YOU DO NOT NEED A GYM MEMBERSHIP TO LOSE WEIGHT AND GET FIT.
I am living proof of this: I’ve lost and kept off (for 18 months and counting) more than 100 lbs without ever joining a gym. Losing weight begins in the kitchen, but keeping it off and getting fit comes from regular exercise. I work out 6 days a week, in the morning, before work. If I had to get up, get dressed, grab stuff, get in the car, drive somewhere, get out of the car, get changed, workout, shower, get dressed, drive home, get the dog, drive to work, blah blah blah I WOULD NEVER WORK OUT. So I do all my workouts in my living room, aka, my home gym.
Now it’s not that I don’t have access to a reasonably priced gym, I do. It’s that I hate paying to do things somewhere else when I could easily do them in minimal clothing at home with no makeup and messy hair. Instead of running around and getting ready in the morning, I roll out of bed at 6 am everyday, enjoy some coffee while I surf the web or write blogs for you, work on the menu, pay bills, etc., then around 7 I talk myself into putting on my workout clothes, which vary depending on my workout of the day (I have 6 days and 5 different workouts), then head into my home gym. I’ve built my gym out over the past 2 years, looking for sales and deals while I did. Here are some ideas for inexpensive ways to build your own home gym:
Dumbbells are the most basic strength training tools available and, in my opinion, everyone should own some. Don’t waste your time buying anything less than 5 lbs though, even if you’re a woman, it’s a waste of money. You can use things around the house that weigh a pound or two (bottled water works great for really light weights, just remember the old adage “a pint’s a pound the world around”. I have 3 lb weights, 5 lb weights and 10 lb weights and 10 lb weights, and the 3’s and 5’s just collect dust and take up space. If you can afford it, drop some cash on adjustable dumbbells like these:
If you’ve been reading AML for a while you probably know I can wax poetic about kettlebells. If I had a choice to own just one type of workout gear, bells would be it. Unlike free weights, kettlebells aren’t about just building strength: you use a larger group of muscles with kettlebells, and build endurance as well. Ballistic movements add cardio, and the most fundamental kettlebell movement, the swing, uses the entire body for stability. I started out with 20-lbs (it’s recommended a woman start with no less than 8kgs or 18 lbs) and now use a 20-lb, 30-lb and 40-lb kettlebell for full body workouts. Just like dumbbells, you can get an adjustable kettlebell to start out with, like this one:
If you want quick, easy, CHEAP cardio that isn’t running, grab yourself a jump rope. Even a “fancy pants” jump rope with a Crossfit logo on it is only $10 on Amazon, and you can get them much cheaper at places like Five Below. I live above a very nice couple so jump-roping in my apartment is a no-go, but I’m seriously thinking about grabbing one of these for summer workouts on my balcony.
Stability balls are available pretty much everywhere. They’re trendy, but that doesn’t mean they’re useless! I paid $10 for mine at Five Below, including the pump. These are great for wall sits, sit ups, and strengthening your core. You can do any stability exercises while watching tv at night, and just sitting on one at a desk helps strengthen your core.
My running buddy Josh swears by these. He lives in an apartment like me, and says a pull-up bar does no damage to the door frame. Great for upper body workouts. You can get one as low as $30.
Not only do resistance bands ad burn to cardio, they’re lightweight and super easy to throw into your suitcase when you travel. (NOT the case with dumbbells and kettlebells, sadly.) All you need is a sturdy place to anchor the bands and you can do a plethora of exercises. Looks like you can get a decent set for $30 on Amazon.com.
Intended to glide smoothly across carpet and hardwood floors, sliders are used to decrease stability and make your abs work harder. Lightweight and great for travel, you can find a high quality set on Amazon.com for less than $20.
Suspension exercises are bodyweight exercises using a strap with or without handles to support a portion of your body while you use the other parts. I’ve never personally used a system like this because I have no way of attaching this item anywhere without losing the security deposit on my apartment, but I’ve heard really great things. It amps up the difficulty of regular bodyweight workouts and, like resistance bands and sliders, is easy to take with you while traveling.
I actually stumbled across this while researching for this blog! Fit Deck is a deck of cards featuring various bodywhere exercises and instructions on how to do each one. The concept of being able to “deal” yourself a new workout every time you use the deck sounds awesome to me, and at $14.99 I may just snag one for myself!
Yoga Mat/Exercise Mat
If you have hardwood floors or just want extra padding when doing things like planks, a yoga mat is super helpful. In fact, if you have hardwood floors, choose something thicker than a yoga mat to give your joints extra protection. The one in the link is $23, but you can find cheaper ones at all the big box stores.
When you’re doing strength training, watching yourself in the mirror is a good way to make sure your form is correct. Plus you can totally take workout selfies! I got one at good ‘ol Target for less than $15.
I use FitnessBlender.com three days a week to work out, and I use my Chromebook to connect to YouTube.com. There are also tons of workout videos on any OnDemand service. Even if you’re not watching workout videos, you can play music or, like me, watch dhows like Downton Abbey while working out. Because I’m weird like that.
This can be as simple as a clock with a second hand or an app for your phone. I use Round & Workout Timer on my Android phone when I do timed workouts. It’s FREE!
So where you you FIND all this stuff (other than Amazon.com of course)?
You may get lucky and find some good quality workout equipment at yard sales for really low prices. Lots of people (not people like US, of course) buy workout gear for the New Year and then it just collects dust, so by summer time they’re ready to get rid of it. Just do yourself a favor and don’t waste money on any weights lighter than 10lbs. Weights 5lbs and under are like fruitcake: everyone gets one at some point and no one likes them.
Craigslist is generally hit or miss for me, but if you don’t mind buying from your neighbors then it’s a great place to look for used fitness equipment. Bring someone with you or meet the seller in a public place, though, just in case.
I spend five days a week on eBay for work, but it’s an AWESOME place to shop for weights. In fact, I bought my last two kettlebells from an eBay seller. In a sporting goods store, you can pay up to $2 a pound for dumbbells and kettlebells, but on eBay you can find them for closer to $1 a pound with free shipping. Plus it’s fun to watch the mailman at work deliver a flat rate envelope containing 30 pounds of kettlebell (The 40lb bell came in a flat rate box.) Some sellers will even let you make an offer and save a little scratch on your order, but from one eBay seller to a buyer, please don’t low ball the seller. A lot of us are trying to make a living at selling things on eBay and we’re not trying to scam you. Shipping is expensive these days! Also, if you have a question, ask it in the nicest way possible, as if the seller were in the room with you, face to face. We’re people, too, okay?
Believe it or not, I bought my very first kettlebell at Sears. Surprised? I was too! The Hubs and I were wandering around the mall and just decided to take a peek at the fitness equipment. Lo and behold, the kettlebells were 40% off! We’ve seen sales like that a lot at Sears, but they only have lighter weight stuff available. Fine for beginners, right?
You, too, can get fit in your living room. You, too, can work out in your underwear without make up or even brushing your hair! And you, too, can do it on the cheap while still getting results. Want the best tickets to the gun show? MAKE YOUR OWN GUN SHOW! Then you can spend the money you’ve saved on hot clothes to dress your new sexy body. 😉
Do you work out at home? What’s your favorite workout? Let me know in the comments!