Quiz: What’s Your Halloween Candy IQ?

Quiz: What’s Your Halloween Candy IQ?

From helpful lists of the latest diet superfoods and ways to burn fat to the tips for navigating the grocery store, learn how to eat healthy and lose weight with expert tips from our weight loss counselors and nutritionists.

As our understanding of the science behind diet and nutrition change, so too do the techniques behind dieting to lose weight. The Leaf weight loss blog is dedicated to keeping you informed about the most nutritious diet foods and dietary habits, working with top nutritionists to identify key ingredients to a balanced diet while still giving you the weight loss tools to indulge yourself in moderation.

For more information on how your individual dietary and nutritional needs influence your weight loss plan, check out our comprehensive guide to the Nutrisystem program and get started in choosing the diet plan that’s right for you.

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Interview: Jayme Limbaugh, Dietitian, Crystal Coast Wellness & Performance [Tips + Nutrition]

Get the Basics…

  • Exercise as an Innate Passion
  • Entrepreneurship as an Inheritance
  • Education and Empathy as Differentiators in Business

Choosing to be a business owner, especially in the world of fitness, can be a hard and uncertain road to follow. However, when you have a legacy and lineage of entrepreneurs in your family serving as mentors and support, that course may begin to get easier to navigate.

Today, we’re talking to Jayme Limbaugh who is the owner of an Anytime Fitness as well as the Co-Founder of Crystal Coast Wellness & Performance. She discusses how her lifelong love of exercise and sports and her enterprising spirit combined with strategic partnerships have helped her to build and maintain a successful fitness practice.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.

Meet Jayme Limbaugh, Dietitian and Co-Owner of Crystal Coast Wellness & Performance


Schimri Yoyo: Welcome back. Thank you for joining us. Again, this is Schimri Yoyo with exercise.com, and we are continuing our series of interviews with fitness professionals. Today we are lucky to have, bracing us with her presence, Jayme Limbaugh, who is the Co-Owner of Crystal Coast’s Wellness and Performance in Eastern Carolina and also the owner of Anytime Fitness, also in the Eastern Carolina area. She’s a registered dietitian, I believe.

So, Jayme, thank you for joining us.

Jayme Limbaugh: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Schimri Yoyo: Yeah. Now let’s jump right into it and get a little intro to our audience about you. How did you become passionate about fitness training?

Jayme Limbaugh: Oh, gosh, it feels like so long ago. I just always really liked it. I always played sports as a kid. I wouldn’t say that I was necessarily athletic, but I, myself, enjoyed moving. From there, it just always piqued my interest. I started running daily when I was 12 or 13 and then it just kind of snowballed.

I got my first exercise certification. I remember I was 15, that was the only one that didn’t have an age thing. My mom took me over to my aunt’s house to proctor it, and I just have been studying it ever since.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Now, what sports did you play growing up?

Jayme Limbaugh: I played soccer for a very long time and then I played basketball in the winter and tennis as well. So, those are the three main ones.

Schimri Yoyo: Do you play any sports currently actively? Are you still a runner?

Jayme Limbaugh: Yep, I’m still running. I just did a triathlon, actually, in Wilmington and that was a lot of fun. I’ve gotten into CrossFit quite a bit. I’m really not prejudiced when it comes to exercise. As long as it’s movement, I’m in. But a lot more strength training, I think, and endurance. It’s always my stress relief, so I enjoy that.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. You have a degree in exercise kinesiology from Eastern Carolina University. Go Pirates.

[Editor’s note: There is no love lost between ECU fans and NC State fans.]

Jayme Limbaugh: Yay. Thank you.

Schimri Yoyo: So right, did you attend many football or basketball games during your undergrad career?

Jayme Limbaugh: I did, I did. It was definitely part of the experience and I loved every second of it. There were some drawbacks to going to a large university, but some of the perks are just lots of people. Those football games were great.

I actually got my second—I have two Bachelor’s and a Master’s, and my second Bachelor’s was from the University of Alabama, and that is football nation right there. I mean, I only did it online, but my husband got me a sweatshirt that said Alabama. I’ll tell you what, people are like, “Oh yeah, Roll Tide, and this and that.” I’m like, “I just got this sweatshirt.”

[Editor’s note: Alabama is a football nation and “Roll Tide” is its Pledge of Allegiance.]

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Now, how’s the barbecue at some of the tailgate?

Jayme Limbaugh: Oh, man, the barbecue was really good. It’s always good. Everybody starts so early and they’re so welcoming, so you just kind of wander around and just eat whatever.

Schimri Yoyo: Nice, that’s a great way to build community.

Jayme Limbaugh: Truth. Very true. Go to an ECU football game, for sure.

