Why is this here? Looking your best is in part finding clothes that fit. The other part is truly being fit. Living a healthy lifestyle plus dressing well is the ultimate combination. More about our trainer at the end of the post.
There can be any number of reasons why you can’t make it to the gym on any given day. Thankfully though, you can get in a great workout at home with just a couple basic items. Whether you just hate going to a gym in general, or, want to have a backup in case you just can’t get to the gym… the following are options for making it easier to break a sweat at home, without totally breaking the bank. Here they are, starting with the cheapest of the cheap. Y’know… pretty much free.
Many people think that they can’t get a good workout in unless they are at the gym. Using your body as your own piece of workout equipment is (a) cheap and (b) will give you serious gains. Don’t believe me? You can gain strength from doing these body weight exercises: burpee’s, push-ups, jumping jacks and planks. Needing/wanting to lose weight or improve your resting heart rate? You can get your cardiovascular workout by running and walking. Taking your workout to the pavement or trails requires little more than a decent pair of running shoes and perseverance. Put on some good tunes and enjoy getting your sweat on.
What to do: Try the following to knockout your strength and cardio training in one efficient 10 minute workout:
- Jog in place – 3 min
- Jumping Jacks – 1 min
- Push ups- 1 min
- High Knees- 1 min
- Plank- 1 min
- Burpee’s- 1 min
- Body weight tricep dips- 1 min
- Standing calf raises- 1 min
Repeat multiple times if desired.
Jump Rope ($)
Haven’t done it since you were a kid? It’s hard. And it’s a great way to get your cardio in quickly without having to hit the treadmill at the gym or slog it out on the pavement. If it was good enough for Muhammad Ali, one could imagine that it should probably be good enough for you. Jumping with a higher quality rope such as this one, makes this hard workout a little less frustrating. Cheap ropes can bind, grab, and be more unpredictable than a higher quality option that you can get into a rhythm with.
What to do: Try intervals: Jump 1 min, rest 1 min. Repeat 5 times. Getting better at it? Make your rest breaks shorter. Try to increase the duration of jumping or the number of intervals you do as you get better at it.
Pull-Up Bar ($$)
It’s portable and you can install it in any doorway in your house. You can also take it down and stuff it under your bed when company comes over. This pull-up bar is my favorite and it doesn’t break the bank. It should leave room in your budget for a few slim shirts and sweaters that gives your audience a better idea as to what that pull up bar helped create.
Pull-ups are difficult. And believe it or not, it can actually take a lot of practice to do them correctly. The great thing about having a bar at home is that you can practice without having do them in front of anyone. Grab a chair or stability ball to help assist until you are able to do them on your own.
What to do: Make sure to warm up first! It’s easy to get injured by trying pull-ups cold. Use a chair to assist and aim for two sets of 10 pull ups a day. Once doing 10 repetitions feels easy, try to do as many as you can without the chair. No rocking or swinging.
Medicine Ball ($$)
Round, heavy,and you don’t want to drop it on your toe or the floor of your apartment. They’re easy to manipulate, and the extra weight makes exercises you’ve mastered even tougher (which is a great way to gain more muscle). Make sure to get one that will be heavy enough to push you when doing multiple reps or for a specific set of time, such as a 15lb ball.
What to do: The possibilities are endless. Use it for planks, push-ups (feet up on the ball, hands up on the ball, or this), sit-ups and tons of abdominal workouts. When watching a football (not futbol, there’s not enough commercials!) game, try alternating with sit-ups and push-ups using the ball, during each commercial break.
Free Weights ($$$)
One of the more expensive items you can invest in, but it’s worth it if you like to lift and would rather do so in the privacy of your own home. Good free weights can run upwards of $2 per pound. If you want a set (think one for each hand) of 50 lbs. weights, well you do the math! Try looking on Craig’s List, at consignment gym outfitters, or at a new and used retailer. Sometimes if you are buying a whole set at a gym retailer they will cut you a deal per pound.
What to do: Use them for your lifting routine or as an accompaniment to a workout DVD or YouTube video. Also, might want to steer clear from the stuff you can get trapped under. If not having a spot greatly increases your chances of taking a dirt nap… might want to skip having those at home.
Yes, seriously. These DVDs might be one of the most successful home-workout programs or pieces of equipment ever to grace late-night (or mid-afternoon) television. Have you ever tried one? The P90x series is guaranteed to get you ripped if you follow the prescribed schedule and eat/sleep/hydrate well. Training for a run or bike ride? Insanity is great for endurance cross training.
These are great for those who really want to start a training program but don’t want to pay for a trainer or a gym membership. You just follow the suggested programs and you have the convenience of being told exactly how to work out every day. The programs can be a bit on the spendy side so check out your local buy/sell store to see if you can pick up a used one. Or chances are that your buddy in the cubicle over has one that he would be willing to lend for a few months in trade for some happy hour beverages.
What to do: Follow it exactly or use certain programs to complement your established workout routine.
About the author: Kelly Sturdy is a Certified Personal Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition. While not training her clients or competing in Bikini Class body building competitions, Kelly can be found in her organic garden, possibly talking to a chicken or two. For more of her articles, click here.