A lot of people think that in order to exercise at home they need to get some big, fancy, home strength training system. Or, some big, clunky, piece of home cardio equipment. That is NOT the case, though! In fact, I would try to talk you out of spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on these things, because chances are you won't get your money's worth out of them. They are not really made for the average exerciser, despite the fact that they are always being sold to the average exerciser. If you use and love the big home fitness equipment, then this blog isn't for you. If you are someone who wants to workout at home without having to break the bank, or give up an entire room, then this blog IS for you! I've compiled a list of what I consider MUST HAVES for a successful dive into fitness out of your home.
HOME FITNESS MUST HAVES:
1.) Resistance equipment.
This can be in the form of exercise bands or a dumbbell set. The key here is to have a variety of available weight options. You'll get more bang for your buck with the bands. They take up less space, plus I love the extra resistance you get in the eccentric (downward) motion of strength training moves while using them (you are forced to use more control and core concentration). However, they can prove to be challenging to set up for certain muscle group exercises, so you need to be patient at first while you get a handle on them. Some people enjoy using dumbbells instead because the set-up is easy... pick them up and go. Either is fine, and you can get them at a decent price. My favorite bands are the B-Lines, and you can get them already pre-organized into varying resistance kits, which is great (this is the only brand I've never had snap on me thus far). For dumbbells, you'll need a good variety (for ladies at least a set of 3's, 5's, and 8's; for men at least a set of 5's, 8's, and 10's... for beginners, mind you. If you are beyond beginner your needs will greatly increase weight-wise.). You can do this by purchasing individual dumbbells, dumbbell sets, or adjustable dumbbell systems like the SelectTechs or Power Blocks (though these get pricey).
2.) A Yoga Mat.
Having a good mat is essential, especially if you have hard floors. Some people may even like to stack two on top of each other for extra padding. I'm usually ok with one on my hardwood floors. I've tried many a mat, and my favorite is still the Gaiam sticky mat. I use these for yoga, core work on the floor, and any floor strength training moves I may be doing in my routine.
3.) Good Shoes.
If you don't have good shoes, then you could be putting your joints and proper alignment at risk. A lot of people underestimate the power of having a good pair of shoes. I can't really recommend one single pair, since everyone's feet are different, but you can check out a past guest blog written by a podiatrist friend of mine for some ideas. I can tell you that some of my favorites, depending on what form of fitness I've been doing, include Nike Air Max, Nike Shox, and Brooks Pure Flow. Also, I'm not sure if you know this... but Finish Line offers some of their shoes on a 15 day test run (buy, try, and then either keep or exchange for another pair if you didn't jive with them).
4.) A Routine.
You've got equipment, a mat, and some shoes... now what? Routines can come from any number of sources. You can find routine on the web, you can find them in magazines, you can get an app for that, you can hire an in-home personal trainer, or you can get some fitness DVDs to follow at home (and there are even more options that what I've listed, but these are some of the most common). If using the web, make sure you are getting it from a valid resource. If trying an app, be sure to see who developed it (to make sure they are reputable) and read the reviews. If getting them in magazines, make sure the routine you are picking out is right for the level you are starting at. For personal trainers, make sure you interview them to make sure that you click, and that you can be sure they'll meet your needs. For fitness DVDs, you can see the ones that I back on my website, but make sure that you get a good variety that will include strength, cardio and flexibility training. All of the ones I recommend do. If you have special needs of any kind (injury, disease, pregnant, age-related, etc.) PLEASE, I beg of you, hire a professional to help design a program for you so that you can make sure you get started safely and effectively. If you are just generally out of shape, then any of the resources can be a great help in getting your started and on your way.
5.) A Space and a Designated Time.
I've lumped these together since they go hand in hand. Your exercise space doesn't need to be huge, and it can even be in a main room, you just have to make it your space at the time you've designated your workout. You need to schedule your workout at a time that you know you'll get it done, too. So, for example... if your space is the living room and you set your time for 5pm... well, what if the kids are watching TV? That may not be the best time to do it, unless you kick them off to do homework or something. Make sure that the space and time go hand in hand so that you are in the proper place to have less excuses to get the work done :-)
Tags: exercise, exercising at home, fitness resources, fitness routines, getting started with fitness, home fitness, home weight loss, must haves, resistance equipment, resistance training, strength training, weight loss, yoga, yoga mat