Schimri Yoyo: Straight up. You also have a Master’s in sports medicine, right? From Georgia Southern. Now, what one class during your formal education was your favorite? And which one do you think best prepared you for what you’re doing now?

Jayme Limbaugh: I got to answer that twice. So I got to answer it for the first one. At ECU, there was Dr. Rowe, I think he’s in England now, I don’t know, but he taught a class about exercise testing and I utilized that class every single day, every single day.

The other class with grad school that was the most influential would be Biomechanics. To be honest with you, I don’t even really like biomechanics, but I use it every single day. That physics aspect has been really powerful.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s good. Now you mentioned Dr. Rowe, one of your former professors. Do you have any others who were mentors for you when you were entering the health and fitness industry as a professional?

Jayme Limbaugh: Mentors outside of school?

Schimri Yoyo: Yes.

Jayme Limbaugh: My family. My family is—they’re all entrepreneurs. My dad owns a business, actually, right next door to us. My mom owns businesses, my grandfather [also]. So, I really lean on them to really learn.

So, whenever I have an issue with anything structural within the business, they’ve been really influential. My mom, I mean, she’s just a superwoman. Raised four kids and now she’s this mogul. She’s just amazing, so she’s really inspired me a lot.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome, that’s awesome. Now when you’re not training or running your many businesses, what else do you do for fun?

Jayme Limbaugh: Play with my kids.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome.

Jayme Limbaugh: I love playing with my kids and then I’ll craft. I like knitting, which is the really complete opposite of running, but it’s very nice. So, I’m usually doing one of those two things or at the same time when I get home, but my family is really important to me.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, that’s awesome. So I’m going to have to put in an order for a sweater for this upcoming winter.

Jayme Limbaugh: For sure. I can do that, I can do that. Those needles, they’re popping right now, because it’s getting cold soon.

Schimri Yoyo: It’s very true. We’re here in Philadelphia and the weather gets very schizophrenic at times.

Jayme Limbaugh: Oh, I can only imagine. Bring your jacket.

Empathy, Emotional Intelligence, and Exercise

Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. So considering your practice, what one word would best describe your philosophy and methodology of training and wellness?

Jayme Limbaugh: Compassion. You have to be able to put yourself in that person you’re speaking to, into their shoes. Without being able to relate to anybody, you’re never able to fully help them, and I truly believe that.

Whether others may not believe that to be true, I’ve worked with people that lack compassion, but their brain is just brilliant, but they can’t get that information to the next person. So I think, really, being able to be empathetic, sympathetic, and compassionate to that client that you’re working with is absolutely pivotal.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, how do you address the topic of nutrition with your clients?

Jayme Limbaugh: So, I have a slow and steady approach. I think that’s been the greatest gift of having a second career built on the first one, is that I’ve already worked with people and behavior change and that it’s long-term sustainability.

Nowadays, we want things now. We’re not willing to wait. We want to lose five pounds tomorrow. So really just going slow and steady and being like, “No, we’re just going to change two things over the next four weeks. Once those are accomplished, we’ll build on them and build on them and build on them.”

Because my biggest thing is that your nutrition needs to be something today that will be the same five years from now. You’ll have some changes because we all age and have different nutritional needs, but the lifestyle, the behavior habits, they need to be built slow and steady.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s a great word of advice. Now, what’s the difference between active nutrition and going on a diet?

Jayme Limbaugh: So active nutrition, I’m assuming that you’re meaning more like lifestyle change or being active?

Schimri Yoyo: Both.

Jayme Limbaugh: Okay. So I’d say lifestyle change and going on a diet. Going on a diet sounds so short-term, sounds so much like a jail cell, you know? People like, “I’m going on—” I’m not picking on keto. It’s a pretty vogue word nowadays—”I’m going on keto.”

[Editor’s Note: Check out the clip below from Dr. Oz about the what’s and how’s of a keto diet.]

Do you really understand keto? Is that really how you want to eat five years from now? Is that really [suitable to] your needs? I’ve had diabetics come and say, “Well, I’m going to go on keto.”

I’m like, “Ah, no, I don’t think you really understand what’s happening in your body that’s different than the next person’s. So this person may be wired better for that type of nutrition, as opposed to what your needs are.”

So I think that the long-term is just wholesome. It’s what’s going to make you feel good inside and out, where a diet is something you do, typically for a vanity reason.

Grow and manage your fitness business better with Exercise.com

Schimri Yoyo: That’s great insight. Now, why was it important for you to get formally trained as a dietician?

Jayme Limbaugh: So, I still remember it. I was sitting in my office at Anytime Fitness, and this is before the wellness center was built. And I was listening to one of the clients talk to their trainers, and they had said some off-the-wall, crazy nutrition advice that they had been given from one of their healthcare practitioners.

