The holiday season is the perfect time to ask Santa for new workout gear and/or meal prep aids, and if Santa doesn’t follow through, you’ve got boxing week sales to fall back on!
To help with your shopping, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 must-haves to help save time and increase performance in the gym and in the kitchen!
This hot new invention was all the rave in 2019! If you’re looking to step up your meal prep game, then you’ll want to have an Instapot in your kitchen! Not only can an InstaPot function as a steamer, cake maker, warmer, yoghurt maker, slow cooker, egg cooker etc., but it can do all those things in record time!
Retail: $99 - $250. Can be purchased at stores like Amazon, Canadian Tire, Best Buy etc.
2. Rice cooker
This appliance is another meal prep staple! Forget cooking rice on your stove, rushing to decrease the temperature before the water boils over. With a rice cooker, all you have to do is measure the rice, add water, press start and walk away. You can forget about it and do some chores and then when you’re all done, your rice will be waiting for you. And yes, rice cooked on Sunday will still be delicious on Friday!
Retail: depends on the size, but if you’re cooking for 2 or more people for the week, you’ll likely want one that has 8-10 cup capacity. Wal-mart has one for less than $20 - talk about a good bang for you buck!
3. Ninja Bullet
Gone are the days of large blenders (especially in small condos). While the magic blender gained popularity over the years, its blade is not the most robust and the size is also limiting, especially if you want to make a smoothie. A great alternative, still fit for a condo, is the ninja bullet!
Retail: there are several different variations, which are compared here. Any one would be a good option, depending on your main uses!
This kitchen appliance allows you to cook foods from starters to desserts, with little to no oil. Cooking with the actifry with extra virgin olive oil (for example) ensures that your foods are not coated with toxic vegetable oils. Forget pre-packaged or frozen french fries or chips, you can make your own!
Retail: $120-$300. Can be purchased at stores like Amazon, Canadian Tire, Best Buy etc.
5. Gymnastics Grips
We’ve had a lot of people asking about this, so we wanted to share some of our thoughts. Does everyone need a pair of gymnastics grips? No. However, if you are constantly complaining about sore hands or find it difficult to hang onto the pull-up bar during warmups and workouts, then it is worth investing in a pair of grips. Gymnastics grips serve two main purposes: 1) protection and 2) grip, so in my opinion, if you’re someone who works out regularly, it is worth the investment.
For more recreational athletes, a cheap pair from amazon will do the trick (although it is unclear how long they will last).
For people who workout 3 or more times per week, it is worth the investment to get a pair from a more reputable brand. Some of the more popular ones are Bear Komplex and Victory Grips. Just remember: you get what you pay for.
A few notes:
You’ll likely end up trying a few different pairs before finding one that you really like. If the first pair doesn’t work out, don’t give up!
6. Skipping Rope
The only way to ensure your rope is the appropriate size for you is to get your own! Not to mention, the wear and tear of communal ones does not make double unders any easier. Again, while a skipping rope is not essential, it is definitely a worth while investment (and will likely last you a long time!). The upside is that once you’ve found a rope that you like, you’ll likely only need to replace the cable, which is much less expensive than replacing the handles!
Some popular brands are RPM, Rogue, RX (you can also get cheaper ones at Amazon, but again, it just depends on how much you plan to use it and how long you want it to last).
Watch out for the thickness and weight of the handles - smaller, lighter handles will save your grip! Likewise: the thinner the cable, the faster the rope will spin and thus, the less work you will have to do.
7. New Shoes
This is something that gets overlooked much more than it should. As someone who works out regularly (3+/week), you should be getting 1-2 new pairs of shoes per year (even more if you use them outside of the gym for other activities). I can’t stress this enough: do not skimp out on footwear! Having the proper footwear is so important for preventing injury, so please do yourself a favour and invest in a GOOD pair of workout shoes!
For CrossFit, you’ll want a shoe with more support than a traditional running shoe (which lacks adequate ankle support and are usually too flimsy). While there are other brands available (do your research first), the most popular ones in the CrossFit community are: Nike Metcons, Reebok Nanos and more recently, NoBull Trainers. Sportcheck usually carries the metcons and nanos, so you can usually find good deals and avoid the duty fees associated with NoBull purchases.
8. Wrist Wraps
Wrist wraps are a bit more niche, but nonetheless another good investment for people who: 1) workout regularly; and/or 2) experience wrist pain while lifting. While wrist wraps are NOT a replacement for weak wrists (your wrists are a muscle and should be strengthened!), they can help mitigate pain experienced while working out, so you can focus on movement execution.
There are several different companies that sell wrist wraps. The key is to pick the material that will best suit your function. For example: don't get the heavy duty ones with Velcro if you want to do HSPU with them, instead get cloth ones that are more flexible. On the other hand, if you just want to use them for overhead barbell movements, Rogue has a great pair (something similar is also perfectly fine)! CrossFitters tend to prefer the 12 or 18" ones, whereas powerlifters usually want longer ones (18/24") for bench press.
9. Water Bottle
If you don’t have a water bottle for the gym, what are you waiting for!? Not only does a reusable water bottle save the environment (reduce plastic waste), but it is better for our health. Invest in a good water bottle that: 1) is easily portable/not too heavy; 2) carries volume (>500 mL); and, 3) is labelled so you don’t lose it. There are too many options to list, so it is just a matter of what functionality you are looking for. Personally, I use a gatorade water bottle for workouts and carry around a thermal bottle during the day, so I can put coffee and water in it (at different times, of course). Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Remember: you should be drinking 1 L per 50# bodyweight, without factoring in physical activity.
10. Sneaker Balls/Deodorizer
No one likes a smelly gym bag! Especially if that gym bag is also your backpack, or purse etc. I’ve tried a bunch of different sneaker balls in my shoes and in my bag, but one of the most effective ones I found are GearHalo deodorizer pods. Not only are they great for in bags, but they’ll also make your shoes smell better too!
Hopefully this helps a bit! I know how hard and overwhelming it can be to seek out new products. Plus, who has the time to browse the internet for the best products and deals, anyway?
If I missed anything, please comment below! It would be really cool to make this list more comprehensive! This is just meant to act as a good starting point for people’s own research and purchases :)
Happy Boxing Week Shopping!
CrossFit 6S team helping you achieve your fitness goals.