Curious about how to set up your own home gym? Here are some wallet-friendly basics to consider including:
Yoga or exercise mat. When doing floor exercises, exercise mats provide extra cushion for safer and more comfortable exercise. Use your yoga mat when doing ab work, stretching, floor exercises and pilates.
3-to 5-pound weights and resistance bands. Lifting weights is important to building a strong, fit body — it helps you tone your limbs and build muscle, and it's great for your bones and metabolism. If you’re new to strength training, start with 2- or 3- pound dumbbells, and slowly work your way up to heavier weights as you develop muscle. Resistance bands are another strength training tool that are a great portable option for using at home and while you travel.
Balance and stability ball. When you have a stability ball, you have dozens of exercises at your fingertips. This one ball can give you a full-body workout! It’s an especially great tool for strengthening your core during sit-ups — or, you can actually sit on it instead of a chair! You’ll automatically tighten and tone your midsection, just by sitting there.
Exercise DVDs. I love fitness DVDs. Not only do they bring a trained instructor right into your home to show you exactly how to do the moves properly (and keep you motivated!), but they allow you to mix up your workouts and keep your routine from getting stale. There are so many fun workouts to get your heart pumping! Try Kickboxing, Zumba, Pilates, dance workouts and boot camp DVDs — the list goes on and on!
Beginner yoga and stretching DVDs. Many people don’t consider stretching a workout — but it’s actually a very important part of fitness! The more flexible you are, the less likely you are to be injured — and you know what recovery time from an injury can do to your waistline! Have a yoga or stretching DVD on hand to warm up your muscles before a workout and cool them down when you finish. As a bonus, you’ll soothe away stress and feel much more limber.
A mirror to check your form. I can’t stress how important proper form is to an effective workout — the wrong form, or using equipment incorrectly, can cause pain and injury — and at the very least, your routine will lose some of its effectiveness. Without an instructor or trainer around, it’s up to you to ensure you are doing every move the right way! Do all exercises in front of a mirror so you can watch your posture and alignment, and make any corrections necessary to keep your body safe from injury.
This article is a partial excerpt from Denise's latest book, Side Effect: Skinny — Denise Austin's Fat Blast Diet (Bird Street Books Inc., 2012.)