Best Workout Gear For Beginners 2021: Fitness Tools, Motivation Tips - Rolling Stone
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The Best Workout Tips for Beginners, According to an Army Vet Firefighter-Turned-Trainer

From tips on self-motivation to workout gear and recovery tools, here’s how to kick-start a fitness routine that will last

Sarah Apgar FitFighterSarah Apgar FitFighter


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Kick-starting a fitness routine isn’t always easy. If you’re working from home, you have to make adjustments for space, and find time in the day. Motivation doesn’t always come naturally either, whether you’re back to working out at an in-person gym, or just figuring out if you can really commit to an exercise bike you’ll use every day. But with the right tips, and some good-quality gear, working out can be something you’ll look forward to every day.

“Find something you love and do it for a while,” says Sarah Apgar, a military veteran, volunteer firefighter, Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, who wanted to bring camaraderie and training learned from the Army to her firefighter community. “Don’t feel like you need to switch up your program every two weeks. That can really feel fun and fresh, but it can also be incredibly stressful. And who needs any more stress right now?”

Apgar says that routine is invaluable for a home fitness setting. But if you’re trying out a new workout regimen, and start feeling stuck, don’t quit the routine immediately. “My advice is always, if it’s starting to feel like you could use a change, or it’s feeling a little dull, don’t switch up the entire routine,” she says. “Add a fun new tool [but] don’t reinvent the program itself.”

What Are the Best Workout Tips for Beginners?

Whether you’re looking to adapt your workout routine from home, or just want to get motivated to start, here are some of Apgar’s best tips, tricks, and gear recommendations for beginners.

1. Find Great Strength Tools You’ll Love

Apgar professes that strength training and weighted training are a very important component to any home fitness routine—just running on a treadmill or doing a daily cycling class won’t be sufficient. “The first thing is finding tools that you love and that fit well in your environment,” she says. “They can be really simple, like a little bit of weight, or a box. Find something that will characterize your entire routine.”

One of Apgar’s favorite pieces of strength training gear is actually her own creation: the Fitfighter Steelhose was originally made to help better prepare firefighters for their job. The 10 lb weights are a dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, medicine ball, and sledgehammer all in one. We like that it has all the benefits of hardcore gym equipment in a single indoor-outdoor tool, while still being portable enough for small spaces.

“The Steelhose is something that can slide under a couch, it can hang on your wall next to your living room door,” says Apgar. “It’s great for the carpet or the wood floors of your kitchen or dining room—really anywhere in the house.” This versatile strength trainer is available on Amazon or at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

FitFighter Steelhouse


Buy: FitFighter Steelhose at

2. Adjust Your Workout To Your Schedule

“Think about things that make you smile and are interesting, and then bite off a small chunk,” says Apgar. “You don’t need to have an hour-long block of workout time. That can be really overwhelming. Just think of doing 10-15 minutes in the morning, and maybe grab 10-15 minutes in the afternoon.”

If you’re a beginner, you shouldn’t feel obligated to go for 45-60 minutes straight. “Now you’re thinking about working out as something you have to fit in to you day, rather than enjoying and losing yourself in the movement, strength, and something that ultimately we know will make us feel good over time.” 

While staying fit can be be a challenge, things can get a lot easier thanks to The Skills. With this new video instruction platform (it’s like MasterClass for sports), you’ll get high-quality wellness and sports courses taught by pros like Shaun White, Michael Phelps and Larry Fitzgerald—without the intimidation factor. With more than 100 courses to choose from, the classes are broken up into twenty or so manageable videos, and workout plans that break things down into routines you can actually ease yourself into. They also offer shorts that focus on motivation, teamwork, and overall wellness.

michael phelps the skills online class review

Andre Camara/Capital Pictures /MediaPunch/MediaPunch/IPx

Buy: The Skills Courses and Shorts at starting at $15/month

3. Distract Yourself While Prepping For The Workout

If you have the kind of job where you’re sitting at a computer all day from home, Apgar says it’s important to mentally transition into a new part of the day, or a new activity like your workout routine. “Make a phone call to a friend and use that as your opportunity to get up out of your chair, move into a different room, and start changing,” she says. “Change for your workout while you’re distracted—half the battle is the transition and getting ready. You’ll be in the place you need to be, ready to rock and get moving before you know it.”

