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3 Things Every Exerciser Needs

IMG_1085Exercise doesn’t need to be complicated. You can get a perfectly good workout at home without dumbbells, benches, or pull up bars. But, as a personal trainer, here are the three things I think every exerciser should invest in. And don’t worry, none of these are going to break your bank.

1. A Stopwatch

Okay, I know this seems too

IMG_1089simple to be a necessity, but just trust me here. I cannot tell you how often I see people wrecking their workouts because they aren’t timing their rest periods!

I know you may think you can accurately count seconds in your head, but you probably can’t. Or you’ll get distracted. Or you’ll pick up your phone and five whole minutes later (which will feel like 30 seconds) you’ll finally get to your next set or round.

So, just use a stopwatch to make sure you are timing your rests. Your workouts will be so much more efficient and every phone has one these days, so there’s really no excuse not to!

2. A Foam Roller

There is no question about it, this is absolutely the piece of equipment that I recommend most often. If you don’t have one, you need one, in my opinion.

IMG_1096Foam rollers allow you to basically massage out knots in your muscles. Knots in your muscles, or adhesions as we call them in the fitness world, will make you uncomfortable, alter your movement patterns, and eventually lead to injury.

Foam rolling (a.k.a. self-myofascial release) is essential to keeping your muscles healthy, maintaining flexibility, and reducing soreness. And, you can pick one up for around $30, so it’s affordable for most anyone.

3. A good pair of shoes

Are you pulling out the same grass-stained, 6-year-old sneakers you wear to mow the lawn when it’s time for a workout? If so, stop it right now and get yourself to the shoe store!

A good shoe is so important! You are putting a lot of pressure on your feet when you exercise, so you need to take care of them by giving them the proper support for the activities you’re doing.

For most people, a cross-trainer will be sufficient. If you’re doing power lifts, you’ll want to consider something with a more solid sole. If you’re doing plyometrics, jumping, etc., you’ll want something more flexible.

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Not sure what shoe to buy? There are plenty of shoe stores that will assess you and help you find the right one.

Once you have these three essentials, you’ll be set for an efficient, safe, and comfortable workout.

Are you already using any of these? Is there anything you find to be absolutely essential to your workout that isn’t on the list? I want to hear about it! Let me know below.

 

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Routine is not a four-letter word

 

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Image credit: Bobmaconbusiness.com
My wife and the other half of the Lynx Fitness duo, Kim, was recently putting together a yoga-inspired workout plan for a client when, during her research, she came across the following passage from a book by Judith Lasater.

“…renew your commitment to practice on an ongoing basis … The highest form of discipline is consistency: powerful transformation can come from regularity.

That last part resonated with both of us. It is such a simple statement yet it holds a mighty truth, especially as it relates to committing to a lifestyle of health and fitness.

In our time as personal trainers, stressing the importance of an all-in commitment to the routine of a fitness program has been the No. 1 thing Kim and I have to work through with our clients. It’s not easy to convince people that the transformation they desire comes from regularity – a term far too often associated with boredom and stagnation.

Interestingly enough, Kim’s discovery of this powerful statement on the importance of consistency comes as I am working my way through reading the book, “The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business.

In one section of “The Power of Habit,” author Charles Duhigg describes research performed in 2002 by New Mexico State University in which 266 people who worked out at least three times a week were studied to understand why they were so committed to their exercise regimen.

The study found that while they all had different reasons for beginning an exercise program – for various motivations and goals – they continued because they, in essence, craved how exercise made them feel. So much so that it became a habit as powerful as a smoker’s addiction.

Ninety-two percent of those studied in one group said they exercised because they essentially craved the way they felt after a workout – the endorphin rush. Another group responded at a 67-percent clip that working out provided a sense of accomplishment as they tracked their progress, which they craved.

Here’s what all this really boils down to: To realize the fullness of your body’s potential and to achieve your health and fitness goals, it is going to be hard not only as you begin this new lifestyle, but also at times along the way when your life circumstances change or your goals change or as setbacks arise.

In those times, as Lasater said in her book, commit and recommit to consistency on an on-going basis. Commit to regularity. Commit to just committing.

Because if you do, there will come a point where you forget that it’s hard and you’ll cross a threshold where it – exercise, fitness, health – just becomes who you are. You’ll find joy in the routine of working out. You’ll crave the rush of a completed workout more than you’ll dread starting one.

And that is where your powerful transformation truly begins.