More than anything, February is a month to endure. The holiday season is over, the twinkling lights have gone out, the days are dark and cold, and the initial excitement of New Year’s resolutions fades in the face of daily grind. But little things can make a big difference when it comes to staying motivated. These are the extras and extras that we cling to as we endure the last days of winter.
Bodybuilding.com Advanced Scream Pre-Workout
Recommended by Heather Eastman, Senior Content Editor
It’s baaa-ack! And like any good reboot, it’s new and improved. I’m talking about Bodybuilding.com’s advanced pre-workout, Scream. From the first line of performance products we’ve ever launched, this powerful pre-workout leverages years of product knowledge and innovation to give you that edge in the gym. With natural caffeine, creatine, BCAAs, and beta-alanine – and no “fluffy” ingredients to hamper your pump – Scream delivers better energy, focus, strength and power to achieve your fitness goals.
Bodybuilding.com Signature Vitamin D
Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, Content Editor
Dark when I get up. Dark when I get home. At this time of year the only time I see the sun is during my half hour of running, and even then the weather is overcast most of the time. This is unfortunate, because sunlight is one of the main ways our bodies synthesize vitamin D. Among other things, vitamin D helps regulate mood, which is one of the reasons why so many people suffer from seasonal depression. Vitamin D deficiency also sets you up for stress fractures and poor muscle recovery, which doesn’t bode well for winter training.
This is why this vitamin is an integral part of my supplement stack. You can’t bottle sun, but these tablets are the second best thing. For any supplement, but especially the ones you take daily, quality is important. As with the entire Signature line, our development team has wrung this supplement through to ensure it is scientifically sound, and one pill provides 125 micrograms, or 5,000 international units.
Hylete Altium sports bra
Recommended by Frieda Johnson, Editor
All active women should have an LBSB (Small Black Sports Bra), and this one is a great choice. It is supportive enough for high intensity exercise but flexible enough for yoga. The classic X-shaped straps and color will never go out of style, so you’ll look and feel great in the gym for years to come. The Altium also passed my all-day wear comfort test instead of a real bra, which is definitely high on my list of criteria for a good sports bra. As a bonus, Hylete donates 1% of all sales of her women’s range to Graced by Grit Foundation, an organization that offers scholarships to college female athletes. You can support your breasts and a good cause at the same time!
Recommended by Jeff O’Connell, Editor-in-Chief
Flexibility training is often treated as an afterthought to resistance and cardiovascular work, but it’s best seen as an equal, especially with age. As with resistance training, a good stretch is not a skill that you master overnight.
Enter StretchLab, a chain of facilities staffed with trained “flexologists” who test your muscles with a variety of stretches. For example, the person I worked with during my introductory session at their location in Eagle, Idaho, was a moonlighting physiotherapist. After a series of static and dynamic stretches, he targeted my chronically strained hamstrings with Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, aka PNF, a stretching technique designed to increase range of motion and flexibility. It is difficult, and in some cases, impossible to do properly on your own.
Individual stretching sessions are done in 25 and 50 minute increments. Group sessions are also available. Some may consider it a luxury to pay someone to stretch you, and without a doubt, it is. But for me, coming back after a layoff from training was an interesting, albeit temporary, investment in myself. I would recommend it to beginners as well, for the same reason that personal trainers benefit – it’s a great way to learn various stretches so you can do them right yourself.
Pedestal Footwear 4.0 Training Socks
Recommended by Nick Collias, Editor-in-Chief
Smart trainers will tell you that training certain lifts – anything that targets posterior chain muscles – with as few shoes as possible is an easy way to get the most out of your workout. Being close to the ground and being able to “root” the feet helps stabilize the hips and strengthen more effectively, well, everything. This means better deadlift form, safer kettlebell work, and stronger complexes.
There’s one catch, though: Gym floors are gross and your ugly athletic socks are slippery and maybe full of holes. The solution is to get lifting socks from Pedestal Footwear. I swore by these things since version 1.0, but 4.0 is a big step forward. These socks have the perfect amount of silicone grip on the soles, are tougher than a lot of my shoes, and are lined with silver to kill the stench. Yes, you can actually wear them more than once without worrying about emptying the gym!
Of course, you don’t have to do everything in socks. Even if you continue to squat (and bend over) in your high heel risers, a warm-up in these socks will allow for a better workout. Try them out and get ready to be won over.