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8 Inexpensive Fitness Tools Every Home Should Have

8 Inexpensive Fitness Tools Every Home Should Have

You don’t have to waste a fortune in order to look good. Being in shape is just a matter of will; you can hire the finest trainers and go to the best gyms, but if you don’t previously decide to dedicate yourself to your health, all of that will be for nothing.

With the right motivation, you can achieve that figure you always wanted in the comfort of your home and without worrying about unrealistic gym bills. Establishing a home workout routine is beneficial for several reasons – this small investment is here to stay and you’ll have every tool at your disposal forever. The whole family can use your little home gym, so that cuts bills significantly for your household, and you will have more time because there will be no home-gym-home traveling every time you want to exercise.

With this in mind, you should be feeling inspired to create your little home gym, so check out the following nine fitness tools that will boost your confidence and help you get fit in no time.

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1. Jump Rope

Although people avoid jump ropes because they usually have only two associations when those words are mentioned – little girls in pink dresses or tough boxers – using jump rope in your exercise routine is highly beneficial and it’s relatively easy for beginners to get used to the different exercises.

Apart from helping you burn a huge amount of calories (it actually can be more efficient than jogging), jumping rope makes you lighter on your feet. This means that your coordination gets significantly improved because this exercise is all about focusing on your feet. The more jump rope tricks you discover and learn, the more coordinated you’ll get.

2. Dumbbells

You should know that when compared to the barbell, dumbbells can be a bit more versatile, giving you a larger choice of exercises, and they are cheaper than a full barbell set and rack combo. They will provide you with plenty of variety in your workouts and they offer a more natural selection of movements, because unlike fixed machines and cables, they can move freely in all different directions.

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This exercise tool can be used to train both the lower body and the upper body, which makes them a worthy addition to your home gym, and one that’s quite efficient and simple to store at that.

3. Yoga Mat

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    The only difficult thing about yoga is starting to practice it – after that I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it just like everyone else. Of course, you should start with a beginner’s program and move up from there gradually. The list of benefits of practicing yoga is quite extensive. Other than the obvious benefit of increasing flexibility, it has a positive impact on your isometric strength and muscle tone, improves your respiration, decreases stress and increases your energy levels.

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    4. Foam Roller

    Your post-exercise routine is as important as the actual workout, and it’s quite important for you to take good care of your muscles. My suggestion is to go with a foam roller in order to prevent sore muscles and cramps, especially when it comes to your back. Lifting weights can burden your lower back muscles and if you don’t do something about it, you can be in pain for weeks.

    5. Stability Ball

    Speaking of spine alignment – stability balls are highly beneficial solution for this problem. It’s quite simple really. Because of ball’s instability, you need to work on balance and thus practice and achieve a proper posture. You can use it for stretches and simple workouts, but you should know there’s a ton of different tutorials that show you how to do a full body exercise with it.

    6. Ab Wheel

    Did you know that each rollout using an ab wheel actually moves over 20 muscles in your body? This smart tool is unbelievably efficient; if you’re persistent with repetition, you’ll get that six-pack you always wanted quite quickly. You should also know that using an ab wheel isn’t any more difficult than doing crunches – you’ll just need some time to get used to it.

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    7. Decent running shoes

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      The greatest problem I had with running is discipline – the most difficult part of this type of training is getting your mind in the zone and staying motivated, and if you do manage to be persistent in it, you will not only strengthen your body but your mind as well. Obviously, running helps you lose weight, but it also firms up your muscles equally and gradually. With a relatively decent pair of running shoes – which you can often get on sale – you’ll be ready to hit the road any time you feel like it.

      8. Mirror

      Having a mini gym is a pretty smart move, but you already know that you can hurt yourself by doing the exercises wrong. I’m sure you’ll go online and consult various tutorials and programs until you find the one that works for you, but you need to make sure your posture and your movements are reflecting those that you see – which is why a big mirror is an essential item in your home gym.

      Did you know that working out makes you happy? When you exercise, your mind tells your glands to release happiness hormones, because you’re doing a good thing for your figure, your health and your confidence. Exercising really contributes to the overall quality of your life and if you actually go through with your little home gym project, you’ll be a lot happier.

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/scott-webb-39047/ via pexels.com

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      Djordje Todorovic

      Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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      Last Updated on November 11, 2018

      How to Gain Muscle Fast (The Healthy And Natural Way)

      How to Gain Muscle Fast (The Healthy And Natural Way)

      There’s a common misconception that building muscle occurs entirely in the gym from exercise and lifting weights. In this article, we are going to debunk this notion that weight lifting and gym exercise yields 100%, or even 90% for that matter, of muscle building results.

      So how to gain muscle fast in a healthy way?

      Yes working-out is a critical aspect of developing muscle, however it should not be the focal point. Building muscle occurs primarily outside of the gym by way of diet/eating habits, and sleep regimen.

      How Is Muscle Developed?

      Muscle is developed from damaging the tissue during exercise, and facilitating the most optimal circumstances for repair and growth of those same tissues. This means you will not only need to exercise, but you should focus on carbohydrates around your exercises, and adequate rest and recovery between workouts.

      If your focus is building muscle and not losing weight, focusing on a high-carb diet with carb loading around the workout days will yield great results. Yes, you absolutely can lose fat and build muscle following a low-carb diet, but you’ll make faster progress if you follow a high-carb diet instead. Now don’t take that as a green-light to stuff your face with pasta, bread, and all sorts of other carb-heavy foods.

      Let’s examine Glycogen – a multibranched polysaccharide of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage in humans. Muscle glycogen is a form of carbohydrate that’s stored in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is the primary source of fuel during exercise, and low glycogen levels decreases your ability to gain strength and muscle. The best way to maintain high levels of muscle glycogen is to eat a high-carb diet, with around 1 to 3 grams of carbs per pound of body weight.

