Fitness Academy

  • Gift Ideas for the Fitness Lover

    Gift Ideas for the Fitness Lover

    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! 

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    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.

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    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. 

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    FOR THE ALL-AROUND

    Maybe it’s a boot camp 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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  • Jump Rope vs Speed Rope: Which One to Choose

    Jump Rope vs Speed Rope: Which One to Choose

    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.

    Click for speed rope

     

    JUMP ROPE

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

    Click for jump rope

     

    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 time frame. 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, kettle bell 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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