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My Favorite Lifestyle and Fitness Tools — Under $50

First things first: You don’t need anything on this list.

I like to think of the following fitness tools as inexpensive luxuries that make my life just a little bit better. (They’re “luxury” not because they’re fancy or opulent, but because they’re all nonessential.)

Visit my house and you’ll quickly see that I don’t own a lot of stuff—living out of a suitcase for 7 months helps shed the unnecessary crap—but the stuff I do own is high-quality, which means it’s often (but not always) expensive.
That suits me just fine. I’d rather spend $400 on a jacket or $300 on a pair of boots that will last me five to ten years than spend less money on low-quality items that will fall apart after a season or two.
But the six items below are unique: They’re both quality and inexpensive—and I find myself using most of them every single day. 

1. Sudden Coffee – $19 for 8 vials

“Tastes like pourover. Works like instant.”
That’s the promise of San Francisco startup Sudden Coffee, and it’s not too far off the mark. Started by a Finnish barista champion (yes, that’s a thing) Sudden Coffee tastes way better than Folger’s instant, but definitely not as good as a single-origin Ethiopian pourover.

That’s why I don’t usually make it at home, but instead save the little vials for when I travel or go camping, where my beverages of choice alternate between coffee, water, and bourbon.


2. PEAKfresh produce bags – $6

You have good intentions. You buy a bunch of random vegetables because you know you should be eating more, but once you get home you forget about them.
A week or two later, they’re wilted or rotted and you have no choice but to toss them. You feel guilty. The planet feels guilty. Somewhere in rural Mozambique a young child curses your name.
Not good.
Two suggestions: first, plan your meals ahead of time so you have a specific purpose for buying the vegetables (to use in a chili, say). Second, use PEAKfresh bags, which work by removing ethylene gas to prolong the life and freshness of fruits and vegetables.
I’ve had apples last for three weeks in these things and still be crunchy and delicious. Same thing for carrots and celery. They’re amazing.

3. The Orb – $19.95

Years ago I was working out with Mike Robertson in a hotel gym when instead of grabbing a foam roller for his pre-workout self-myofascial release, he instead started rolling around on a medicine ball.
Since the medicine ball is smaller, he told me, it allows you to increase the amount of pressure on whatever muscle you’re rolling. Plus, it’s allows you to move in three dimensions (instead of just back and forth like a foam roller).
Makes sense.
I use something called the Orb at home, which provides the same benefits at a cheaper price. And unlike a heavy-ass medicine ball, the Orb is light and easily fits in a travel bag.

4. Nom Nom Paleo App – $5.99

I don’t think Paleo is the best way to eat, mostly because I don’t think any specific diet is the best way to eat. (See this fantastic article from my friends at PN.)
That said, this app is full of delicious recipes that are healthy and easy to make. Here’s a screenshot of some of my favorites:

5. Acupressure mat – $19.99

I’ve written about this before, but I’m mentioning it again because 1) I still use this every day, and 2) I found a less-expensive version that works just as good as the pricier one.
After Richelle stole mine and refused to give it back, I searched Amazon for a comparable version. The one I decided on—the ProSource Acupressure Mat and Pillow—costs less than $20 and is virtually indistinguishable from the Bed Of Nails, which costs three times as much.
Ignore all the hippy-dippy stuff about how the acupressure mat will harness your chi or whatever, and instead use it like I do: before bed, while reading, to relax and fall asleep faster.
But beware. it’s spiky as shit and takes some getting used to.

6. Victorinox 8-inch chef’s knife – $44.95

My friend Jay Grenci works at Precision Nutrition and is damn good chef—so I’ll just let him tell you why this knife is all you need in the kitchen:
I agree completely.