The Three Fitness Tools You Shouldn't Live Without

I’ve read several blog posts before about essential tools for getting on the fitness train. Most of these tools though, I found expensive and often lack the basic fundamental teachings of getting healthier. I would never tell someone to go purchase an expensive piece of equipment (Fitbit, Apple watch, home gym set up, etc.) before he or she understood the basics like eating fruits, vegetables, lean meat, whole grains, legumes, tubers, and healthy fats. If you can’t rattle off those types of food categories, then now is not the time (if ever) to go spend 200 dollars on a watch that’s going to provide information like counting steps or calories. Instead, let’s discuss tools that are inexpensive that you will help you to learn about become healthier. 

Full disclosure: the links to the following products are affiliate links through Amazon. If you chose to purchase products through these links, thank you for supporting the Iron University Podcast!

#1 32 Oz Water Bottle

First thing is first, your body consists mainly of water. So, what should be the number one tool on a fitness list? A water bottle, but not just a water bottle, I would recommend going big and getting a 32oz water bottle. The reason is because 32oz of water is quite a bit of water and having a bottle this size puts it into perspective for you. Now, with the visual of the water bottle, think about how it is a common recommendation to drink 128oz of water a day. That means you need to drink down four of those bad boy water bottles every day to hit that goal. Chances are, this is more water than you drink a day right now and I bet you didn’t think it would be this much water in a gallon. I know that I sure didn’t think that way. When I had a 16oz water bottle, I thought I was on point with trying to drink a gallon a day until I started tracking my water intake. That was eye opening to see that I was severely behind my goal while I thought I was crushing it the entire time. You don’t need to go to this extremity like I did with water tracking, but it will be much easier to keep your water intake in mind with such a large water bottle.

If you aren’t a fan of water, I have you covered. I’ve mentioned a few tricks before on prior podcast episodes, but here is the way to learn how to drink a ton of water. The first step is to think about your water drinking patterns. Are you someone who only drinks water when they eat? Are you someone who drinks water typically in the morning and then stops at night? Do you skip water every time for another kind of drink because it’s tasteless? If you found yourself agreeing to any of those above questions, try adding seltzer water into the 32oz jug with half seltzer and half filtered water. If you are someone who loves the sense of carbonation, this is the way to fight off that need while getting in more water. It’s a win-win!  Just a heads up, seltzer water by itself is abrasive, so adding water cuts this abrasiveness down.  

Also, I would recommend to add fruit or non-sugary flavors to your water. For fruit, foods such as strawberries, lemons, limes, pineapples, blueberries, and other kinds are a great way to boost the flavoring of water. For added flavors, think of things like no sugar flavor packets, Mio, or just buy flavored water without the calories. You’ll start to look forward to the flavored water much like how someone would look forward to a diet soda or something comparable. It helps to fight off cravings while at the same time, helps with your goal.  Over a period of time, I would back off from the flavored waters and switch to a one-on, one-off kind of system. For instance, drink 32oz of filtered water in the morning and then drink 32oz of flavored water during lunch. Overall, the whole point of trying to add flavoring to water is to make you want to drink more water, instead of feeling like you need to drink more. You can find a water bottle for around 8 bucks with the link below.

#2 Food Scale

A food scale could arguably be number one. Have you ever guessed how much something weighs and then try to weigh it after to see how close you are? We do that with food all the time. We read the back of the nutritional label to see that the serving size may be something like 2 tbsp or 32 g. Yes, this is a serving size of peanut butter since everyone loves peanut butter and over estimates the serving size. Go ahead and weigh out 32g of peanut butter. I promise that you’ll be disappointed in realizing that it’s not as much peanut butter as you thought. It’s a harsh wake up call, but it can be used with so many kinds of foods. The serving size with foods and condiments like meat, salad dressing, barbecue sauce, and olive oil becomes significantly clearer after weighing them out. Condiments in particular are a real issue that a food scale will sort out. I’ve seen many times where someone has a healthy salad and then blows it up with a calorie dressing bomb. Same thing with cooking and adding in olive oil. It’s a sneaky calorie bomb waiting to happen so stay ahead of the curve and weigh out your food! Overtime, you’ll learn what’s in a serving size and you’ll be able to eyeball potion sizes. You can find a food scale for under 15 bucks with the link below.

#3 Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are basically an entire gym you can take with you on the go. If you buy ones that comprise of enough resistance, they are incredible. Hands down, they are my favorite piece of equipment for in home workouts. The reason is because they are so versatile. You can hit any body part with a resistance band. When I injured my leg and couldn’t pick up heavy weights, I thought I was going to have to take months off from working out. These bands saved my workouts and allowed me to keep going even with a serious injury! It does make sense when you think about it. What do physical therapists use to aid with recovery? Answer: resistance bands. 

With resistance bands, you may think of these are only being a type of recovery tool for physical therapy, but they are much more useful than that. You can find entire full body workouts with only using bands. I would argue that if you are working out at home, I'd rather have these kinds of bands compared to regular dumbbells. I had my living room filled with clunky dumbbells that took up a ton of space and it drove me nuts. I was getting sick of feeling like I had to clean up the living room every time I was working out at home so I eventually purchased adjustable dumbbells. While they saved me space, they were awfully expensive and ended up falling apart over time. It was not a fun workout when one of the adjustable plates almost fell on my toes! 

I’d highly recommend these for anyone who travels or simply wants a home gym without buying a ton of equipment. Resistance bands can also be used for learning proper form without over doing it on the amount of weight. They can mimic the feel of heavy weight without the sense of danger of it dropping suddenly.  The ones I recommend and have been using for a long time now are made by Black Mountain Products. You can find the exact ones I use under 25 bucks with the link below. Also, here’s a workout tutorial with only using bands!

There you go! Three tools for under 50 bucks in total. These can all be used as learning resources to help you crush your goals. Let me know if this guide helps!

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