Editors’ Picks: Our Favorite Things for November 2019

Bodybuilding.com Cinnamon Roll Signature Protein Crunch Bar

Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, content editor

I’ll be honest: I love living the healthy life, but sometimes I wish I could just have a coffee and a cinnamon roll for breakfast every morning instead of a swampy-looking smoothie. Every so often I’ll compromise with a protein bar, but it generally takes a lot of imagination to pretend most bars are anything like a breakfast pastry.

The new Bodybuilding.com Signature cinnamon roll protein crunch bar comes pretty close, though. With its sweet cinnamon filling and creamy frosting studded with crunchy bits, it reminds me of cinnamon toaster pastries—but with a much cleaner nutrition label. The 230-calorie bar clocks in at 20 grams of premium whey protein, 5 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of fiber to carry me through the morning and keep my eyes off the ubiquitous office doughnut box. Yes, the Bodybuilding.com offices occasionally have one of those, too!

VersaLifts Heel Lifts

Recommended by Nick Collias, executive editor


I’m a believer that the flattest, least supportive training shoe is usually the best option—and I know plenty of other lifters are with me. But there’s a problem: I simply can’t deny that a few specific moves—things like high-bar back squats, front squats, and kettlebell or barbell complexes—simply look and feel better with a slightly elevated heel. Whatever the reason, the eyes and hips don’t lie.

That’s why I was thrilled to see that someone finally made heel lifts with lifters in mind. The VersaLifts V2 slides into any shoe and gives it an extra half-inch of heel height, with a firm, grippy surface that I barely notice in the shoe but definitely notice in the lift.

No, they’re not going to give you enough of a boost to match up with your favorite Do-Wins or Romaleos, if you’re that deep into the squat-shoe weeds, but they’re not supposed to. They’re an inexpensive, travel-friendly way to make my favorite footwear more versatile, and my squats and complexes better. What else could I ask for?

Maxine’s Heavenly Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Recommended by Frieda Johnson, copy editor

Maxines Heavenly Chocolate Chip Cookies

When you have a lot of dietary restrictions, it can be difficult to find store-bought treats you can eat—especially baked goods. While I’m not opposed to baking my own (in fact I enjoy it), sometimes you just want the convenience of a ready-made bag of cookies.

Cue trumpets: Introducing Maxine’s Heavenly Cookies! They are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, preservative-free…They’re pretty much just made out of sunshine and rainbows. And oats. And chocolate. And they taste amazing! I can’t wait to try the peanut butter chocolate chunk and cinnamon oatmeal raisin flavors, too.

Bodybuilding.com Colorblock Pom Beanie

Recommended by Kailan Kalina, content editor

Bodybuilding.com ColorBlock Pom Beanie

When the weather is cold, my concerns about hat hair go out the window—and beanies are a must. Even if you live in warmer climates, the right beanie is worth wearing just for looks (or for Instagram). If you’re in the market for a fresh one this season, our Bodybuilding.com beanie hits all the trends with colorblocking, the timeless B logo, and a beefy pom to top it off.

This is a one-size-fits-all hat for guys or gals, and the neutral colors will go with any of your gym or non-gym apparel. Stay warm out there!

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Editors’ Picks: Our Favorite Things for December 2019

December is a busy season, with schedules packed with travel, shopping, and special events. Surviving it with our health and sanity intact is always a challenge, but the right gear (and a treat here and there) helps us roll with the chaos and keep stress to a minimum. Here’s what’s seeing us through this crazy month.

Theragun G3PRO

Recommended by Nick Collias, executive editor

There’s something unique about the first moment someone is touched with a Theragun. For certain people, it feels intensely ticklish—except you’re being tickled with a hammer, as my 7-year-old adroitly described it. For others, including me, the percussive thump feels instantly comfortable, like I had been craving it without realizing it for years. Muscles melt, hot spots disappear, and calmness flows over me. There’s nothing quite like it, and even those who resist it initially crave it soon enough.

The best part? This is an accessory you can see at work daily on the sidelines of the NBA and elsewhere, and also use on yourself while watching the game. The liv and G3 models are both worthy considerations, but the premium G3PRO model has a few points going for it. The adjustable arm allows more strategic direction of the pressure, and the max force limit is double that of the liv and 1.5 times the G3. It has two speeds, including the “sensitive” setting that some people definitely need (at first, anyway), plus swappable batteries and six attachments including the legendary “cone” tip.

For anyone who trains hard, this is a tool worth craving, and worth saving up all your holiday-present demands for.

Total-Package Strength by Anthony Fuhrman

Recommended by Kailan Kalina, content editor

Total-Package Strength

These days, you don’t have to try very hard to find someone selling a strength program online, each purported to be the best. But the truth is, many of them are far more complex than they need to be. Team Bodybuilding.com athlete Anthony Fuhrman, on the other hand, does a phenomenal job of sticking to the basics of strength and pairing it with effective hypertrophy work in his new program, Total-Package Strength.

Fuhrman, who was crowned the U105kg World’s Strongest Man last month for the second time, wanted to help intermediate lifters pack on strength and size for a foundation that will serve them in any goal they have. The result is six weeks of programming that closely mirrors Fuhrman’s own off-season training for Strongman. His four-day split also optimizes recovery, and he offers serious conditioning work instead of the boring, cookie-cutter cardio recommendation of 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a week.

On this program, you’re training like an athlete. There are no frills or fussy exercises—just the core lifts and isolation movements to get you moving iron and packing on serious mass.

Harry Potter Pro28 Shaker Bottle

Recommended by Frieda Johnson, copy editor

Harry Potter Pro28 Shaker Bottle

You can never have too many shaker bottles. And what better way to show your love of both Harry Potter and fitness than with a Harry Potter-themed shaker bottle? You can choose from six awesome patterns (including the crest of each Hogwarts house), so you can get one for yourself and one for every Harry Potter fan on your holiday shopping list.