It was just one of those moments where you’re going, “My hands are tied. We can’t correct them because we’re not dietitians; we’re not nutritionists.” We have to be basic as personal trainers and physiologists.

I was like, “We need a dietitian. I love school, and I’m pregnant, so what else am I going to do? So I’ll just go back to school.” So it was really just to give way more information on the whole big picture for our clients. That’s just really important. You don’t want to just fix one thing because we know that health and wellness is multi-faceted.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright, that was great. Great story, nice anecdote. Now, we interviewed your Co-Founder of the Wellness Center, Pauline Juhle, earlier last month and she had great things to say about you. You guys seem to have a great partnership there.

Can you just talk about how are you and Pauline similar, how are you different, and how do you complement each other?

Jayme Limbaugh: So, we always had this saying, because we are very different. She is very much like my husband. So I see the forest, but I don’t see the trees. I just know that there’s a big picture and I’m going to build it. She looks at every single tree; she doesn’t let one go past her.


So between the two of us, we’ve got it down, where I see the big picture and I’m driven and I really want this end result, and she puts together the steps from the beginning to the end. So she does all the microwork, all the detail stuff. She likes program manuals. I like selecting what program we’re going to start to build. So, we really complement each other that way.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s great to know your strengths and to be able to play off each other that way.

Jayme Limbaugh: Oh, yeah, yeah. You have to. You have to or else you’re just going to butt heads the entire time.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s great. You got the best of both worlds. You got the real-life husband and the “work husband.”

[Editor’s note: See the video below to explore the benefits of a work spouse.]

Jayme Limbaugh: Oh, yeah, somedays. Somedays. Yeah.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, how have you managed to budget your time and energy between your coaching responsibilities, your parenting responsibilities, and entrepreneurship?

Jayme Limbaugh: Coffee and wine. Haha. Coffee in the morning. That’s about what it comes down to in some cases. Coffee to get me going and wine to wind down. But I mean, that’s just joking, of course.

But I try as hard as I can to—when the time for the phone to go off, it goes off. And that’s family time. It is difficult with a fitness facility that has 24/7 access, you feel like you’re on demand all the time, and then building the wellness center. Then, I also contract out at the hospital, doing some inpatient clinical dietary work.

So it’s just really making sure that my day is not overly mapped out, because that’s definitely one of my things:  that I don’t want to have every second of every day programmed. But kind of dedicating a chunk of each day to certain things. But when it’s time to unplug, I unplug. Because my kids, they just need it.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s good. Alright, well, brag about yourself a little bit. What makes you and the team at Crystal Coast Wellness and your team at Anytime Fitness, what makes you unique?

Jayme Limbaugh: It’s a full picture. I mean, that’s what I think what makes us, us. So we’re educated, we’re compassionate, we have good bedside manner, we’re driven. We really want to serve every need regarding wellness, whether it becomes massage for mental and physical, physical therapy, nutrition, personal training. That’s what I think makes us so special, is that we’ve really considered everything.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. It sounds like a comprehensive, fully-integrated view of wellness.

Jayme Limbaugh: Yeah. Yeah, I believe so.

Business Obstacles and Business Opportunities

Schimri Yoyo: Alright. What have you learned that you wish you would’ve known when first starting your own business?

Jayme Limbaugh: Be patient and don’t micromanage. Be patient, don’t micromanage, and just don’t stress over the things you can’t change.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Be patient and don’t micromanage and don’t stress out over things you can’t change. Sounds like great advice for both business and marriage.

Jayme Limbaugh: Oh yeah, going on seven years. He’s very happy. No, it’s awesome. Yeah, it is.

Schimri Yoyo: My wife and I are been married for nine years, it’s going to be 10 in July (of 2020). So it’s been exciting. But I feel like—I joke—but I feel like that advice can be applicable both to business and to any working relationship.

Jayme Limbaugh: Yeah, well, they influence each other, right? I mean, if you don’t have a happy home life, how can you possibly be happy during the day? Because, eventually, you got to go home, right? So it is important to do it in all of them.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. In what ways do you leverage social media and technology to promote your businesses?

Jayme Limbaugh: So social media, I mean, it’s such a platform to get information out there, so we try to utilize that. Like you’d said when we were chitchatting before you started recording is that you guys are trying to get good information out there.

That’s really how we leverage it. We want to make sure that educated information gets out there so that people are aware that we’re here and what we’re doing is backed by something solid. It’s not just something we’re making up or we read on a billboard somewhere that may not be correct. So, that’s really how we leverage social media.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, what has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and what has been the greatest reward?

