Since I also personal train and work with clients who may be looking for those traditional methods of improving or maintaining their wellness because of various goals they may have for themselves such as weight loss, building strength, or training for an event, I thought I’d head down that path today in my blog. I’m going to let you in on my top 5 go-to pieces of exercise equipment that can easily be incorporated into a quick workout to help you burn calories and build strength and flexibility.
1. Yoga Mat – You’ll want to have something that is firm enough to allow for some stability when you are standing on it, but still has some cushion to it so your knees don’t hurt if you are kneeling on it. You also want a mat that is not going to distract you by moving around when you getting your burn on.
A good quality mat is an investment that you shouldn’t have to replace every 6 months – 1 year as you may find you have to do with lower quality mats. I’ve tried a variety of mats out there and have come to find that the Manduka line of mats is my personal choice, more specifically the Manduka Black Mat Pro. Some of the benefits of this mat are the length, width, thickness, firmness, and overall life of the mat.
Your mat is a place that you can go to for pretty much any part of your workout, so think of it as your main piece of physical equipment and invest in one that you won’t have to replace often. You’ll find that the time spent on your mat at the end of your workout could potentially be the most beneficial part of your whole workout because you are taking the time to connect your mind with your body and care for the muscles you have just worked so hard to train.
2. Interval Timer – This small gadget or even app can change your world. Just by incorporating the use of High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.), you can cut your workout time in half…and keep it interesting rather than walking or jogging in one place on a treadmill. You can also use your interval timer if you are out on a walk or run to build endurance or improve speed.
My personal favorite is actually the Gymboss Maxx—it allows for multiple intervals to be set and can save past interval sets that you have used so you don’t have to continue to reconfigure it each time you do that particular workout. It is very small and can clip to your clothing leaving your hands free. Gymboss also makes an app that is similar to the actual timer. Another app that I’ve found on the Android network is Interval Timer 4 HIIT Training; it seems to offer everything that the Gymboss does and maybe even a bit more. There are hundreds more free interval apps out there, so try some out and see what works best for you!
3. Kettlebell – Want a workout that will get you in great shape really quickly? Enter the kettlebell. If you are short on time, really need an intense workout or have heard that functional training is the type of training that you need to be doing right now, a strategically designed kettlebell workout can help you achieve all of those things with the proper instruction. Learning how to perform a basic kettlebell swing correctly can challenge your entire body efficiently enough to be some of the only cardio & strength work you could need. Kettlebells can also be used in place of dumbbells and barbells in many instances.
4. Foam Roller – This tool is used for myofascial release—relieving tension that is built up in the fascia, or the connective tissue that lies on top of your muscles and connects them all together. You’ll find that with years of trauma to our bodies, it’s the fascia that becomes rigid, often chronically, causing muscular imbalances within the body. Foam rolling, which is much like giving yourself a massage, can be used to help begin to open up your fascia and release some of that tightness. Rolling combined with a regular yoga practice that creates symmetry in the body is ultimately your best bet in allowing yourself to move more freely. Foam rollers can also be used as great balance tools to stand, lie, kneel, or place your hands on.
5. Body Weight – The best piece of equipment out there because it’s always with you & it’s FREE! So many people struggle to lift their own body weight even off the floor, so why not use that as a starting point at least. In most people’s lives these days, if you can lift your own body weight, how much of a need would there be to lift more than that? I’m talking push-ups, squats, step-ups, lunges, pull-ups, handstands. Get my drift? And there are ways to make these body weight exercises more challenging if they are too easy for you, but I’m willing to bet that for most, this is a good starting place.
So it doesn’t necessarily take a whole lot of equipment to begin your path to finding balance & wellness in your life and physical body through movement. But it takes the courage to make the decision to begin…and maybe even ask for help along the way. Contact me to get started today!