PART TWO: Home Workouts and Equipment
Home vs. Gym
There are things I love about both and reasons why I still do both. From privacy to commute, consider what obstacles are killing your motivation. If you dread a long drive to the gym, you’ll make more excuses not to go. If you’re embarrassed about working out in front of other people, you’ll probably cut your workout short and go home. So pick a time and place that you can feel comfortable and then choose your activities around that.
You don’t need a gym to get a great workout in and you don’t need to buy a lot of equipment either. But, if you want to add a few small pieces to your home workout space, you can expand your workout options and kick your training up a notch. Of course, you can always keep it simple. Depending on the weather and your love for the outdoors, you can do anything from walking and running to sports and stretching in the park.
A workout doesn’t have to be cumbersome or expensive, but I’ve found I’m a bit more motivated and inspired to workout at home when I have a few extra tools at my disposal. The best part about working out at home though, is that you can try new moves or routines and not feel embarrassed that people are watching and wondering what you’re doing.
Below are a few things I have in my home gym:
Accessories: yoga mat, yoga block, yoga swing, dumbbell, kettlebell, swiss ball, ankle weights, and weight vest
You don’t need anything to do yoga, but having a mat and block are nice to give you a good foundation and modify some poses. The yoga swing is one of my favorite additions because it allows me to enjoy effortless inversions (you can do more with the yoga swing, but inversions are the primary reason I purchased mine).
A Swiss ball can be a great tool for deeper stretches, improving stability, and increasing the difficulty of bodyweight exercises (try push ups with your feet on a Swiss ball!).
Dumbbells and kettlebells:
While bodyweight activities can effectively target your muscles, I like variety and added resistance. I have a 10 lb. dumbbell that I use to boost the resistance on a few exercises, such as lying abdominal leg raises, side leg raises, or abdominal twists. And I have a 17 lb. kettlebell and 25 lb. kettlebell because I find kettlebell exercises to be a fun change of pace, exhausting (you can really get your heart-rate going with the full-body movements), and versatile.
Weight vest and ankle weights:
I learned from my years marching around with the Army that walking with a rucksack is a great leg workout. So, these days, I wear a weight vest if I want to go for a walk. It’s also a great way to add weight to plyometric and dynamic exercises (like squat jumps).
Basic equipment: In my home gym (which is actually a spare bedroom with a soon-to-be-installed Murphy Bed), I’ve added a lightweight, portable pull-up bar; a basic decline bench; and a mini trampoline.
My pull-up bar is a stand-alone equipment piece (not the kind that hangs in your doorway) and I love it because pull ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do. The pull-up bar I have is modular and can be tall or low…when it’s low, I can put my feet on the ground and do assisted pull ups at home, since I can only do a couple full pull ups. It also works great for hanging my yoga swing off of it.
(I bought this portable pull up bar from Go Beast and love it. You can even set it up so that it is half as high and it’s perfect for assisted pull ups; other configurations let you target different muscles.)
I love working my abs, so the decline bench was inexpensive and works great for giving me an extra level of difficulty for my ab workouts (the decline Russian twist is one of my favorite ab exercises).
I use Dave Hall’s cellerciser because of the construction, durability, and versatility (some mini trampolines are designed for specific weight classes, not the cellerciser–it’s great for everyone). One of the main reasons I like to workout at home is because my rebounder is at home; depending on how you use it, it can be a great cardiovascular exercises or a gentle way to move the lymphatic system.
Television: There are virtually limitless options for home workout routines on YouTube. Put a TV with Internet connection in your home workout space and then choose any of the follow-along workout routines to get motivated and stay fit. Search anything from yoga and HIIT to kickboxing and rebounding. Find an online instructor you enjoy and follow along. I find it helpful to choose my workout the night before so that in the morning I don’t waste 15 minutes trying to pick a workout routine that I want to do.
What type of equipment is a must-have for you in your home workout space?