Jayme Limbaugh: The biggest challenge, I think, would be getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. So with that being said, marketing, I can talk to people all day long, I love talking. I can’t imagine having a job where I can’t talk.

[Editor’s note: See video below to be reminded that our success often comes on the backside of our discomfort.]

But being able to go out and kind of toot your own horn and be like, “Hey, I’m actually good at this. I really want to help you.” That’s been the hardest part, is getting other people in front of you to come into your business. So I would say marketing has been the hardest.

Schimri Yoyo: Yeah.

Jayme Limbaugh: The most rewarding is that I get to be my own boss and I get to make my own schedule. And I work a lot and I enjoy that. It’s nice, though, that in the middle of the day last week, I got to go chop out apples at my kid’s school. So the rewarding part is that I finally get to utilize my time management skills so that I can accomplish everything that I want to do in a day.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. Well, there’s so much that I could ask you, but I want to be respectful of your time. We’re very thankful for the time that you have spent with us. So we’ve got a few more questions for you.

What’s next for you personally and for your businesses, in the short-term and in the long-term?

Jayme Limbaugh: Personally? I don’t know, just be a mom. I mean, it’s like the theme. When I’m not working all the time, I’m a mom, so I really don’t know what else—for me, personally, is to continue to help them thrive. Maybe do a few more competitions, like CrossFit competitions or a triathlon, that would be fun.

Professionally, we’d like to expand to local areas and continue to help people and possibly have three locations. That’s really what our five- and 10-year goals are.

Schimri Yoyo: Yeah. Now, have you considered doing any type of online training in the future to expand your reach that way?

Jayme Limbaugh: Absolutely. We’ve got a pilot program right now that we’re looking to take online which would be a benefit for people. Not just locally, but yes, exactly, globally, wherever.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s awesome. We’ll definitely keep an eye out for that in the future. Finally, Jayme, thank you again for your time.

Do you have any recommendations for resources for our audience? I mean, it doesn’t necessarily have to be fitness related, it could be any books, podcasts or magazines that you feel would be valuable to our audience.

Jayme Limbaugh: Gosh, I know when I read your thing that Pauline did, she has this long list of books and she just asked me what am I reading? I was like, “I read so many different things, that I can’t even think of one in particular.” I don’t like podcasts as much. I don’t know. I don’t really have anything for resources. Just kind of figure out, identify what your weaknesses are or things you want to work on and continue to read.

I mean, reading, in general, is so good. Even though I can’t think of a specific title that comes to my brain right now, I mean, go find something to read. There’s not one CEO that I’ve ever heard of, and you could probably say the same, that isn’t reading something at some time.

Schimri Yoyo: No, that’s true. No, no, well, that’s pointing us in the area of continuing education, which is good, you know? We don’t want to make it easy for our audience all the time, sometimes they got to put in a little grunt work too, right?

Jayme Limbaugh: That’s exactly right, go find your book that inspires you. Because everyone, what inspires—I don’t want to say something and then they read it and they’re like, “Well, that was kind of a letdown. What’s that Jayme girl know?” Go find something. I know that I needed help with my organizational skills, so truthfully, I’ve been reading tons of how to de-clutter your life type of books so that I can stay focused on what I need to do.

Schimri Yoyo: Yeah. Well, that’s good advice. Being self-aware and then taking the steps to try to improve yourself. So I think that’s good advice.

Well, thank you again, Jayme, for your time. I appreciate you and Pauline and your families for offering up your time to speak with us. We wish you guys much-continued success there in Eastern Carolina.

Jayme Limbaugh: Thank you.

Schimri Yoyo: I told Pauline that I hope to make it down there some time and participate in one of your runs. So maybe I’ll have to come down, and at some point, we can do a competition together.

Jayme Limbaugh: Yeah, that’d be so awesome. Are you a runner?

Schimri Yoyo: I dabble. I used to be when I was younger, and now I do it sporadically with my brother-in-law. He’s a big runner, so he’s in Massachusetts now, in the Boston area, I’m in Philadelphia. But our families are very close, so we see each other probably six to eight times a year, and so I’ll go out running with him all the time. So yeah, so I get my three to five miles in, that’s usually my—I stay in my lane. That’s my window.

Jayme Limbaugh: Yeah, I definitely understand. When I say running, that doesn’t mean I go running for a long time. I feel like I am a Cadillac, not a Ferrari. It’s for comfort and slow, steady, not for speed. So I like your three to five miles. I think we’re both runners, that qualifies us.

Schimri Yoyo: Well, that’s good. Alright, take care. Thank you again for your time.

Jayme Limbaugh: Thank you. You too.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.

