Since we just passed the midway point in the month, we decided to do another post about the gym and see how everyone is getting on with their New Year resolutions. At this stage you're either still making excuses (I'll start on Monday), succeeding greatly (I've done ten gym sessions in the past eight days and haven't eaten a carb since 2014) or just failing miserably. Either way we've composed a list of a few training aids that will help you on the path towards health, fitness and happiness.
Even if you're a newbie to training you've probably seen a few of these knocking around the gym as they became massively popular over the past year. Foam rollers are used for muscle recovery and massage, they are a great aid to have in your training bag and something you'll really appreciate a day or two after a heavy squatting session. It's important to learn how to use these properly and effectively so do a bit of research online. They vary massively in price so pick one that matches your needs but take note that a bit of wavin pipe covered in duct tape has been known to do the job for some people.
While this may seem very obvious, a good water bottle is essential for training and something that many people neglect. The need to hydrate before, during and after a session is critical and having a snazzy shaker or bottle may aid this process. SmartShake or Umoro provide all purpose supplement storage and water bottle units that comes in a wide range of colors. That being said, there is nothing wrong with an empty Ballygowan bottle.
One of the most basic pieces of equipment around, but a great training aid to have in your arsenal. Extremely cheap and portable, it's a great way to warm up, cool down or just do a bit of personal training if you can't make the gym and don't fancy going for a run. It has lower impact levels on your knees and ankles than jogging and depending on intensity levels can burn more calories.
These are a serious piece of equipment and I would only recommend people with a high base level of fitness to look at investing in one. The mask restricts the amount of oxygen you can consume and in turn simulates training at a higher altitude (ranges between 3,000ft to 18,000ft above sea level). This aids in increasing lung capacity, oxygen efficiency and also helps to develop mental and physical stamina. They've become increasingly popular across various different sports and are aimed at pushing athletes bodies to the next level. I'd always recommend using these while supervised, especially for your first few times trying it out.
Weight Lifting Gloves
Weight lifting gloves can be found in any good athletic store and are used to increase grip and prevent the formation of blisters and calluses on the hand. People either love them or hate them and wearing them is purely down to personal preference. Chalk or liquid grip are other options to aid grip and help protect the hands but they can be quite messy so be warned.
Mobility and flexibility are key to any training regime and resistance bands provide you with a broad spectrum of uses in this area. It can be used purely for stretching and mobility purposes, but can also to aid with strength training (providing assistance in pull ups or dips). They are available in a variety of resistances so chose one adequate to your needs. The thinner the band, the less resistance they provide.
The Little Black Book
Keep a notebook in your gym bag with a list of the goals you want to achieve. Then after every session, record what exercises you did and what weights you lifted. This is a great way of keeping track of progress and will keep you motivated through out your training. Setting goals and striving to reach them is half the battle.
All these pieces of equipment can be purchased online or in most sports shops around the country. Like everything, there is a wide variety of products on offer so do some research and chose the product that best suits your training needs and budget. Also, make sure to do some research into how to use the equipment to achieve best results.