Top 50 Accessories and Foods We Recommend for New Clients. Whether you are starting a home fitness regime or working out at Sand & Steel, you’ll find a wide variety of health and fitness products to choose from. Here are the top 50 products we recommend to our clients. Sand & Steel tested and approved.
I know what you are thinking… “Paul, I’m not buying 50 things when I start training with you. Can’t you pair down this list?”
“Yes, I can, but I’d need to evaluate which items are most important for you. Feel free to ask me about this during your gym tour, or leave a comment below, and I’ll respond to it.
Recovery and Mobility
If you are going to be working at hard (and you need to work out hard to get results), your muscles are going to get sore. To help prevent that soreness, I recommend you use heating and ice packs, rollers, and anti-inflammatories.
Heating and Ice Packs:
You are going to be sore sometimes working out at Sand & Steel. Muscle soreness is normal. Heating and icepacks help. Here are our recommendations:
- Bed Buddy Heating Pad. Great for sore muscles like necks and backs.
- Icepack. Ice is key whenever you tweak a muscle. Ice decreases swelling and speeds recovery.
- Heating Ointment. Tiger Balm is pretty much the only heating cream I’ve used that actually works. It’s not magic, but it’s close.
Rollers and Massage Ball
- High End Roller. The BattleStar is worth every penny in my opinion. This is the ONLY roller I use.
- Value Price Roller. The Tigger Point roller is much cheaper than the MWOD Battle Star, but it’s still good. It’s better than those pool tools you’ll find in other gyms.
- Lacrosse Ball: No, you can’t use a tennis ball, paddle ball, or whatever other kind of ball you may have. A good lacrosse is the best $6 you can spend on mobility.
Working out is going to cause local inflammation in your muscles. The soreness you feel is called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). If you want to reduce DOMS, here are my suggestions:
- D-flame: it’s like 5 of the best anti-inflammatories in one. It works… and it’s my favorite anti-inflammatory on the market.
- Turmeric: is also very powerful for reducing inflammation. The recommended capsule has 1500mg, and contains black pepper which helps with reducing inflammation.
- Cinnamon: the 1/4 tsp you sprinkle on your food once a month won’t do a damn thing for you. You need a much higher dose. Now makes a great pill.
- Tiger Balm: reduces the local inflammation and makes the localized area less painful. Helps with recovery.
There are hundreds of choices to make when it comes to nutritional supplements. Each person often needs a different combination of supplements based on their unique diet. However, there are still some supplements I recommend more than others. Here are the top nutritional supplement contenders.
I don’t really recommend protein bars, because they come in three varieties. One’s that taste really good like Robert Irvine’s Fit Crunch, all natural ones like RxBar, or protein rich versions like Quest Bars. All of the other brands like Kind Bars, Lara Bars, etc. are really not as good as these three. That said, the Fit Crunch bar is too high in sugar alcohol. RxBar just substitute dates for sugar (and dates still count to your body as sugar). Quest bars don’t taste as good Fit Crunch or RxBars, and they have a good deal of sugar alcohol as well. Nice thing about Quest bars is they also have a lot of soluble fiber.
So if you are going to buy protein bars, you have my recommendations. However, I still don’t really like them, because people tend to use in place of better whole foods. If you aren’t hungry enough to prepare food, maybe you don’t need to be eating. And you what’s even faster than a Quest Bar? An apple or pear, plus they are cheaper.
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- Big 100 — tastes good, high in sugar. Similar to Fit Crunch, but doesn’t taste as good.
- Combat Crunch – “God Awful” like if protein powder, sand paper, and cardboard had a child… it would taste like this. (Combat makes great protein powder though.)
- Fit Crunch – tasty and has the macros of a snicker bar.
- Quest Bar – tastes OK with good macros sans the sugar alcohol.
- Oh Yeah! – Limited availability but tastes pretty good. I prefer their ready drink shakes though.
- Arnold Bar – pretty average tasting bar. Arnold has done much for this country, but he won’t be remembered for this protein bar.
Cooking Oils and Seeds
If you are lacking the proper amount of Omega 3 and mono-unsaturated fats, you are going to be more sore. Here are the oils and seeds I recommend.
- Fish oil. Fish oil is much faster and easier to take by spoon than by capsule. I love the Nordic brand, tastes great… not fishy at all.
- Flax Oil. Add it to your oatmeal, salads, etc. Flax oil is one of the secret suggestions I make in our nutrition coaching program. It works to help reduce inflammation.
- Walnut Oil and Avocado Oil should be your go to high temp cooking oils. Olive oil, while a good oil, denatures at high temps.
- Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are one of the best superfoods on the planet. Full of flavanoids and omega 3’s, this versatile food is good in oatmeal, shakes, and pudding.
Vegetables and grasses (like alpha, wheat grass, etc.) are the very definition of super foods, but sometimes life gets in the way. There are many brands on the market for these powdered greens. Some taste OK, some are downright vile. Here are the two brands I like the best in terms of taste, costs, and nutrient density: Greens+ and Amazing Grass
Meal Replacements Powders
Ample-Food makes a great meal replacement powder. That link will give 15% off every time you purchase from Ample. I like original formula the most (600 cals for men, and 400 for women.)
