Just a few inexpensive items and you’re ready for great home workouts!
Recently, I’ve had several friends email or call me, asking how they can get started working out without joining a gym or buying expensive exercise equipment. Personally, I get great workouts in at home or even in a hotel room when I can’t make it into the gym by just using some simple, inexpensive equipment.
But first… I want to say that working out with a personal trainer or a workout buddy is always better because they’ll push you harder and hold you accountable. Even if I’m not working out with a partner, I like the gym environment because I am motivated by just being around other healthy people. When we work out on our own, especially in the privacy of our home, we can cheat by not doing that extra rep or set. It’s like when we sneak a cookie or piece of chocolate when nobody is watching… it doesn’t really count, right? Oh yes, I’ve done that, too!
Today, there are more and more contraptions that promise to help you lose your gut, tighten your butt, and melt away fat. Their commercials are slick and offer testimonials by people claiming to have had miraculous results. It’s kind of like those magic potions made of exotic berries and herbs that supposedly cure all kinds of ailments. Everybody is looking for an easy way to lose weight, get washboard abs, or buns of steel without any effort. And people pay billions of dollars each year buying into these gimmicks and concoctions, only to become discouraged when they don’t see the same results as the people in the commercials or as promised. Cases of shake mix and juice are collecting dust, the thigh master is hidden under the bed, the ab machine is somewhere in the back of a closet, and the Nordic Track is now being used to hang clothes before it ends up in the garage sale. Am I right?
The fact is, you just need a few basic items, your own body, and a sound nutritional plan to get the results you want. Oh, and you need some time and patience. It’s not going to happen overnight. You need to give yourself anywhere from 3 to 12 months (or even longer) to reach your goals.
“So, Brian, what equipment do I need?” Here’s what I use and recommend…
Body Weight – If you haven’t worked out in awhile, your body weight will provide enough resistance. When I started my program back in March of 2010, I was more than 50 lbs. overweight. That’s more than a bag of water softener salt! When I did push-ups, I was pushing 50 additional pounds of my own fat! I could barely do 10 push-ups and no sit-ups or pull-ups at that weight. You don’t need to add resistance if you are overweight or if you don’t have any real muscular strength. Body weight is sufficient… for now.
Chair(s) & Footstool – You should already have these in your home. These common items make for hours of exercise fun and can be used with various body-weight exercises or with some of the items highlighted below.
Resistance Bands/Tubing – I strongly recommend purchasing resistance bands or tubing. They are available in light, medium and heavy resistance. I have two resistance bands that are 15 lbs and 30 lbs. There are dozens of exercises you can do with these rubber tubes and they can be just as effective as machines and free weights (dumbbells and barbells).
Stability Ball – A stability ball can be used for a number of exercises and for developing balance and stability. I can do a whole, kick-ass, fat burning workout with just a stability ball and a little resistance thrown in. Just ask any of my clients that I put through a core, abs or legs workout.
Medicine Ball – I still remember that old, ratty medicine ball we use to have to use in my elementary school gym class. It was a leather ball filled with sand. Today, there are smaller, more compact medicine balls that are made of rubber. These balls are easy to grip and weigh anywhere between 2 lbs to 20 lbs. I recommend starting with a 4, 6 or 8 lb. ball – or all of them, depending on your budget.
Jump Rope– I use a jump rope at home and with my clients. If you don’t have a place to run, the weather is bad, or you can’t afford (or accommodate) a treadmill, you can get a great cardio workout with a good ol’ jump rope. And, it can also be used for stretching. Just be aware of your neighbors below you if you live in an apartment or condo!
Light-weight Dumbbells– You don’t need to go out and buy expensive dumbbells, which usually are priced per pound. I purchased a dumbbell set that consists of 2, 4, 8 and 10 lbs. These are pretty light for men, but I do use a few of them for some exercises. Men, you can get by with 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 lb. dumbbells. No matter how strong you are, I can give you a great workout with a set of 25 lb. dumbbells that will kick your butt!
Furniture Sliders– What?! Furniture sliders? Yes! These are, perhaps, the best kept exercise secret ever. One of my personal trainers brought out the furniture sliders one day and put me through a killer workout. There’s a whole series of YouTube videos dedicated to slider (or exercise disc)workouts. I use them for my workouts and incorporate them into my clients’ workouts. You can buy a pack of four at WalMart for $10. You can use one pair and give another to your spouse or significant other so they can work out with you. And when they aren’t being used for exercise, they are great for rearranging the furniture!
A couple of other items that are a bit more expensive, but will help, include a Bosu® balance ball and a pull-up bar that fits into a door jam. The Bosu runs about $105-$120 dollars (online). It is used for various exercises and can help with stability and balance. I also have a pull-up bar that I can either put into a door jam or use on the floor for crunches. It allows me to do standard and modified pull-ups as well as hanging leg raises with arm slings. I think mine cost about $30 or $40.
The total cost for everything above can range from less than $100 to about $300. Ask friends if they have any of these items or find a second-hand sports store like Play It Again Sports. I guarantee that you can do great workouts that will accomplish your goals whether it be losing weight, gaining weight, adding muscle, increasing strength or improving endurance.
Coming Soon!… Look for more specific posts on how to use each of these items in your workouts. I’ll provide photos and videos to help you.
Now, go out and start acquiring these items so you can get started ASAP!
To Your Health!