Every professional has the tools of his or her trade. Whether they are tangible or intangible. A carpenter wouldn’t get much done, and it sure wouldn’t be a good job, if he showed up to work without his tool box. Below you’ll find some suggestions of some of the tools that can help you provide your service in the most professional way possible.
The Skyndex is probably the best body fat caliper on the market. This is the one with 2 formulas programmed into it. It has the Jackson-Pollock formula which is good and reasonably accurate for everyday use and the Durnin formula if you ever plan to need it for research or a clinical setting. Or if you just want to be a little more accurate. It’s easy to use. You set the dial to a number that corresponds to a range of the subject’s age. Then take 3 or 4 sites to measure, entering each one as you go by pressing the thumb button. When you are done, it automatically goes through the formula for you and give you the body fat percentage on the digital display. It’s the best one I’ve used to date. Everybody claims hydrostatic weighing is the gold standard, but you have to measure tidal volume. If you don’t, it’s not any more accurate than calipers. Plus, hydrostatic weighing requires extra time, a wet area, etc. It’s a hassle. Why not just get reasonably close to the same results in a much more practical product? Comes with its’ own case and power supply.
This is the Lange skinfold caliper. It’s a little more cost effective option, but is not digital. It is very compact and comes in a small case that you could easily store in your gym bag or something. This is the second best body fat caliper I have ever used. It takes a little more time because it isn’t digital, but it is VERY well constructed and will last you a long time. It comes with a calibration block to ensure accuracy. It’s accurate down to within 1 millimeter.
Garmin make some awesome stuff. This is the Forerunner. It’s a GPS with a heart rate monitor and stop watch mounted on the wrist. It’s pretty cool and you can use it to compete with previous workouts for yourself or use it in the gym to time client’s sets and/or workouts.
The PT/Pro Bench is great. For you in home trainers, it’s an excellent portable option for a professional adjustable bench. It’s got a carrying handle and strap for you to easily maneuver from location to location. It’s pretty versatile for just about any type of training you want to do. At 23 pounds, it’s heavy duty too so you don’t have to worry about it falling apart on you.
The Bowflex SelecTech Dumbbells. These could also be portable if you want to lug them around. It’ll replace a whole rack of them. Between the PT/Pro Bench and these, you could really put together a good program for someone. They are fully adjustable and should satisfy the needs of most clients going from 5-52.5 lbs. each. This link even has many of the routines and exercises you can do listed right out for you.
Bodylastics are a great complement to the bench and the SelecTech dumbbells. Very lightweight and versatile with door anchor and ankle straps. You can load up multiple bands at a time with the carabiner clip totalling 127 pounds per side.
The TRX is hot right now and it was specifically invented to use where equipment is lacking. That’s one of the hardest things to address is pulling exercises for the upper back (latissimus) when there is little equipment around. Not everyone can do a pull up. That’s one of the benefits of the TRX is that you can use your body weight (or only a fraction of it) in a way that will allow you to address those previously neglected areas. This one is a cool military green color. It’s VERY well made and should last you a very long time.
This is the online training system that we use. It can allow you to get at previously unreachable markets and disperse your fitness knowledge to people over distance. We private label our site through their enterprise account and our own domain name so it looks like the clients are signing up right through us. All you need is a paypal account. Like I said, this is good for people at distance or a good downsell to someone that cannot afford your services one on one. It has a library of fitness routines, a workout wizard, and nutrition tracking. You can set your own pricing and customize the users experience as much as you want.
If you have your own location, a good scale is a must. A physician’s balance beam model is the way to go as you can calibrate it easier and they are more reliable. You can also measure height with this model.
Myotape is a great tool to use in place of a regular measuring tape. You can measure up to sixty inches and the push button tape retraction makes it a little easier than fumbling with a cumbersome normal tape measure.
Robic is one of the best companies out there for timers. Here they have a clipboard with a ruler/straight edge down the side as well as a stopwatch/calculator combo. You’re covering all of your bases with this one as you can time client activities and calculate anthropometric measurements as clients come in during the day.
This is Sportline’s digital tally counter. I don’t know about you, but the traditional way of counting reps gets in the way of instructing the client mid set. With this tool, you can click off the reps as the client completes them while you continuously instruct them. Then you can look at the total countable reps you clicked off to record after the set is complete. It frees your mind to focus more on what you should be…instructing the client, not counting to 10. You can obtain a lot of data while fully instructing a client. You can time the whole workout, time each set with the clipboard, and track whole reps with the tally counter. All of those numbers should give you a really good idea of what kind of progress your clients are making.
Another testing device is the flex tester sit and reach. Probably the most used test to determine flexibility improvements. Obtain readings in metric or standard. It is well made and accurate with the height of the box at the subject’s hands.
Here is another portable option if you’d like to have clients do a chin up or pull up. This bar has multiple different hand grips and won’t cause damage to the door frame. It can also be used as an anchor point for a band or other suspension device like the TRX.
So there you have it. 14 awesome tools you can implement in your personal training business if you don’t already have them.