The BlenderBottle Pro28 series also includes some pretty sweet upgrades: It has a rounded base for easier mixing and the new SpoutGuard design to keep it clean, as well as being stain and odor-resistant, BPA free, and dishwasher safe.

Impossible Whopper

Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, content editor

Impossible Whopper

While I’m health conscious and try to eat plant-based most of the time, sometimes I just want a big, messy burger. I’ll splurge occasionally, but it’s become hard for me to enjoy that burger when I think about what kind of sketchy factory-farmed meat is in it. Chowing down on antibiotics and hormones feels like a giant step backward for my health goals and it just makes me uncomfortable.

So, I love that plant-based diets are becoming more mainstream and that I can now find Impossible Foods’ eerily meat-like plant protein everywhere from Burger King to Qdoba. The Burger King Impossible Whopper really tastes like a regular Whopper and totally fulfills the drive-thru burger craving. Sure, it still isn’t as healthy as a quinoa bowl, but if it lets me enjoy fast food without eating fast-food meat, it’s a win in my book. Now if only someone can create a believable plant-based chicken finger, I’ll be set for life.

Bodybuilding.com OGIO Rogue Pack

Recommended by Heather Eastman, senior content editor

OGIO Roque Pack

‘Tis the season, and for many of us that means a season of travel. If you’ve got visions of four-hour layovers and cramped car rides dancing through your head, you’ll need the right gear to get through the journey.

The new Bodybuilding.com OGIO Rogue Pack is as perfectly functional for travel as it is for the gym. It has everything the weary wanderer needs in a go-anywhere bag: Plenty of storage for gifts, snacks, and that extra pair of socks; a laptop sleeve so you can watch movies (or sneak in a video workout) when you’re stranded at the airport; and dual beverage holders for your protein shakes once you clear TSA.

Best of all, the blue Bodybuilding.com logo ensures your bag is easy to spot, whether on the baggage carousel or in the locker room. Once you make it your go-to pack, you’ll never leave home without it!

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Editors’ Picks: Our Favorite Things for February 2020

More than anything, February is a month to be endured. The holiday parties are over, the twinkly lights have come down, the days are gloomy and cold, and the initial excitement over New Year’s resolutions is wearing down in the face of the daily grind. But little things can make a big difference when it comes to staying motivated. These are the supplements and extras we’re clinging to as we tough out the last days of winter.

Bodybuilding.com Advanced Scream Pre-Workout

Recommended by Heather Eastman, senior content editor

It’s b-a-a-a-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 released, this powerful pre-workout is backed by years of product knowledge and innovation to give you that edge in the gym. With natural caffeine, creatine, BCAAs, and beta-alanine—and no “fluff” ingredients to get in the way of your pump—Scream offers better energy, focus, strength, and power to fuel your fitness goals.

Bodybuilding.com Signature Vitamin D

Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, content editor

Signature Vitamin D

Dark when I get up. Dark when I go home. This time of year, the only time I see the sun is on my half-hour run, and even then, it’s overcast much of the time. That’s 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 reason so many people suffer from seasonal depression. Vitamin D deficiency also sets you up for stress fractures and poor muscle recovery, and that doesn’t exactly bode well for winter training.

That’s why this vitamin is a permanent part of my supplement stack. You can’t bottle sunshine, but these tablets are the next best thing. For any supplement, but especially those you take daily, quality is important. As with the entire Signature line, our development team put this supplement through the wringer to ensure that it’s scientifically sound, and one pill delivers a whopping 125 micrograms, or 5,000 international units.

Hylete Altium Sports Bra

Recommended by Frieda Johnson, copy editor

Hylete Altium Sports Bra

All active ladies should have an LBSB (little black sports bra), and this one is a great choice. It’s supportive enough for high-intensity exercise but flexible enough for yoga. The classic X straps and color will never go out of style, so you’ll look and feel good in the gym for years to come. The Altium also passed my wear-it-all-day-instead-of-a-real-bra comfort test, which is definitely high on my list of criteria for a good sports bra. As an added bonus, Hylete donates 1 percent of all its women’s line sales to the Graced by Grit foundation, an organization that provides scholarships to female collegiate athletes. You can support your boobs 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 thought of as a coequal, especially as you age. As with resistance training, proper stretching isn’t a skill that’s mastered overnight.

Enter StretchLab, a chain of facilities staffed with trained “flexologists” who put your muscles through their paces with a variety of stretches. For example, the person I worked with in my introductory session at their Eagle, Idaho, location was a moonlighting physical therapist. After a series of static and dynamic stretches, he targeted my chronically tight hamstrings with Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, aka PNF, a stretching technique designed to increase range of motion and flexibility. It’s tough, and in some cases, impossible to do correctly on your own.

One-on-one stretching sessions come in 25- and 50-minute increments. Group sessions are also available. Some may view it as luxury to pay someone to stretch you out, and without question, it is. But for me, coming back after a layoff from training, it was a worthwhile, albeit temporary, investment in myself. I’d also recommend it for beginners, for the same reason they benefit from personal trainers: It’s a great way to learn various stretches so you can do them correctly yourself.

Pedestal Footwear 4.0 Training Grip Socks

Recommended by Nick Collias, executive editor

Pedestal Footwear 4.0 Training Grip Socks

Smart coaches will tell you that training certain lifts—anything that targets the posterior-chain muscles—in as little footwear as possible is a simple way to get more out of your training. Being close to the ground and able to “root” the feet helps stabilize the hips and more efficiently strengthen, well, everything. That means better deadlift form, safer kettlebell work, and stronger complexes.

There’s a problem, though: Gym floors are disgusting, and your nasty athletic socks are slippery and possibly full of holes. The solution is to get some lifting socks from Pedestal Footwear. I’ve been swearing by these things since version 1.0, but 4.0 is a serious step up. These socks have the perfect amount of silicone grip on the soles, are tougher than many of my shoes, and are silver lined to kill the stank. Yes, you can actually wear them more than once without fear of emptying the gym!

