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It’s easy to use a new fitness routine as an excuse to go out and buy a bunch of shiny new equipment and accessories.
Maybe these new workout clothes will motivate me to get out for a run? Or maybe if I have a whole set of dumbbells at home I’ll be more likely to work out all the time.
The reality is that for the most part, you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment or an excessive home gym setup to reach your goals - these are often a waste of money, especially if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey.
However there are a few things that might come in handy to allow you to reach your fitness goals - so we’ve put together this guide on equipment and accessories that won’t break the bank.
A simple pair of light dumbbells are perfect for basic strength training. These are great for strengthening and toning your arms and shoulders, but you can also add them to other workouts for extra benefits. Holding one in each hand during squats or lunges can help you keep your balance, and you can even hold them while going for a walk - think Kath and Kel, but without the colourful spandex!
It’s pretty easy to find yourself a set of these from your local fitness/sport store, but places like Kmart, Big W and Target stock these for pretty cheap too. If you’re not sure about investing in weights just yet, look around the house or in the pantry for alternative options, such as a full water bottle or even a family-sized can of baked beans. Using an alternative option first can help you figure out what weight dumbbells you will want to eventually purchase.
If you’re someone that’s interested in regularly lifting weights to gain muscle - hit the gym instead. Dumbbells and other weights get pricier as they get heavier, and a gym membership may work out to be cheaper.
This is another great piece of equipment to own. A foam roller is great for loosening up tight muscles before your exercise, and it’s equally great for the same reason AFTER your workout.
Don’t let the name fool you: foam rollers aren’t soft - they’re designed to be very firm, allowing them to dig into your muscles to release tension. You’ll usually be able to find a few different firmness options on the shelf though, so go for one that you think you’ll prefer.
These are super versatile and can be used across your whole body: there’s a tonne of different foam roller moves you can find online, and depending on the brand you’re buying you might even get a booklet of exercises included with your purchase.
Resistance bands are super versatile and super cheap - these start off at around $6 at Kmart or Big W, and there’s different length/resistance levels to choose from. These are surprisingly effective and challenging, so they’re good value for money.
Just like the name suggests, these are perfect for resistance training and can be added to body workouts for a little extra challenge. You’ll be able to find a range of different resistance band exercises online.
You’re probably wondering why we’re bringing up expensive fitness trackers in an article on accessories that won’t break the bank. Fair point.
Brands like Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung and Apple have turned wearable fitness tracking devices into lifestyle accessories. As a result, a LOT of people have one of these on their wrist every day without taking into consideration how useful the fitness tracking elements of these devices are.
If you’ve got one - whether you wear it daily, or it’s sitting in a drawer - jump online and look into how you can use it to track your specific exercises. This data can be really useful for tracking your progress over time, and you’ll get a lot more info other than just your daily step count.
Don’t have one? Don’t go and buy one unless you really think you’re going to use it or get value out of it.
Scales give you the power to track and monitor your changes through data. Your basic bathroom scale will give your total body weight measurement only. You can find a basic weight-only scale at almost any department or fitness store for reasonable prices that won’t break the bank.
Remember, your body is more than a number. Rather than monitor only your body weight changes, track changes in your fat loss and hydration levels instead.
Tanita offer a range of monitors, starting with the body fat & hydration monitors that measure 3 body composition readings (weight, body fat % and total body water %), and go up to segmental Bluetooth total body composition monitors that record over 26 different total body measurements including the individual muscle mass and body fat readings in your arms, legs and torso.
Whether you’re monitoring changes in just one measurement, or 26, Tanita offers a range of monitors and scales that give you the information you need to track your progress. Check out the range of products to find one that’s perfect for you.
A pair of good quality sneakers is a great investment.
A cheap pair will fall apart pretty quickly if you’re running/walking a lot, so get a pair that’s going to be fine if it takes a beating. Regardless of how quick you are on your feet, these should provide your soles and arches with a good amount of support at all times - this will reduce the likelihood of knee and ankle injuries down the line.
This one is probably the most important accessory you can own - having a bottle of water by your side at all times is the best way to prevent dehydration, and we’re all guilty of not drinking as much water as we should.
Also you’ll look a bit silly knocking back a coffee at the gym, so stick to a bottle of water.
Yes, a gym membership can be a great “accessory” to have.
Workout equipment can be very expensive, and a $30 fortnightly fee that allows you to go whenever you want (sometimes 24 hours) and use whatever equipment you want is way better value for money than trying to build a home gym/fitness area.
It’s also an environment that’s set up specifically for exercising - which means you’re in the zone as soon as you walk in the door: no distractions.
Everything in this list is amazing value without having to shell out a tonne of money.
Think of your equipment and accessories as investments - not expenses.
There’s nothing wrong with buying pricier items, just make sure you ask yourself whether or not you’re truly going to use them. If so - great! If not, stick to this list - your body and wallet will both thank you in the long run.
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