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Dumbbells

"What do I need for equipment? "

I get this question a lot and it depends on your Beachbody program. P90x requires the most equipment out of the Beachbody programs (weights, pull-up bar, push-up stands, yoga blocks, etc). The list below has the majority of equipment you'll need for about any Beachbody program.

I would recommend a Heart Rate Monitor. No, not recommend, I suggest it should be required. It's extremely important to stay in the right zone. It's very helpful to know if you are pushing too hard or if you are falling behind and need to pick up the speed.

Heart Rate Monitor

For tracking calories burned Beachbody has an excellent Bowflex Heart Rate Monitor with Chest Strap in their online shop. You can also search for Amazon.com Heart Rate Monitors for other varieties. Find one with a chest strap so you can track how many calories you burn and also to make sure you are in the "zone".

I have the Timex T5J031 Unisex Digital Fitness Heart Rate Monitor Watch. Another popular brand is Polar (would be nice to have to download stats to the computer), but expect to pay $300+ for the really cool kind. See Polar on Amazon.com.

Free Weights or Bands

Depending on the Beachbody program you may need weights. I have a set of HEX Dumbbells ranging from 10 to 50 pounds, which I use for P90x along with the other items on this page. I purchased them as needed from Dicks and then a stand from Amazon. Expect to pay around a $1/lb. So 2x20 lb weights will cost you around $40 in a local store (the non-rubber grip type). If you'd rather buy them online (cheaper) see the links below. You can also get adjustable dumbbells, which are awesome! They take a lot less space. If I hadn't already started my dumbbell set in 2004 when I started P90 I would have purchased a set (would save me some living room space!).

The other option are bands, which I also own from Beachbody.

These are great for taking on trips as they take, obviously, less space and weigh less. The bands come in different "weights" (resistance) as well. So pick something appropriate for your level of fitness.

Which to choose? I prefer weights. I believe they work the stabilizer muscles more. Others swear by bands or cables.

Yoga Mat

If you plan on doing P90x or another workout that is very demanding on a mat, consider the Manduka Plyometrics Mat. "Designed for performance, comfort, safety, and longevity, the Black Mat provides the shock-absorbing surface needed during a jump-intensive training program. Thicker and denser than other mats, this mat stays put on both hard and soft surfaces to provide a soft and secure landing." There is also a larger version on Amazon.com: Manduka 85-Inch Mat which is what I own. I usually workout on carpet and do not always need the mat.

Pull-up Bar

If you plan on doing P90x you will need a pull-up bar. Beachbody has the official P90X® Chin-Up Bar. There are also other varieties of all shapes and sizes on Amazon.com: Pull-up bars. I know some people prefer pull up towers.. This is absolutely required in some form for P90x. You'll do a crazy amount of pull-ups in that program. Otherwise, find a tree limb (I am joking of course, you don't want it to break and then breaking something on you!).

Push-up Stands

These are optional. I have the Power Stands from Beachbody, which I really like as they do not roll on me for wide push-ups. A program like P90x recommends push-up stands to get you a fuller range of motion. There are a lot more on Amazon.com: Push-up bars. Some like the spinning ones (I can't stand them personally). Push-up stands are optional. If you have HEX Dumbbells, those would work in a pinch. I prefer to use them.

Yoga Blocks

You can pick up a set of Yoga Blocks from Beachbody or on Amazon.com: Yoga Blocks. If you need to get some quickly, check out your local Walmart or sports store. These are optional as well. Some people are flexible enough to do Yoga and the different streteches. I am not one of those people, yet.

Funky Shoes - Vibram Five Fingers

I love these shoes. They get a lot of comments. Read my blog entry titled: "Barefoot Running - Vibram Five Fingers Review"

Body Fat Percentage

Calculating body fat percentages online is only reliable to a certain point. After that it's based on common statistics. Everyones body is different. Body Fat Percentage a good indicator of how healthy you are. Overall weight is not a good indicator due to your muscle mass and water weight (a bodybuilder would obviously weigh a lot more but online calculators would show him/her as overweight). There are a couple of options for measuring body fat. You could get a scale like the following: Tanita BF680W Duo Scale Plus Body Fat Monitor with Athletic Mode and Body Water or a Body Fat Tester like this: Accu-Measure Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Tester. I own both, however I purchased my body fat tester from Beachbody, through my online store.

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