Of course, you don’t need to do everything in socks. Even if you keep squatting (and curling) in your raised-heel lifters, doing a warm-up in these socks will make for better training. Give them a try and prepare to be won over.

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Editors’ Picks for March, Including a Vegan Protein That Tastes like Dessert

Warmer weather is just around the corner, and that means heading outside. Whether it’s jungle gym calisthenics, pickup basketball, or hiking and biking that gets you excited, it’s time to shake off the cobwebs and gear up for a more active season. Here’s everything you need to get ready for spring.

Strength and Muscle for Beginners

Recommended by Nick Collias, executive editor

This four-week program is one of 17 new releases in BodyFit Elite, and it’s the one I would recommend to someone who wants to learn the right way to lift. The training is three days a week, with a full-body approach that focuses each day’s volume strategically around certain lifts and movement patterns.

Every workout starts with an approachable version of a big lift, like goblet squats, the dumbbell bench press, or the trap bar deadlift, and then moves into supersets of a few targeted accessory lifts. Each day ends with a variation of a loaded carry. That last part is key! Finishing with a carry will help tie all the work you’ve done into full-body strength and coordination and make sure your conditioning matches your growing strength.

This is nothing fancy, it’s just solid training, and lifters of all experience levels—not just beginners—can have great results on it.

Natreve 100% Vegan Protein

Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, senior content editor

Natreve 100% Vegan Protein

Since vegan protein powder is still coming up in the world, there just aren’t as many good choices as there are for whey. Most of my favorites come in two flavors: chocolate-flavored dirt and vanilla-flavored dirt. Natreve brings a welcome change with its surprisingly craveable Strawberry Shortcake Sundae flavor. The plant-based formula has a mild strawberries and cream flavor that’s satisfying on its own and blends well with add-ins like bananas and coconut milk.

Many of the ingredients are organic, and while it includes a number of extras typical of vegan proteins (broccoli stems?), it digests well thanks to the addition of probiotics—sort of like a protein powder and superfood supplement in one. I can’t wait to try the other decadent-sounding flavors: Peanut Butter Parfait, French Vanilla Wafer Sundae, and Fudge Brownie Sundae.

“Yoga for Desk Jockeys”

Recommended by Frieda Johnson, copy editor

Yoga For Desk Jockeys

My main fitness goals at the moment are flexibility and mobility, so sitting at a desk all day does me no favors. Even though I try to be conscious of my posture, I struggle with stiffness and pain after sitting for too long, particularly in my hips, back, and neck. Standing up and moving several times throughout the day, and especially doing some targeted stretching, can make a huge difference in how I feel at the end of the day.

The article “Yoga for Desk Jockeys” suggests six easy yoga poses that target the muscles most affected by sitting and are simple enough to do at work, either right by my desk or in a quiet corner or empty conference room. I’ve even been known to do them in the airport before and after a long flight. In addition to feeling better physically, taking “yoga breaks” gives my eyes and mind a rest from staring at a screen, and I’ve found I can focus better when I return.

Weider Pro 8500 Smith Cage

Recommended by Heather Eastman, senior content editor

Weider Pro 8500 Smith Cage

Getting to the gym can be pretty inconvenient even under the best of circumstances, and sometimes your only option is to work out at home. If free weights and resistance bands aren’t enough to help you reach your goals, investing in quality at-home equipment is your best bet.

The Weider Pro 8500 Smith Cage—yes, that Weider—is a convenient way to bust out a full-body workout in the comfort of your own home. It has all the attachments you need to build muscle and strength, including butterfly arms for chest flyes and a preacher pad for biceps isolation. The Smith squat rack allows you to lift heavier weights safely and improve your PR without a spotter, and a multi-grip pull-up station gives you the ability to incorporate bodyweight moves like pull-ups and chin-ups into your routine.

Six foam leg developers are built into the cage to isolate lower-body muscles for a complete leg workout, and unlike other complicated all-in-one home training systems, you don’t need to learn new movements. You can perform all the same lifts you do at the gym without getting in your car.

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Wikipedia Editors Neglect Christmas-Related Articles

Although corporate media who praise Wikipedia as a counter to “fake news” have simultaneously criticized it for perceived gaps in coverage on gender and race, the site also shows a gap in its coverage of Christmas, the most widely-celebrated holiday on Earth other than New Year’s Day. In contrast to the generally under-developed nature of the site’s Christmas content, articles covering video games and the show South Park are generally more developed.

Exemplifying the poor state of Wikipedia articles relating to Christmas is how the “today’s featured article” slot on the site’s front page has rarely displayed a Christmas-related article even on Christmas Day.

People looking at Wikipedia’s front page on Christmas Day will likely find a great deal of information about the Tamil-language film Anbe Sivam, which bombed at the Indian box office before becoming a cult classic, according to the film’s page on the site. Depending on a reader’s time zone, they may instead be reading about a Medieval castle in Wales or a European soccer match. These are the articles Wikipedia’s editors have placed in the front page’s “today’s featured article” slot over the Christmas holiday.

While such articles may seem an unusual choice, few holiday-appropriate pages are an option for the slot. “Featured” articles are those articles editors have raised to the highest standard of quality on Wikipedia as determined by a group of fellow editors. They are the product of intense and long-time efforts by contributors to build the pages up with the strongest sourcing, the best prose, and most comprehensive coverage possible by Wikipedia standards. As such, they provide a good window into the priorities of the site’s community and quality content about Christmas is evidently not one of them.

In past years, Wikipedia’s front page has hosted Christmas-related content in its “today’s featured article” slot. The article on Jesus Christ appeared in the Christmas Day slot in 2013 and the next year an article about a painting of the Nativity, the birth of Jesus, appeared. However, the article on Nativity scenes generally and the actual article on the birth of Christ specifically could not appear in the slot as neither have been raised to “featured” quality. The former has “good article” status, one step below “featured” and involving a less rigorous process, while the latter is given a “B-class” ranking by several “WikiProjects” that coordinate on specific topics. The article on Christmas itself similarly has a “B” ranking.

