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Back when I was going to the gym, which was a little while ago considering my local fitness first has now closed down - which was a load of use! Anyway, my free session back when I started was with a personal trainer and he really put me through my paces. Apart from making me run for a minute, jog for a minute repeatedly over fifteen minutes - which first time I did it nearly killed me - he put me through my paces using a small circuit including kettle weights, and medicine balls, sit ups and all manner of painful procedures, the one that I actually managed to excel at and don't ask me how - was being able to run up and down the step board, the one in the gym was also Reebok I think but a little bit different to this one. I was however offered this one by a friend who didn't want it anymore so I took it with open arms, and have been using it since!
~*~ Reebok ~*~
Reebok are a sport and fitness company that have been around for a fair amount of time now; they bring us trainers, sports clothing, and a lot of accessories for fitness that are use in quite a few places from gyms to in the home. Reebok are a part of German company Adidas since 2005, initially founded in the UK, which is nice a British company or at least it was - Reebok now is a world known brand that if you look at people in sport you'll probably see it on at least one athlete. I think in the UK it's not quite as popular as it used to be as a lot of the Reebok outlet shops have closed down, which means there is a shortage of reebok items on the high street - luckily for us all there is the internet, so we can all get hold of nice easy tone trainers!
~*~ Easytone Step ~*~
This step is not your average fitness step, on the surface it looks like a normal step it's not until you take a closer look or stand on it that you realise what it could do for your body. This step is designed to challenge your body, and to tone and tighten muscles by creating an instability that means you have to work a bit harder to keep yourself straight and balanced on the board. This forces muscles to adapt and potentially muscles that you wouldn't use as much, to flex and give you the stability you need on this step - this actively promotes toning. It sounds a bit scary but let me tell you my experience with it, it'll probably provoke a few laughs on the way round though because it did the majority of the people in my house at the time.
Now I'm not sure if this can be taken apart or not I've not really fiddled with it since I've had it from my friend but when he arrived to drop it off, I was expecting a normal fitness step one that you stand on and has a solid base so it's easy to run up and down on. It wasn't until he brought it into the living room, and told me to stand on it that I realised that essentially the legs to this step are plastic and filled with air. the first time I stood on it, no word of a lie I nearly fell off it, he'd had so much time with it being not quite full of air that it was really quite unstable for me who wasn't used to it, he is a lot fitter than I am so for him to stand on what felt to me like a bouncy castle was a breeze - I stood on it and did the age old flapping my arms around trying to get my balance. Once I'd finish flapping about like an ill owl he turned the board over and showed me that there is a twistable gauge on the back which basically changes the amount of air inside the legs, twist it towards the - to reduce the air and towards the + to make the legs a little more stable. My advice for anyone who wants something like this, is to have the legs as stable as possible to start with, if you're not really steady on your feet because you will wobble about all over the place.
Once you've got over the wobbly stage and you feel confident with it - you'll begin to think right how can I use this to get myself fitter. Luckily at this stage I had my friend to give me some hints and tips on how to work this step into a circuit, literally just using this step. It all depends how fit you are really - I'm not that fit now, and wasn't when I started this either, so as I go back to using my step I'm hopefully going to be able to improve my fitness again! To start with I just use this step to do around a minute of going up and down on the step almost like I'm running up and down the stairs, everyone knows what action I'm talking about I hope - and that just gets your legs a bit warmed up and ready for a bit of action, obviously beforehand you will have warmed up I hope. After a minute of this, with the legs quite solid to start with I will have a bit of a breather before picking up my hand weight - and doing the same again, but because I've got the weight in my hand I find I'm using my core muscles a lot more to stand steadily before stepping down again - it's a great way to improve your balance if you have a weight to hold in varying places across your body. It provokes your body to engage muscles that you might not already use if you were on a level plane, and I think that's the bit that hurts the most when you first start using it if you're not that fit because even a minute a day of doing this you'll find you are touching muscles you didn't know you had!
The brilliant thing about this step, is that the top of it is a lot wider than the normal steps that you can buy, I've not got big feet at a size 6 but I find on normal steps that I might fall off it if I don't get my foot in the right place because some can be quite narrow. This one however is much wider across the top than some I have used and feel that I can get my entire foot on it and not feel like I'm going to slip off and scrape the front of my leg on the front of the step. There are some really useful bobbles on the top that are there to make sure you have traction on the step so you can actually keep yourself on the step when you get on it. Which considering at times how unstable it can be I think that's a bit of a necessary evil - but they've got it covered, and it doesn't hurt to lay on either, and you might think lay on it? I'm about to explain!
I find that the best workout for my abdomen is sit ups in varying manifestations, and I'm one of those people that if you lay me on the floor to do them I fail epically - so when I discovered I could do sit ups on this step comfortably I was really happy. It's really simple too, lay on the step with your bum at the edge and do your sit ups from there - it makes it much easier because with having the legs underneath you it gives you that bit more support, and I can comfortably do more on the step than I've ever been able to do just laid on the floor. With the same effect as well - I've still got up the next day and had abdominal muscle ache the same as I did when I was being forced to do them on the floor. At this point you can bring in a weight as a way to challenge yourself further and strengthen your core muscles even more - because this gives them an even bigger pull. This step is great for doing the sideways twist sit up, and any other manifestation you've been taught or always done, and it will make them a lot easier to do, without minimising the effect on your body. The bobbles on the step don't tend to dig into my back either, so I can happily do this for a few minutes without any pain, I will often have a mark on my body though but that's because I mark easily - but it's normally gone within half an hour so it's nothing to worry about!
You can also do press ups from this step, now I'm no expert at press ups, before I owned this I couldn't really do them, but because you've got a bit of give in the legs of this step it makes it so much easier on your arms. It doesn't feel like after five or ten attempts that your arms are going to fall off, because you're using more than just the normal muscles depending on how soft you have the legs it means you can put less pressure on them - especially if you've been using your weight with sit ups and when you started your work out. If you're feeling adventurous with your press ups you can always turn the step over and just put your hands on the legs and have that smaller area to work in - which is harder work and something I've never managed more than once or twice. I'm not that unfit but press ups have never been my forte, but when I've been clenching my muscles I have noticed that they make a difference to my body.
You really can adapt this step to use it in whatever way you fancy, you can turn it into one of the only pieces of workout equipment you use if you use it right. I used to have an abdominal roller and well that's very redundant now I've got this, to a point I might even get rid of it because I just don't use it anymore. This step is a bit bigger than one of the normal fitness steps you might come across but it's far more interesting, but it will tuck away nicely into a cupboard, mine sits in my wardrobe with my shoes, but it's not overly heavy so if you have it in your room on the carpet or on a rug you're unlike to see it marking the carpet because hopefully you'll be so excited to use it, you'll be using it all the time! The best thing about this board and unfortunately, mines in a conservative blue and white - but you can get it in lime green, yellow and blue - and another colour available is bright pink and yellow. That would be enough to get me to use it on it's own, that's probably not good, but I think it's a good enough piece of equipment that you'd be happy to use it on it's benefits not just how it looks! I've had this for about nine months now and I think my friend had it for about six months before that, so we're over a year old and it still looks really good, it doesn't loose pressure inside the legs unless you want it too, it's a really good quality item!
~*~ Price and Availability ~*~
My best advice is to go to onto google and search for it because there are varying prices depending what colour and where you want to buy it from. For those of you who use Groupon there is a voucher on there at the moment for this, not sure if it's expired but it's worth a look. If not amazon has it for less than £50 for the blue and white, you will pay more for the brighter coloured options - which is typical, but I think eBay is a little bit cheaper for the bright coloured ones!