TriggerPoint GRID Textured Foam Roller Review

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If you’re someone who has aches and pains from lifting or doing any other type of physical activity, a foam roller can help immensely. I’ve used a ton of different kinds, but I’ve seen the most benefit from using a sturdy one like the TriggerPoint GRID foam roller. Some people might enjoy a much softer one since they’re less intense, so that’s just something to keep in mind when you look for one. Plus, there are some even more intense than this one and are just solid without any foam. In my experience, those hurt way too much (also I’m a sissy sometimes) and this one is a great middle point.

Using the TriggerPoint GRID foam roller

Thankfully, there’s no setup needed for the foam roller, you just take it out and start to massage your body with it. You’ll want to look up specific exercises to do with any foam roller you use, because improper use can injure yourself even more. Once you know what you’re doing, you simply just lay across the top and roll back and forth on the spots that hurt. What makes this foam roller different are the different textures around it. When you find a trigger point (which we’ll cover down below), you can use the different textures to work it out so it stops causing you pain.

You will need a moderate level of flexibility to use any foam roller. There are some out there with handles that might be better for you if you can’t hold your own bodyweight up in a plank.

Benefits of using a foam roller

Anyone who lifts should consider adding a foam roller to their arsenal due to the simple fact it can help keep you mobile for longer. Mobility is essential if you want to keep being active for years to come. I’m positive if I had known about better stretching, trigger point therapy in general, and foam rollers that I would have been a better athlete in high school. Instead, I was plagued with a ton of injuries, sprains, and strains which kept me out of at least a third of my games as a senior in high school.

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What is a trigger point?

Most people know about muscle strains and sore joints, but few people know about trigger points. However, trigger points are where most of us have constant pain and don’t even realize it. They’re essentially little built-up groups of muscles that have started to cramp up [1].

You can often figure out that you’ve found a trigger point when you’re pushing on your body because there will be referral pain. For example, I have one that I’m always working out on the top of my shoulder blade that refers pain up my neck. When they’re bad enough, a doctor will consider injecting them to alleviate the pain. If you can deal with them on your own, it’s even better since you can try to keep them from getting to that point. With trigger points, you can rarely be free of them forever since the research currently shows they’re natural and happen often.

The research is still a little murky around trigger points, mainly because it’s not a huge area of focus for research. It won’t completely alleviate any pain either, so don’t think trigger point therapy is some kind miracle answer, but it certainly can help.

You can use other tools, such as a lacrosse ball, to alleviate the pain on top of a foam roller, but in my experience, the foam roller is much nicer.


  • Comes in a wide variety of colors
  • Multi-density exterior
  • Rigid, hollow core
  • Comes with free online instructional video library
  • 13 x 5.5 inches
  • 500 pound weight limit

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Footnotes: 1.

The Best At-Home Workouts for 2020 and My Favorite At-Home Workout Accessories

I don’t think I really need to get into the state of the world at the moment. (P.S. Does anyone know where toilet paper is NOT sold out in Denver? Orrr?)

Either way, for a lot of us, working out is a way to maintain sanity. To get out of our brains and stop the endless news cycle scrolling for just a second. If you have an at-home gym, you don’t need a lot of bodyweight programs out there because you already have the weights to continue on with your regular workouts.

For us gym rats, we now have no access to weights (stupid apartment living and not being able to deadlift above my neighbors), it’s time for body weight and band workouts.

I thought I’d put together some of the best at home workouts I could find from around the web, especially ones focused on more of a bodybuilding approach than Jane Fonda (although her workouts are epic).

1. Heidi Somers 5 week at home workout

You probably know Heidi Somers from her company, BuffBunny, but her workout programs are amazing. She currently has a free 5 week at home workout plan to get you moving. The equipment required is very little and you could easily DIY it! Here’s the link: click here.

2. Jim Stoppani’s workouts

Jim Stoppani has a ton of workouts, here are some of my favorites:

Full-body park workout: here.

Band workout (if you have bands): here.

If you want a membership to his site, it’s free for the first 30 days, which can help you get through at least a month.