Since the slot for “today’s featured article” was created, the Christmas Day slot has rarely included a page related to the holiday at all and only occasionally includes an entry with religious significance. In 2018, the classic story A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens became one of the few expressly Christmas-related articles to appear on the front page, particularly in the slot for Christmas Day. Previously in 2015, the article on a Christmas episode of 1960’s sitcom Bewitched appeared in the Christmas Day slot. Both were beaten to the slot by an article on a 1994 winter storm that hit New York City on Christmas day.

One Christmas-related page that appeared in the featured article slot prior to either A Christmas Carol or the Bewitched episode, was an article on a Christmas episode of the adult animated comedy show South Park, which featured a “singing poo” character. It appeared on the front page in 2012. While it appeared in the featured article slot a week before Christmas, some editors attempted to have the page displayed on Christmas Day, with an editor nominating it for the slot at the time mockingly calling it “Heart-warming Christmas fare, with music and dancing.”

Unlike Christmas articles, South Park articles are more developed and have made more front-page appearances. A “WikiProject” devoted to developing Wikipedia content about South Park identifies nine articles of over 600 concerning the show with “featured” status and eight of them have appeared on the front page. By contrast, another group focused on developing Christmas content on the site identifies only three featured articles of roughly 900 including the South Park episode, though not the Bewitched episode. The group itself is essentially inactive, still including on its “to-do” list a 2008 project to get Christmas-related articles in the less prominent “Did you know” slot on the front page.

Among the most active WikiProjects on Wikipedia is the one about video games. The group identifies hundreds of featured articles about video games with most having appeared on the front page in the “today’s featured article” slot. Well over a thousand articles about video games have been raised to the slightly lower “good article” status. Despite having roughly 37,000 articles in its purview, more video game articles have been raised to these quality standards than Christmas-related articles. Articles related to pornography have even been raised to the site’s “good article” standards several times more than Christmas-related articles with roughly the same raised to “featured” status, based on numbers from a group focused on porn-related Wikipedia content.

Rather than appearing in the most prominent slot for “featured” articles, Christmas pages have routinely appeared in the “Did you know” section of Wikipedia’s front page. This year several articles appear there during the Christmas holiday, though sometimes using mere connections, such as the article on the Plaza Hotel in New York City referencing its appearance in the movie Home Alone 2 set during Christmastime. Last year, an article about a bird appeared in the section on Christmas due to “Christmas” being included in its name. During the Christmas WikiProject’s effort to get Christmas articles in the “Did you know” section, a similar pattern occurred. In every case, many articles unrelated to Christmas were also present.

However, the standards applied to pages that appear in the “Did you know” section of the front page are much lower, requiring only a new moderate-sized article or a heavily expanded one that meets certain bare criteria for policy-compliance. This has made the section a popular target for activist editors and paid campaigns. A Black Lives Matter group got several articles advancing their agenda to appear in the section, including articles attacking President Donald Trump. Prior to that, an effort to create content about Gibraltar flooded the section with Gibraltar-related pages. It was spearheaded by a board member for a Wikipedia chapter organization, who was also being paid by Gibraltar’s government.

While the time and effort of creating a “featured” article makes it less suitable for such efforts, there have still been cases where editors were able to exploit the “today’s featured article” section for activist purposes. For this year’s “Juneteenth” holiday, which commemorates when the last slaves in Confederate territory during the American Civil War purportedly learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, an article about President George Washington and slavery was displayed in the “today’s featured article” section. Juneteenth has not officially been made a national holiday in the United States, though the campaign for official recognition has increased this year under pressure from the Black Lives Matter movement.

Gaps in Wikipedia’s Christmas coverage relative to other subjects do not arouse much concern in the press. Instead, media focus on claims about a “gender gap” in contributors and content, which has prompted activist campaigns to generate more content about women. A study published this month found such campaigns have over-corrected and now advance a bias towards women, a reversal the study’s authors argue could occur elsewhere. Similar campaigns have focused on a “racial gap” on Wikipedia and Wikipedia’s owners have even endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement and pledged to address “equity” issues on the site, partly by imposing a “code of conduct” advancing left-wing identity politics.

Part of the neglect for Christmas content could be a more hostile attitude towards religion on Wikipedia. Earlier this year, Wikipedia banned profile pages from expressing support for traditional marriage between a man and a woman, even when expressing it as merely a matter of personal belief, in a decision condemned by numerous family and Christian organizations. One of the site’s administrators resigned over the decision, criticizing editors as making inflammatory attacks during the discussion on those holding views held by most major faiths and stating Wikipedia had “de-facto taken sides in the culture wars.” Wikipedia has indeed been found by numerous studies and analyses to have a left-wing bias, which has been criticized by the site’s own co-founder.

T. D. Adler edited Wikipedia as The Devil’s Advocate. He was banned after privately reporting conflict of interest editing by one of the site’s administrators. Due to previous witch-hunts led by mainstream Wikipedians against their critics, Adler writes under an alias.

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Editors’ Picks for Staying Healthy at Home This April

It’s no exaggeration to say that fit folks can become a little obsessed with control. Oftentimes we dial in our nutrition to the gram and our workouts to the second. So, with our daily routines turned upside down, many of us are at loose ends. Adaptation is a necessity—here are some of the ways we’re creating new routines for our new reality.

Undersun Bands

Recommended by Tyler McGlasson, MK, CISSN, senior specialist, regulatory compliance & science

We’re all in this together. Inside. Isolated. Unable to flex our gains for the bros at the gym. Powerless to pump out our biggest reps. But even those who don’t have a home gym still have a chance.

