Holy hotness, Boston! We begged for sunny weather for months and it is definitely feeling like summertime outside as the thermometer is pushing 100°.  I am slowly finding out how much I miss the free central air of my last apartment as I now have to use window units a.k.a. loud machine of uselessness.

Anyways, to beat the heat Lindsay and I decided to head to Target this morning to bask in the AC and shop for a few things.  Of interest to this post, my main objective was to purchase a new electric toothbrush.  Lindsay knows me well because she went off to search for other things while the economist in me read and compare every brush.

Prices ranged from $20 to $200 with functions from 1 speed to warp speed.  I’m pretty sure that one of them even did your dishes for you…while you sleep.  Some had a simple charger base while other had a missile destroy command center base complete with tactical warheads.  Ahhh technology %$^%$  $%#$#.

I obviously needed a new toothbrush but what functions are important and which ones am I paying for that I will never use?  Should I just get a crappy one for $20?  This is, after all, essential to my health.

The whole process got me thinking about needs vs. wants.  Rationally (after 45 min of deliberating and Lindsay finding me at square 1) I decided to go middle of the road.  Rechargeable, 2 speeds, replaceable heads, and a pretty blueish color.

And back to the important stuff.  What do we really need in the gym?  What is complete and utter uselessness? (like my window a.c.)

To answer those questions I am going to give you my top 5 necessities as well as my top 5 wants in the gym.

“If it’s important, do it every day.  If it’s not, don’t do it.” – Dan John

Top 5 Necessities

  1. Attitude. Without the right attitude you may as well stay home have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, a sleeve of Thin Mints, and a 2 liter of Mountain Dew because you have already failed.  Get your mind right and success is just hard work and perspiration.
  2. A solid program is a must, otherwise you will will plateau faster than Rosie O’Donnel’s career.
  3. Foam rollers and other soft tissue equipment.  One of the most beneficial things you can do to improve your posture, balance, flexibility, tissue quality, injury prevention, strength, and overall well-being is soft tissue work.  Maybe just as important as brushing your teeth and wearing a seat belt.  See above quote by Dan John.
  4. Any piece of equipment that has the word bells in it; barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells. No matter what your goal is there is a way to reach it with these pieces of equipment.
  5. Music.  This is one area that we lack at my gym but this is the 21st century and I’m almost certain that everyone and their mother owns an Ipod or something similar.  Music has been shown to increase resting heart rate and sympathetic nerves e.g. help you deadlift a Buick.  One of my new favorite songs for lifting heavy things is Invincible by Adelitass Way

Top 5 Wants/Useless Stuff

  1. Isolation machines should be left at the nursing home and even that is iffy.  Unless you are a bodybuilder and in love with your man boobs, please for the love of god stop using the pec fly machine.
  2. Biceps curls and all the half-ass ways I see guys doing them have got the be the douchiest exercise known to man.  Even douchier is doing them on my squat rack.  I will ask nicely once, but just once to step aside and let me squat.
  3. Crunches and all variations especially including ones involving #1.  I will explain why here, here, here, and here.  And you can check out some better options here.
  4. Training for weightloss.  Everyone seems to be training for weighloss.  What ever happened to getting fit or stronger?  And what kind of weight are you trying to lose?  Muscle?  Bone?  Water?  Probably fat but you get the picture.  If you are training for fat loss, are you losing it?  Hmm…
  5. Laziness.  There is no room for laziness in the gym.  You sit all day at home, during your commute, and at work so you better not be sitting down the whole time you are training at the gym as well.  On the same token, get all the goddamn TVs out of the gym as well.
I feel the same way about this list as these gentlemen do about pumpkins:

Get the picture?

Written by Steve