you get to the top of that mountain—check out HydroFlask, and enjoy delightfully chilled water 10 hours after you’ve started on the trail.
2. The Right Shoes
Whether you run, jog, walk or dead lift in the gym, you need the right shoes. Serious runners and joggers will want lightweight running-specific shoes that will offer support and take pressure off of your knees. The shoes will need to be flexible and have a built-up heel that will offer more stability. If you just plan on doing a ton of walking, you won’t need as serious of a shoe, but you can definitely get away with walking in a running shoe – this does not work the other way around though, as you never want to run in a walking shoe. Walking shoes are more rigid and generally don’t offer as much support as a running shoe, since they don’t actually need the extra support.
Now, if you plan on dead lifting in the gym, you will want a more flat shoe that won’t force your foot to be elevated in any way, as this will influence how you are able to perform. This is why you might see several weight lifters in the gym wearing basic sneakers, like Chuck Taylors. If you want to target a specific muscle that requires your heel to be a little higher, simple stand with your heels on a raised surface, like two large barbell collars.
3. A Seriously Tough Blender
How are you supposed to whip up those protein shakes without a tough blender? You will want one that can turn ice cubes into a smooth shake, so you can make as many different kinds of smoothies as you want. Thankfully there are tons of options out there, but we would go for one that offers a full-size pitcher, as well as a couple of to-go tumblers that you can blend directly within before running out of the door.
4. Cut Recovery Time in Half with a Foam Roller
When you exercise hard, your body will feel it in a variety of ways, but the most common effect will be achy, sore muscles. While some people might be able to afford getting a massage every week, that probably isn’t very realistic for all of us, so in comes the foam roller. Basically, a foam roller offers self-myofascial release, which can help improve flexibility, function, and performance and reduce your likelihood of getting injured. With tons of different ways to use a foam roller, you are essentially using your own body weight to apply pressure to targeted muscles. Use foam rolling to warm your muscles up before exercising and then when you’re done, use the roller again to help release some of that tension you just built up. Trust us, this will cut your recovery time in half when it comes to sore muscles.
5. Hurt Yourself? Go Natural
If you manage to hurt yourself and end up with some nasty inflammation, you should try to treat it naturally before resorting to pharmaceuticals. The combination of bromelain and quercetin supplements will help to reduce the inflammation in a natural and safe way, whether your inflammation problems are acute or chronic.
Once you set yourself up with these five things, you will be well on your way to being the athletic champion you always knew you’d be.