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  • Gift Ideas for the Fitness Lover

    Posted on by Elizabeth Millard




























    When it comes to shopping for fitness fans, it can be challenging to narrow down the choices. In many ways, fitness gifts are tricky because you may not know the recipient’s usual workout style, overall goals, and gym equipment choices. Don’t worry — we have you covered. With this fitness lover gift guide, there’s something for every gym junkie and fitness fanatic, and maybe even a few selections for yourself. 

    FOR THE FREQUENT TRAVELER

    Although many hotels are spiffing up their fitness centers, having more than a wobbly treadmill and a very retro stationary bike isn’t a given. For fitness lovers, that can be a bummer, because there’s likely minimal space in a wheelie bag for workout options. Fortunately, you’ll be a gift-giving superstar with these options, which can both fit comfortably in a carry-on:

    RESISTANCE BANDS

    No need to find a weight rack thanks to this set of four bands, each with a different amount of resistance. They basically become a pocket-sized gym, thanks to being lightweight and compact, but durable enough to be used on an endless amount of hotel workouts. 

    MASSAGE BALL

    After an intense workout with resistance bands, your fitness fan can speed up recovery with the Muscle Max Massage Ball, which has a grooved surface that relieves tightness and offers ultra-deep tissue work. It’s also great for working out the kinks from unfamiliar hotel beds and sitting in conferences all day. Plus, talk about portability — this massage ball can fit in a pocket! 

    FOR THE CROSSFITTER

    Although every CrossFit enthusiast will have access to plenty of equipment in their box of choice, many also like to do “homework” to increase their skills for the next WOD. Not only can these options be used at home, but they can also come along to any CrossFit gym, too:

    PULL UP BANDS

    Doing pull ups is a major part of CrossFit, and using Bionic Flex Pull Up Assistance Bands can take your gift recipient’s pull up to new heights. Unlike the unassisted version of the move, these bands provide resistance throughout the entire movement, offering much more dynamic strength and flexibility. They can also be used for other strength and conditioning moves as well as functional fitness.   

    SPEED ROPE

    Everyone is always looking to perfect those famous CrossFit double unders — a technique that causes you to do two rope rotations within one jump — and a choice like the Sonic Boom M2 Speed Jump Rope can provide some serious speed advantages.

    FOR THE RUNNER

    Whether your recipient runs a marathon every month or just started a couch-to-5K plan, fitness gifts that focus on conditioning and recovery can get them to any goal: 

    COMPRESSION SOCKS

    A choice like Active Fit Compression Socks are a favorite for people like nurses, cashiers, and flight attendants, who are on their feet most of the day. But they’ve also become very popular with runners and other athletes as well, because they provide ankle support and keep legs feeling fresh for longer. Many runners report running better and recovering faster thanks to compression socks. 

    FOAM ROLLER

    Making sure to roll out tight and sore muscles is a must when you’re finished running — or, really, doing any kind of exercise — and the VIBRA Vibrating Foam Roller takes recovery to a whole new level. Powerful pulses work out the tension that comes from an intense workout or long run, which can minimize next-day soreness and improve mobility and flexibility as well. 

    FOR THE ALL-AROUND

    Maybe it’s a bootcamp class this week and a spin class next week, with a 5K or obstacle race in between. If you’re shopping for someone who likes to switch up their fitness options, go for gift choices that give a full-body workout: 

    JUMP ROPE

    Ideal for warmups, but also a fantastic option for beginner workouts, HIIT sessions, and increasing strength and mobility, the simple jump rope actually isn’t so simple after all. Consider an option like the PowerSkip Jump Rope with a quick cable length adjuster inside each handle, as well as ball bearing system in the handles and polymer-coated speed cable for smooth, speedy rotation with zero tangles. Another great choice is the Ballistyx Jump Rope with a 360-degree rotating, weighted cable that can enhance speed and get your gift recipient some full-body toning.

    AB ROLLER

    No matter what type of workouts your gift recipients do, core strength is crucial, and the BIO Core Ab Roller can give them an anywhere-anytime abs-focused exercise. This ab roller also works the shoulders, lats, pecs, and arms, so it’s a top choice for targeting multiple muscles. Plus, it has two wheels for more stability as well as rubber treads for perfect traction. 

    FITNESS BALL

    When it comes to a versatile, powerful fitness option that can work every muscle, go for the Active Balance Fitness Ball, which not only has 13 of the most poplar fitness-ball exercises printed right on it, but also comes with a free eBook on building a strong core. 