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Garlic Roasted Root Vegetable Fries

Garlic Roasted Root Vegetable Fries

Move over potatoes, these garlic roasted root vegetable fries are about to steal the show!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links that will not change your price, but will share some commission.

Overhead view of a pan of garlic roasted root vegetable fries sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

Beyond the humble potato: Root vegetables for the taste and nutrition win

I think we can all agree that white potatoes make some pretty damn good fries. But there are so many great vegetables out there that it hardly seems fair that the humble spud gets all of the attention when it comes to a classic comfort food side dish.

Fall and winter are the perfect time to branch out and try something new when the starchy, carby, salty craving hits. For seasonal eaters, cooler seasons mean fewer fruits, fewer raw salads and pretty much no fresh tomatoes. Sad, I know. But it’s not all doom and gloom because this is when winter squashes and root vegetables really take center stage. I love how versatile and budget-friendly root vegetables are and each one boasts a different and unique flavor. So by switching up the veggies you use, the flavor combos are pretty endless. And best of all, you can use what you’ve got on hand, what’s in season and what’s on sale.

Close up of a sheet pan with garlic roasted root vegetable fries hot from the oven.

I used sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, and beets in case you were wondering!

I could go on for days about my love of root vegetables, but I really want to get to this recipe, so if you’re really in the mood to geek out on root vegetables (how to choose them, how to store, their nutrition profile, etc.) then be sure to check out this post.

Though not specifically about just root vegetables, I recently fell in love with this book from America’s Test Kitchen because it’s packed with tips on how to select and store all kinds of vegetables – and best of all, how to prepare them in new and delicious ways making it easier to enjoy more of them in everyday meals. It’s definitely worth checking out!

But I digress. Let’s talk more about these Garlic Roasted Root Vegetable Fries and what you might want to dip them in.

Overhead view of a plate of garlic roasted root vegetable fries with a side of dipping sauce.

These fries are made for dipping.

Although totally incredible on their own (or topped with a runny yolked egg if you’re my hubby), these fries – like all fries – are made for dipping. You could use ketchup if that’s your thing, but I think they deserve something a little fancier and more flavorful like some Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo – which if you haven’t tried, you should – and this Warm Chipotle Lime Sweet Potato Salad is a great way to use up what you didn’t use in your garlic roasted root vegetable fries dipping frenzy that’s about to go down.

Looking for a homemade dipping option?

Try our Homemade Paleo Ranch Dressing and Dip. It’s easy to make and good on just about everything. And we hear it’s also great for getting kids (and some husbands) to eat more veggies.

Plate of garlic roasted root vegetable fries with a few shown dipped into a sauce.


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Let’s Get Cookin’

Garlic Roasted Root Vegetable Fries

Humble and thrifty root vegetables get a simple flavor boost from fresh garlic and a little salt, but feel free to add your favorite fresh or dried herbs or even a pinch of ancho chili powder to change things up a bit.

  • Author: The Real Food Dietitians
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Side Dish


  • lbs. root vegetables of choice (i.e., parsnips, rutabagas, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.)
  • 1½ Tbsp. avocado oil or oil of choice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste (flaky sea salt is our favorite)


  1. Preheat oven to 425℉.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Wash, peel and dry your vegetables of choice. Using a large knife, carefully cut each vegetable into similar sized pieces (about ¼-inch thick).
  4. Place vegetables on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and toss with oil.
  5. Sprinkle garlic over vegetables and arrange them in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Roast in 425℉ oven on the middle rack for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and turn the fries so that the cooked sides are facing up. Return to oven and roast an additional 10-15 minutes or until tender and crispy on the edges.
  7. Sprinkle with additional salt and black pepper to taste before serving.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
  • Calories: 177
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 369mg
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Protein: 3g

What are your favorite root vegetables for roasting and how do you like to flavor them? Share in the comments below!

Pin Now to Make it Later!

Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

About Jessica Beacom

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.

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8 Essential Tools for Personal Training

Get the Basics…

  • This listicle provides a selection of equipment that’s been proven effective and will last for decades to come.
  • In addition to these tools, fitness business management software is essential for running your training business effectively. 
  • All-in-one business management software platforms, like the one offered by Exercise.com, can do everything from appointment scheduling to delivering training programs and tracking nutrition.

Are you outfitting a new facility or looking to expand your arsenal? These are the best tools to get the job done as a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer.

This isn’t a What’s Hot Now list, but a selection of equipment that’s been proven effective and will last for decades to come.

In addition to the various tools listed below, if you plan on managing a fitness business, having fitness business management software is essential. Request a demo today of our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software to see how you can manage your clients, employees, billing, marketing, and scheduling easily and efficiently.