3. Bret Contreras at home workout

Bret is also known as “the glute guy” and his workouts are incredible. Highly recommended. It’s old now, but check out this great bodyweight workout that doesn’t require equipment: here.

4. Brian Decosta

Brian not only has an insane work ethic in general, but as of posting this he’s posting daily bodyweight workouts on his Instagram: here.

If you’re looking for things to buy over the break to keep you going, there are a few favorites I have or have used.

1. The EmPack Backpack

While you could easily fill a jug of water and put it in a backpack, few things are built quite like the Empack. Not only is it high-quality, but it has handles all around it to make your workouts even better and use it as a great tool. It’s sometimes sold out on Amazon, but you can often find it still on their site.

2. Freetoo workout bands

I reviewed these on another site I write for, but they’re coming in handy so much during this time at home. Bands are great because you can carry them on the go and they don’t take up a lot of room. Check them out: here. I can’t fit dumbbells in my small apartment so, personally, bands are the way to go for me. I’d link some adjustable dumbbells, but as of posting this they’re sold out pretty much everywhere.

3. 5 gallon water jugs

Water jugs are a cheap and excellent way to get in a good workout a huge hit to your wallet. Here’s one on Amazon: here. It can help you get in your workouts that require heavier weights, especially if all the stores online are sold out of weight sets.

That’s pretty much it for some at home ideas to help you make it through. Stay inside, wash your hands, but get moving so you can stay calm through this. I’m also going to try and post some workout and nutrition ideas to my own Instagram, so come say hi!

20 Fitness Goals for 2020

With the new year here, most people are sitting down and figuring out their fitness goals and resolutions.

While most resolutions fail (because they focus on the outcome instead of on building the habit first), there’s still something exciting about a new year and all of the possibilities. While I’ve written longer articles on habit building and mindset tricks to keep you consistent in the gym, this will focus on the lighter side and some fun fitness goals you might want to hit this year.

Having a list of fitness goals is fun to help keep you excited about the year ahead and keep you going. Of course, this is just to spark inspiration and it’s best to set goals that you actually want to achieve.

Since 2020 is a fun numerical year, a lot of these goals will play on the idea of the number 20.

Fitness goal ideas for 2020:

  1. Go on 20 walks in new places or routes you haven’t taken.
  2. Lose 20 pounds.
  3. Stretch 20 days in a row.
  4. Do 20 pushups at once.
  5. Run 20K (aka do two 10k’s).
  6. Learn 20 yoga poses.
  7. Hit a 20-inch box jump.
  8. Swim for 20 straight minutes.
  9. Add 20 pounds to your best rep this year.
  10. Try a new way to work out 20 times.
  11. Try 20 new exercises.
  12. Choose walking over Ubering somewhere 20 times.
  13. Drink 20 sips of water a day.
  14. For 20 minutes in the morning, don’t check your phone but instead, list what you love about your life.
  15. Schedule 20 workouts in your calendar.
  16. Give yourself a compliment 20 days in a row.
  17. Try 20 new recipes.
  18. Hold a handstand for 20 seconds.
  19. Try 20 new fruits or vegetables.
  20. Eliminate 20 grams of sugar from your diet.
  21. Bonus! Journal for 20 minutes a day to relieve some stress.

Not everyone has the same goals in mind, so these are just ideas to spark you getting excited to take care of your body and mind in the new year.

Have any other ideas? Leave them in the comments below!

Do you need to do cardio for fat loss?

When it comes to losing weight, most people imagine that they need to get on a cardio machine for hours at a time. If you walk into a gym at any time during the Spring season, especially before spring break at colleges, you’ll see tons of people running their butts off on treadmills.

Now that science and training have progressed, the common question is if people still need to do cardio to get that shredded body.

The short answer is no, you don’t get cardio to get a lean physique.

However, there are some things you should think about before you add it into your routine or cut it out completely.

How do you prefer to workout?

Knowing how you like to lift and exercise is essential to staying consistent in the gym. For myself, I’m not the biggest fan of cardio, but I do like to add it in for the mental clarity it gives me. Weights are my bread and butter at the gym, but there’s something so calming about doing cardio every now and then.