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      The time of ingestion of a carbohydrate supplement on muscle glycogen storage post exercise was examined in a study with twelve male cyclists that exercised continuously for 70 min on a cycle ergometer at 68% VO2max, interrupted by six 2-min intervals at 88% VO2max, on two separate occasions. The results suggest that delaying the ingestion of a carbohydrate supplement post-exercise will result in a reduced rate of muscle glycogen storage.

      How to Gain Muscle Fast?

      If you want to gain muscle as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible, then you want high muscle glycogen levels. Here’s a few effective approaches to building muscle:

      Muscle Growth and Glycogen Levels

      The primary driver of gaining muscle and its growth is progressive tension overload, which involves exposing your muscles to increasingly greater levels of tension over time. The most effective way to achieve this is to get as strong as possible on heavy compound lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift, over head press, bent over barbell rows..etc).

      When you keep glycogen levels high, you’re going to gain strength faster, which means gaining muscle faster, too. Having higher levels of muscle glycogen will more than likely help you build muscle faster.

      Maintaining high muscle glycogen levels also improves post-workout genetic signaling relating to muscle growth and repair.

      Muscle Recovery and Glycogen Levels

      Not only do higher muscle glycogen levels yield quicker strength gains, it will also improve recovery between workouts.

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      On the contrary, low muscle glycogen levels are associated with overtraining, and even increasingly popular low-carb diets, which deplete muscle glycogen. Low glycogen levels also increase cortisol and reduce testosterone levels in athletes, which is a key component needed for building muscle.

      Those on a low-carb diets also have reduced insulin levels. Insulin, in addition to helping store nutrients, also has powerful anti-catabolic properties. Basically insulin decreases the rate at which muscle proteins are broken down, which in turn creates a more anabolic environment conducive to muscle growth and development.

      Intermittent Fasting (“IF”) and Testosterone

      Fasting is not just a beneficial way to manage your weight, caloric intake, and start shredding as I have indicated in previous articles. Some research shows that fasting can be a source of strength enhancement and increases in testosterone stimulation.

      As humans age metabolism slows and testosterone production decreases, this simply means that the body will no longer be able to work as efficiently as it did in earlier years. This is one of the primary reasons why you should take more care to your diet.

      Research has shown that intermittent fasting can enhance the ability to secrete growth hormone in the body.[1] This is one of the primary reasons why IF is one of the preferred dietary habits of bodybuilders and strength athletes such as myself, whom will utilize an approach that emphasizes fasting phases (2 of 7 days of the week for example).

      Research has also shown that IF can increase the bodies ability to signal luteinizing hormone.[2] In non-obese men, an intermittent fasting testosterone study showed that IF increased LH (luteinizing hormone – a testosterone precursor hormone) up to 67% and overall testosterone 180%.

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      Luteinizing hormone is one that works in both men and women to enhance our ability to be sexually active and productive. In women, luteinizing hormone can trigger ovulation, and in men, works to stimulate testosterone.

      Intermittent fasting also increases levels of a hormone called adiponectin. This increase in adiponectin during the fast helps improve insulin sensitivity. Adiponectin is so effective, in fact, that it’s been shown to reverse insulin resistance in mice.

      Gaining Muscle and Macro Nutrients – Protein!

      Something that absolutely cannot go overlooked is the protein consumption. Personally, I believe protein should be primarily consumed in food, however if looking to gain muscle, it can often be quite difficult to hit daily macro nutrient requirements.

      If one is to build muscle consistently a general rule of thumb is to aim for 1-1.5grams of protein per pound of body weight on a daily basis. So as a 200lb man I would be needing to consume 200grams – 250grams of protein per day. I would aim for the higher consumption on days when very active and training.

      As I’m sure you’re aware, it can often be quite difficult to consume that much protein, especially in food! It’s in these cases where supplementing protein isn’t a bad idea and I have discussed in great detail the different types of protein in previous articles.

      Generally speaking, I lean towards Whey Protein Isolate, or non-dairy options such as Hemp Protein, or Pea Protein. As of late I have been waking up every morning and consuming one scoop of Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Bovines from grass-fed beef. Collagen peptides are highly bioavailable and act as building blocks; renewing bodily tissues such as skin, bones and joints.[3]

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      Collagen peptides may act as a messenger to the cells and trigger the synthesis and reorganization of new collagen fibers, thereby supporting tissue structure. Consuming protein such as Collagen in the morning is beneficial as the stomachs acids are needed to optimally break-down and absorb protein.

      Though this has been a topic of great debate, I also firmly believe adequate carbohydrates are required to build muscle, especially if you are exercising/training often. With all the low-carb movements floating around the internet, there’s lots of misinformation. Muscle-building requires energy which is typically through an increased intake of carbohydrates.

      Yes to gain mass, you have to ensure you’re consuming enough protein to rebuild muscle tissue damaged from training; but also consider carbohydrates because gaining size requires filling your muscles with glycogen as we discussed earlier in this article.

      Conclusion

      If you’re serious about gaining muscle fast the healthy way, it requires commitment and consistency. You will need to exercise and I highly suggest you download MyFitnessPal to track progress, set goals, and maintain diet.

      It’s also motivational because you can find like-minded people in the fitness community, or encourage your friends to download the app as well and follow each other. I personally did this when I was losing weight and gaining muscle, and it was a blast to see my own progress and that of people I care about.

      As always I’m not just here to write about the steps you need to take, I’m also here to help! You can message me anytime or email me with any questions you may have. I’m more than happy to assist with your muscle building and weight loss goals!

      Featured photo credit: Arthur Edelman via how to gain muscle fast

      Reference

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