Recently, my inbox has been filling up with all kinds of holiday offers. Black Friday, extended Black Friday, cyber Monday, and various other holiday sales.
Many of these sales and offers have been for health, fitness, sports medicine and rehab related tools such as foam rollers, hypervolts, smart watches, fitbits, etc.
How do you know if any of these tools are beneficial to you?
The answer ultimately comes down to whether or not it will help you reach your health and fitness goals, and if you will actually use it.
The first step to determining this is to figure out what your goals are. Most people have an idea of why they are exercising, however, rarely are they crystal clear on what they are trying to accomplish. What are you trying to accomplish by going to the gym, playing a new sport, or running regularly? Are these goals clear enough to write down? Are they measurable so that you can easily determine whether or not you have achieved them?
If you cannot answer these questions, then I would think twice about purchasing a fancy piece of fitness equipment/technology.
Once you answer these questions, ask yourself if the tool in front of you will help you achieve your goals. Will a foam roller help you lose 10 pounds? Will a smart watch help you set a new personal record on your half marathon? Will a fit bit help you move every day?
It is easy to see how a piece of tracking software can help you monitor your runs, allowing you to optimize your performance. Therefore, this would make sense if you are an avid endurance athlete.
Furthermore, a fit bit is a fantastic tool when your goal is to move every day (it also helps make your goal measurable!)
A foam roller or hypervolt is a great purchase if it helps you feel better, thus, allowing you to exercise more effectively and reach your goals. However, if you have never noticed any results from using these tools, then do not buy them, no matter what the advertising says.
Soft tissue tools such a foam rollers and hypervolts work based on the placebo effect. If it feels good and you think that it is working, then it likely will. However, these tools do not “break up” tissue, or “re-align” muscles as is often advertised. If our bodies were that fragile, we would fall apart walking up the stairs!
Finally, you need to determine if you will actually use the fitness tool that you are thinking about purchasing. Even the best tool is useless if you do not use it.
Is the tool difficult to use? Is it a challenge to take to the gym with you? Is it a pain to set up? Does it take a long time for it to be effective?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then it is far less likely to be used for more than a short time period.
This is not a fault of yours, it is simply human behavior!
There are many great health/fitness tools and gadgets out there, however, no single tool is right for everyone. Make sure that the tool you choose is right for you. Sometimes the right tool is none at all!