Enter Undersun Fitness Bands. I’ll be the first to admit that transitioning to band work was not my first choice; however, when the world came to an abrupt halt, they provided the perfect solution. Compact and affordable, these bands put your muscles to the test by providing serious resistance at every angle of motion, not just up and down.

The five-band set is a step up from the thin, cracked bands at your local gym. These are made from high-quality latex and range from light and easy to some of the bulkiest, heaviest bands I’ve seen. These bad boys are no joke!

Super Body Care Body Wipes

Recommended by Jeff O’Connell, editor-in-chief

Super Body Care Body Wipes

With the world in the throes of a frightening pandemic, hygiene has never been more paramount—and that includes gym and workout hygiene. When people work out, they are sweating, vigorously exhaling, coughing, sneezing, and touching handles and other apparatus previously used by others, dramatically increasing the risk of germ swapping.

This isn’t a newsflash, but many gyms are closed right now, and all relevant physical distancing guidelines should be adhered to at all times. If you use an apartment gym or share home workout equipment with roommates, though, you may find yourself in a gray area.

Super Body Care body wipes can go a long way toward helping you and others limit exposure to unwanted bacteria. They are not a substitute for everything else you should be doing to prevent transmission—washing your hands, physical distancing, and so forth—but consider these handy wipes to be another tool in your arsenal for maintaining proper gym hygiene.

Two Minute Tan

Recommended by Heather Eastman Grant, senior content editor

Two Minute Tan

On the rare occasion you leave your house, the last thing you want to show off is blinding white legs. Pro Tan’s Two Minute Tan is the perfect sunless tanning option while you’re stuck indoors all spring.

With buildable levels of color, this easy-to-use product absorbs instantly and produces a noticeable result in, well, about two minutes. A healthier option than a tanning bed and an easy way to avoid tan lines, Two Minute Tan smells beachy and tropical and leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and moisturized.

Gloves are recommended for application, but you shouldn’t need them as long as you wash your hands immediately (everyone’s new favorite pastime). You’ll still achieve that perfect sun-kissed glow that’ll make everyone jealous, without getting caught orange-handed.

Pro JYM Vanilla Peanut Butter Swirl

Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, senior content editor

Pro JYM Vanilla Peanut Butter Swirl

Now that I’m taking far fewer trips to the store, protein powder has basically become its own food group. I keep a few tubs of different flavors on hand for shakes, smoothies, and baking, but the one that’s going the fastest is our new exclusive Pro JYM flavor, Vanilla Peanut Butter Swirl.

Small pleasures can go a long way, especially these days. I miss being able to pop out to the coffee shop for a big, chewy cookie when I want to indulge, but this protein, which tastes exactly like a peanut butter cookie, is a pretty close second. It’s a treat on its own, but it’s also perfect in the banana smoothies I’ve been living on. And since I’m using it throughout the day to supplement my meals, I appreciate the inclusion of casein and egg in addition to whey, which makes it digest more slowly.

I can’t wait to try Pro JYM Vanilla Peanut Butter Swirl in these protein chocolate chip cookies! Since I’m socially distancing, I’ll have the whole batch for myself.

Kinesis Freestyle 2 Keyboard

Recommended by Nick Collias, executive editor

Kinesis Freestyle 2 Keyboard

Split keyboards—that is, keyboards with separate halves for each hand—have recently become a popular alternative to the traditional variety. A friend of mine swore by hers, but when I plugged in the Kinesis Freestyle 2, I was still skeptical—for about 15 minutes. That’s how long it took my hands to figure out what the heck was going on and rapidly adapt.

Ever since, I’ve considered this a game-changer. I spend my workday in a more upright, open-chested position, rather than hunched and internally rotated over an arbitrarily-sized keyboard. As an unexpected benefit, I can stash my mouse between the keyboard halves, which means less reaching for it throughout the day, as well as less time spent in harshly angled wrist positions.

Now, I’m convinced that I type more quickly and accomplish more throughout the day. That feels even more significant now that I’m working from home. Consider me a convert. Try it for yourself and be surprised.

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Sun’s Out, Guns Out: Editors’ Picks for Feeling Awesome This May

After a spring spent cooped up, we’re looking forward to getting the heck outside—at least on our balconies, and if we’re lucky, farther afield. No matter where you are, extra sunshine brings extra energy. Channel it into your workouts, and the results will speak for themselves. Here are the tools and supplements we’re using to launch headfirst toward brighter days.

Alpha Lion SUPERHUMAN Pre-Workout V2

Recommended by Tyler McGlasson, M.K., CISSN, senior specialist, regulatory compliance and science

As springtime comes to a close and summer draws near, it’s time to start thinking about kicking those workouts into high gear. There’s no better way to push yourself to the limit than with an energy-focused pre-workout.

SUPERHUMAN V2 by Alpha Lion brings the heat with a high dose of caffeine plus caffeine malate on top of nearly a dozen other performance-enhancing ingredients. Consuming caffeine strategically can help burn more calories during your workout by either increasing your time doing cardio or upping your reps with the weights.* Both will be necessary to reveal that great physique you’ve been building over a winter of heavy lifting.

SUPERHUMAN comes in several flavors, but skipping the Hulk Juice (sour gummy) or the Unicorn Juice (rainbow sherbet) would be a big mistake. Let’s get out there, work hard, and look great for a summer in the sun!

Persona Nutrition

Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, senior content editor

Persona Nutrition

One side effect of writing about supplements is you end up taking a lot of them. And while they do help me feel better, I sometimes struggle to keep them all straight: which I’m supposed to take in the morning, which at night, which I should take with food, which I need to reorder, which ones cancel each other out, how many of each, etc.

This is why Persona Nutrition is so cool. You take an online assessment, and they send you twice-daily vitamin packets based on your results. I still drink a protein shake with creatine every day, but the packets cover everything else.

