Let’s face it. Even with that New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and get in shape it is hard to muster up the motivation to go to the gym three to four times a week. If you’re lucky, it isn’t very far from where you live, but you still have to deal with the crowds, especially if your available time frame coincides with most of the population – after work. And, if you have kids running around at home and have a family to feed and a house to clean, finding the time (even if it’s an hour at a time) can be difficult.
I don’t want to even talk about how expensive a gym membership is (but I’m going to anyways!) Most gym memberships average around $50 a month. To some, this may be a small price to pay to make that New Year’s Resolution become a reality, but for others (and I am betting for most) this is an extra monthly expense that really is not a necessity when compared to food, utilities, and rent. Now, I’m not saying that investing in your health is not important, because it’s EXTREMELY important. But, investing in your health should not be an obligation, should not take up all of your free time, and it definitely should not be an extra monthly expense that causes you stress (which can cause weight gain) because you now wonder if you will be able to put food on the table for a week.
Before I continue, I want to make it clear that THAT I AM NOT TRYING TO SELL YOU THE NEXT “MUST-HAVE” HOME WORKOUT MACHINE THAT TARGETS EVERY PART OF YOUR BODY FOR ONLY 20 SECONDS A DAY! This is simply a guide of suggestions for some of the best at home gym equipment you should consider getting so that you can work out in the comfort of your own home. The collected investment of the equipment mentioned in this guide is under $200 (with most of the individual items having a price point of $20 or less). The great thing about this guide is that you DO NOT HAVE TO BUY EVERYTHING AT ONCE! You can start with one piece of equipment at a time and slowly add the others to your collection. Getting just one of these items will help you in your weight loss journey. I think one reason people give up on working out is because it becomes tedious and routine. By getting multiple (or all) of the gear on my list you will be able to maximize the variations of exercises you can perform at home to work out your entire body. The other great thing about everything on this list, is that you can easily store them – in your closest, under your bed, in your cupboard, wherever you have little extra space.
For your convenience, I have linked each item to a product link on Amazon where you can easily add the item to your shopping cart. Please keep in mind, I am not saying you MUST HAVE THE EXACT ONE that I have linked – these are merely my product suggestions (which are based on price, product reviews, and of course…personal experience!) Should you find a different brand that you like better or feel better suits your needs, please get that one instead.
Ok, so this is it. The moment you have been waiting for…THE LIST! Below you will find a list of 6 products that will give you an absolute whole body at-home workout, along with a brief description, and a general price point (I say general because prices on Amazon may fluctuate):
Exercise Ball – 55cm ($14-$15)
Exercise balls provide a low-impact workout that is great for building core stability and strength, posture, and muscle balance. Doing exercises on a ball help work the hard-to-reach muscles in your core. In addition, using an exercise ball also greatly benefits those with lower back problems. It is important that you pick the correct size exercise ball. Please use the following chart to choose the correct size ball for your height (the link goes to a 55cm ball, but if you require a different size you can click through the link and then search for the size you need – i.e. 65cm exercise ball:
Gliding Discs ($17-$19)
Like the exercise ball, glider discs are great for low impact, total body workouts. The specific gliding discs I have linked to work on both carpet and hardwood floors, making them quite adaptable no matter what kind of floors you have in your house. Gliding discs are small and light, making them the perfect on-the-go workout when you travel. Also like the exercise ball, gliding discs engage the core muscles while working on your balancing skills. Gliding discs take your exercises to the next level – for example, lunges without gliding discs may work your leg muscles, but lunges while on gliding discs work your leg muscles as you try to keep your balance and stability.
Resistance Bands ($15-$17)
Resistance bands are greats for all levels of intensity of working out. Exercises performed with resistance bands are the same (or very similar) to exercises done with weights (so using them does not require you to familiarize yourself with a bunch of new exercises!) Like the gliding discs, resistance bands are light and great for travel. They are great for a total body workout and help to boost stamina, flexibility, range of motion and more.
