The right tools can go a long way in helping you reach your fitness goals faster. By determining what you need and when you need it, you can meet those goals without blowing your budget. Below, we’re sharing our top five pieces to help you get fit this year, and—if you want to spread out those purchases—suggested timing for when to get each one.
The TRX Suspension Trainer
While it’s the most expensive item on this list, ($199.95), it’s also the most versatile. The Suspension Trainer is your fitness security blanket: it will travel with you everywhere. It’s light, portable, easy to set up, and it will work all the major muscle groups. That may sound like a lot of promise packed into one box, but keep in mind that the Suspension Trainer was created by a Navy SEAL who needed to stay mission-ready when deployed in remote locations: this is a tool that delivers results.
As part of the Home2 System, you get both the Suspension Trainer, and one year’s access to the TRX App, which includes a variety of workouts programmed by the top trainers in the world. (Yoga, running, HIIT—it’s all in the app!) When you’re adopting a new fitness routine, it’s one of the smartest buys you can make.
Timing of purchase: ASAP
To own a foam roller is to both love and hate a foam roller. On the love side: foam rolling before and/or after a workout can alleviate muscle pain, release knots, shorten recovery speeds, and improve your flexibility and mobility. On the hate side: until you get into a regular foam rolling practice—and sometimes, still, after that point—foam rolling hurts. Think of it in the same way as getting a sports therapy massage: the act of releasing muscle knots can be really painful. The benefit of a foam roller over a massage therapist? It’s much cheaper and you don’t need an appointment to get relief.
Timing of purchase: ASAP, or month two of your workout routine
There comes a time in every fitness fanatic’s life when he or she realizes, “Bicycle crunches on the floor are not very comfortable.” Whether you’re doing yoga, bodyweight floorwork, HIIT intervals, or TRX plank exercises, you won’t regret treating yourself to an exercise mat. They’re inexpensive, and they make exercises on the floor more comfortable.
Timing of purchase: month three
If you’re looking for extra intensity in your workouts, exercise bands ($4.95) are a cheap way to increase your burn. They’re simple to set up and ideal for rehabilitation, stretching, mobility, resistance, functional training and weightlifting. Bands are great on their own for working your adductors—the muscles on the side of your legs—or you can add bands to your regular Suspension Trainer workout to take your workout to the next level.
Timing of purchase: month six
When it come to weights, kettlebells are a favorite because they’re incredibly versatile: use them for squats, swings, overhead presses, Turkish get-ups, and more. At home or in the gym, you could do a full-body workout with just a kettlebell, or progress your Suspension Trainer workout by adding kettlebells to moves like lunges and TRX sit-ups. Kettlebell prices vary by weight, but you can find light ones, (around 4 kg or approximately 9 pounds) for about $35 and heavy bells, (24 kg or approximately 53 pounds) for about $120.
Timing of purchase: month nine
From the must-have all-level tools like the Suspension Trainer to advanced weights like the kettlebells, these five pieces will outfit your compact home gym to keep you working toward your fitness goals all year long, rain or shine. Prefer to make all your fitness purchases at once? Splurge on the TRX Infinity Gym, (regularly $699.95) and add a mat and a foam roller to your order. With a variety of bands, balls, the Suspension Trainer and the TRX Rip Trainer included, you'll be able to create thousands of fresh new workouts for years to come.