One of the biggest challenges that many people face when trying to get in shape is maintaining consistency in the gym. Whether their busy schedule makes it difficult to get there, or they just lack the motivation to go. When I first started getting in shape, I began to do most of my workouts at home. I found that I was able to stay consistent because even on my lazy days, I had no excuse. All my equipment and workout DVDs were only steps away from me. Rain or shine, warm or cold, it was always available. It also didn't hurt that I could workout in an ugly T-shirt and didn't have to worry about buying cute gym clothes lol.
As I built my strength and stamina, I eventually ventured out to exercising at the gym. However, even now, I will often rely on my home workouts. They are awesome for those "in between gym sessions" days, or on those days that you can only devote a quick 20-30 minutes to exercise.
As a Health Coach I always stress the importance of never underestimating a home workout. Especially if you are a beginner and just starting a fitness journey. Something is always better than nothing when it comes to exercise. Even 15 or 20 minutes of physical activity will give you more benefits over time then doing nothing at all.
Whether you are new to working out, or used to only exercising at the gym, its always a good idea to have some home equipment for a rainy day. Here are my top 4 basic home gym essentials:
1. Stability Ball. This is my absolute FAV! I am a core fanatic and love workouts that focus on my waist and abs. Stability balls are awesome because no matter what exercise you do, it will always engage your core. Even just sitting on the ball while you lift dumbbells will force your core to work as you maintain your balance. The exercise variations on the stability ball are endless. Workouts can be tailored for beginners all the way to advanced.
2. A pair of dumbbells. These are a must have. From upper body workouts to lower body, having a pair of dumbbells are a necessity. I recommend beginning with a weight that is comfortable for you (beginners could be 2-5 lbs) and then work your way up as your body becomes stronger (10-15lbs +). Dumbbells are essential in strength training and are great for building muscle and toning your body. Adding weight to exercises like squats will only produce better results.
3. Resistance Bands. Similar to dumbbells, resistance bands can help you build strength and muscle. The benefit of the resistance band is that its so lightweight and easily portable. Those times when it may not be convenient to carry dumbbells, you can take a resistance band anywhere. Workout options are also plentiful with this piece of equipment. I especially love it for upper body. For an example, you can step on the band with one foot in the center and raise your arms palms facing you to perform bicep curls. These bands can be purchased in different resistance/tension levels to accommodate beginners as well as those that are more advanced.
4. Kettle Bell. These can be purchased in different weights similar to dumbbells. As seen pictured above, I have a 55lb kettle bell. I utilize this for heavy lifting for my lower body. Anyone who knows me personally will tell you that I am all about a perky, toned, bubble butt. I like to squat with heavier weights to ensure that I keep my thighs and glutes strong. At the gym it is easier to lift heavy because there are so many machines available. For home use, I ensure that I have a heavy kettle bell that I can squat with on those days that I am not in the gym. Although not an essential piece of equipment for some, I wanted to include this on my list. Especially because so many clients that I speak with want to build a better butt. To get an increase in size, you want to build that muscle! The best way to do that is using a weight that is challenging for you.
Well there you have it, my 4 home workout essentials. Go ahead and start crushing a home workout! I hope this helps to get you started on your fitness journey.