    With all these thoughtful choices for every fitness fanatic on your list, don’t forget to reward yourself for all the hard shopping work you’ve done, with a few gifts of your own!

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  • Must-Have Exercise Equipment for a Home Gym

    Posted on by Elizabeth Millard


    Whether you have a busy schedule, find it a hassle to get to the gym regularly, or you simply want a more affordable option, putting together a home gym isn’t difficult, and the good news is you can have plenty of home gym must-haves on a budget.

    When people think of home gym equipment, they often envision big, expensive options like treadmills, weight sets, and weight racks. But fitness equipment for home can be portable enough to fit in a gym bag, while still being powerful enough to give you a great workout. Consider these choices:


    Cardio Options

    The purpose of cardiovascular work is to get your heart rate up and get your body used to higher-intensity exercise. While you can achieve that on a treadmill or elliptical, these must-have fitness products also give you a full-body cardio workout:


       JUMP ROPE                    

    Often used for warmups, a simple jump rope can be used as its own amazing portable fitness equipment option. You can integrate it into HIIT sessions and play around with intervals that keep your muscle guessing. Consider the PowerSkip Jump Rope with a quick cable length adjuster inside each handle, as well as ball bearing system in the handles and polymer-coated speed cable for smooth, speedy rotation with zero tangles. Another great choice is the Ballistyx Jump Rope with a 360-degree rotating, weighted cable that can increase the amount of toning in your arms, shoulders, and chest.

    SONIC BOOM SPEED ROPE


    To take your jumping to another level, increasing the amount of speed is a popular strategy, and a choice like the Sonic Boom M2 Speed Jump Rope can provide some serious advantages when it comes to getting you moving.

    ACTIVE FIT COMPRESSION SOCKS


    Whether you’re doing a rope-based workout or you’re going for a run, Active Fit Compression Socks provide ankle support and keep legs feeling fresh for longer, which means you may be able to extend your workouts and also recover faster. They also make a great portable fitness equipment option because you can throw them in your bag for travel and feel motivated to exercise when you travel

    Strength Training

    Dumb bells, barbells, and kettlebells — as well as weight-based machines — all have their place, but they’re not mandatory for getting some strength gains. Using your own bodyweight, plus resistance that can be progressed, can often give you just as much in terms of results. Plus, this kind of fitness equipment is perfect for small spaces so you can do your workout anywhere:

    PULL UP BANDS        

    Looping a product like Bionic Flex Pull Up Assistance Bands on any stable location that can support your weight turns your space instantly into a pull-up wonderland. These bands provide resistance throughout the entire movement, offering much more dynamic strength and flexibility than unassisted pull-ups. 

    AB ROLLER

    Core work is fundamental for every type of exercise, functional fitness, and sport, and the BIO Core Ab Roller can give you an anywhere-anytime abs-focused exercise. Not only can you easily work your core, but the ab roller also targets the shoulders, lats, pecs, and arms, making it an ideal piece of fitness equipment for home. Plus, the BIO Core has two wheels for more stability as well as rubber treads for perfect traction, so you can use it anywhere in your home. 

    ACTIVE BALANCE FITNESS BALL

    When it comes to a versatile, powerful fitness option that can work every muscle, go for the Active Balance Fitness Ball, which not only has 13 of the most poplar fitness-ball exercises printed right on it, but also comes with a free eBook on building a strong core. You can even use it as a “chair” when working at home or watching TV as a way to keep your core firing even when you’re not actively working out.

    RESISTANCE BANDS

    When it comes to an incredibly portable home gym, this set of four bands is a top choice, especially because they offer different amounts of resistance, so you can progress toward “heavier weight” over time. 

    Cool down and recovery

    For better results, you need to have a cool-down strategy that involves more than a few stretches, because recovery is a crucial aspect of fitness. That’s what prevents injury, improves performance, and speeds results. Here are two home gym must-have fitness products:

    MUSCLE MAX MASSAGE BALL

    After an intense workout, improve recovery with the Muscle Max Massage Ball, which has a grooved surface that relieves tightness and offers ultra-deep tissue work. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, making it a great option for bringing along when you do go to gym. 

    VIBRA VIBRATING FOAM ROLLER

    Rolling out tight muscles can alleviate next-day soreness and help prevent injury — and the VIBRA Vibrating Foam Roller takes recovery to a whole new level. Powerful pulses work out the tension that comes from an intense workout or long run, helping improve mobility and flexibility overall.

    One of the best parts of having incredibly portable fitness equipment is that not only can you make any space in your home into a gym, but you also have the option to throw them in a gym bag and take them anywhere, even the office or on vacation. With home gym equipment like this, you can get a workout in anytime.

