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What 'Secret Weapons' Do Nutritionists & Trainers Have in Their Homes?

By , Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist
You know that sticking to a workout plan and healthy diet is by no means easy—but fitness trainers and nutritionists somehow make it look effortless. What's their secret? Obviously, discipline and dedication are key, but do they rely on certain workout tools, superfoods or devices to achieve such spectacular results?
Spying would be creepy, so instead we asked 30 professionals to share which items they keep in their homes to help them accomplish their goals (and to motivate you to surpass yours).  

1. Jennifer Purdie, Certified Personal Trainer & Running Coach - Southern California
Secret Weapon: Foam Roller
"Something I have in my home that an "average" person doesn't is a foam roller. It's the best way to give yourself a form of massage after a workout. You roll your body over it and hold it down on any knots you feel for 30 seconds. The foam roll helps work out knots for those who can't afford massages and those who work out a lot and need the extra release from pain."

2. Tom Postema, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist - Defiance, OH
Secret Weapon: Kettlebells
"I have a few different sizes lying around because they are so versatile and can be used for so many different purposes. They are still pretty obscure to the 'average' person, but they are so useful."

3. Amy Gorin, Nutrition Consultant - Jersey City, NJ
Secret Weapon: Dozens of Spices
"Spices and herbs add amazing low-calorie flavor to dishes. I have both dried spices and dehydrated ones on hand. One of my go-to spices is cinnamon—including cassia, the version we typically eat in the United States, as well as Ceylon cinnamon, which has a hint of citrus to it."

4. Dr. Joanne Mumola Williams, Holistic Nutritionist and Author of Health Begins in the Kitchen - Sebastopol, CA
Secret Weapon: Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
"The item I use at least once a day that most people have not yet discovered is the Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker. It’s also a slow cooker and yogurt maker. Pressure cookers have drastically changed over the years. They are less intimidating and so easy to use. Having a piece of equipment that makes it quick and easy to prepare healthy meals makes a person more likely to cook and avoid fast food takeout. As a nutritionist, it’s the number one item I would recommend to those wanting to improve their diets."

5. Cassie Piasecki, Personal Trainer and Fitness Consultant - Orange County, CA
Secret Weapon: Dry Brush
"I keep a dry brush in the shower. Dry brushes promote circulation and eliminate cellulite."

6. Susan Longley, M.Ed., CPCC, Fitness Coach for Seniors - Atlanta, GA
Secret Weapon: Yoga Ball
"When I'm not at my stand-up desk, I use a yoga ball as a desk chair."

7. Sarah Karger, Fitness Nutritionist for First Fitness Nutrition - Carrollton, TX
Secret Weapons: Food Scale and Measuring Tape
"As a certified specialist in fitness nutrition, I always have a food scale on my kitchen counter. Weighing my food, especially fats and carbs, is run of the mill for me. In my bathroom, I have a measuring tape instead of a scale. Most fitness people know that a scale doesn’t measure fluctuation of water, salt, etc."

8. Lori Streator, Wellness Coach at Breakthrough Mind and Body - Chicago, IL
Secret Weapon: Vision Board
"I have my goals front and center; they're the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I look at before the day ends. A vision board is key to putting the visual aspect of whatever I'm trying to work on. And when I work with clients, a vision board is a key piece to the goal-setting process."

9. Jamie Logie, Personal Trainer and Nutritionist - Ontario, Canada
Secret Weapon: Chin-Up Bars
"I have chin-up bars attached between the door frames in some of my closets."

10. Laura Deutsch, Certified Health Coach with Instill Health
Secret Weapon: Apple Cider Vinegar
"I have this in my home at all times but NOT for cooking—for drinking! Every morning I drink a glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. There are lots of health benefits to consuming apple cider vinegar."

11. Dr. Kathy Gruver, Health and Wellness Practitioner - Santa Barbara, CA

Secret Weapon: Flying Trapeze
"For health and stress relief, I do flying trapeze. I got so addicted to it that I had a trapeze installed in my garage so I can practice my swing and hang from it."

12. Polina, Personal Trainer at Mean Fit Foxes - UK
Secret Weapon: Tractor Tire
"This is a most effective way of getting strong and conditioned. All you need is a flat surface and you can flip the tire for strength or push it for conditioning. This might not work in the busiest parts of the city, but you can stick it in the trunk of the car and go do it in the park. It's phenomenal for shredding fat and is a complete workout in itself!"

