After I resist the strong urge to roll my eyes (or throw up in my mouth), I calmly explain that exercise variety is important, as long as they are doing things correctly.
I have two answers to this question. Both are related, and both often surprise people. Which one I decide to use depends on how cheeky I’m feeling at the time.
My comedic (but no less true) answer is that the best piece of equipment is “the one you actually use on a regular basis”.
My typical follow-up comment is “In fact, the best fitness tool ever created is your own body”.
When they laugh, I say…”No, SERIOUSLY!”.
People are often so caught up in trying out the latest fitness tool or gadget that they forget to master the use of their own body.
This is why I like athletic style training and typically avoid machines and isolated exercises (except in very specific and temporary situations).
I see our job as a Personal Trainer or fitness professional to move people through “The Movement Spectrum”. When we do this effectively, it provides the greatest possible positive impact on their health and longevity.
Learning to move properly doesn’t require any equipment. We simply need our body and enough space to do the movements we desire. Of course, we still have to move well, but that’s a different post. Here’s one on how to properly teach a squat. Here’s another on the biggest mistake personal trainers make when teaching lunges. Both are performed incorrectly most of the time.