When it comes to fitness, I’m somewhat of a minimalist. And I designed the Total Body Reboot program specifically so that my clients wouldn’t need a bunch of equipment to be successful.
I will preface this — as I always do — by reminding you that body composition is 80% determined by what you eat. So yes, the tools below will help you get lean, but only if your nutrition is dialed in.
Does this list look a little short? It’s probably because the gym industry has spent billions of dollars insisting that you need dozens of pieces of equipment, their membership, and countless other as-seen-on-tv products to get lean and fit. It’s just not true.
I love it when Rebooters find freedom in the fact that they can reach all of their goals without gym memberships, tons of equipment, and gimmick products. Getting lean is simple — let’s strive to not complicate it!
Essential Tool #1: Vibram Five Fingers
There are a few things you’re going to be doing on your journey to a lean body that require shoes. The problem is that shoes are a main contributing cause of foot, ankle, knee and back pain, and injury.
The ideal shoe protects the foot from cuts and other injuries without changing the way the foot functions. “Support” and “cushion” force the foot to function differently than it was designed, causing the muscles in the foot to atrophy.
This weakness over time causes muscles and tendons upstream from the foot to compensate, which leads to pain and injury all the way up to the hips and lower back. Our goal is to increase our mobility and functional movement, not decrease it. So you have to lose the shoes!
Vibram Five Fingers is a minimalist shoe that protects the foot without unintended consequences like screwing your whole movement system up.
Caution: Switching from shoes to Vibram Five Fingers requires an adjustment period as the atrophied muscles in your lower body work to get stronger. Ease into them or you’ll cause more problems.
Essential Tool #2: The Ultimate Sandbag
There’s truly nothing better for shedding fat and changing body composition than lifting heavy shit. Unfortunately, the gym industry has everyone stuck in the mindset that heavy shit only exists in gyms.
On top of that, gyms insist you need personal trainers to teach you dozens of complex exercises or to continuously design new programs for you to “keep your muscles guessing.”
If you had an inkling that it was all bullshit, you win the prize: freedom from that nonsense.
You don’t need all the bells — barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc. — and whistles — that loudmouth trainer — to get a lean body. You only need one tool — the Ultimate Sandbag.
The Ultimate Sandbag gives you the ability to do 99% of all the stuff you can do with a barbell or dumbbell along with a ton of other functional movements. It also makes training safer.
Another great thing about the sandbag is that you can easily make it heavier as you progress without having to buy more equipment (heavier dumbbells, more plates, heavier kettlebells, etc.)
Oh, and you can use it anywhere: at home, at the beach, at the office — freedom. If walking, sprinting, and hiking weren’t so important, this would have been my number one tool.
Essential Tool #3: Onnit Pullup Bar
There’s one functional movement that you just can’t do optimally with any other piece of equipment and that’s pull ups.
I used to hate pull ups — mostly because they make you feel like you’re on Team Soft in the beginning. What grown ass man can’t lift his own body weight? Yeah — that’s the type of stuff that goes through your head.
But when you train them consistently, pull ups put you in Beast Mode.
I mentioned earlier that the sandbag was the only tool you need. And I stand behind that, because you can do pull ups on a big tree branch or at any playground near your house (don’t be the sketchy guy though) — no equipment needed.
But if you want to make it more convenient, pick up the Onnit Pull Up Bar. Easy and effective.
Essential Tool #4: LeanZFOsports Adjustable Weighted VestThere is one problem with some of the basic functional movements like pull ups and pushups: the less you weigh the less work your muscles have to do. And as you get stronger, it’s counterproductive to get heavier just to make the workouts harder.
We’re always trying to push more weight because pushing more weight activates more muscle fibers and releases more of the chemicals that cause our bodies to change.
A weight vest makes adding weight to basic exercises very easy. A good weight vest will be adjustable using small weight pockets that enable you to remove or add weight. This is quick, easy, and effective (are you starting to see a trend here?).
Once you’ve mastered the bodyweight pull up, add the weight vest to really make gains. Why do ten bodyweight pull ups when you can throw on a weight vest and be hitting failure by the fourth or fifth rep and engaging more of those muscle fibers?
Essential Tool #5: The GRID
If there’s one piece of advice I could give you about training, it’s to learn how to recover from training and to prepare your body for more optimal training in the future.
It’s so important that I dedicated an entire stage of Total Body Reboot to it.
One of my favorite mobility and recovery tools is Trigger Point Therapy’s “The GRID” Foam Roller. There’s countless types of foam rollers out there, but the GRID has specific differences that really make it appealing.
For one, it’s the perfect size to do the work on your body without being cumbersome. It’s easy to travel with. It’s hollow, so you can stuff things inside it in your suitcase like t-shirts. And it’s effective.
The GRID and some lacrosse balls is a basic mobility and recovery package that everyone should have.
If you’re not doing mobility and recovery work on your body daily, I guarantee your workouts aren’t optimal and you’re at greater risk for injury. Don’t be suboptimal, it’s not sexy.
These are my five essentials, but that doesn’t mean they’re the holy grail. If you have a favorite tool in your arsenal be sure to tell us in the comments!
Photo Credit: cszar