Basic Tools For Your Fitness Toolbox

It's a new year, and many out there want to start the year off going in a more optimal direction. I often get asked "Flip, what do I need to get started?"

That's a great question. Of course, everyone has a different starting point. With that said I'd like to go over what are some of the necessary tools that one can use to get the most bang for your buck. Everyone has different circumstances. Sweat Nation has clients that have mega fancy gyms in their building, to others who get their movement on in their backyard with only their bodies and a few other items. Let's get into it.

Allow Yourself To Be In Kindergarten

The first tool that anyone trying to optimize needs to learn to use is the power of how they treat themselves. When you notice that you want to get in shape that is a big moment of clarity, figuring out that things aren't going the way you want, and taking action towards a new path is a huge step to take.

A question I like to ask is "Are you willing to go on the journey that becoming a better you will take you through?" As the saying goes "A journey begins with the first step." Realizing that it's going to take effort being hard on yourself when you're beginning to create new habits will only make it feel harder.

Checking in with how you treat yourself is the most excellent tool you can learn to get better at using. This quote by Elizabeth Gilbert puts it together very nicely. "You must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new." Would you get mad at a kindergartener for not knowing algebra? Probably not. Although, you would be very positively affirming with them in going over their ABCs and 1+1=2.

It's always a more efficient approach to allow yourself to be in kindergarten and use your mind to reinforce the little things positively. After all, it's the little things that begin to compound into better a better you.

Foam Roller

Different gyms have different items. Some of you may have all of the tools I'm going to mention, while others may not have any. I'll go over a few essential items that you want in your toolbox. Foam Roller. Foam rollers are great for soft tissue work unless you all can get to a masseuse a few times a week this tool will be your stand-in. A few of the things I use it for is for assessing mobility, core, and soft tissue quality. A black dense foam roller is the one I'd suggest you use at first. There are all types of fancy ones that look like they belong in a dungeon, others that vibrate, and others that come in weird shapes and sizes. A long, black, dense roller is the easiest one you could use to start. As you build on your experience, you can decide if some other rollers are best for what you're working to accomplish.

Bands Are Great Too

Resistance bands are great for those who exercise at home and are great for those who like to take their workouts on the road. Their value doesn't end there, the many benefits to these simple exercise tools, include versatility, convenience, safety, and effectiveness. The more you learn about the advantages of resistance band exercises, the more you'll be motivated to have them in your toolbox.

Whether you buy them individually or as a set, resistance bands are an inexpensive addition to your equipment. Resistance bands come in multiple resistance levels, usually light, medium & heavy. You can further adjust the amount of resistance during exercise just by giving more or less slack on the band, as well as by combining multiple resistance bands to increase the challenge.

Many resistance band kits come with suggested exercises for nearly every major muscle group in your body. Stepping on one end of a resistance band or looping it around a stationary object, for example, opens up many exercise possibilities.

When you don't have a lot of room for a home gym, resistance bands are a great option that stores in very little space. You can hang them on a hook after you exercise, or coil them up to store in a box or drawer.

Over time, your muscles adapt to exercise routines. Mixing it up by cross-training with free weights, machines and resistance bands will work your muscles in a slightly varietal of ways.

You can use resistance bands on their own, and you can also combine them with other exercises such as a bicep curl. With both a resistance band and a dumbbell you will get the combined benefits of each of the tools you're using.

Although there are differences between free weight and resistance band exercises, both are great tools. Picture the arc motion your arm makes while doing a bicep curl. Free weights will feel heaviest at the beginning of that arc, while resistance bands make your muscles work harder at the end of the arc (when the exercise band is most taut). Either way, your body is moving against resistance, and that will give your body an effective workout.

Stability Ball

Created by legendary holistic health coach Paul Chek the stability-ball-trains for maintaining proper body alignment. Training on the ball stimulates the body’s natural motor reflexes and encourages the body to react as a whole, integrated unit. This type of movement corresponds to how you move in your life. Training on the ball challenges your entire body to participate and to maintain correct posture and stability.

When using the ball correctly, the body is required to utilize various muscles for stabilization. These muscles may not have been previously challenged using traditional exercise equipment. Because the ball is versatile and dynamic, the training outcome will deliver great results.

The ball can improve muscle strength and endurance in all of the major muscle groups. Training with the ball can improve muscle tone, increase muscle endurance and strength, restore or improve flexibility, enhance spinal stability, complement your resistance and aerobic training programs, help you lose weight, and improve your balance, posture, and coordination.

The ball is ideal for stretching and offers additional options to traditional static stretching. Traditional stretching usually requires you to extend on the floor and can be difficult to achieve and maintain many of the stretching positions.

Adjustable Dumbells & kettlebells

If you're going the in-home option, adjustable dumbells save you space while allowing you to get the pump that's going to build your body.

I have a pair of Bowflex 1090 in my living room that I use all the time. Thanks, Miguel, They have been excellent!

This particular model goes up to 90lbs in 5lb increments. What you can do with them is really up to your imagination. I use them for a great full-body timed workout that takes 15 minutes. If you're looking for a program to use The Sweat Nation 30/30 rise program will have you using your tools consistently.

Another great tool to use is a kettlebell. A 20 and 30-pound kettlebell will get you a great full-body workout that will leave you feeling pumped.

There you have it. A positive mindset, foam roller, elastic bands, stability ball, and some adjustable weights and kettlebells are a great starter toolkit. You can also go to the 30/30 rise program if you're looking to put those tools to use. Which if you're reading this, I know you're working on creating your best self. Click on the Amazon links if you're looking to fill your toolbox with these essentials. Here's to becoming your best you.

Track Of The Day - Time For Some Aksion - Redman

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