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MY TOP 7 WORKOUT MUST HAVES

I’ve been asked a lot about what my TOP workout equipment is, but I think I’ll do a list of my favorite workout accessories. I can do a post on my big workout equipment later :). For now, we will go through the smaller things! The ‘must haves’ that I LOVE to have during a workout, and why!

Also, yes, I am AWARE that seven is an odd number to use.. but, that’s how many I’m doing, OK? Drop it. 😉

1. HEART RATE MONITOR & WATCH

My absolute number one thing to have during my workouts, is a heart rate sensor and a watch that tracks your workouts/shows me my heart rate! I train so much more efficiently when I have my heart rate displayed right there on my wrist, and I like seeing when I need to slow down, or push harder in my workout.

Knowing your heart rate during your workouts is so important! Knowing what zone you’re in during your cardio sessions could make or break your workout. If I am supposed to be doing a HIIT workout and I don’t know where my heart rate is, how am I supposed to know when to stop my interval and rest? Or start back up again? Yes, I know you can go by how you’re feeling, or just use a timer. BUT I’m OCD, so I like to know exactly when I hit 80% of my max heart rate zone to stop my interval, and then when I need to start again (when I hit  65% of my max heart rate zone).

Tracking your heart rate throughout your workouts over a period of time, can actually tell you how you’re improving with your fitness. If your resting heart rate is actually decreasing over that period of time, that is a sign that your cardiorespiratory system is improving! You can do this by recording how long it takes for your heart rate to return back to its resting rate from your workout. Over time, that number should improve (decrease).

I use the POLAR H10 Heart Rate Sensor, and the POLAR M400 Watch!

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2. BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES

Usually I just plug my iPhone into our Bose speaker, or use our Amazon Alexa to play my workout playlist. However recently, Amazon had an update where you can only play ONE Alexa at a time, and it’s really messing up my workout sessions! Don’t you know I’m TRYIN TO LIFT, ALEXA?! When other members of the family are trying to listen to their own Alexa, it will turn off mine randomly. So GOODBYE to you Alexa. You had one job.. and you failed.

With that said, I recently just started using these Sony Bluetooth headphones (thanks, Richie <3 ) during my lifts, and LET ME TELL YOU,  it’s actually made my workout sessions SO much better. Having the music right in my ears I find I am staying more focused, and I find myself sticking to my 45-60 sec rest periods.

I also find that when I play music with more of an up-beat rhythm it really keeps me motivated and interested in my workouts. It’s been studied that music between 120-140 BPM have the maximum effect on your workouts!

Not to mention the dance breaks during your rest periods :), and how your mood gets uplifted when you listen to good music. Turn that music on and LIFT!

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3. LIFTING BELT

If you’re going to be lifting heavy, I suggest you learn how to brace your core properly, and get your form down FIRST. Once you have the form down, and know how to brace yourself in your lifts, you can incorporate a lifting belt for additional stabilization and support.

Here’s an awesome article on lifting belts if you’re interested!
https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/3-key-benefits-of-wearing-a-weightlfting-belt.html

I got this Fit Girl Lifting Belt off of Amazon!

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4. LIFTING HOOKS

Lifting hooks are great to incorporate into your heavy lifts as well. If you’re like me and don’t really care to have the best grip strength in the world, then use these when you’re doing your heavier lifts. Use them for your dead lifts, lat pull downs, dumbbell walking lunges, or even pull ups. They help take the stress off of your grip strength and your forearms, so you can really focus on what muscle you are actually trying to work and have a better mind-muscle connection. Give these a try, and let me know what you think! I absolutely love them!

I got the Harbinger ones off of Amazon (and they’re on SALE right now for 14.98)!

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5. RESISTANCE BANDS

Resistance bands are an AWESOME thing to add to your workout routine, and even your home gym. You can use these for your warm up sets to wake up those muscles, before starting your working sets. You can use them during your workout as well!

It’s always recommended to activate your muscles before starting your workout. This increases the tissue’s temperature, getting the muscle fibers ready for your intense lift. Try using these for about 5-10 minutes for your warmup!

Resistance bands are great to use for bicep curls, shoulder press, lat pull downs, tricep push downs, etc. They are SO versatile and super easy to use!

I got these Black Mountain Products Resistance Bands off of Amazon. The bands come in a bag along with, two handles, two ankle straps, and a door anchor!

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6. SQUAT SPONGE

This squat sponge is a MUST if you’re going to be incorporating heavy Hip Thrusts into your workouts. When I first started lifting, I used it when I would squat because I didn’t like the barbell on my back. Now that I’ve been lifting for a while, I actually prefer not to use it for my barbell squats. I DO use this sponge every time I do Hip Thrusts, though. It adds that extra padding so the barbell doesn’t hurt my hips when I go heavy.  Even if I am doing 285 lbs, I still don’t feel the barbell because of its thickness! (Pictured below)

I got this red squat sponge off of Amazon!

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7. SLINGSHOT HIP CIRCLE

This little guy looks like a regular wide resistance band, but do not be fooled. This thing is AMAZING. You place this either above your knees, or around your shins during your exercises and your glutes will be on fire! Try adding this to your squats, hip thrusts, lunges, banded side steps, dead lifts, etc. Your glutes will LOVE it… or hate it? Anyways, you’ll love the burn, and the booty pump afterwards. 🙂

I got mine off of Amazon!

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So there you have it! My top seven gym must haves! Let me know if you give any of these a try and what you think!

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Any ideas on blog posts that you want me to write about? Comment below!

 

xoxo
-Nicole

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Instagram: @niicoleamberr
Twitter: @NicoleAHunterr

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