Working out, especially in big cities like Toronto, has become all about the fancy lights, Instagram worthy backdrops, and perfect workout gear. Class prices are increasing all the time and somehow fitness, which in my opinion should be an essential on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is now some sort of luxury most of us are stuck only dreaming about. Although participating in group fitness classes in the city can be a wonderful experience - how could I disagree since I am the one leading them - we can’t forget about the good old home workout!
Today I have put together my list of home gym essentials so that you can save a few dollars yet still get a good workout while staying in. I completely understand that not all of us have the money to spend on equipment and the space to store it either so just focus on the necessities. If you can determine what types of workouts you will do at home and which ones you will save for when you attend gyms and studios, you will get the best of both worlds, work on some things in the comfort of your home, and not sacrifice the quality of your workout.
- Yoga mat. This is an obvious one but having a mat is provides comfort and grip when performing mat exercises. It doesn’t take up much space and it can easily be rolled up and tucked away in a closet or under the bed for easy storage.
- Foam roller/lacrosse balls. I will admit I have these tools but should brush the dust off and use them more often! You can implement these tools to self massage your body and help your muscles recover AND it saves you a few dollars in between massage appointments! If your foam roller is big, you can use it as a tool when performing core exercises or lay on it to help improve posture too.
- Mini bands. Everyone is ALL about the bands these days! Bands are a great tool to help with glute activation and knee tracking when performing movements like squats. Besides the obvious lower body uses, it can be used for core exercises as well as shoulder mobility and strengthening movements for the upper body. These bands are such a small, versatile tool that aren’t only good for at home but travelling as well.
- Stability ball. If you are going to choose to not invest in any of the pieces of equipment on this list, in my opinion make it this one. Stability balls are great and not too expensive but they can take up a lot of space and most of us don’t have an abundance of space if you live in Toronto! But, if you have space make sure this piece of equipment is on your list! Stability balls test our stabilizers, SHOCKER! You can use them in a variety of ways to test your core muscles using an unstable surface and in some upper and lower body exercises to add variety.
- Gliders. The good news is that you don’t even have to buy these! Grab towels or use your socks! Gliders add extra challenge to work your stabilizers and can get those inner thigh and core muscles working in ways you didn’t even know they could.
- Light and heavy weights. Of course that as time passes, you will be increasing your strength and the weights you purchase won’t apply for all exercises all the time but having a lighter and heavier set is a good place to start. To add variety, your home workouts could always be more endurance based and you can save the heavier lifting on days where you have access to multiple sets of weights and equipment.
If you currently have no equipment to do a home workout, pick one thing from the list. You can gradually add more pieces of equipment over time as you get creative when working out at home. Don’t underestimate the power of body weight movements too! Perhaps use your home workouts to master the basics in terms of the movement pattern and form of the exercise so when the time comes to be pushed in a class or at a gym with lots of equipment, you feel confident in your foundational skills. Basics always come first to avoid injury and develop the best movement patterns.
Yours in self-discovery,