13. Tricia Silverman, Registered Dietitian and Fitness Instructor - Boston, MA
Secret Weapon: Weight Bench
"A simple weight bench was a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband...best gift ever! In one year of having this bench in my home next to my bed, I see so much more definition in my arms, shoulders, abs and pecs. It’s a great reminder to wake up and see it in the morning. Having a weight bench in your house can make a huge fitness and wellness difference."

14. Stephen Box, Certified Fitness Trainer - Suwanee, GA
Secret Weapon: High-Speed Blender
"I use the Nutribullet every day to create super shakes, which allows me to get my fruits and veggies on the go without going to a smoothie bar, which is usually loaded with sugar."

15. Lori Kenyon Farley, Co-Founder of Project Juice - Orange County, CA
Secret Weapon: Kombucha
"Our fridge is stocked with kombucha, which is a fermented drink with natural probiotics from the fermentation process. It's tasty and great for digestion and boosting immunity."

16. Darin Hulslander, Owner of DNS Fitness and Nutrition - Chicago, IL

Secret Weapon: Fish Oil 
"I use fish oil because not only does it help support my mood, but it also helps reduce inflammation from my workouts."

17. Jaime Morocco, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach - San Francisco, CA
Secret Weapon: Fit Measuring Tape
"I use fit measuring tape (to gauge results), because the scale is only one measure of success."

18.  Kristina Sampson, Certified Health Coach and Founder of The Vail Diet - Denver, CO
Secret Weapon: Nutritional Yeast
"Nutritional yeast is high in protein, fiber and B vitamins, including B-12. Because it is one of the only non-animal sources of B-12, it's good for vegans and vegetarians, who are often deficient."

19. Tom Holland, Exercise Physiologist and Sports Nutritionist - Darien, CT
Secret Weapon: Core Hammer
"To mix up my core training, I use the Core Hammer inside or out."

20. Mariana Stabile, Certified Health Coach - Miami, FL
Secret Weapon: Oils
"I have an array of organic natural oils (sesame oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, pumpkin seed oil, etc.) as well as essential oils, which I use for almost everything, including face/body care, cooking and cleaning."

21.  Kim Evans, Fitness and Wellness Specialist - Grand Haven, MI
Secret Weapon: Bosu Fitness Trainer
"I have a couple of Bosu trainers. I use them as they're intended, and I also will put them under my paddle board and do some training on the unstable board."

22. Amy Gorin, Nutrition Consultant - Jersey City, NJ
Secret Weapon: Healthy Snack Cabinet
"I have a kitchen cabinet designated to healthy, filling and portion-controlled snacks. My favorites are Wonderful Pistachios Sweet Chili 1.25-ounce snack packs, fruit-and-nut bars and vegan jerky. I usually pair one of these with a bowl of blueberries or a banana."

23. Krista Goncalves, Certified Holistic Nutritionist - Kelowna, BC Canada
Secret Weapon: Raw Cacao Nibs
"This is the unprocessed, chunky version of raw cacao powder. I use raw cacao nibs in baking and on top of smoothies to provide extra nutrition, fiber and texture. Did you know that NOT chewing your smoothie can be detrimental to the digestive process, and may even cause weight gain? Cacao nibs give the perfect 'chew factor' when you put them in for the last few seconds of blending."

24. Jeff Miller, Fitness Professional for Function Fitness - Albany, NY
Secret Weapon: Standing Desk
"I have a standing workstation where I do all my computer work. It helps me stay moving and avoid the back pain and negative cardiovascular effects of sitting all day."

25. Joel Harper, Fitness Trainer - New York, NY
Secret Weapons: Pili Nuts and M-Board
"Pili nuts taste amazing and are high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and a great source of protein. Ideal for an afternoon snack. The M-Board is great for any age—the older we get, the more likely we are to lose our balance and injure ourselves. The board shortens the learning curve on many sports, as it strengthens your stabilizing muscles and replicates real-life movements."

26. Cheryl Russo, Fitness Trainer - New York, NY
Secret Weapon: Chia Seeds
"Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, calcium, protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids."