Most people, however, are not as obsessed with cardio as they are when they’re trying to lose weight.

If you dread cardio, you can keep in mind that it’s not essential. If you like cardio, you can keep it in your routine.

If you don’t like a type of exercise, you’re far more likely to quit. When I was training clients at my gym in college, the biggest thing was finding exercises they enjoyed instead of exercises I tried to force them to enjoy. I mean, some things were necessary (PLEASE STRETCH YOUR HIP FLEXORS, EVERYONE.), but for the most part, they were more likely to keep going if they enjoyed it.

Know that most people who look shredded lift weights

Cardio, while it has tremendous benefits for your heart, will rarely get you that ripped physique you’re imagining in your mind.

Fun activity: go to Google and search for “marathon runners vs sprinters”.

I’d bet a lot of money that the body you most likely have in mind as “goals” looks closer to the sprinter than the marathon runner. Most marathon runners are thin and don’t have a lot of muscles, because having a huge frame over long distances is not beneficial. (Also that much cardio will deplete a lot of your muscles.)

NOTE: I’m not saying all cardio will make you some small, tiny human that as lost all their muscles. A lot of bodybuilder bros are scared of cardio for that reason. It takes INCREDIBLE amounts of cardio over extended periods of time to hurt your muscles that much. Doing a handful of cardio to lose some weight is not going to take your six-pack and turn it into sludge overnight.

With that being said, cardio is not the most efficient way to lose weight.

Anyone who has done cardio and weight training knows that weight training can be far more strenuous. Yes, when you’re starting to get back into the gym, you’ll burn a ton of calories because your body is not an efficient machine yet.

Our bodies were designed to adapt quickly, so over time you need to make your cardio longer and more strenuous in order to receive the same benefits.

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After exercise benefits of cardio vs weight training

Current studies show that weight training helps your body burn more calories for the rest of the day (up to 38 hours!) after one good session. Sprinting is much closer to weight lifting, but rarely are people doing sprints in the gym.

When it comes to weight training, the more muscle you have, the higher your basic calorie maintenance needed to maintain that weight increases.

While building muscle takes time, if you stay consistent with it you’re going to see more benefits over the long term than you would with cardio.

Put simply, when you do cardio, your body becomes more efficient and you have to work harder. With weight lifting, your body becomes stronger and you burn more calories each day.

That’s not to say weight lifting is some easy thing you can breeze through and that it’s not hard, but the long-term benefits when it comes to weight loss are better.

When to use cardio

One reason I like to add in cardio when I’m losing weight is that I’m personally not a fan of sacrificing food to dropdown.

Every human has a certain amount of calories they need to maintain their weight every single day. This is called their basal metabolic rate.

To lose weight, you need to drop your total daily calories burned below that number. You can do this by either cutting your food below that line or increasing your exercise every single day.

I’m not saying that simply adding in cardio will remove the need for restricting food completely, but I am saying that between the two choices, I’m going to work out harder.

However, if you’re a person who is not as emotionally attached to food and cutting out your extra calories in the day through your diet doesn’t sound so bad, then you can go that route.

When you see the scale starting to get stubborn, adding in a dose of cardio here and there can help you move the needle again. A future article will be coming out on what to do when the scale gets stubborn, but for now all you need to know is that cardio can be a good tool on top of a solid program, but it shouldn’t be the entire basis of your program.

Types of cardio to consider

With all that being said, cardio is undoubtedly great for your heart. Just avoiding it completely to curl weights is not a good long-term strategy, either.

While just hopping on the treadmill or elliptical is the most common forms of cardio, there are some other types to consider:
Swimming – Swimming is considerably easier on the joints than running, especially on your knees.
HIIT – This is called high-intensity interval training and is essentially where you train at a high intensity (usually with weights) for short sprints at a time. For example, medicine ball throws against a wall for multiple rounds of 30-second spurts.
Team sports – when we’re younger, most of our parents sign us up for team sports. Whether you enjoyed it or not is one thing, but as an adult, they’re 10x more fun. Keep in mind, a lot of adult team sports include drinking, so that could easily damage your fitness goals, but there’s no doubt that keeping that competitive spirit alive can be a lot of fun.