#1 – Concept 2 Rower

– Benefits

Indoor rowing is an incredible method of conditioning that practically every client on your roster can perform and benefit from. Biomechanically, it utilizes the broadest range of muscles and joints of any other single conditioning movement.

It is suitable as the general warm-up before any type of training as well as being a primary tool in conditioning workouts.

Those made by Concept 2 are the highest quality money can buy and at a cost of under $1K, this machine has a huge bang for your buck. With very little maintenance, you and your clients can put millions of meters on this rower without issue. What’s more, the company offers a warranty covering all parts for two years and frame, monorail, monitor arm for five years just in case you do have a problem.

– Sample Training


Row 500m at a pace of 2-2:30 per 500m prior to weight training or other conditioning.

Conditioning Workout – The Viking Row:

Row 100m as fast as possible then rest for that time period before repeating the pattern with 200, 300, 400, 500 meters.

Save the overall time to completion as the metric to gauge progress on future repetitions.

– Where to Buy

Whether purchasing from Concept 2 directly or through a retailer like Rogue Fitness, the price of the machine does not vary much. Your best bet is to compare shipping rates as the determining factor in where you buy.

#2 – Power Bar (Barbell)

– Benefits

There’s no getting around it: the best way to get strong is barbell training. Due to the prerequisite investment of time and effort in learning how to perform and coach the lifts, training with barbells is still avoided by many in the public and by personal trainers. However, those who are willing to seek out knowledge and develop their skill in this arena will be much stronger for it as will their clients.

What makes barbell training the most effective method for strength training?

Mark Rippetoe, the prolific coach and founder of Starting Strength explains it as follows. “The reason barbells are so very valuable is that they are the most ergonomically-friendly load-handling tool in existence… Their extremely adjustable nature allows small increases in stress to be applied to the whole body over the full range of motion of all your major leverage systems.”

“The barbell offers a way to load the body’s normal movement patterns with progressively heavier weights, a process that essentially forces the body to get stronger whether it wants to or not,” says Coach “Rip.”

While the barbell exists in many variations, the most valuable for almost any application by a trainer will be a power bar. A power bar is one designed specifically to resist bending, allow a moderate amount of spin at the sleeves, and have a knurling type that enhances the lifter’s grip.

Rogue Fitness Ohio Power bar

Center knurling, a hallmark feature of power bars, is not always a necessity, but it’s never a detriment. Its primary purpose is keeping the bar in place on the back during squats but there’s nothing wrong with using a power bar with center knurling to bench press, deadlift, or perform Olympic lifts. This makes a power bar the best all-purpose tool for strength training.

– Sample Training


The best training method for new lifters is to follow a simple linear progression model for the four major barbell strength lifts: the Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, and Overhead Press. Linear progression, as the name implies, involves steadily progressing the weight used in a lift each time it is performed. The Starting Strength program is the best example of such a model.

Starting Strength consists of two workouts with three lifts in each. These A and B workouts are performed on an alternating schedule three times each week on non-consecutive days and with each repeated performance of a lift, the goal is to increase a single variable, the weight, by five pounds.

Over a short timeframe, around the first four-to-six months of lifting, there is no faster method for getting stronger on the barbell lifts and instilling solid technique in these fundamental movements.

For instance, a novice male who begins with 135 lbs for five reps on the squat can be reasonably expected to perform the same with 250 lbs or more after four months and will likely have a one-rep max of at least 300 lbs.

Intermediate / Advanced:

Naturally, no program works forever. If that were the case, a basic linear program could last decades and there’d be many more 1000 lb squatters! In reality, the more one has adapted already to a given stimulus, the more difficult it will be to illicit further adaption. What’s more, the work required for adaptation will require a much greater magnitude of both objective and subjective effort which, in turn, requires a more complex strategy for managing training stress.

When a lifter has reached the level of advancement at which the full cycle of stress, recovery, and adaptation can no longer be completed within 48 hours of training, or they have hit a hard stop on getting stronger in a beginner method, it is time to move up the ladder to a level to programming designed for those who are already at a respectable level of strength.

While good programs at this level are too numerous and complex to highlight in this article, our suggestions are 5/3/1, The Texas Method, or the Four Day Split. The overall takeaway on Intermediate to Advanced training is this: the stronger one becomes, the more training must be personalized to account for stress and to carefully balance workload.

– Where to Buy

Because high-quality barbells can be used for many years, there’s a fairly strong secondary market for them. If you know what to look for, you can sometimes find a gem on your local Craigslist from a garage gym owner or from a gym that is going out of business.

For new purchases, go to a reputable online retailer like EliteFTS or Rogue Fitness who sell high-quality bars of their own label as well as long-time favorites from York Barbell and Texas Power Bars.