27. Sheena Ritchie, Yoga Instructor - Calgary, Alberta
Secret Weapon: Meditation Altar
"I have a meditation altar in my bedroom. It gives me a place to go every day and reconnect with the peaceful place in myself from which wisdom and intuitive guidance comes. Having done this, I'm able to better able to understand what messages my body is sending so I can make intelligent decisions regarding my lifestyle and fitness choices. The body is the best gauge of what it needs. I believe I have avoided illness and injury this way."

28. Meghan Kalmus, Barre and Pilates Instructor at TruFusion - Las Vegas, NV
Secret Weapon: Inversion Table
"An inversion table uses gravity and body weight to decompress the spine and allows the back to be stretched and expanded. I also use mine for abs exercises."

29. Jennifer Cassetta, Clinical Nutritionist and Personal Trainer - Santa Monica, CA
Secret Weapon: Probiotic Supplements
"I'm a big believer in gut health to help with most ailments, especially with weight loss. My Strong, Safe & Sexy plan that was recently featured on ABC's TV show, ‘My Diet Is Better Than Yours,’ has a big focus on probiotics. So, I always have probiotic supplements on hand."

30. Brooke Markovich, Trainer and Nutritionist at Ledbetter Inc. - Broomfield, CO
Secret Weapon: Arctic Zero
"This is a low-calorie, macro-friendly ice cream that many fitness trainers eat to satisfy their sweet tooth. A whole pint is typically only 150 calories."

Do you have any of these items in your home? Which would you like to try?

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XREPHA 4/7/2021
I have many of these at home. One thing I have that isn't listed is a beautiful,studio worthy Pilates reformer. I use it daily. One of the best investments I've made. Report
CECELW 4/1/2021
read this before Report
NIKO27 10/5/2020
Great Article Report
Thank you! Report
Very good. Thank you for sharing. Report
Interesting Report
Interesting article. Report
Thanks Report
Great article! Report
I have most of these. The tractor tire is a CrossFit thing … and they are huge.

I have:
Foam Roller
Kettlebell 1 size
Dozens of Spices (esp no salt ones)
Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
Dry Brush
Yoga Ball (stability ball)
Food Scale and Measuring Tape
Vision Board
Apple Cider Vinegar
High-Speed Blender
Fish Oil
Oils (Essential oils mister)
Chia Seeds
Probiotic Supplements

Plan to get an M board for balance training
Investigating the Fit Tape
Would love a weight bench but no place to put it Report
I will look into the dry brush! Thanks for the tips. Report
food scales are great to have Report
dry brush in the shower to stimulate cellulite. Never thought of that! Report
I have a number of these, it's whatever floats your boat. I use my blender a lot. Also have a machine for making frozen fruit (bananas & ?) Into dairy free gelato. Having a special snack cupboard is helpful & I've been wanting to do a vision board. My foam roller is for stretching exercises as a real good massage isn't the same. Yes to spices & I might look into a used tractor tire for the back yard but surprised none of them use a hula hoop. Maybe it just isn't a top contender. My secret weapon would be keeping healthy foods stocked up & some meal planning. That means having storage containers on hand too. Report
I have a number of these, it's whatever floats your boat. I use my blender a lot. Also have a machine for making frozen fruit (bananas & ?) Into dairy free gelato. Having a special snack cupboard is helpful & I've been wanting to do a vision board. My foam roller is for stretching exercises as a real good massage isn't the same. Yes to spices & I might look into a used tractor tire for the back yard but surprised none of them use a hula hoop. Maybe it just isn't a top contender. My secret weapon would be keeping healthy foods stocked up & some meal planning. That means having storage containers Report
I have a number of these, it's whatever floats your boat. I use my blender a lot. Also have a machine for making frozen fruit (bananas & ?) Into dairy free gelato. Having a special snack cupboard is helpful & I've been wanting to do a vision board. My foam roller is for stretching exercises as a real good massage isn't the same. Yes to spices & I might look into a used tractor tire for the back yard but surprised none of them use a hula hoop. Maybe it just isn't a top contender. My secret weapon would be keeping healthy foods stocked up Report
Thanks for sharing your secret weapons. There were a few, I haven't tried, but I sure will look into trying!!!! Report
Great article. I plan to add a few secret wealth’s to my home. Report
I have
- a foam roller - essential for keeping from getting tight muscles especially when I am training for a running race

-dozens or spices - for health - turmeric-cardamom-cinnamon-allspice
for flavour -( southern France parsley-sage-rosemary-thyme )
( Italian basil-marjoram-oregano ) ( Mexican - chilli pepper flakes - cumin) (for fish white pepper, taragon) ( for roasts - garlic powder-rosemary-pepper )