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  • How to Use Resistance Bands Like a Pro

    Posted on by Elizabeth Millard


    Whether you’re choosing home-based workouts, looking for exercises while traveling, or just want to add some new moves to your gym time, resistance band exercises can be a top way to get a full-body workout with minimal equipment. Given their effectiveness, resistance bands — sometimes called power bands — can even shorten up your workout time while still giving you plenty of results.

    As long as you’re using resistance band products properly, that is.

    Taking some time to learn the right form and progressing slowly will make the most of your resistance band moves. Let’s take a look at some key factors to keep in mind that pros recommend, along with some crushing-it moves to get you started.


    Choose the right resistance bands

    It’s likely your gym has some bands already, probably hanging on the functional fitness rack — which usually has items like kettlebells and fitness balls. But while using a gym kettlebell is much less of a hassle than bringing your own, the same isn’t true of resistance bands, because overuse and lack of care can cause the latex or elastic to become stretched out, brittle, and misshapen. In some cases, that can cause the resistance band to break, constituting a major safety hazard.

    There’s no need to take that risk. For a minor investment, you can have your own resistance bands, and in a number of resistance “weights” that allow you to progress. Choose bands that are made from 100 percent natural latex — for example, Epitomie has a collection of four next-generation fitness bands — since that will guarantee durability, and retention of tension, flexibility, and shape.

    Getting Started with Resistance Band Exercises

    Pros rely on resistance band products for a number of reasons. They’re convenient and portable, and they’re also appropriate for every fitness level, even beginners.

    There are many more resistance band benefits: They allow you to progress slowly, do exercises that are standing or seated, can be used by pregnant women, seniors, and those coming back from an injury, and work your muscles in a way that’s similar to lifting weights. Most of all, they engage multiple muscle groups because you’re working to stabilize yourself as you move through a range of movements. That can not only build strength, but also help with balance, mobility, and overall function.

    To get started, choose the lowest “weight” of resistance band or power band first, which means you’ll get the least resistance. As you progress, you’ll move up in resistance bands so you’re working harder to resist the force of the band.


    Resistance Band Exercises to Try

    There are hundreds of resistance band training options, but the pros recommend starting with some basics that you can build on over time, especially choices like these that work multiple muscles simultaneously.

    Resistance band pull ups

     In a regular bodyweight pull up, the upward movement provides more strength training than the downward drop. But using a product like the Bionic Flex Pull Up Assistance Band gives you resistance throughout the entire movement, making pullups much more effective. Also, you can use the bands to progress in your pull ups and be more consistent in your training.


    Resistance band deadlifts

    By using resistance bands instead of weights for a go-to move like deadlifts, you’re able to have a predictable amount of tension during the entire move, and the pros believe that helps you work on form much better.


    Resistance band pushups

     In addition to creating a nice amount of resistance that will make your core engage more during a pushup, resistance bands will help you keep proper alignment during pushups. For example, use of the bands will prevent your arms from collapsing inward during the pushup’s descent, which can cause your back to arch and hips to drop.


    Resistance band squats

    Much like the resistance band pushups, using the bands to do squats can be a great way to work on your form and create consistent tension during both the downward and upward phases of the movement.


    Resistance band moves for glutes and abs

     Integrating resistance band training into exercises like donkey kicks, inner thigh workouts, and oblique exercises can make all of those actions much more effective. Just like other training selections, the resistance bands give you tension throughout the entire move, not just when you contract the muscles. That means glutes and abs will be working twice as hard as they would be without the bands.







    Also, try changing up your resistance band routine by creating a resistance band desk workout with seated resistance band moves to counteract long stretches of sitting, or integrate some jumping into the mix with options like resistance band jumping jacks, resistance band HIIT workouts, or resistance band jump squats. You can even play around with using resistance bands on treadmill walks.

    No matter which resistance band moves you choose, making sure you have high-quality resistance bands and progressing gradually are key.

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  • Jump Rope vs Speed Rope: which one to choose

    Posted on by Elizabeth Millard

    You’re gearing up to add some jumping into your routine — a great idea, considering its many benefits — but now you’re faced with a decision: Do you choose a jump rope or a speed rope?

    Much like making any kind of exercise equipment decision, the answer will depend on your goals. Neither type of workout rope is superior over the other in general, but one will have an advantage based on how you want to use it. Let’s take a look at which might be appropriate for you:

    SPEED ROPE

    Designed to be FASTER than ever, so you can make better progress, train harder, and break your goals in record time. .

