What makes the difference between an okay workout and an incredible workout? We asked three fitness professionals for their top five must-have fitness tools to help set you up for success.
“I’m a firm believer in free weights,” says Kendra Taylor, president, and owner of KCS Training Solutions, based in Edmonton.
Taylor, who has been working in the industry for 15 years, offers personal training, fitness classes, and nutrition guidance. She also currently teaches at Xtend Barre Edmonton, a fitness studio that combines elements of dance, ballet, and Pilates.
Her top five fitness tools, in no particular order, are:
- Free weights a.k.a. dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and medicine balls.
- A TRX unit – This is a total suspension system, which allows you to work against your body weight for a full-body workout.
- Skipping rope
- Music – As for which genre, Taylor says pick the right music for you.
- Accountability person – Taylor notes this is not necessarily your workout partner, though it can be. An accountability person is a friend, family member, or spouse who will help keep you accountable to your goals.
Over in Vancouver, Jason Darr, co-owner of CrossFit 604, had been using the popular regimen of high-intensity functional movements for many years before deciding to open his own CrossFit gym in 2012. Darr keeps his must-have recommendations simple, looking at the whole picture.
- Great program
- Great coaching
- Great equipment
- Great community
- Great space
“Put all of these together, and you can’t lose,” Darr says.
Barry H. Samuel, founder of InsideOut Health + Fitness in Toronto, has been involved in the health and fitness industry for more than 20 years.
“I take a view of the whole person and different aspects of life in addition to a fitness focus,” Samuel says, describing his coaching approach.
He applies that holistic concept to his must-have fitness tools as well, thinking of them more as must-have foundations or concepts.
- Show up willing to do the work – Samuel explains it’s okay to socialize while you’re at the gym or out for a jog, but not if it’s going to distract from progressing while you work out.
- Self awareness – Being aware of your breath and your body, whether you’re doing an intense exercise or a simple stretch, will help you build a foundation that will serve you better.
- Stability ball – Samuel says this is an amazing tool because it can help you become aware of your posture, improve your balance, and complete a range of movements from the bare basics right through to advanced exercises.
- Stretch bands a.k.a. resistance bands – These super portable tools offer “such great versatility,” Samuel says, and can be used for preventive, rehabilitative, and challenging movements.
- Have an attitude of fun and whimsy – Samuel says come in with a plan and have a goal in mind, but also “realize that it’s precious time to yourself.”
Ultimately, the key to an effective workout is “very much a mindset,” he says.