That’s pretty much all you need to know. Cardio, just like other forms of exercise, can be a tool to help you hit your goals. It’s not an end-all-be-all to weight loss, so if you think you need to slave over your treadmill while watching GOT reruns, you can breathe easy knowing there are other ways.

Home Gym vs Gym Membership

When it comes to getting in shape, there are a million ways to approach it. Two of the most popular choices are to either get a gym membership or to invest in a home gym. Both of these are strong options and for a lot of us, the ideal place is to have a blend of both, but that’s not always an option.

If you’ve been weighing the options between getting a home gym or spending the money to join a local gym, there are few things you should know about the pros and cons of each so you can make the best decision.

Home Gym Pros

The biggest difference between a home gym and a gym membership is that you’ll have to pay your expenses up front to get all the equipment. A gym membership often costs less up front, but you’re simply renting the space and the equipment and never get to take it with you. However, if you decide to do bodyweight exercises or use light weights, it shouldn’t cost much at all.

Weather doesn’t matter as much

If you live in a place that gets snow, you know how hard it can be to make it to the gym on those freezing, snowy days. Sometimes even the roads are closed making getting to the gym even harder. The benefit of having your own gym at home is that you don’t need to worry about the weather since you’re already there. The only time you’d have to worry about it is if you have your home gym in an area that doesn’t have climate control (like a lot of garages, for example).

Listen to your own music

Listening to your own music is one of the best features of a home gym. No shade to commercial gyms, but a lot of them have questionable music or just not my preferred genre. Of course, at commercial gyms you can just bring your own headphones, but it’s nice to have the option.

Don’t need to worry about gym hours

Some gyms have weird hours. If you’re a person who likes to fit in a good workout before you head off to your job, it’s nice to be able to wake up and just workout at any time you want.

Home Gym Cons

Home is for relaxing

Sometimes the nice part about a gym membership is that you have to leave the comfort of your home to go workout. That can be a good motivator, especially since most of our homes tend to be a relaxing environment.

Equipment can be wildly expensive

Everything you buy you’ll have to move around. The benefit of a gym membership is that it’s up to to the gym to maintain, store, and move the equipment.

Not enough weight variety

Typically, a gym membership will give you more equipment variety and options when it comes to machines, weights, and options to use. If you’re just looking to stay active, that’s not really a big deal. However, if you’re into things like bodybuilding, that can be a huge hindrance to your progress.

Gym Membership Pros

Keep in mind, not all gyms are the same. There are CrossFit gyms, huge commercial chain gyms, local gyms, yoga studios, and so on. The average gym membership is $30-$50, but some smaller ones can run much higher.

Better options

Most gyms have more equipment than you could buy to fit in your home. They’ll have different machines, bands, chains, weights, and so on that would take up a ton of space in your home.

Maintenance and cleaning

It’s nice to not have to worry about cleaning any equipment or keeping it maintained. The staff at the gym have to do that and you just come in to use it. Things like squat racks have to be

Gym Membership Cons


Some smaller gyms can be expensive, depending on how big the city you live in is. It’s a recurring charge every month and depending on how tight your budget is, sometimes it simply doesn’t make sense. Some people are better off financially to just buy a cheap set of weights from a garage sale and start that way. I’d never sit here and say someone HAS to have a gym membership, especially if it’s going to put you in a tougher place with your money.


If you have anxiety or don’t like to be around a lot of people, the crowds at a gym, especially during the busy hours, can be overwhelming. If you’re just starting to work out, being around a ton of people and feeling like you’re taking up space or getting in their way can be enough to keep people out of the gym forever.

How to decide

If you’re still on the fence, one good way is to try and do bodyweight exercises at home. If you find it hard to get motivated when you’re at home, get a guest pass/trial membership at a gym. Most gyms will give community members a free day (or even up to a week) to test out the space and see if it’s a good fit. You’ll want to do this before joining any gym since it can be hard to tell if you’ll like it or not before trying it.

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