    JUMP ROPE

    Made for lightening-quick skipping. Get your blood pumping, your body toning, and those muscles pounding with improved speed!

    Beginner Workouts: Jump Rope

    When you’re just starting on your workout journey, concentrating on your form is key, no matter what the exercise. That’s why it’s usually best to choose a jump rope, because you’ll be able to go slower and build up your endurance and intensity over time.

    Workout sessions that incorporate jump rope for beginners can help you ease into this type of cardio and get a feel for jumping and landing appropriately. By progressing gradually, you’ll be conditioning your body in a smart way that optimizes recovery time and makes you a more efficient mover.


    Double Unders: Speed Rope

    Of course you can do the fabled CrossFit double unders — a technique that causes you to do two rope rotations within one jump — with a jump rope, especially one that’s a high-quality enough to prevent tangling and offers a smooth rotation.

    But if you’re into double unders as a regular part of your workout, a speed rope tends to be a better choice, because it’s designed to be, well, speedy. You’ll need that to get the rope around twice before your feet land back on the ground.

    To see if it works for you, try a speed rope challenge — test out a speed rope versus a jump rope for a set of 30-second double unders and count how many you do in that timeframe. Most likely, your number will be higher with a speed rope.


    Circuit Training: Jump Rope

    If you’re doing short bursts of jumping during a HIIT workout that incorporates many different types of exercises — for example, kettlebell swings, burpees, step-ups, and other fast movements — it’s likely that a jump rope is the best choice.

    You can easily incorporate a jump rope workout plan within a HIIT session, and do quick round between other activities. This type of jump rope circuit lets you keep your heart rate up but also change up what you’re doing.


    Fat Burning and Weight Loss: Speed Rope and Jump Rope

    Good news, especially for those who are new to working out and getting into a jump rope for beginners groove: The type of intensive work you’ll do with ropes, from a jump rope cardio session to a speed rope workout, is incredibly helpful as a fat burner.

    This type of activity, which is similar to HIIT, creates short periods of high intensity, which has been shown to burn calories at a rapid pace, similar to sprinting, but it’s the effect on fat in particular that’s impressive. Basically, you’re “firing up” your fat-burning furnace in a way that’s much more effective than steady-state cardio like an easy jog on the treadmill. Plus, you’re getting your heart rate up, which is excellent for cardiovascular conditioning.

    For example, one study followed people in a program that split participants into either steady-state cardio or regular HIIT sessions. Although the first group burned more calories in the long run, the HIIT group lost nine times more fat than those doing the endurance-training program. How’s that for some incentive to get jumping?


    Go for Quality

    No matter what type of rope you decide to use — often, having both types handy is a good option for different workouts — be sure to choose high-quality speed ropes and jump ropes that are durable and adjustable. 

    For example, Epitomie Fitness offers the Ballistyx Jump Rope with a quick cable length adjuster inside each handle, as well as ball bearing system in the handles and polymer-coated speed cable for quick rotation with zero tangles. In terms of speed rope products, there’s the Sonic Boom M2 Speed Jump Rope, designed to help you score some serious speed, so you can rock those double unders like a speed rope CrossFit Games contender.


    Can't decide?

    The Ballistyx Jump Rope offers a mix of both, with a 360-degree rotating, weighted cable, designed to enhance speed while giving you the smooth rotations of a jump rope. All of these choices give the you the ability to adjust your jump rope or speed rope length, and be confident in your jumping.

    Once you start seeing the many benefits and results that come with speed rope and jump rope workouts, it’s likely your rope will be a must-have gym partner.

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  • 10 reasons to upgrade to a vibrating foam roller

    10 reasons to upgrade to a vibrating foam roller

    Posted on by Elizabeth Millard

    10 reasons to upgrade to a vibrating foam roller

    If you ask gym-enthusiasts how they like to warm up or cool down before and after a workout, you’ll notice a common response: foam rolling.

    This easy and efficient massage-like routine has become even more effective with the implementing of vibration. The vibrating foam roller, for example, has vibration settings that can be adjusted depending on whether you are trying to prepare your muscles for an intense weight-lifting session, or perhaps cool down after an inspiring power yoga class.

    Of course the major difference between a regular foam roller and one that vibrates can be simply stated as a difference in intensity and recovery time, but to break it down even further, we have listed 10 reasons to take your foam rolling to the next level.

    1: Faster recovery 

    When you’re done exercising, your muscle tissue is thirsty for air. Until it gets this “air,” your muscles are basically in recovery mode. A top foam roller benefit is the increased blood flow and oxygen to these muscles, allowing your body to get back to business as soon as possible.

