Crush your Fitness Goals with the right Equipment and Supplements
If you’re anything like me, you want to be the very best at anything you do. Like Ash Ketchum, this might be a noble idea, but how do you see it through to fruition? In the fitness and health world, you might be prone to think that if we only had that one piece of exercise equipment for your home gym, or those new supplements, then you’d see the gains that you really wanted. The reality is that it’s not about the supplements OR the equipment, but about your attitude.
In this blog post, I want to share my personal experience, as well as what I’ve learned from reputable sources like Renaissance Periodization, Jeff Nippard, as well as Mike Mathews at Muscle for Life, to explain why having the right attitude is more important than having the right equipment and supplements for success in fitness and training. Buuuuuuut not to get too far from the title, I’ll then tell you how I decided on the right equipment and supplements to use.
It’s not about the gear
The key to success in fitness is having the right attitude and approach to your training. To be successful, you need to be consistent, dedicated, and disciplined. But wait? We didn’t say how many squats, curls, or deadlifts you need to do, or on what machines, or even how much creatine to take?!?!? Outrageous!! We’ll certainly get there in due time, but for now let’s start with the basics.
With the right attitude, you can make progress with little or no equipment, and without expensive supplements. I have seen progress with only bodyweight exercises, a few pieces of equipment, and just a few nutritional supplements. Achieving your fitness and health goals is not about having the latest, most expensive equipment and supplements, but about having the right attitude.
Creating a plan is important, but it is also critical to remember that your plan should be flexible and tailored to your individual needs. You need to be mindful of your body and adjust your plan as needed. Finally, remember that consistency is key. You need to stay consistent with your plan and be dedicated and disciplined to see the progress that you want.
Ok, so what gear and supplements
Now that we have discussed the importance of attitude and consistency, we can now talk about the equipment and supplements that can help you reach your goals. The right equipment and supplements can make your workouts more effective and help you reach your goals faster.
When choosing equipment, it is important to consider your budget and the types of activities you want to do. For example, if you are looking to build strength, you may want to invest in barbells, benches, and weights. For cardio, you may want to invest in a treadmill or an elliptical.
For me, this was a journey from the gym to home gym throughout 2020 and 2021. I started with nothing, and slowly built up what I could find and what I thought would help me at the stage of training that i was at.
To get started you really only need two things, some dumbbells and some bands. The dumbbells give you a great constant tension for work and the bands allow you to work as hard as you like. I even have a friend who for a few years ONLY used bands and was what we’d call “shredded.” It’s not the equipment, it’s the attitude, but these will certainly help.
I started with just film sand bags and some bands. Everything else could not be purchased as it was out of stock due to the COVID gym equipment demand of 2020. From there I was able to pick up the selectable dumbbells from Bowflex and that was what I had for at least 6 months.
If you’re going with regular dumbbells you may want to get three different sets, a light, a medium, and a heavy set. This way you can do high volume low weight and lower volume with higher weight, giving you a multitude of options for all your training needs.
You absolutely don’t have to get the dumbbells new and in fact I recommend you check out Facebook Marketplace. You can get a lot of equipment from FBM. The bands I’d definitely recommend getting from Amazon since you don’t want used bands because they do break.
- Resistance bands
- Dumbbells or Selectable Dumbbells (like from Bowflex 10-90 that i have or the smaller 552, or the Power Block aka toasters)
You’re ready for the next step when you’re getting tired of using bands and dumbbells, your gains have slowed, or you’ve trained long enough that those around you are ok with you spending more money. Once people realized they were going to train, supply of strength training equipment increased and I was able to buy more pieces of equipment to give me more training flexibility.
- Squat Rack & Barbell & Weights
- The world is now your oyster. You can do all the big moves with lots of weight: Deadlifts, Squats, and Bench Presses.
- You can also use the rack to attach bands and do moves at different angles.
- I use this Sunny Health and Fitness squat rack because it was the right price and the right function.
- There’s so many options for barbells, you’ll likely end up with a few for different purposes
- For the weights, i’ve bought them from everyone Rogue, Rep Fitness, Walmart, Dicks Sporting Goods, wherever you can find something that looks right and fits the price. I have yet to come across cheap ones that are bad so just use your best judgement.
- To go along with your new rack. This also allows different types of rows, skullcrushers and other isolation exercises that are tough to do on the ground.
- I’ve gone through a few of these through the years, here’s a bench that looks solid and will likely be my next purchase
- Safety Equipment
- At this point too you’ll likely want to get items that hep you lift safely. They can help you get your form correct, and save you from injury if something goes wrong:
Ok, now you’ve been doing this for years and you want to be more efficient. You’re tired of trying to do legs without a good cable machine, and the varieties of other exercises just aren’t cutting it. Well now it’s time to get a few more pieces to round out your growing collection.