With standard bars weighing 44-45lbs, shipping can be expensive so look for free shipping specials. But, even if you can’t find free shipping, don’t let this deter you from getting a quality bar that will last for years of training.

#3 – Power Rack

– Benefits

A quality power rack is vital to your barbell training and is a necessity to perform the squat, bench, and overhead press. While there are many types of racks, the full power rack or “cage” is the best option for safety and adaptability.

With many more manufacturers entering the market in the past 15 years, some great innovations have taken place that make many racks not only a station for performing your barbell lifts, but a modular system that can be expanded and used as the base for a greater variety of movements as seen in the video above by Rogue Fitness.

– What to Look For

  • Plenty of holes for a variety of placement for J-cups, pins, and any accessories.
  • 2×3 or 3×3 inch steel tube uprights and crossmembers and heavy-duty hardware. Any smaller and the rack may not be sturdy and while bigger 4×4 racks exist, that size is overkill or possibly compensation for using low-grade steel.
  • Safety system such as pins or straps that can be adjusted to a height just below the lowest point of descent in a squat in case a lifter fails a rep.
  • Decide in advance whether you need a rack with built-in plate storage or if you’ll use separate weight trees.

– Where to Buy

While there are several manufacturers of great power racks, the best around with respect to value and variety of options is Rogue Fitness. Their racks are very simple in design but with no compromise to quality. They are well-constructed and can hold up to incredible stress and heavy weights.

The racks to absolutely stay away from are any of those sold by sporting goods or department stores. These will be made of the lowest quality raw materials and often poorly designed. It’s all too common for a rack bought on the cheap from these retailers to be missing parts and have misaligned joints and poor welds. You get what you pay for!

#4 – TRX

– Benefits

The TRX is an excellent tool that vastly multiplies your options for bodyweight training by letting you achieve various angles and grips.

With a TRX you can:

  1. Scale basic exercises up or down like a bodyweight row with the body at a 45° angle or a tougher 30° from the floor
  2. Perform exercises with the hands or feet in the straps; think push-up or hamstring curl respectively.
  3. Perform unique movements only possible with suspension such as the Pendulum Swing:

They are a very simple tool, nylon strap with rubber handles and a metal hook, but the maker has honed in the design to be just right in terms of adjustability, durability, and feel.

For the number of exercises you can perform with this, it is a great value at under $200. For a solid tool you can use every day with clients it is very inexpensive and takes up little space in your facility.

– Bonus Tip: Hanging the TRX

TRX suspension XMount anchor point

While the TRX comes with a strap for easy attachment to any power rack or pull-up bar, the accessory called the XMount is a game-changer.

Bolt it securely to the wall or (even better) the ceiling to put an anchor point anywhere you need it and ensure freedom of movement around this point while performing exercises.

– Where to Buy

The system is available to purchase directly from the maker at trxtraining.com, through various online retailers, or even in certain sporting goods stores. This is one item that, fortunately, can be bought in various ways as long as you get the real TRX brand product.

Since there are a few versions, make sure you are getting the Pro or Tactical level systems which are more durable than the TRX for home use.

#5 – Bumper Plates

Rogue Hi-temp Bumper plates

– Benefits

For barbell training, weight plates are obviously a necessity and no matter what type of plates you decide to purchase, the most important quality is accuracy.

To be clear, only calibrated plates are guaranteed to weigh exactly what is printed/engraved on them. Thus, these are primarily used for competitions where lifts must be validated to be eligible for official records. These calibrated plates are far too expensive for most gyms to have for daily use but the next best thing will be plates that are accurate to within 2% of the marked weight.

Outfitting your training facility with bumper plates will serve the most uses as well as providing some extra perks over steel plates:

  1. These plates are primarily designed for use in the Olympic lifts where a controlled drop is appropriate at the end of each repetition. While this isn’t a necessity with any of the standard power lifts, it’s also not a drawback. Bumper plates, therefore, are the best multipurpose option if you can’t invest in multiple plate sets of different types.
  2. Bumper plates are uniform in diameter, regardless of weight. A 45lb plate, for instance, is the same height as a 25lb plate with the only difference being the thickness. The benefit of this is that exercises like the power clean or deadlift which begin on the floor will always be the right height off the floor whether the client is a brand new lifter using 95lb or veteran lifting 500.
  3. Because they’re made of rubber, bumper plates make much less noise than steel plates while loading them on a bar and while lifting. This can be worth noting for the gym owner who needs to operate multiple types of training simultaneously or whose facility is connected to other businesses.

Bumper plate cross section

– Where to Buy

Shipping costs will be very high on weights unless you find a rare free shipping special. Often, this fee will be as high as 50% of the dollar amount you’re spending on the actual plates! Based on this, opt to purchase in your local area if possible.

