Most of the time, I workout at home. I am fortunate enough to have a pretty solid home gym that lets me get in pretty much all my workouts. Sometimes I need to change things up and join spinning, boxing, yoga, or other group workouts. However, 99% of the time I’m working out downstairs. I am also a morning workout person, which means my first alarm goes off at 4am. Yikes. Most people’s response to this is “you’re so motivated!” however it’s actually the opposite. After work – I just can’t motivate myself to exercise. I try and try and some days skip my AM workout and say “that’s okay, I’ll just do it this evening.” Yea right. I suck at that. So, 4am wake-up call it is for me. I have no excuses, nothing else is going on at 4am. No happy hour plans, dinner to make, dogs to snuggle, or house work to do. Just me and my workout. I will admit this is easier for me because I have most of my equipment downstairs and even then it’s sometimes difficult to push myself. You’ll see I do a lot of Tabata or timed work outs because it helps keep me moving. If I just do sets, I sometimes get lazy in between and get zoned out on whatever TV show I’m watching. Timed work outs help me to keep moving and push myself.
My home gym didn’t happen over night. It’s been a growing process over many birthdays and Christmases. Every time I think its complete – I think of something else to add! Its nothing fancy. Some stuff is hand me downs or off brands. And I’m surrounded by storage and my laundry area. But its function-able and I love it. My husband recently added some better lighting so hopefully that will be better for the blog, but it’s still a basement soooo sorry for the imperfect pics! I will give you a little tour of what I have to work with and what I will be using for workouts.
This is an overview of my space. As you can see, pretty basic! But it gets the job done. There’s not a ton of room but plenty enough left over for burpees and skaters! My dad got the flooring for a really good deal from a discount website. He bought a TON of it for me for Christmas one year, so as I added to my space, I had extra pieces to put down. (or as my dogs ran around and destroyed some of them!) I’m also a kid at heart so I loved the bright colors! Here is a similar product available on amazon. Gym Floor Puzzle Pieces
We’ll start with my most used piece of equipment, my treadmill…..aka my best friend. My husband purchased this baby as a Christmas gift before we moved into our house. I refused to sleep at our new house until it was installed. So, our home gym was one of the first priorities when we moved. It was February, and running outside wasn’t an option. I’ve had the Sole F63 Treadmill for just under 4 years with minimal issues. When I first purchased it a part (I forget which) stopped working but it was under warranty and they sent someone out to fix it ASAP. Other than that, as long as I follow the instructions with cleaning and lubricating the belt, it works like a charm. I don’t use any of the programs on it, so I can’t speak to those. I just use it to do my own runs and adjust the speed and incline manually.
The second piece of cardio equipment I have is this Sole SB700 bike. My reason for adding this baby is because I hurt myself and had to take a step back from running. I participated in spinning classes but that gets pretty pricey so welcome the spinning bike to my home gym! I won’t lie, this by NO MEANS comes close to the ass kicking I get in spinning class. It does however allow me to change-up my cardio routine (especially if I’m injured) by using a few spinning DVDs I have or pulling up something on YouTube. We didn’t purchase this band new/full price. As you’ll probably gather through this post, my dad is a PRO at finding deals. He found this bike through Craigslist from a guy who sells products that have been damaged through shipping or missing pieces and can no longer be sold through regular retail. (Is this sketchy?? maybe. who knows….but I have this bike now so I’ll take it). If I recall, this bike just had a piece that was bent and a cover piece that was missing. The first issue was solved perfectly with a few hits of a hammer and the cover piece is just cosmetic. So like I said, my gym isn’t fancy but it gets the job done!
This foam roller is my worst enemy…… it HURTS. However, I should become better friends with it because it is great for running and injury prevention. It can be used on a variety of body parts as part of your stretching routine. I use it mostly on my IT band (aka the outside part of my thigh), hamstrings, and quads. Foam rollers come in different sizes, densities, and textures. I like this one because the “teeth” really dig into my muscles. I will post about my injuries and what I’ve learned about injury prevention and some things I do (and should do more of).
Weights. These seem like a basic gym requirement but I won’t lie – these are actually a later addition to my gym! I do a lot of exercises with body weight or small weights but now that these are here, I couldn’t imagine my gym without them! I use all of the weights depending what I’m doing, but I would start by purchasing smaller weights and working up from there. As you can see, most of what I have are dumbbells but I have a 15lb kettlebell too. I use the dumbbells most but this definitely comes in handy.
