Most of the time, if you're lucky enough to have your own personal fitness trainer, you'll find that they tell you all you need for a great workout, is some space, a good pair of shoes, and the right attitude. Sometimes, that really is the case - particularly if you're not planning to do anything "high-impact" that might damage your muscles or joints.
Of course, despite what fitness professionals might say to their clients - they're also some of the first people out there to try the latest and greatest fitness tools and accessories when they come onto the market. Though they're not always necessary for exercise, the best high performance accessories can help to optimize your workout, so that you lose more weight, earn more gains, or simply experience fewer injuries as you work to sculpt a better version of yourself. Just remember you don't have to spend as much as the runners at the New York City Marathon last year.
1. Calf Compression Sleeves
We may be a little biased here, but the evidence agrees with us when we say that calf compression sleeves not only help to enhance your confidence during an athletic performance - but also assist with recovery afterwards, so that you spend less time off your feet, and more time working towards your next fitness goal.
Compression sleeves can be bought for your calves, or knees, and both offer support in different ways. If your plan is to get faster on the track, or enhance your cycling performance, then calf compression sleeves are often the right way to go. On the other hand, if your ambition is to become the world's strongest weightlifter, knee compression sleeves will help you to tackle those intimidating weights.
2. An MP3 Player
Whether it's an old-fashioned cassette player, the latest iPod, or simply a new smartphone that has great sound quality built in, music is an important accessory to have in your kit of accessories for aspiring athletes. While calf compression sleeves might support your legs, music is going to support your mind, giving you the motivation and drive you need to keep pushing your body when you start to feel tired, or bored.
An mp3 player isn't necessarily going to make you run any farther, or faster, but it will help to boost your performance by keeping you focused on your goal.
3. Clothes that Breathe
No matter what your sport of choice might be, any list of the best high performance accessories is likely to draw at least some attention towards the concept of clothing. After all, you'd never see a high-performance athlete running around the track in dress shoes and jeans.
When it comes to picking your workout outfit, make sure you select something that gives you a full and complete range of motion. In other words, don't go for something so tight that you can barely feel your extremities, or so loose that you're going to trip over your own shorts. At the same time, look for materials that can manage sweat well, so that you don't feel smothered by your clothes while you run, cycle, or lift.
4. Performance Monitoring Tools
One of the most effective ways to improve your athletic performance with the best high performance accessories, is to evaluate whatever you're currently doing, and look for ways to make it better. For instance, working out at your optimum heartrate can help to improve your weight loss efforts if your goal is to get slimmer within a certain amount of time.
There's a wide range of fantastic fitness accessories available on the market today that can help you to monitor your pulse, heart rate, and performance over time, as well as loading information up onto your smartphone or smartwatch so you can continue to assess your improvement day by day, and week by week.
5. Water Bottles or Mixer Bottles
Hydration is absolutely essential to performance. Your muscles need water to thrive, and without it, you're bound to feel exhausted, strained, and over-heated much faster than you should. A good water bottle that you can keep on your person at all times might not seem like the most technology-savvy or glamorous of athletic accessories for aspiring athletes- but that doesn't make it any less important.
If you prefer to blend protein shakes and mixes to take with you to your gym sessions or time on the track, it may be worth investing in a mixer bottle too. These bottles are designed with a small metal ball on the inside that helps to crush up chunks of powder for a smooth and palatable taste. What's more, most of these bottles are also incredibly durable, which means you shouldn't have to keep buying a new one every time you hit the gym.
6. Liquid Bandages and First Aid
No matter how perfect your form may be, or how much you devote your time to improving your workout technique for the best possible performance, it's important to remember that accidents do happen, and injuries are always possible. Whether you're visiting the gym or taking your workout into the great outdoors, it's a good idea to have at least some first-aid options on hand just in case.
A bottle of liquid antiseptic or bandages can help to clean up an unwanted wound before infection is allowed to spread, while standard band aids are good for grazes and cuts. An ice pack might also be a good addition to most lists for the best high performance accessories, alongside calf compression sleeves for recovery purposes.
7. Extra Shoes
Finally, one of the best high performance accessories any athlete can have, is the right footwear. The type of activity that you plan on doing will have a huge impact on the choice of which shoe is right for you, but there are guidelines for almost every option. For example, running shoes should have plenty of cushioning designed to absorb shock and reduce the amount of strain placed on your shin bones during a run.
For heavy lifting, you'll need a flatter, stiffer shoe (unlike a running shoe that often comes with a higher heel). As accessories for aspiring athletes go, footwear is crucial, and it's good to invest in a new set of shoes regularly if you feel unhappy with your current comfort level.