I’ve been taking Persona packs for the past two months. My customized pill lineup seems pretty sound. It includes better versions of what I was already taking (digestive enzymes, vitamin D, omega-3s, and a good multivitamin), plus some new ones (quercetin for immune support, peppermint and ginger for digestive support). I must say, I feel good, especially my digestion, which always gives me grief. Honestly, though, the best part is never having to think about vitamins. Unless I’m writing about them.

Yoga Direct Antimicrobial Yoga Mat

Recommended by Frieda Johnson, copy editor

Yoga Direct Antimicrobial Mat

A yoga mat is always on my shortlist of necessary workout accessories, but as the weather warms up, it becomes even more necessary. Why? Because I love to move my yoga and bodyweight training outside to take advantage of the sunshine and fresh air.

Working out in the sun makes me feel more energized, yet is also calming and meditative, making it my ideal way to start the day. Without a good yoga mat, though, working out on my cement patio becomes significantly less enjoyable. Luckily, my Yoga Direct yoga mat is durable enough to endure even the added wear and tear of being used outdoors and thick enough to make lying on concrete bearable.

This one also has the added benefit of being treated with ionic silver to make it resistant to bacteria, odors, and germs. In this time of heightened hygiene awareness, it’s a nice extra layer of protection against the gross factor of something you’ve been standing on with bare feet.

Bodybuilding.com Signature 100% Whey Isolate

Recommended by Nick Collias, executive editor

Signature Whey Protein Isolate

I don’t ask a lot of my protein. I don’t need it to pretend to be a superfood or convince me that I’ve eaten when I haven’t. It just needs to be, in no particular order, not too sweet, not too filling, and not full of nonprotein extras.

Bodybuilding.com Signature 100% Whey Isolate fits the bill. A scoop provides a solid blast of 25 grams of isolate and hydrolysate protein that mixes instantly and goes down very easily after a hard training session. But it’s still light enough that I can eat a substantial meal in the not-too-distant future—because, let’s be clear, I want to. A scoop here or there is an easy way to get from “Am I eating enough protein to support my training?” to that 0.8-1 gram per pound of body weight daily target that sports nutrition experts recommend. Slug it and forget it.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Editors’ Picks for June 2020, Including Our Summer Reading Recommendation

While this may not end up being the most exotic summer of our lives, we’re still planning to make the most of the next few months in our own zip codes. Whether we’re kicking back with some cold BCAAs and a good book or tricking out our home gyms, here’s how we’re kicking off a fit and healthy summer.

“A Glimpse in the Rear View” by Dave Draper

Recommended by Jeff O’Connell, editor-in-chief

I’ve read many fitness books over the years, and I’ve written a few myself. My all-time favorite is Dave Draper’s “Brother Iron, Sister Steel” (On Target Publications, 2001). So, when a copy of Draper’s newest work, “A Glimpse in the Rear View” (On Target Publications, 2020), appeared in my mailbox one morning, I was anxious to crack open the spine and dig in.

I’m happy to report I wasn’t disappointed. Over the course of 51 essays, the Blond Bomber, as Draper was and is known, takes readers on a winding tour of a life devoted to bodybuilding. Draper is as dedicated to his chosen path as a Trappist monk is to his, and that commitment leaps from every page. Most athletes use collaborative writers, but Draper is as authentic on the page as he was on stage and screen during his heyday. His lyrical prose and memorable turns of phrase mark him as a literary force, and the cast of characters he’s crossed paths with over the years makes for a who’s who of classic bodybuilding. Especially if you’re stuck at home with time to read something longer than a fitness influencer’s latest Instagram post, give this book a shot.

Jacked at Home: Bodyweight Muscle-Building Workouts

Jacked at Home

Recommended by Frieda Johnson, copy editor

My workout routine was starting to feel a bit stagnant, so I decided to mix things up and try something new. Since I currently don’t have access to a gym, and pretty much the only workout equipment at my house is a pull-up bar and yoga mats, the Jacked at Home workout plan was the perfect option. Most of the exercises in this program require no equipment at all, and the ones that do (pull-ups, inverted rows, dips, etc.) have suggestions on ways to do them at home—such as performing dips between two chairs.

The main thing I really like about this BodyFit Elite plan is how scalable it is. As most of the exercises are done “to failure” rather than a fixed rep scheme, it meets your level of fitness for every exercise, so you can follow it as written, whether you can do 2 or 200 pull-ups. The exercises you struggle with are still accessible, the ones you’re stronger on are still challenging, and as you grow in strength, the program grows with you.

So far, Jacked at Home is kicking my ass—in a good way!

Bodybuilding.com Signature BCAA, White Peach

Bodybuilding.com Signature BCAAs

Recommended by Heather Eastman, senior content editor

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been out of the daily-BCAAs game for some time, and for good reason. As a two-decade veteran of the gym and supps life, my earliest recollection of this bodybuilder staple is a neon-colored, soapy concoction that always left a waxy film in my shaker cup. Yet like many of my physique brethren, adding flavorful BCAAs was the only way I could finish my required gallon of water to stay hydrated while competing.

My, how times have changed! Bodybuilding.com Signature BCAA in new White Peach flavor is a delightful departure from the BCAAs of old. Not only does it dissolve completely with the twirl of a spoon, but the taste is exactly the cool, refreshing white peach flavor advertised on the label, as well. If you’ve been lifting for a while, you know that finding a unique flavor with a pleasant taste in the endless stretch of green apple this and razzle dazzle that is a rare thing indeed. Try it and you’ll see—it tastes so good, you may even forget you’re helping your muscles grow and recover as you reach for this refreshing drink all summer long.

BOSU Pro Balance Trainer

BOSU Pro Balance Trainer

Recommended by Nick Collias, executive editor

Judging from the comments on fitness social media, it’s hip these days to trash the BOSU ball, but I’m here to defend the maligned half-circle, as I’ve found it to be particularly useful during lockdown. For one, it makes a fantastic seat for a low desk—like the one I have at my home office. Conversely, it’s also great to stand on during the day at a standing desk. And when it’s time to train, the BOSU makes a perfect incline bench for a home gym—especially the 350-pound limit Pro and 400-pound limit Elite models. I would argue that when adequately blown up (think firm, not squishy), the BOSU makes an even better platform for movements like incline presses and flyes than a bench because it allows the chest to open and stretch more than a flat surface does.