Kettlebell – 25lb ($45-$60 varies depending on the weight needed)
Kettlebells are used for building strength, stamina, endurance, and flexibility. Developing a workout routine that incorporates a kettlebell will offer variety and keep you motivated. Training with a kettlebell will allow you to burn fat with high-intensity workouts, as well as build strength by increasing the amount of lean muscle tissue. Kettlebells are too heavy to travel with but they are small and can store away easily. And, for those times when life is just too busy to stop and work out, a fifteen-minute workout with a kettlebell, combining cardio and strength, is all you need! Kettlebells come in all different sizes and it’s important to get the correct weight. Please reference the chart below:
Kettlebells also come with slightly different handle shapes – DO NOT get a kettlebell with a triangular or square-ish shaped handle – it needs to be a smooth, curved handle. A quality kettlebell is also cast from a single mold. The product I have linked to is a 26lb kettlebell – please choose the size that best fits your needs.
Jump Rope ($4-$6)
This the cheapest item on the list, and may be nostalgic if you jumped rope as a kid. Jumping rope is a GREAT exercise to incorporate into your routine! There are many ways jumping rope is beneficial including: improves coordination (makes you lighter on your feet), increases the strength in the muscles surrounding your ankle joint and in your feet (which decreases the risk of injury to those areas), burns a TON of calories (10 minutes if jumping rope is equivalent to running an 8-minute mile), improves bone density, improves cardiovascular health, improves breathing efficiency, keeps you calmer (overall and when exposed to stressful situations), and can make you smarter (according to the Jump Rope Institute, jumping aids in the development of both hemispheres of the brain which enhances spacial awareness, improves reading skills, increases memory, and increases mental alertness). If one of these benefits doesn’t motivate you to pick up a jump rope, all of them combined must!
Whether you invest in a yoga mat or another exercise mat this is kind of a “must-have” when working out at home. It provides a clean space for you to lay, kneel, or sit on the floor should a certain exercise move require you to do so. I have linked to both a 1/2” thick mat and ¼” thick mat, both around twenty dollars – which one you choose is really all about personal preference. Yoga mats can range in price and quality and are available in many colors. When starting out, I feel that getting a less expensive mat is the way to go. That way, if you find the thickness of the mat is not quite what you like, you have not invested eighty dollars in a mat you will never use.
Dumbbells – 5lbs ($12-$15)
Having a nice light set of dumbbells around can be great for a number of reasons. First, dumbbells can take your exercising to the next level – for example, holding weights while doing lunges can make them more challenging. Also, there a lot of HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercises you can do with dumbbells. HIIT is a training technique that requires you give it your all (as many reps as possible, as fast as possible) in a period of time, followed by short rest period, for usually 8 total rounds. Five pounds may not seem like much, but when you are punching it up into the air, or out in front of you over and over again, you will start to feel it!
So that’s it! I bet you can’t wait to get started! So many options, where do you start? I am in the process of creating an e-book of exercises to accompany the different equipment. You can check that out here.
A couple more things…
There are a two more products that I absolutely love, and do recommend, but they would bring the budget of this home gym to under $300.
Hula Hoop $29.95
Hula hooping, like jumping rope, may be nostalgic for you if you engaged in this activity as a child. But, let me tell you…hula-hoops are for adults too! When it comes to exercising, weighted hula-hoops can be used to slim down your waist, burn calories, and work the inner abdominal muscles. Studies show that hooping burns visceral fat (the fat that is hard to get rid of!), and gives you a full body workout. In addition, hooping is good for your heart, improves your spine’s strength and flexibility, and improves hand-eye coordination and motor skills. You might be thinking…THIRTY DOLLARS for a hula-hoop? That’s expensive! But, this particular hula-hoop is great, because it comes apart, which makes it great for travel. Workout DVDs by the same brand are also available to get your hooping to the next level!
Booty Belt $99.99
This little gem is a resistance band system that focuses on your glutes and thighs, to give you that shapely, toned butt you’ve been striving for! This is on the more expensive side, but it is so cool and totally worth it! Included in your purchase are different level bands, a mat, instructional DVD, and traveling tote bag. The best thing still… in as little as five minutes you can get a killer workout in!
Besides checking out the suggested equipment to make your workouts fun and exciting every time, all you need to lose weight is a positive attitude, motivation, and commitment to making a change!