Like a lot of people…I have an incredibly hectic schedule. Between working a full time job, three hour daily round-trip commute, raising an eight year old daughter, and chauffeuring her to gymnastics and dance classes, I have very little free time. For years I spent hundreds of dollars on gym memberships and tried to solve many problematic logistics, allowing me to squeeze in 3-4 gym sessions a week. I went through multiple gyms looking for the best child care and extended hours. I tried to decide if I should join a gym closer to work, closer to home, or somewhere in between? At the end of a long work day, driving an extra 20 minutes out of my way, making my 3 hour round trip commute closer to a 4 hour round trip commute, competing with crowds of people for machines, then sitting down to dinner with my daughter at 9 pm seemed like too much to manage. And I can’t even tell you how many times I forgot to pack a crucial item in my gym bag, then trying to decide between running without socks, a sports bra, running shoes… (hmmm I can do yoga in jeans, right?) and saying, “Damn it! I’m Just going home! I finally accepted that going to the gym did NOT fit into my schedule! However, I decided not to let this be an excuse to not exercise and not be in shape.
Mommy and daughter ready to workout!
I rearranged some furniture and converted a small corner in my living room into a home gym. It ended up being the best thing I ever did for my health and sanity! Since setting up my gym two year ago, I have been consistently working out 4-6 days every week and have dropped 25 pounds. 🙂 Working out at home doesn’t work for everybody; some people enjoy the social experience a gym provides and have a hard time getting motivated to work out on their own. But if you are in a situation similar to mine, a home gym might be a great option for you. All you need is a few key pieces of equipment, internet access (You would be amazed how many great work-outs you can find online for FREE!!), and maybe a workout DVD or two and you are all set!
Here is what I have in my home gym:
A treadmill. I love this treadmill the way some men (and women) love their cars! Running happens to be my favorite form of cardio, but walking (especially with some speed and hill intervals) will help you shed unwanted pounds. If running isn’t your thing, or you don’t have the budget to get a high quality treadmill (don’t go cheap, you end up wasting your money in the end for a really fancy clothes hanger), any piece of cardio equipment will do the trick. If you are on a really tight budget, simply start walking/running outside, or grab a cardio based work out DVD or two.
Oh, how I love you!! ❤ ❤
For strength training, I have a few kettle bells and TRX straps. Old fashioned dumb-bells and calisthenics can whip your butt into shape too, but kettle bells and TRX straps are my favorite for a variety of reasons. First, they don’t take up a lot of space, I can even toss my TRX straps in my suitcase when going on vacation or in my car to take advantage of impromptu workout opportunities through out the day. Second, they are great for performing compound exercises for quick and efficient workouts!
Russian gymnast use these for a reason!
Suspension training is great for the core!
Last, I have a simple yoga mat and workouts downloaded to my IPAD (again, great for travel!). Yoga is great for flexibility and mental clarity. I have a few quick 10 minute yoga routines that I do after a tough workout or when I am tight on time. Some of my favorite workouts are P90X/Insanity (Tony Horton kicks my butt!), Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga series, Anytime Yoga, Jillian Michaels Kick Boxing, and “The Goddess” belly dancing workouts for when I feel like being silly with my daughter. 🙂