Picking the perfect workout clothes what’s holding you back? Don’t dig through a pile of dirty laundry—Outdoor Voices makes some of the most stylish workout apparel we’ve ever worn. The company’s Rec Kits for men and women include an entire outfit for under a hundred bucks. That includes both a workout top and a pair of leggings or shorts, with customizable color choices. For anyone looking for versatile workout gear you’ll actually want to jump into, these are a good pick.

Outdoor Voices Rec Kit

Outdoor Voices

Buy: Outdoor Voices Rec Kit at $98

4. Put Something Good On Your Feet

“I love socks,” Apgar says. “If you have an awesome pair of thick pair of running or cross-training socks that feel good on your feet, you can throw those on easily get into the groove of a workout.” Apgar’s go-to pair of socks are Bombas, which are lightweight socks for running, working out and movement. The blend of poly/cotton yarn allows for a super breathable, moisture-wicking feel. It may seem like a simple thing, but the right pair of socks can help you feel better and move lighter on your feet.

Bombas Women's Socks


Buy: Bombas Women's Socks at $18.79

Apgar also loves to slip into a comfortable pair of Puma sneakers for running. “They’re a great way to feel like your whole body from the ground up is vibing with workout energy,” she says. We recommend the Velocity Nitro running shoes from Puma, which come in Men and Women’s sizing, but offer superior cushioning across the board. They’re a pretty secure fit, but still lightweight enough for a comfortable ride even after multiple runs. The specialized rubber outsole also let’s you run on all different kinds of surfaces and conditions, without losing a bit of traction.

Puma Velocity NITRO Running Shoes


Buy: Velocity NITRO Running Shoes at $120

5. Add Some Music To Your Routine

Another way to switch up your fitness routine without completely switching it up is by adding new music, says Apgar. “I’m obsessed over having earbuds that fit, and that feel good,” she says. “Of course, that’s if you’re going to be outside in the backyard, or if you’re going for a jog. They’re great for a workout where you don’t want to be broadcasting your music.” She prefers her Anker Soundcore earbuds, which she says are versatile enough to use while doing work on a laptop, or while working out. “I’m actually able to wear them for a strength routine, too, or even something that’s low-impact.”

The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro TWS Earbuds are a great sporty choice, with IPX5-rated sweatproof and rainproof protection, and seven hours of playback time, which goes up to 21 hours with the carrying case. They also offer quality background noise reduction, making these earbuds killer at taking calls or listening to music while on a run. Apgar also recommends their wrap-around, high-impact earbuds for running, like Anker’s Soundcore Life U2 headphones. “They go in and over your ear, just traditional and old-school. But so many of the old-school gear works so well.” Apgar’s workout jams of choice? Van Halen.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro


Buy: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro… at $59.99

6. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

When you’re starting up any new fitness routine, Apgar says you want to think about the long game. “You don’t want to start by doing something you mentally think is really hard, or something you don’t enjoy. And you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew,” she stresses. “I always find the good in anything that keeps us moving, but I do think sometimes people take on too much at first. Then we have problems with injuries, we have problems with lack of efficacy and sustainability.”

If you’ve find yourself straining too hard, and in desperate need of a recovery gadget, fitness brand Hyperice makes some of the best massage guns we’ve tested, which for its compact size, can work out even the tightest of knots. The Hypervolt Go is a handheld massage gun is as light as a small hairdryer, and can massage muscles for up to two-and-a-half hours on a single charge with percussive movements. The accompanying Hypervolt App can also help show you ways to get the most out of the tool, with guided video tutorials and flexibility routines.

But when you’re ready to get back up and moving, think about your long term goals. “It’s entirely about, ‘is this something I’m going to be doing, not just next week, or next year, but ten years?’,” says Apgar. “Not that you can’t switch it up. But the type of exercise, and lifestyle that you live right now, you by and large want to work for your lifestyle in several years.”

Hyperice Hypervolt Go


Buy: Hyperice Hypervolt Go Massage Gun at $159.00

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