There, I said it. I’ve been doing this in secret for months but recently saw Bodybuilding.com contributor Nick Tumminello, creator of the True Muscle program, copping to doing the same thing on Instagram.

If it’s good enough for that Nick—a smart coach whose fitness sniff test is light-years ahead of BOSU-hating social media commenters—it’s good enough for this Nick.

Pro-Tec Athletics AcuBall Heatable Massage Ball

AcuBall Heatable Massage Ball

Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, senior content editor

As a runner, I always have something wrong with my feet. The simplest solution would be to stop running, but since I’m not that smart, I keep an AcuBall around at all times. Because it’s so small and firm, it’s the best thing ever for massaging the soles of my feet, and the little spikes feel incredible after a long run. I once had what I was convinced was a stress fracture, but after I stretched the ball of my foot over an AcuBall for a few days, the pain magically disappeared, saving me from taking any dreaded time off from training.

The AcuBall isn’t just for runners, though. It’s also great for working into deep knots in the calves, back, shoulders, or forearms (if you’re a climber, you need one of these, like, yesterday). If you’ve ever felt that a foam roller, or even a lacrosse ball, is unsatisfying, this is the solution. You can even heat it up if your muscles are into that. My only complaint is that it’s easy to lose because it’s so small, so keep a couple of spares on hand—or underfoot.

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The 13 best cozy, comfy gifts that our editors love

It’s (still) 2020, and as we finish out the year, we’re reaching for whatever creature comforts we can get. We’re betting that most folks are feeling the same—so what better way to send love to your friends and family than in the form of a comfy, cozy, “almost as good as an actual hug” gift? Our cozy gift guide is filled with our tried and true favorite cozy gifts, which we guarantee will keep you snuggled all winter. So curl up and dive in—your cozy staples are only a click away.

[Photo: courtesy Smartwool]

Smartwool Popcorn Socks 
Minnesota-raised FC editor Amy Farley swears by Smartwool’s adorable popcorn socks for cushioned and cozy feet all winter—whether you’re slushing through city streets or zipping down ski slopes. Wool is naturally warm and soft, and much better for the environment than synthetic alternatives. Though they’ll cost you more than a 10-pack from Target, Smartwool’s socks will keep your feet warm for years without any wear or tear—and make a great stocking stuffer.

[Photo: courtesy Quince]

Quince $50 Cashmere Sweaters
Staff writer Liz Segran was blown away by Quince’s $50 cashmere sweaters when she tried them out earlier this fall. The company’s innovative, radically transparent business model ships high-quality cashmere sweaters, beanies, wraps, and more directly from the factory floor to your door for a fraction of the cost you’d pay in retail. The velvety-soft sweaters and unbelievably cozy beanies are super soft and perfect for bundling up.

White and Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap
Speaking of cashmere, White and Warren’s Cashmere Travel Wrap is unbeatable—it’s been a best-seller for more than two decades, and we thoroughly endorse its popularity. The uber-soft wrap can be a blanket, a scarf, or a wraparound for a little bit of coziness wherever you go. It comes in 14 different colors and three perfect sizes—the full-blown travel wrap, a mini wrap, or a very adorable scarf. The traveler in your life is sure to love this for keeping cozy now, and jet-setting in the future.

[Photo: courtesy Parachute]

Parachute Cozy Booties
Are they slippers? Are they boots? Whatever they are, they’re freaking adorable. Parachute’s uber-soft, sherpa slipper boots pull on and feature a super soft interior (the company specifies that no socks are needed) and a rubber, non-slip bottom. That makes them perfect for loved ones in cold climates, who can wear them shuffling around the house or to scurry out to the mailbox. Better yet: You can machine-wash them when they get dirty, so these cozy kicks will look fresh for years to come.

Vuori Sweatsuits
We all know that sweatsuits are the official uniform of 2020. And if you spend any time on Instagram, you’ve probably come across ads for Vuori. The direct-to-consumer activewear company makes ethical, sustainable staples that are built for the wear and tear of frequent workouts. The label’s joggers come recommended by three different Fast Company editors (including men and women), who describe them as being “like butter.” Need we say more? We recommend pairing them with an essential hoodie for a full outfit they’ll never want to take off.

[Photo: courtesy Eberjey]

Eberjey PJ sets
Nothing says cozy quite like an indulgent pair of silky soft pajamas, and Eberjey’s are the best we’ve ever worn. The classic piped sets come in long and short versions, making them an excellent gift for even your friends and family who live in warmer climates, and they even come in two men’s styles. After a long day of working from home, we guarantee your loved one will feel cozier and more relaxed changing into one of these beautiful matching sets.

[Photo: courtesy Emu Australia]

Emu Mayberry Slippers
Okay, we admit it: We’re absolutely in love with these gloriously soft and delightfully silly slippers from Emu Australia. The masters of cloud-soft Australian sheepskin footwear at Emu make incredibly insulated winter boots and some impressively fashionable cold-weather footwear, but this year we’re embracing life’s small delights with the whimsical Mayberry slipper. Fast Company designer Chelsea Schiff purchased these earlier this year and described them as “the key to my quarantine happiness.”

[Photo: courtesy Lunya]

Lunya’s Robes and Cardigans
The relaxation geniuses at Lunya have it all figured out: Washable silk pajama sets, matching travel kits (complete with sleep mask) to the cutest wool pants we’ve ever seen. But if we’re really compiling our dream wish list, the number one slot would belong to the company’s gorgeously cozy robes and cardigans. The indulgently oversized wool sweaters are rich and heavy to keep out the cold but slouchy enough to look gorgeous wrapped up tight or untied and open. Behold: a bathrobe you could wear out to dinner.

