Working Out At Home: Tips For Building Your “At Home Gym”
By Aimee Lecointre
One thing I get asked quite often is what equipment I recommend to start building a home gym. Whether it’s just trying to prevent picking up any extra germs, wanting to save money on a membership or just feeling more relaxed, some people prefer working out in the comfort of their own home, and I totally get that.
You don’t have to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars to get started working out at home. Here’s the thing, though. It all comes down to your goals, budget and interests. I’m going to share some of my favorites with you all. Remember, you don’t have to rush out and buy things all at once. Start slow and build up over time. If you have no interest in something (like me and the treadmill), don’t buy in hopes that you’ll use it now that you have it. Find ways to stay active and work out that keep your interest, that way you’re more likely to stick to it and you won’t waste money on equipment that will otherwise just collect dust.
Cardio Equipment (aka the big stuff): We all know cardio can be great for heart and lung health. But we’ve also seen so many others (or maybe we are guilty as well) use the treadmill in the corner of the room as a place to hang clothes rather than using it for its intended purpose.
Personally, I hate the treadmill. I don’t run because it’s hard on my joints (and I just don’t like it) and walking inside just doesn’t keep me interested. If you know you’ll use a treadmill, go for it. But there are other options! Stationary bikes are great and much easier on the joints. I took my first spin class this year and am hooked! I’d love to get a nice spin bike for home eventually. Another one of my favorites is the rowing machine. Steppers and ellipticals are some other options.
Jump Rope: You can find jump ropes for fairly cheap almost anywhere. They don’t take up much space and are super easy to travel with. They are also a great option to take to the hospital with you.
Empack: This one is new and most of you probably haven’t heard of it, but I highly recommend it! It’s a military grade backpack that doubles as a weight training pack. It fits up to four bladders, each one can hold 15 pounds of water or 21 pounds of sand. It comes with two bladders and you can buy more as you get stronger. The backpack straps are removable and it has handles to make it functional for working out. It also has a laptop sleeve and makes a great travel/carry-on bag.
I got one last fall and I LOVE it. I use it to workout at home, when I travel and in the hospital. It can be used for a wide variety of exercises including squats, lunges, chest presses, hip thrusters, bicep curls, cleans, bench rows, skull crushers etc. You can find it on Amazon or at evolvedmotion.com
Dumbbells: Dumbbells can be used for a wide variety of exercises and don’t take up much space. I’ve seen some nice dumbbell sets with racks for a decent price. But if you can’t or don’t want to pay that much up front, you can buy a couple to start with and as you get stronger you can buy a heavier pair. They are fairly inexpensive and I’m sure you could even find them secondhand.
Yoga Mat: As a yogi, I definitely recommend a yoga mat. For me it’s essential, but for others it’s just optional. Aside from yoga you can also use it just to stretch and for some exercises, rather than just using the hard floor.
A Bench: If lifting weights is your jam then a bench will probably be useful at some point. You don’t need anything too complicated or big. Just a simple bench will do. One that’s adjustable may be nice, but it doesn’t have to break the bank or have any extra features (like a bar rack etc.) if you don’t have the space. Although if you do have the space, I say go for it.
Resistance Bands: I like the bands that come in a loop shape. Again, these don’t take up much space and are easy to travel with. They can be used alone in a number of different exercises or with weight training to help engage more muscles (placed just above the knees during hip thrusters, for example). You can also use longer resistance bands (straps or tubes) for a wide variety of resistance and strength building exercises.
There are also a lot of great resources available via phone app or online. Some of it is free and some of it requires a monthly subscription, but it’s still less than most gym memberships.
There are so many more options out there, these are just some of my favorites. During the warmer months I get in most of my activity and exercise outside. But during the cold winter months I tend to work out at home most often. I don’t have any sort of special home gym, just some basic equipment, and it more than gets the job done. For me, the fewer obstacles in the way the more likely I am to work out. I have no excuses when I don’t have to get in my car and drive anywhere!
Aimee is 32 and has CF. She is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Registered Yoga Teacher. She was diagnosed with CF at only two weeks old. She has had two surgeries for scoliosis that involved spinal fusion and placement of metal rods. Despite her many health challenges, she continues to live life to the fullest and look for the positive in every moment. Aimee has a continued passion to help others live a life that supports better overall health, especially those within the cystic fibrosis community. She currently resides in Salt Lake City, UT, with her husband, two pugs and a cat. You can find more about what she’s up to at www.thenourishedbreath.com and on Instagram @thenourishedbreath