Home Gym Essentials

I'm not gonna lie.  

Having a workout room within my home has been a lifesaver.  Actually, it's been a SANITY saver.  

If you're a sweat-a-holic (like myself), then you probably know what I mean.  Being able to workout, break a sweat, and get those endorphins flowing can really make or break a day.  Especially when you're a work-from-home-mama.  And even mores when you have kids as strong-willed as mine. Ha!

Ok, now I know everyone can't have a full room dedicated as a "gym" in their home.  But really, all you need is a little space in the garage, guest room, or living room, and invest in some basic equipment to be able to consistently get in a GREAT workout and meet your fitness goals.  

It can be a little daunting when you google "home gym equipment".  You could spend TONS of money filling up a room with equipment that guarantees you success.  I promise, you don't need all that junk.  Save yo time - and money! 

Here are my personal home-gym "must haves":  

1) Adjustable dumbbells.  We have the Bowflex brand, but I know there are other options out there.  This makes it easy to change the weight you're using without having to own 25 different pairs of dumbbells.  I know they're not cheap, but they're worth it.  You actually pay more per pound when buying individual dumbbells.  


2) Resistance bands.  I got a set of these Home Complete bands off of Amazon for a great price.  They have lasted about 2 years now and seem to be holding up just fine.  These are great for adding resistance to squats, kickbacks, deadlifts, etc.  I am linking a different brand because I can't find that particular brand.  But these are comparable. (Oh, and sorry for the nice wet spots on the gym mat. My lovely children spilt apple juice in there and I hadn't found all the spots - until now. Haha!)

3) Kettlebell (or two).  These little puppies are great for doing kettlebell swings (duh), lunges, deadlifts, squats, and even arm exercises like tricep extensions, bicep curls, and upright rows.  I recommend getting at least two sizes: one heavier one for leg moves and a lighter one for upper body.  (The one pictured is 15 pounds.)

4) Gloves.  I'm here to tell ya: not all gloves are created equal.  I have spent decent money on a pair of "name brand" gloves just to have them wear down within 2 months of lifting 4 days a week.  Wah waaaaah.  These Barehand Gloves are a little pricier, but worth it in the end.  I've been consistently using them for over 5 months now and haven't noticed a change in their padding or the way they assist with my lifts. Not to mention, their "half hand" design means no more sweaty/itchy palms!  Hollaaaa!

5) Yoga Mat and Foam Roller.  These two inexpensive pieces of equipment are essential for stretching/cooling down post-workout.  Obviously, if you have carpet in your home, you may not "need" the mat, but I think it's helpful not to get sweat stains all over the floor.  The foam roller is awesome at releasing the fascial tissue (the covering over your muscle that allows it to contract and slide) so your muscles can recover and new muscle fibers can be recruited.  It's one of those hurts-so-bad-but-feels-so-good things, but you'll get used to it. (PS: Those shoes are Nike Free RN FlyKnits and they. are. AMAZING.)


6) EZ Bar.  If the next piece of equipment isn't in your budget right now (or if you don't have the room for it), then this is a good alternative.  The zig zag handle makes it great for bicep curls and deadlifts, but I will admit it makes it a little awkward for squats/lunges where it's against your neck.  But oh well - you make due with what you have!  Remember, too, that you can only load this bar up with as much weight as you can press up and over your head.  So if you're wanting to do "heavy" squats (i.e.: 45 pounds or more), you might want to highly consider the next piece of equipment.  

7) Half rack and bench.  I know, I know.  This is definitely a piece of equipment that comes with a price tag and demands some space.  But it is 110% WORTH IT.  We are able to do squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull-ups, lat pulldowns (using resistance bands), glute bridges, etc. with this combo.  We use it every single time we workout, so we've for sure gotten our money's worth out of it.  Keep in mind, you have to purchase the olympic bar/free weights separately.  But that allows you to get a few weights you know you'll use to begin with and then purchase the rest when you can.  (Side note: This particular rack is MAJORLY on sale right now.  IJS!)

Now, you may notice I didn't list ANY cardio equipment.  That's because you don't need it!  I actually own an elliptical that I ONLY used during my pregnancy with the McNugget.  It's sitting out in the garage waiting to find a good home because I just don't use it!  I don't do a lot of cardio, but when I do, I opt for HIIT (high intensity interval training).  You don't need any equipment, it's way quicker, and you can burn fat for up to 24 hours post-workout.  So (in my opinion), if you're going to spend the money on gym equipment, skip the treadmill and all that jazz and invest in the pieces I talked about earlier.  

There ya go, my fit peeps!  If you have ANY questions about any of this equipment, let me knoooow!  Happy lifting, y'all!