Going Minimal: Unnecessary Fitness Aids & The Highly Equipped Warriors

Time to get some work done. Gloves? Check. Shin Guards? Check. Shoes? Check. Special Apparel? Check. Knee braces? Check. Tape? Check. Bands? Check. No offense to the Highly Equipped Warriors out there, but sometimes I wonder what we are really training for.

Go for a walk on the beach and you see all sort of Highly Equipped Fitness Enthusiasts. As a personal trainer and also one of these guys, but much more favorable to a minimalist approach, I do know how great is that feeling of getting new brand stuff, some nice headphones, your favorite super hero spandex (well... I got mine), Olympic lifting shoes, Vibrams, nice tunes, a new pre, intra or post training workout, some compression sleeves, snickers, boots, shirts with different stamps saying how hard you work out and that your training is my warm up (feeling evil today), gym bags, shakers, you choose. Think about something and the Industry will probably have it already invented for us.

Considering we are free folks taking our own decisions, the Industry in fact is not our enemy. We decide how deep we want to go as consumers and how dependent we are willing to become from it. However, are we being fair enough to also reflect a little bit about everything we have been drinking, wearing, eating and even representing when we like and share pictures, logos and hashtags?

We could extend the subject to a huge array of content and possibilities, but keeping my focus in helping you achieve better Fitness, and considering higher levels of Fitness simply as increased work capacity across different domains and variants of life (performance when working out, controling anxiety towards food, better self-control, improved planing skills, less unecessary arguments and more comon sense, improved skills when saving and managing money...) I would like to leave some effective tips for improving your Health, and avoiding situations like this:

6:15 am Your phone is ringing, you get up to answer it:

- Hey you, me Hulk. Hulk needs help, you lift stone top of Hulk and Hulk smash Ultron.

You freeze, thinking about the green gentleman asking for help, then you answer:

- Sorry Hulk today is Sunday, I forgot my weightlifting shoes in the gym and I just realized I got no chalk in my gym bag. Would you please hold there till tomorrow?

1) Get Rid of So Many High Heels and Shoes in General. Find two or three pairs which assist you in all your daily activities without masking any of your weaknesses. I would suggest good grip, flat platform, less cushioned shoes which bring you as close to your natural barefoot condition as possible while still offering protection. There is no technology so far that was able to imitate the several bones, arches, ligaments, muscles, joints which compose our feet, which are also as unique as our faces and digital. Think twice before putting so much money on them. And regarding to Olympic weightlifting shoes, unless you are lifting Hulk (twice your body weight or more) with perfect technique, as a trainer, I would not allow them in our sessions.

2) Get Rid of the Cool Aids. The body is 80% made of water. So drink at least 1 liter for every 20 kg of body weight. If you do sweat lots and exercise for long hours, then drink more water and eat more over the course of the day before opting for protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and mineral enriched drinks. When doing so, count on a professional before putting big bucks on supplements.

3) Strip the Gloves, Sleeves, Braces and Belts Out. You got your hands ripped while performing pull-ups; you wear knee braces for not hurting your knees when squatting; you wear a belt for deadlifts... And you want to tell me you have been training FUNCTIONALLY??? Okay then. There is a friend of mine who is a hundred years old and she is as functional as you when she gets around with her walker. Unless you are into competing and your form is nearly perfect, joining this club is not synonym for optimal Health & Fitness.

4) No Sauna Suits Please. Sweating does not mean you are burning more calories. Athletes may use it to reach their desired weight class for competing, but for most of us, the best advise is keeping away from sauna suits (unless you really want to look like a beetroot wrapped in aluminum foil).

5) Eat Food, Reconsider All the Capsules and Powders. My days a few years ago would consist of: colostrum, beta alanine, cartinine, green tea extract, maca powder, guarana, Tribulus Terrestris, creatine, glucosamine, espressos, glutamine, bcaa, fish oil, Supergreens, whey protein, citruline malate, casein, Vitargo, dextrose, maltodextrin, Animal Packs, vitamin D, probiotics, resveratrol and ZMA. What I learned is that, unless you take time to understand energy balance and personal macro-nutrient and micro-nutrient needs, none of these supplements will make sense. I am stronger and healthier than I have ever been in my life and from this big list, now I only use a protein supplement (whey, plant-based or albumine), BCAA (mainly for fasting days), green tea and espressos (for some fun) and fish oil (for getting my Spider-Man-Sense and Spider-Man-Joints).

In a world where Fitness stands for Health as much as it stands for business, we should keep an eye in our Financial Fitness, that one that relates better to our wallets. Keep Strong. And Minimalist.