One of the biggest excuses I hear from people about why they do not workout is that they cannot get motivated to get to the gym. Well then do not go to the gym! Workout outside or at home! Here is my list of the must have items to turn your cozy home into a gym! I picked these items because they are the items I keep at home. They are cheap and do not take up any room because they can all be stored in your closet!
I swear by this watch. I love this watch. I use it every time I workout. It's great because it has two timers, an interval timer, a chronological timer, and three alarms. So you can do intervals, or time how long it takes you to get up that flight of stairs, or time each lap in the pool. I love this watch because it's versatile and pretty inexpensive. It's under $50!
Now if you want to get serious about your workouts you should invest in a heart rate monitor. A Heart Rate monitor is great for doing really high intense workouts. I really like Polar. They have all different kinds of heart rate monitors that range anywhere from $50 to $300 and do anything from just take your Heart Rate to counting calories, estimating distance traveled, even connecting to your computer and graphing distance, altitude gained, average speed etc!. I prefer the cheapest one, it's easy to read and only has all the main features, heart rate and calories burned... what more do you really need to know?
2. The Jump Rope
This is a great workout tool to keep at home. It will whip you into shape like nothing else. Talk about some high intense cardio! I use this all the time for my warm up. I'll do three sets of one minute or I'll do a minute in between my weight sets to add some high intense cardio into my workout. I found this great jump rope tool online called the Jump Snap. It is a little pricey at almost $60 but it is a jump rope without the rope, so you can get a great high intense workout without worrying about tripping, or having to stop because the rope got caught, or breaking your favorite crystal vase because you accidentally whacked it while trying to jump rope inside! I have never tried this tool, I prefer a normal jump rope, so I am just warning you I have no idea whether it is as effective as an actual jump rope or not! But it seems cool! Alternatively you can just pick up a $5 jump rope at your local fitness store like I did.
Weights add intensity to any exercise you are doing whether it is jumping jacks, or punching in the air, or cardio kickboxing, or speed walking. Adding intensity means kicking up the calorie burn! I keep a pair of 8lb and 10lb weights around but I recommend keeping weights that you can use comfortably and a pair of weights one step up from that. So if you are comfortable with 10lb weights get a pair of 10lbs and a pair of 12lbs. If you are comfortable with 5lb weights get a pair of 5lbs and a pair of 8lbs. If you are really serious with weight training and want to take your at home gym to the next level, purchase a pair of PowerBlocks, they are adjustable weights that can adjust from 5lbs to 40lbs! and they are compact and small so they are perfect for home! Watch out though! These babies will run you up almost $300! So only purchase them if you have used and know you will continue to use weights at home!
4. A stability ball
Good bye Flab! Good bye back problems! Hello flat stomach! This is a great tool! Not only does it help you attain those rock hard abs you have always wanted, but it is a savior for those with back problems! It helps release tension and strengthen your back! There are so many ways you can use this tool there are entire books written about it! And the best part is the stability ball can double as a chair for you home office desk! It's super comfortable and great for posture! Just make sure you get one that correlates with your weight and height! They usually have charts that will tell you which size ball is right for you. You can find them online or at any fitness store.
5. Yoga Mat
Do you really want your sweat all over your carpet or floor? Do you really want the grime that has settled in your carpet or floor all over your body? I didn't think so! So get a yoga mat! Not just great for yoga but great for stretching, strength training, and using the stability ball! And they are sticky so you won't slip and slide everywhere! And they role up nice and tight so you can store in virtually anywhere! And if you do decide you want to take up yoga you don't have to buy a mat! When I'm working out at home, I always make sure I have my yoga mat stretched out somewhere so that I can do my strength training, core workout, and stretching on it.
6. Foam Roller
I found out about this wonderful tool at the physical therapists office after I pulled my IT band running. The foam roller is a way to stretch and massage your muscles when they are sore to decrease soreness, increase flexibility, and minimize the chance of injury. If you have back problems or you sit at a desk all day you have to invest in one of these! I always use it after I workout, especially on my back and IT band! If you are going to purchase one make sure you get the black foam one, it is much tougher and sturdier and will last you a lot longer than any of the other ones!
Here is an example workout:
3x 1minute intervals on Jump rope
10 pushups on yoga mat
10 bicycle crunches on yoga mat
1 minute punching using dumbbell weights
10 chest fly on stability ball using dumbbell weights
10 back extensions on stability ball holding a dumbbell weight
1 minute running in place or jumping jacks holding dumbbell weights
20 lunges holding dumbbell weights
Repeat set 3 times
Finish with a 10-20 minute run in your neighborhood
Stretch then use the foam roller to role out your IT band (from your hip down to the side of your knee), then place it vertically along your spine and roll side to side, then place it horizontally along your back and roll up and down.
The key to working out at home using these tools is doing a lot of short intervals of cardio separated by weight training or core strengthening.
Make up your own workout using these tools! Post it in my comments section!
What is your favorite workout tool at home? Post it in my comments!