I’ve never been a fan of fancy equipment. If I’m going to exercise I want the three Es: effectiveness, efficiency, and excitement. In this way, I’m very minimalist when it comes to staying fit and healthy.
If it’s not effective, it’s a waste of time. I need to see results in strength, speed, agility, and so on.
If it’s not efficient, it’s not for me. There’s a lot of exercises that can get results but they take too long, are unsafe, require fancy equipment, or require a lot more effort for what you get in return. With this mindset, I’ve been able to keep all my workouts under 20 minutes and maintain results I’m happy with.
If it’s not exciting, I’m not going to stick with it. I already don’t like to exercise and I’m really busy as an entrepreneur, husband, and father. I need something that motivates me and calls my name.
With all that said, here’s the 10 tools I constantly put to use in my life.
The Fitness Tools
Notice there’s only three. That’s because I use tools that cover a variety of needs. With these three tools you can do every functional movement needed to reach just about any fitness goal you have (even for most weekend warrior athletes).
1. The Ultimate Sandbag
It’s called the Ultimate Sandbag for a reason. It literally does everything. It’s so versatile and unique that I designed the entire 8 week Transformational Strength Training program (inside of Total Body Reboot) around it.
The program is based on six functional movements using interval style training with the Ultimate Sandbag only. And get this: no workout is longer than 20 minutes. The results you get with this in strength, agility, and body composition are second to none.
Update: I now prefer the Onnit Battle Bag.
When I’m not using the ultimate sandbag for resistance training, I’m using a kettlebell. It’s functional and you can perform many different exercises with it.
The ultimate sandbag isn’t missing anything, it’s just nice to mix things up once in a while and the kettlebell is an excellent alternative.
3. Sandbells (for travel)
I can’t take kettlebells with me when I travel and the Ultimate Sandbag is pretty bulky, even when empty. Enter the Sandbell.
The Sandbell is a mix between the kettlebell and the Ultimate Sandbag. When empty, it’s perfect for travel.
I wouldn’t recommend it for really short trips (unless you’re going to the beach) because it’s still a hassle to find sand and fill it up, but if you know you have access to an easy sand source, take it!
Get a Sandbell! →
There’s two types of footwear I switch between. One is more geared toward high performance and the other is for everyday wear and walking.
I’m not a fan of running, but I’m huge into walking due to the immense mental and physical benefits. And because it’s what the human body was designed to do in large doses!
4. Vibram FiveFingers
These are my active fitness and sports shoes. If you see me out doing sprints, outdoor fitness, or playing flag football — I’m in these.
There’s been some controversy around these shoes lately as Vibram just settled a lawsuit. I’m on record with the position that the lawsuit was completely frivolous and those who brought the suit against Vibram are naive people with weak ass feet.
With that said, ease into them because you can’t quickly jump from a normal shoe to these, especially if you’re a runner. Your feet will need time to regain the strength they lost due to wearing normal shoes. Transition slowly.
These are my walking and every day shoes. They’re built to make sure the natural function of the foot is not inhibited, which is the most important aspect of a shoe.
It’s not uncommon for me to walk — intentionally — up to five miles a day. I try to stay barefoot as much as possible, but when I’m out and about I need an every day shoe that doesn’t screw up my feet. These are the ones. They have some pretty sexy styles too.
The Recovery Tools
If your heart is beating and you’re not performing self-physical therapy daily, then you’re doing life wrong. This is so important that I created an entire module on it inside of Total Body Reboot (which up to this point is the only program I know of that teaches self-physical therapy as part of an overall health and fitness curriculum).
Self physical therapy is about joint mobilization and muscle recovery. It’s about undoing the bad stuff that modern life and poor positioning do to us on a daily basis. It alleviates pain, improves performance, and decreases the risk of injury.
6. The GRID
Foam rollers are old school and most are too soft (especially the more you use them). The GRID is a very firm roller that doesn’t lose its intensity. I roll my entire body with this thing daily.
The best part is that it’s hollow, so when I travel I can easily stuff t-shirts, my lacrosse ball (see below), and even my Aeropress (also below) inside it. That’s fitness minimalism at its finest.
7. Lacrosse Balls
I have a few lacrosse balls in different rooms of my house and ALWAYS take one with me when I travel. If you know how to use it, it’s like having a massage therapist on-call at all times. Except it’s like $3.95 instead of $80 an hour.
If you’re not tracking your blood markers, then you’re missing out on the only way to objectively verify that you’re improving your health and staying away from common fitness danger zones (like increased inflammation).
The good news is that the technology is now available for you to easily do this.
The Lifestyle Tools
REAL health and fitness is about down time, rest, and recovery. And coffee.
Here’s two tools I adore: one I’ve been using for a long time and one I recently got that I’m loving the crap out of.
9. ENO Portable Hammock
So, I just recently got one of these. My buddy Evan Brand had one when we were at PaleoFX.
This is a hammock that comes in a small bag a little bigger than your hand. It’s super portable and lightweight.
For instant relaxation, reading, or sleeping you find two trees that are relatively close together and you have an instant hammock. It’s perfection.
10. Aero Press Coffee Maker
I’ve been using this bad boy for a while now. It’s two pieces of plastic with a little rubber. It’s made extremely well (read: indestructible).
It’s about the easiest and most delicious way to make coffee that I know of. You put a circular filter in the bottom, you put the grinds in, you pour your hot water in, you insert the plunger part into the top, you wait 30 seconds, and then you press down on the plunger and you have amazing coffee.
I don’t know what else to say. Again, it’s perfection. And it’s perfect for travel. Rinse both pieces with water when you’re done and you’re ready to go again. It has over 2000 five star reviews on Amazon.
Well, that’s MY list. But, what about you? Picked up any cool/favorite stuff since starting your journey? Let me hear about it in the comments!