These 2 guys are great gym additions too. The exercise ball opens yourself up to a wider range of exercises. For awhile, before we had a bench, I used to exercise ball to be able to do some chest presses and other arm exercises. The flattened thingy (aka instability wobble cushion) helps to add a little extra kick to exercises like push-ups and squats. I feel it in my smaller muscle groups as it challenges me to balance while doing exercises for larger muscles groups.
These 2 items are probably my 2 favorite items in my gym. They are the reason I didn’t purchase dumbbells for a while. Between these 2, you can up your workout just using your body weight. The half exercise ball looking thing is called a Bosu Ball. The one I posted here is similar to what I have, but if you do some research it you can find it a bit cheaper. The straps you see hanging down are for suspension training. The brand name is TRX Training but this can be pretty pricey. The exact one I have is no longer available on Amazon but it was this brand and very WOSS Suspension Training. I notice a few difference between the off brand and the TRX straps I’ve used, however, the WOSS straps more than get the job done for what I need. They also usually go in a doorway but that wasn’t available so my husband hooked them up the boards in the ceiling of our gym using these hooks.
I feel both the Bosu Ball and TRX straps are worth the investment. They can be used for arms, legs, abs, and cardio. They can do everything!! So add them to your next Christmas/birthday/anniversary/just because wish list!
This guy isn’t technically mine. Sometimes I share my space with my husband so he can work out too 🙂 This was actually a gift to him so he could add more of the workouts he likes. Obviously, I use it too instead of having to use the exercise ball. However, having an actual bench is a lot easier. This bench has 3 positions which is plenty for me. I also use it for different leg exercises and push-ups. This the Bowflex bench we have but it was a gift from my dad so he may haven found some crazy deal on it so
I had a Groupon for Title Boxing once and really really really loved it. It was a way different kind of workout then I’ve done in the past and it totally kicked my ass. I also felt kind of bad ass doing it. As with spinning, staying in classes can get expensive so this guy made it onto my wish list. I like the change-up in my routine it offered as well. This can be a pretty cardio heavy workout which gave my legs a break in the cardio department. The Everlast Heavy Bag came with the accessories I needed to get started – gloves and wraps.
This is another Craigslist purchase from my dad. it had a couple of coverings missing and some nuts/bolts. The coverings were cosmetic and the nuts/bolts I was able to replace from Home Depot without any difficulty. I was fairly picky about whatever squat rack we put in the gym because we had minimal space. This guy hardly takes up any space! The bars and weights were given to us by my generous in-laws.
This is my life saver. It helps me to stay organized and keep me moving when working out. Depending what I’m into, I also use it to track progress. Some of my workouts are on cards so I throw those up there when I don’t feel like thinking of a new one. It also helps me to remember. I’m not the best at staying motivated for physical therapy so those papers on the bottom left remind me each AM to not skip the essentials! If you have a gym at home – you need a board!!
This area is less about the workouts themselves but just as important as the actual equipment. I use my TV for workout videos and especially to throw on a TV show to watch during my runs in the AM. The shelf below as all my extras…..sweat towels, pieces for my other equipment, multiple braces/wraps, work out DVDs, and work out magazines. I might not use all these items daily but when I need them, I want to have easy access.
Sometimes I’m not a big fan of this mirror. Okay – most of the time. Its 4am and I’m sweating perfusely….far from looking my best. But I also know I’m not down there to be looking fancy, I’m down there to get healthy (and so I can hopefully feel confident in how I look later). The mirror is really helpful with making sure I’m not slacking on my form. Sometimes I’m tired or not feeling my workout and I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and reminds me to watch my knees or straighten my back. This not only allows me to get more out of each exercise, but it’s for my safety as well.
The other item here is the scale. Now – I honestly don’t focus much on weight and make a conscious decision to not get caught up with it. When it comes to fitness, I try to focus more on how I feel (which usually corresponds to my weight anyways). However, it’s a helpful tool to have in your gym as long as you use it in healthy way and don’t get caught up in numbers!
Sorry for the lengthy post!! I hope it was somewhat informational and shows you that you don’t need a lot of big fancy equipment to be fit. If you’re working on adding things to your home gym – just do a little at a time! Mine has taken 4 years to get to this and we kept everything reasonable (using Craigslist and off brands when we could!). Focus on YOUR fitness goals too – if you aren’t a runner, don’t get a treadmill first! Spend your money on items that fit your needs and can be versatile. If you have any questions or comments – please drop them below! I’d love to hear from you.