You may have to bite the bullet and take the shipping cost if you want plates from the industry leaders like Eleiko or Rogue, but you may be able to find a smaller manufacturer in your state from whom you can purchase and pick up in person. For example, Vulcan Strength in Charlotte, NC, produces high-quality equipment for sale online and those living in North or South Carolina can also pick up orders in-person at their headquarters.

#6 – Dumbbells

Hex dumbbells made by Again Faster

– Benefits

The dumbbell is a type of resistance training equipment that is safe and accessible for any trainee. While some degree of technical skill must be learned to perform movements correctly, many will find that lifting with dumbbells is easier to get started on than the more complex barbell lifts.

Another strength of dumbbell training is the great variety of exercises that can be performed, particularly those in which the body is positioned asymmetrically or work is performed by each side independently.

– Sample Training

Some of the most valuable uses of dumbbells are in complexes. A dumbbell complex involves performing multiple exercises back-to-back with the same weight, usually without ever setting the dumbbells down in between. Here is an example that has become popular within the strength coaching community:

The Waterbury Complex

Reverse Lunges: 6 reps on each leg
Romanian Deadlift: 12 reps
Good Morning: 12 reps
Front Squat: 6 reps
Military Press: 6 reps
Bentover Row: 6 reps
Floor Press: 12 reps

– Where to Buy

Like weight plates, you can expect high shipping costs if ordering online. Again, you should opt for something you can purchase in your local area.

When shopping for dumbbells, avoid any that have rubber-coated handles, common in light weights under 20lb, as this inevitably wears off with use. Go for a steel handle with light knurling and welded ends as opposed to those which are screwed on and can break with relative ease.

For trainers who work exclusively in a one-on-one atmosphere, adjustable dumbbells like the Powerblock are a viable option that saves space and money compared to a full set of ten or more pairs of dumbbells.

#7 – Resistance Bands

Rogue Rubber resistance bands

– Benefits

With resistance bands, you can add a new variation to barbell training by adding band tension to squats, deadlifts, and bench press. This method is known as accommodating resistance, the goal of which is to alter the point in a lift at which the resistance is greatest in order to prevent stagnation of strength gain.

To put the method in its simplest terms, the band anchored to a power rack or platform and looped around the barbell adds resistance as the bar is lifted so it is heaviest at the top. This has been found to challenge and, therefore, improve the ability to accelerate the bar and transfer well to performing the competitive lifts with greater weight when bands are not being used.

In addition to upgrading barbell training, bands are incredibly valuable for modifying challenging bodyweight exercises like pull-ups to help clients train those movements and improve. The band-assisted pull-up involves hitching a band in the center of the pull-up bar then placing the other end around one’s feet such that the band contracts and effectively negates some of the person’s body weight.

Bands will also open up a variety of exercises without the need for expensive, single-purpose equipment. Typical machine-based exercises like pulldowns, hamstring curls, or tricep pushdowns can be set up quickly by attaching the band to any secure anchor point (like your power rack) and using any handle you need with a carabiner.

Bands are inexpensive and space-efficient; there’s simply no good reason to be without a collection of resistance bands in your gym or studio.

– Where to Buy

Opt for a retailer that specializes in powerlifting equipment such as EliteFTS. Moreso than any other training discipline, certain powerlifting methods have mastered the use of bands in training and retailers targetting those customers are likely to have the best quality bands available.

Other than that, resistance bands differ very little from one company to the next. In fact, most bands come from the same few sources and equipment brands simply have their logo printed on them by the manufacturer. As a piece of equipment that inevitably wears out and requires replacement no matter who you buy from, don’t sweat too much over this decision.

#8 – Business Management Software

All-in-one App Screenshots

– Benefits

Running a business is tough. When you’re a personal trainer, you have a lot of things to juggle — clients, billing, marketing, scheduling, employees, merchandise, etc. Because of this, time-management is essential. Purchasing fitness business management software is crucial if you want to grow your business while maintaining time for your personal life.

All-in-one business management software platforms, like the one offered by Exercise.com, can do everything from appointment scheduling to delivering training programs and tracking nutrition.

– Where to Buy

Upgrade your business with Exercise.com’s Fitness Business Management Software. There’s no better system for bringing together all of your needs like Workout Creation, Billing, and Scheduling. Additionally, unlike other fitness business management software platforms, there is no cap on how many people can access your custom apps and website or how many clients you can manage before purchasing an “upgraded” platform.

Exercise.com’s All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software is built to grow with you and to help your business thrive. To learn how Exercise.com can set your business up for growth and efficiency, book a demo today.

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