I Spent Half of My Life Hating My Curls, but Learning To Love Them Has Shaped My Identity

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“My hair has become an extension of my personality: vibrant, bold, and bouncy.”Most gyms are filled to the gills with different kinds of exercise equipment. Yet gym-goers typically gravitate to the same basic cardio machines and weights over and over. “When people think of getting a good workout in, they typically think of the standard treadmill, spin bike, or elliptical,” says Cat Kom, the founder and head trainer of fitness app Studio SWEAT onDemand. While she agrees that these are excellent machines, there are other options out there that “can take your workout from a good one to a great one,” she says. One reason certain pieces of equipment get overlooked? “People have no idea how to even begin incorporating them into their routine!” Kom says.

And even advanced athletes can get stuck in a comfortable routine that brings them to the same corners of the gym day after day. Yet incorporating some new props can boost your fitness in new ways—and keep things interesting. In particular, Kom says these five key pieces of fitness equipment are underutilized but deserve a place in your workout routine.

Plyo box You may see people jumping or stepping up onto these boxes of various heights—particularly if you’re watching a CrossFit workout. Kom says that these multifunctional boxes are perfect for lower-body workouts as well as for improving balance. “Plus, you will get a cardio workout too!” she says. Retrospec Leap Plyo Box — $54.00 Shop Now Try it: Box jumps “Keeping good form while jumping onto the box is key,” says Kom. “Engaging your core and leg muscles will help ensure you land firmly on the box.” As a beginner, start with the lowest plyo box at your gym. Facing the plyo box, take a step back and begin with your feet shoulder-width

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