    2: Injury prevention 

    Going hard doesn’t mean you have to go home and nurse an injury (or the opposite, taking it easy out of fear of an injury). Regardless of what activity you favor (keep in mind “activity” is subjective and can be any movement, especially as you age), high-frequency vibration helps speed up the “myofascial release.” What is that fancy-sounding, hard to pronounce term mean? Muscles and tissue have the tendency to contract. This so-called release, is a way to send blood and nutrients to those areas pronto, helping them relax, thus, not so injury-prone. Of course, this takes time, so consistency is key!

    3: Ease back pain 

    A foam roller for back pain is great for those who are prone to pesky aches in the lower back. It isn’t just a trained masseuse who can reach the deep tissues of your body, but some vibrating foam rollers are actually designed to mimic the hands of a professional. Foam rolling the back is the easiest exercise to begin with if you’re new to the movement. Lie on your back and start with the roller under your shoulder blades. Keep your glutes off the floor at let your hands rest on your chest. Roll toward the head. If you notice a sticky spot, spend some extra time there. Make sure to always support your neck. Repeat as needed. 



                           

    4: Gain flexibility 

    Like any massage, getting the kinks out is like a giant sigh for the muscles. You feel free and able to move with more flexibility. Starting or ending a workout with foam roller exercises can help your range of motion, allowing you to achieve the goals you have for your body.

    5: Detox the body 

    Toxins like to hold tight to your muscles, ligaments, tendons etc. Can you blame them? The vibrations from foam roller exercises give you back, neck, shoulders and other sore body parts a quick release of these toxins. Talk about an efficient full-body detox!

    Choose your color:



    Carbon Black



    Red Blaze



    6: Age-approved 

    Because of the gentle power provided with various intensity settings, the young and the young at heart can easily adapt to a foam roller routine that is safe and effective. But let’s talk about the elderly population. When our bodies change, which is bound to happen with age, muscles aren’t as elastic as they once were. Thus, cramping and tension are pretty much inevitable. But no one, at any age, should have day-in, day-out pain. This is where we want to shout: vibrating foam rollers aren’t just for gym-lovers.

    7: Move properly 

    Sitting at a desk, staring down at a phone and putting strain on your body at work not only create tension and kinks in the body, but over time, your body doesn’t quite move the way it did. Or should. Reworking your routine to include a vibrating foam roller can help save your body from the stiffness its prone to, ultimately, keeping strain to a minimum and moving the way it did all those years ago!

    8: Safe during pregnancy 

    While every pregnant woman should consult her doctor before use (especially if foam rolling is new for you), there is much relief to be had by implementing a foam roller while pregnant. Activating your muscles with a vibrating foam roller will help release built-up tension, while also increasing blood flow. The increased blood fill will (hopefully) help take away some of that common mom-to-be fatigue.

    9: Save money 

    We think physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors and the like offer incredible benefits to our bodies. There’s no denying this. But, they aren’t always accessible to all. Vibrating foam rollers allow an affordable way to provide your body the consistent care it needs.

    10: General aesthetics  

    We saved this one for last, because, this is really just a bonus of a vibrating foam roller. But, consistent use has shown to have great benefits to the skin’s appearance, including the reduction of cellulite, increased hydration and an overall exfoliation. 

    We saved this one for last, because, this is really just a bonus of a vibrating foam roller. But, consistent use has shown to have great benefits to the skin’s appearance, including the reduction of cellulite, increased hydration and an overall exfoliation. 

    A few general safety tips to consider:

    • Avoid anything above the shoulders, particularly bony areas, organs, wounds etc.
    • Foam rolling should not be painful. If it does not feel good, ask for help (or see one of the videos we incorporated below)
    • Start slow. Just 10 minutes is beneficial when you first begin. Increase when you feel ready.
    • Remember your body weight helps control the intensity. Work up to a harder roll.

    Interested in seeing how a foam roller works? We get it, some of us are visual learners.

    Knowing this, we’ve gathered some videos so you can get a sense of how to incorporate a vibrating foam roller into your routine.


    6 Pack Core Workout

    Epitomie Fitness instructor Amanda Russell coaches you through a 6 Pack Core Workout!

    Advanced Exercises For The Fitness Foam Roller

    Epitomie Fitness instructor Amanda Russell coaches you through a 6 Pack Core Workout!


    How To Foam Roll Your Glutes



    How To Foam Roll To Soften Your Shoulders



    How To Foam Roll Your IT Bands


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