For many years now, clients and students ask me for the best tools I personally use and recommend for working out.
Honestly, gadgets and equipment are only good as far you think you’ll personally use them. There are so many tools and things out there that the choices are plenty. And you know what? A lot of them work well, but again, their usefulness depends on how likely you are to use them.
I can, for example, say that one of the “best” forms of cardio pieces is the StairClimber or “gauntlet” as some would call it. However, the cost of this piece of equipment, size, and difficulty level may keep you from purchasing one on your own or using it in your gym. So as much as I’d recommend this piece, it’s probably not for everyone.
Here are two (2) items that I believe do have universal appeal. They have multiple benefits/uses, and after your read on these, you may find yourself wanting to invest in the time to learn their use.
HEART RATE MONITOR
This specific model, (Polar FT7) I actually use, because the interface is easy, the price isn’t prohibitive, and frankly, these watches last me a good few years, so buying higher end models that have tons of bells and whistles can be a waste once the battery dies out or the screen gets scratched and the watch simply doesn’t function the same way.
By the way, if you ever invest in one of these and want to learn to use, I will teach you! It’s so easy, and you’ll end up wanting to use it every time you work out.
WHY GET ONE:
- Intensity Monitoring
- Heart rate tracking is still one of the best ways to gauge how hard you’re working, particularly if you’re not too keen on evaluating your own effort/intensity. In my cycling classes geared toward cardio, I can talk about “training zones 1-4″ until I’m blue in the face, or even wattage, for that matter, but all of that is a guessing game, whereas actual heart rate reflects your actual effort.
- In addition, these watches ask for your statistics (height, age, weight, gender, fitness level) allowing for a better approximation of calorie expenditure and projected heart rate zones.
- The zones are also customizable, allowing you to change your predicated target heart rate zone as needed, to match your actual capabilities.
- The watch keeps track of each workout for up to 2 weeks, allowing your coach to see the number of times you turned the watch on to train, for how long, and the breakdown of time you spent in each training zone, along with approximate calorie burn with each workout.
- Most of these models can be set to beep anytime you fall out of your training zone — to take out the annoying beep, work harder, or slow down, as the case may be. You can even remove this feature altogether if its just too much to take.
- Wear it when you do cardio, weight train, or any other activity and see how your heart rate responds and your approximate calorie expenditure. Then you can compare and decide which activities give you the amount of calorie burn you want.
- If you forget the watch but wear the strap, the strap corresponds to pretty much all cardio machines that have a built in heart rate reader, removing the need to place your hands on the metal plates of the machine.
- Can be worn indoors, outdoors, even underwater.
* * *
These, I’ve had in my home for personal use, and for transport to clients when training. They’re the 552 model (meaning they go from 5 lbs to 52 lbs each), and they of course, come as a pair.
I think there are other models or brands out there, but I’ve personally found these to be durable and easy to transport. My pair have been with me for over 5 years and I still use them without problems. They’re very easy to adjust, and useful for their weight variety. I think they even come in pairs that go only up to 20 lbs each, or pairs that go all the way to 90 lbs each.
WHY GET THEM:
- If you ever need to work out at home and are familiar with good technique on most free-weight or DumbBell (DB) exercises, these are an obvious pick.
- The gym can be right in your living room or bedroom
- NOTE: Do not buy if you’re the kind of person who is likely not to work out on your own.
- If you’re a trainer and reading this, carting one or even both of these in your trunk is really easy. Why bring a whole set of small dumbbells when you can go all the way up to 50 lbs with just one?
- NOTE: I would not travel with these on a plane: Can you imagine having a 50 lb dumbbell in your suitcase, whether checked in or carried on? If you’re driving to a hotel with no gym facility and you simply need your dumbbells, AND you have room in your vehicle, go for it!
- So far, I don’t know anyone who has had these that has had problems with their durability. They should last long if you take care of them: don’t drop them on hard floors, and make sure to return them properly in their holding base. So far (knock on wood), these have lasted me many years.
So far, theSe are my top 2 tools. I’ll think of more gadgets that have universal appeal and let you know of them, especially if they’re easy to find on Amazon or buy online, so you can research them first before making a final decision.
I’m an Amazon “Prime” member and I buy most things from them with free 2-day shipping. Of course, you pay for that membership, but since I have, I get most of my household items from them, saving me the $$ and time it costs to buy bulk in Costco or small items at the local CVS. I’ve bought mouthwash, toothbrushes, batteries, car cleaners, you name it.
Have I bought more than I probably would have were I not a Prime member? Yes. Have I spent more through Amazon than going elsewhere? So far, no, and I have saved time (I try to price check before buying). Am I enjoying online shopping more? YES. Do I enjoy shopping anyway? You know the answer …
My favorite part? I can research the customer reviews on the products, and I also just receive my brown boxes in 48 hours, sometimes 24. It’s like Christmas most days of the week! And you know how I feel about presents ….
If you want to ask about specific products you’re curious about, email away! I’d love to help you out!