North Face Campshire Hoodie
For those of us looking for a less glamorous and more practical coziness (Pennsylvania suburb-dweller here) the cold weather experts at the North Face have devised the Campshire P/O Hoodie, a hooded, quarter-zip fleece that is ready for pretty much anything. With the “warmest” rating on the North Face’s measurement scale, this cozy staple can be worn alone for running errands or layered underneath a jacket for longer outdoor activities.

[Photo: courtesy Nadaam]

Naadam Cashmere Hoodie
Looking to upgrade from normal sweats? Naadam’s hoodies dress up a quarantine staple with super soft 100% cashmere for an uber-comfy but more put-together feel. The direct-to-consumer company ethically sources Mongolian cashmere and sells it for a fraction of the price of normal retail in both men’s and women’s silhouettes. We recommend pairing it with a pair of cashmere joggers for a cozy set your loved one will never want to take off.

[Photo: courtesy Anthropologie]

Anthropologie Sophie Faux Fur Throw
Who doesn’t want a giant, cozy blanket to cuddle under all winter? We can’t think of anyone. The Sophie Faux Fur Throw from Anthropologie is soft, plush, and so much more stylish than your patterned fleece blankets sporting sports team logos. It comes in four beautiful shades, from a subdued grey to a beautiful blush to a bright, golden ochre—so you’re bound to find one that will fit your loved ones’ style. According to one FC editor, “This is the best throw I have ever owned in my life and is my go-to gifting item this year.” Works for us!

[Photo: courtesy Everlane]

Everlane Cashmere Sweaters
We have gone on and on (and on and on) about how much we love Everlane’s cashmere sweaters, and we’d be remiss to leave them out of our coziest gift suggestions. These winter workhorses come in every shape, style, and color you can imagine and are so classic and durable, your loved one will wear them for years to come. Trust us: We’ve filled our closets with them, and they’re going strong years later.

[Photo: courtesy Outdoor Voices]

Outdoor Voices CloudKnit Staples
Cult workout gear purveyor Outdoor Voices knows a thing or two about cute and comfortable clothing, so it’s no surprise they make some of the most comfortable sweatpants we’ve ever donned. The lightweight and breathable fabric is buttery soft but light enough that you don’t find yourself sweating every time the heat kicks on. We were absolutely delighted when they expanded the line to include pants, hoodies, and short- and long-sleeved tees. One editor’s “ridiculously picky” husband is still raving about the pair of sweatpants she bought him for Christmas last year.

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Editors’ Picks for July 2020, Including Your New Favorite Shirt

As they say, it’s the little things that make life worthwhile. This has never been more true. We’re finding that during a mellower summer, the joy that a great supplement or a new favorite tee brings to our lives is magnified. Have a little fun with our new warm-weather delights.

Bodybuilding.com Training Camp Collection Baseball Shirt

Recommended by Nick Collias, executive editor

Understated T-shirt designs are the overwhelming trend in fitness right now. And as someone who grew up in the time when so-called adults wore brightly patterned Zubaz pants with Big Johnson tees to my local rec center gym, I welcome the change.

Bodybuilding.com’s Training Camp shirts are all eye-catching in a subtle, “that looks good on you” kind of way. Just as important, they’re also unbelievably light and comfortable. Of all the pieces in the collection, I favor this one. I love a good baseball tee (that definitely hasn’t changed since childhood), and the minimal, mysterious logo looks cool. This is not your older brother’s Bodybuilding.com shirt.

Pro-Tec Athletics Ice Up Ice Massager

Recommended by Heather Eastman, senior content editor

Pro-Tec Athletics Ice Up Ice Massager

Summer is here and for a lot of us that means longer days, more activities, and greater risk of reactivating old injuries. If you’ve got a knee that acts up or a shoulder that won’t stop hurting, you know that the best relief on hot, hazy days is a refreshing ice massage. The Pro-Tec Athletics Ice Up Ice Massager is the perfect way to freeze pain in its tracks and help reduce exercise-related inflammation. Simply fill with water and freeze.

The frozen carrying cooler keeps your ice massager frozen for up to 12 hours, perfect for a day trip up to the lake for wakeboarding or relaxing at home after a grueling mountain hike. Just remove the cap from the ice massager and press the plunger to push up as much ice as you need for a relaxing ice massage.

Signature L-Carnitine

Recommended by Frieda Johnson, copy editor

Signature L-Carnitine

While trying new flavors and formulas of things like protein powder, pre-workout, and BCAAs keeps things interesting, some supplements become a permanent fixture in your stack. One of these for me is Signature L-Carnitine.

If you’re not familiar with L-carnitine, it’s a supplement that supports energy metabolism by transporting long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria to be oxidized for energy production. This helps your body burn fats as fuel, making L-carnitine a great product for any athlete looking to maximize their metabolic potential. Bonus: It’s only 12 cents a serving, so you get a great-quality product at a great value.

Olympus Lyfestyle EAA Drip EAAs & BCAAs

Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, senior content editor

Olympus Lyfestyle EAA Drip

You can get all the amino acids you need from a plant-based diet if you include a broad mix of whole-plant foods, but for some of us that’s a big if. While I do try to vary my diet, I don’t track my nutrient intake, so I like to take an EAA or BCAA supplement to make sure I’m covered. This is one of the few I’ve found that is vegan and tastes awesome.

EAA Drip is quickly becoming my go-to summer supplement. The extra-juicy Green Apple Candy flavor makes it easier and more fun to stay hydrated—I could chug this all day long. And as a design enthusiast, I love the cute, cartoony packaging. Maybe that’s not as important as what’s in it, but smiling is good for you, according to science.[1]

  1. Abel, E. L., & Kruger, M. L. (2010). Smile intensity in photographs predicts longevity. Psychological Science, 21(4), 542-544.

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