I’ll likely be here now forever, unless I decide to sell everything and start training for a sumo competition. The balance I need to make is still quite the same: budget vs. training flexibility vs. space vs. the wife’s patience.
- Marcy Bench
- To really dial in those leg extensions and curls. When i picked this up I immediately started seeing more definition in my quads, glutes and hamstrings.
- Cable System
- The one i use requires barbell weights, but it get’s you into all the cable work you could want: rows, face pulls, pulldowns, cable curls. All the new things. It’s fantastic to be able to add cable work into the mix.
- Glute Ham Raise
- Now we’re really getting into accessory work. This is one machine that was cheap enough that i didn’t mind picking it up to get better isolation on my lower back work. I love glute ham raises and doing them from a normal bench was just awkward.
- Leg Press
- This is my next buy. I want something that attaches to my rack like the Titan Leg Press attachment, BUT IT’S NOT IN STOCK ANYWHERE. I’ll likely just wait.
- This will get me back into doing big leg presses for those max gains!
When it comes to supplements, it is important to do research and make sure that you are buying from reputable sources. Supplements can help you reach your goals faster, but they are not essential. You will still see progress without them. Supplements do, in fact, only make up a small percentage of what is impactful/important to your fitness and diet needs.
For supplements, there’s not a lot of science supporting the myriad of products that you could buy. There is good science, however, with the following three supplements. I’d consider these the gold standard of supplements. We won’t have three levels of supplement recommendations like we did for equipment because after these base items, it’s mostly anecdotal and not scientifically proven whether other things work or not.
From the beginning I’ve taken these supplements so it’s hard to say what it would have been like without. Protein powder is an absolute necessity so I don’t break the bank eating the protein I need. Creatine is well-supported in the literature so it’s a cheap no-brainer. Caffeine is something I love and can definitely feel the difference in my workout when I properly dose before I train.
- Protein Powder
- The king of lifting supplements? Why? Because often it’s hard and expensive to get all the protein that you need for your daily macros without supplementing.
- There are so many different kinds though, quick digesting whey, slow digesting casein, quick digesting hydrolyzed casein, plant protein, enough to make your head spin.
- For the simplest most nutrient form, you can look for whey isolate any label. I typically get the Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Ice Cream Gold Standard Whey from Costco (they have a big bag for cheap). I have started dabbling in making my own with protein from Bulk Supplements.
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Proven time and time again to increase muscle size (more fluid in the muscle) as well as increase your contraction or strength, due to it’s ability to donate a phosphate molecule to the depleted ADP (adenosine diphosphate) turning it back to ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is used by your muscles for contracting.
- Nothing special here, i actually make sure to get around 5g a day. I do this by adding an appropriate amount of Bulk Supplements Creatine into whatever pre-workout flavor-of-the-day that I’m drinking.
- Choose your poison, err flavor, err you get it. That little kick in the morning with that first cup of coffee, or the mental clarity after a lunch that would normally leave you sleepy. The benefits are many but more-so they are proven.
- The larger effect can be observed in endurance sports, but in strength and power sports it’s shown to increase muscle strength and power.
- Aside from muscle adaptation, I find that being adequately caffeinated for a strength training session allows for mental clarity and greater focus.
So, have we convinced you yet? You can make do with a little or a lot if you have the right mindset and stick to it. In case it isn’t clear, you should never let not having a piece of equipment stop you from the gains, the only thing that can stop you is your own mind.
But wait? I’m not selling anything?!? Nope. I just hope that the information I’ve learned over these last few years can help the next guy or gal achieve their goals. Aaand if you get bored and want to hang and watch me train, check me out at The Bit Life Show on Twitch Mon-Fri 5:45am – 7:00am.
You’ll notice i don’t cite studies directly. Instead, I review content from the PhD’s and MD’s who study the studies and do their own analysis and review of the content. But don’t take my word for it, read those articles and follow the studies they cite to determine the quality of the information we’re pulling together for you here.
- Perfecting Protein Intake For Athletes: How Much, What, And When? (And Beyond) – July 5, 2017 – Jorn Tromelen
- The Definitive Diet Setup Guide: How to Build And Adjust A Smart Nutrition Plan – September 20, 2021 – Eric Trexler
- Not Another Boring Creatine Guide: Answers To FAQs And Lesser-Known Benefits – February 25, 2019 – Eric Trexler
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CREATINE – by Tiago Vasconcelos, RP Research Editor | Sep 18, 2018
- 4 Caffeine Benefits & BS “Facts” That Justify Your Addiction – by Michael Matthews
- The Lifter’s Guide To Caffeine – by Eric Trexler, June 24 2019
- Effects of caffeine intake on muscle strength and power: a systematic review and meta-analysis – J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018; 15: 11.