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What's up, Joey? Fitness Accessories

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Fitness accessories have seen a huge boost in recent years. Not since the fitness craze of 80s have we seen so many people get “decked out” to workout.

But of today’s accessories, which ones are essential?

"In the last five or ten years, everything that goes along with fitness has started to boom," says Dave Weiner, co-owner of Definition Fit in Sarasota. "Whether it's a heart rate monitor, compression or nutrition, all of these start to play a role. You've got multiple companies releasing multiple products. Ultimately if you're just starting to dabble in fitness or if you've been doing it for a while, it's really easy to get confused, overwhelmed, and sidetracked by gadgets and gizmos, and not really know what's going to work for you depending on what your fitness needs are."

While the different types of fitness may vary, so do the accessories. Each type of workout has its own set of “must have” items.

"People come in really excited about yoga mats," says Stacy Gonzalez of lululemon athletica's Sarasota showroom. “Having a great yoga mat can change your practice.”

There are yoga mats specifically designed for hot yoga classes. The mats are durable and will absorb your sweat, says Gonzalez.

For running, many runners are turning away from the typical cotton socks, explains Melissa Hirstein, assistant manager of Downtown Sarasota's new Fit2Run.

"A lot of the socks are polyester blend. Socks have gotten very popular." Some accessories that may seem frivolous can prove to be pretty functional, like headbands, according to Gonzalez.

"Not having sweat in your eyes is great, so having the right headband stay in place during your workout so you're not fumbling around with it is a game-changer." The growth of technology has had a huge effect on the types of fitness accessories available.

"All of the GPS systems are popular," says Hirstein. "It makes us a little more obsessive than we probably already are, but it's really phenomenal to be able to look down on your arm and, at any time, know your distance, your pace, and your calories."

Weiner agrees. "I also suggest somebody work out with a heart rate monitor. This is the best tool to give you a good sense of how many calories you're burning when you workout."

Ultimately, the question is will buying a bunch of accessories improve your workout?

"I think some of those things can make you feel better and it does make a difference," says Weiner. "It can really personalize their workout," says Gonzalez. "It can customize their workout, and give the workout a little bit of your flair."