Fitness experts share what you really need to work out

kettlebellWhen you’re trying to get back on track with your physical fitness, sometimes the most intimidating part isn’t starting the workout, but navigating the aisles of the local sporting goods store.

Should you invest in a treadmill? What about all those fancy moisture-wicking shirts? Do you really need a heart monitor?

To stop you from breaking a sweat before you get your heart rate up, we checked in with local fitness experts to get their take on the must-have gear and what to leave on the shelf.

Sheron Smith, instructor at Crossfit Hanover

What you need

Kettlebells are Smith’s single favorite piece of equipment because they’re so versatile.

Under Armour Women's Twisted Tech T-Shirt24.99 at Dick's Sporting Goods“There’s a lot of different workouts you can do with them and you can use them anywhere,” she said. At her gym, they use Rogue brand kettlebells, but she says you can find other fine brands at Dick’s Sporting Goods starting at $25. There’s no need to spend more on a name brand, she said, although she’s not as keen on the models that you fill with sand to create the weight that you want.

“I don’t know that I would like the shift in the weight as the sand moves around.”

Anyone interested in using kettlebells should seek professional training on the correct way to use them to prevent injuries, she added.

Smith also suggests getting a good jump rope — she said you can find good Nike models at Dick’s or if you want to make more of an investment, you can pick up a Buddy Lee, the model most Crossfit instructors use.

When it comes to apparel she’s partial to the moisture-wicking gear from Under Armor.

What you don’t need

A barbell with weights and a weight bench.

“People put them in their home gyms and I think that’s scary because if they’re just starting out and trying to workout at home, they can hurt themselves really bad,” she says.

Rebecca Rohland, healthy lifestyles coordinator at the YMCA of York and York County

What you need

foam“First off, you have to have a positive attitude,” she said. After that, a water bottle (she likes a 32-ounce Nalgene bottle), a pair of sneakers (don’t spend too much, she said — a bigger price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a better shoe) and a foam roller for massaging your muscles after a workout, are all useful.

What you don’t need

“A lot of people will go out and buy weight-training gloves,” she said, which are unnecessary unless you’re a bodybuilder or dedicated trainer. “For basic weight training, you’re not going to need them.”

In addition, skip the protein powders and fancy supplements and just stick to a nutritious diet. Finally, there’s no need to go out and buy a new fitness wardrobe — chances are you’re going to go to the gym three or four times a week, so just buy three sets of clothes and wash every week.

Scott Mackie, manager, Strictly Fitness

What you need

Omron HR-210 Strap Free Heart Rate MonitorRetails for 49 available amazonMackie believes that people wanting to start a fitness routine can skip investing in expensive home gym equipment and instead focus on walking and weight-resistance training like pushups and pull-ups.

“You can’t get much better than free,” he said.

The most important thing to do is move. “The average person in 1900 in this country walked six miles a day and today it’s less than one a day,” he said. “That’s sad for creatures that were meant to move.”

In addition, anybody older than 40 should own a heart monitor.

One of the biggest problems that people have when they decide to take on the challenge of getting back in shape is that they work too hard or they don’t work hard enough, Mackie said. A heart monitor will help you stay in the appropriate range — working hard, but not overdoing it.

What you don’t need

Steer clear of home gym equipment that’s not as durable as what you’d find at a professional gym and can be difficult and confusing to maintain.

Mindy Quesenberry, director of Phases Fitness at Heritage Hills Athletic Club

What you need

stability ball“I’m a weight-lifting girl,” she said. “Especially for women … as we get older we’re trying to ward off osteoporosis.”

Quesenberry said that while cardio is great for your heart and good for people who are overweight, weight training is the best way to burn calories.

For at-home fitness, she recommends a stability ball and the TRX Suspension Trainer.

What you don’t need

“A ton of people I always hear buying treadmills for their home and they always end up being a clothing rack,” Quesenberry said. At-home gym equipment is only useful if people are dedicated and diligent about using it, she added. Instead, she recommends using that money toward a gym membership where you’ll find community and support.

Zach Detwiler, fitness center manager, York JCC

What you need

TRX Suspension Trainer Home$199.95“Here at the gym my favorite piece of equipment is the TRX suspension trainer,” Detwiler said. “It’s user-friendly and easy to learn.”

Developed by a Navy Seal, the TRX is a strap with two handles that can be hung from any support structure and leverages gravity and body weight for a full-body workout.

Detwiler recommends that first-time users work with a trainer to learn proper form, technique and frequency. He likes that it’s adjustable to any level of difficulty and that it’s affordable — around $200 — compared to other types of home-gym equipment.

What you don’t need

Detwiler was hesitant to pinpoint any one thing to skip when it comes to a fitness routine.

“I think anything — any program — can work, it’s just a matter of starting slow at your own level,” he said. Beginners who are trying a new routine risk burning out or injury if they start at a higher difficulty level then they’re ready for.

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