- not a dry brush, but I have velcro mittens for the shower for circulation and dry skin sloughing

- food scale and a measuring tape - both better tools than a body weight scale

- chin-up bar - my DH made me one for Christmas at my request - my chin-up and pull-up capabilities are a measure of fitness

- I don't have a flying trapeze, but that sounds pretty cool

- the tractor tire sounds interesting as a work out tool, and I live on a farm so totally doable

- high speed blender, but I don't use it much. I am not into smoothies

- kombucha - yessssss - I love, love, love kombucha

- chia seeds are part of my hot cereal breakfast

- an inversion table - I love it for my back, but am still getting used to the blood rush to my head, I got it a few months ago after wanting one for years

Thanks for the ideas !!

PS to NDCarol -- Tractors come in many sizes, I am thinking a tractor tire off a 60 hp tractor would be perfect. Most likely a tractor tire off a tractor larger than 100 hp would be too big Report
Thank you Report
I really like this article, fun to see what folks shared and viewed as as secret weapons! Foam Roller Girl big advocate. Report
Thank you interesting article Report
Great Article!! Report
I use a foam roller but I use it to reduce my abs. Report
Some of this stuff is interesting and legit. Some of it is a little crazy wooo type stuff. Grain of salt treatment recommended. Report
Great ideas. I think I will buy a foam roller for getting out the knots in my back. Report
Like the "secret weapons" now to compile my own. Report
Wow, some of these were very interesting. The trapeze bar gave me a good laugh. Report
Some of these “tips” prove that being obsessive compulsive help in the short run, especially people who make a living from continuing “old wives tales” in the billion dollar business of weight loss. Report
I drink apple cider vinegar 4 times a day 2 teaspoons in a glass of tap water to help my kidney function.
I have stage 2 kidney disease, only sign is I can never wait to empty my bladder, I start to go without any warning, more so when I go out in the cold weather in the winter, not from laughing, because of kidneys. With this I have never have this problem, If I do not drink 4 glasses a day it comes back in 6 hours. It also has omega in it. I read about different things it can do first. You must not buy it in the regular section of the supermarket, you have to buy it natural with "mother", "BRACKS" is one brand, I buy a store brand that is cheaper. Some side effects are listed on the bottles. Another side effect it helps the metabolism & can cause weight loss. Taste is not good so you could add lemon juice to help the flavor. Do not drink it by itself because that is hard on your stomach. Report
@Judy1260, body brushing is FAR from being "garbage." It's a simple and very affordable way to gently and safely increase circulation of blood, lymph, etc., under the skin. Look it up, or ask a massage therapist or dermatologist. Report
We have several of these. Great reality check, and short shopping list. I would LOVE a trapeze swing - and an aerial yoga rig. Thank you! Report
I drink apple cider vinegar in warm water with honey and lemon every morning. I don't think I could live without my blender. Report
A brush to eliminate cellulite? Seriously?? Cellulite is a natural part of the body that isn't brushed away! Even babies have it! Stop body shaming women into thinking their body is less than perfect because of cellulite. SparkPeople, please stop publishing these articles that promote this garbage! Report
I have and use a Vitamix to make my own salad dressing, nutritious smoothies and soups. Also I make ice cream with it. It is so very important to me. Report
I found #12, Polina's suggestion for using a tractor tire hilarious! I don't know what kind of tractor tires they have where she is, but here, tractor tires can be 5-6 feet in diameter and weigh more than 100 lbs, and certainly wouldn't fit in a car trunk. Maybe she meant a lawn tractor tire? Report
Using four items on the list over the last 4 years has made a difference in being able to maintain results. They are small, and in some cases, inexpensive changes that are sustainable and effective. Report
This is like a commercial for a lot of products I don't need to waste money on buying. Report
You need to fuel your brain with positive thoughts and healthy food as well. Think about our ancestors, they didn't have any McDonalds or KFC around, they were running all day naked chasing food, now we have tons of pills that never work.

I really like your share Melissa, very interesting thoughts. Some of the facts I learned starting my 3 week diet (anytimediet.com if interested) you need to shape your mind, fool your brain a little bit, keep track of your weight and you'll be seeing good overall results. Part of good health is giving your brain what it deserves. Thank you. Report
Interesting article. Thanks Report
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