Huel also makes a very nice meal replacement powder. It tastes a bit better than Ample, but doesn’t come in the convenient container. Pricing is a little bit better. The link will give you $10 off your purchase.
With hundreds of options to choose from, I broke down the pluses and minuses to a number of brands of multi-vitamins in this article. Make sure you pick at least one of them.
Scales and Measuring Cups
If you are serious about losing weight, you have to measure your food. You’ll three types of measuring tools. An electronic food scale to measure weight, stainless steel measuring spoons to measure liquids, and dry measuring cups to measure powders. You can’t eyeball this stuff trust me. Your food addictions and stomach will lie to you every time. Measure it out, and get results.
Fitness and Weight Lifting Equipment
Heart Rate Tracker
I’ve used almost every heart rate tracker ever made. Heart trackers are great for measuring relative intensity of your workout. Wrist versions (hello iWatch) don’t work. Polar is a big name in this field, but I’ve found their menu’s and pairing to be awkward. About two years ago, I tried Wahoo’s inexpensive bluetooth heart rate monitor, and it’s the been the last one I ever needed. No gel necessary and lights to let you when it’s on and off. Simple pairing and excellent software round out the package. Plus the cheap price of $50 wasn’t bad either.
Belts and Knee Sleeves
- Inexpensive lifting belt. Great entry level belt especially if you have any potential back soreness from lifting
- High End Lifting Belt: Paul uses this same belt. Recommended when you bench and deadlift over 250 pounds.
- Powerlifting Knee Sleeves: if you experience any knee pains when doing squats… these are an excellent choice.
- General Purpose Knee Sleeves: helps prevent knee soreness from lunges, steps, and general fitness. More comfortable, but less supportive than Powerlifting sleeves
Boxing Gloves and Mouth Pieces
- MMA Gloves: great for transitioning between lifting and boxing.
- Boxing Gloves: easy on your hands when boxing. We have a few sets in stock, and we’ll beat Amazon’s price by 25%!
- Mouth guards or mouth pieces: $15 will protect your teeth and improve your lifts by about 20%. I’m serious… mouth guards make a big difference. Bite and lift more.
Fitness Shoes and Socks
The best shoes for weight lifting at Sand & Steel is no shoes at all. Barefoot training is where it’s at. But what if you really like shoes?
- High-End Lifting Socks: We have lots of these in-stock if you want to try them out in the store.
- Yoga Socks: Inexpensive and effective. These are the closed toe version. These are the open toe type.
- Metcon by Nike: very popular lifting shoe for general fitness.
- Nano by Reebok: also a great shoe… similar to the metcon.
- Lifters: lifters are great for Olympic Lifts and Power Lifting. Especially if you have ankle dorisflexion. I have the lifter 2.0, and I love them.
Supplements improve how much muscle you can gain and decrease recovery time. There are safe supplements and unsafe ones. There are ones that are beneficial and there ones that just somewhat helpful. Protein Powder, BCAA’s, and Preworkouts are probably the three most useful, so they make the list.
Protein helps tremendously with recovery and increasing muscle mass. We have tested nearly every protein on the market, here are our top four choices.
- High End Protein Powder: Nitrotech
- Low Inflammation Protein Powder: IsoPure
- Good, Low Cost Protein: Metrx
- Vegan Protein Powder: VegaOne
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’S)
Working out is going to cause local inflammation in your muscles. The soreness you feel is called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). If you want to reduce DOMS, BCAA’s often will help. I’ve been using Xtend BCAAs a long time. They are less expensive, and taste better than nearly all the competition. Unless I am buying very high grade BCAA’s, Xtend is the brand I recommend.
So preworkouts help you workout harder. The improve blood flow, increase heart rate, and help you focus. They help turn into a workout machine if you would.
There must be 300-400 options for preworkouts on the market. Every company trying to beat the next guy. Truth be told there is a large difference between pre-workouts. Some have a lot of caffeine (great for coffee drinkers like me), and some have barely any. Here are the ones I use in my workouts:
- C4 Classic. C4 has been around for about 10 years, and it’s still a strong, consistent preworkout. You tend to build up a tolerance to it, so I cycle it.
- Evlution Fitness. This is a pretty new preworkout and recently tried it. It works very well (nice pump and energy.) Plus it tastes really nice too (always a plus.)
- Animal Fury. New product from an old company Animal. Animal makes the best multi-vitamin on the market for many years. Their pre-workout (while loaded with caffeine) is equally potent.
Hi, Paul! Excellent list. I’ve tried the Nano shoes by Reebok and they’re absolutely great for training. I love that you mentioned the lifting belts. They’re essential for tightening your core muscles when you’re trying to lift heavy weights. Boxing gloves are again a must-have. I also recommend the Bowflex Treadclimber TC5000 (https://fitnesstechpro.com/bowflex-treadclimber-tc5000-review/). It’s a low-impact fitness machine that allows you to gradually increase the intensity of your workout and helps you monitor the progress with a heart rate monitor. Cheers!
Patrick Lenhoff – personal fitness trainer