When I moved from the city to the country where the nearest movie theatre, gyms, and grocery stores are all a good thirty-minute drive from my new home, I knew that I’d need a home gym because I was not going to drive in treacherous conditions to a gym. I knew myself well enough to know if my gym is more than half a mile from my home, I’m not going.
In downtown Portsmouth, I was a member of Seacoast Sports Clubs for seven years, where I quickly became a regular at Lynn’s Bodypump and Yoga classes, as well as Matt’s Bodypump classes. I quickly learned the workout classes I enjoyed and the instructors that motivated me the most efficiently. I also had access to a saltwater pool, cardio machines, and a weight room and two gyms within a mile from my apartment. And I was lucky enough to have plenty of 4-7 mile walking loops from my doorstep going around the Atlantic and beautiful and safe scenery. In the boondocks, we cannot walk safely out our door and on the street – there are no sidewalks, and last month a woman in Hooksett was out walking and struck and killed by a car. We live where we can either invest in home cardio equipment or drive and park to walk/hike on trails or in a mall. Or maybe you do both like me.
I’ve compiled a list of what my home gym essentials are and ways to make the most out of your home gym that maybe you haven’t tried yet.
Top 10 Home Gym Essentials
Brand new cardio machines are costly. However, many people buy home gym equipment and never use it, and then it ends up in their garage or basement used as a clothes rack until they put it up online for sale. It will take you a while to hunt for a quality machine and an affordable price, but as long as you aren’t hunting for a treadmill, it can be done. It took me a few weeks of scouring the internet to find a good deal on a used Precor elliptical with arms and my preferred green digital display, and I had to drive a few hours away to test it and then rent a Uhaul to bring it home. My partner drove the Uhaul back to NH and myself following in my car. Once we got home, it took two strong men, my beau and a friend to carry it in the house and out onto our sunporch.
I started lifting weights in middle school. My first set of dumbbells was a 10lb set my father gifted to me when I was eleven years old, and I used them a few times a week. Even as a young athlete with no gym at school or nearby, I saw the importance of weight training.
Since then I have acquired what works for me which is
Ankle Weights for Pilates
Les Miles Body Pump set
3. Yoga Mat
Yoga Mats come in handy in more ways than you can imagine. From stretching to crunches to planking to yoga, pilates, and more. It’s always good to have a yoga mat or two on hand. Just make sure to keep your feline friend away from it, I’ve lost a couple to Carlisle shredding mine with his claws in the past.
I cannot do cardio for the sake of cardio. It is boring. So how do I get through 4-5 miles on the elliptical machine? I use our iPad, and I watch music videos on YouTube, or I watch Hulu, Netflix, etc. while burning those kcals.
5. Foam Roller
I used to think these were just for runners, but they aren’t. They are great for stretching out sore muscles after your elliptical, spin bike, or treadmill workout.
6. The Original Step Universal
The platform is 43 inches long 16 inches wide and 4 inches high and comes with universal risers making in adjust from 4” to 6” to 8” high.
These are great for doing chest and triceps presses as well as plyo jumps, triceps dips, pushups and more!
7. Comfy Bra
Having a comfortable bra is essential. I’d rather spend the money on having one bra that fits perfectly, rather than a handful of ill-fitting cheap ones. If you are like me and have worn a D cup since college but have small measurements 32-34, you know the challenge of finding a bra in your size. My personal preference is the zip-front sports bra from Victoria’s Secret. It fits so well; I can move and breathe, and yet my breasts are firmly held in place.
8. Comfy Sneakers
Comfortable sneakers are also crucial for stepping onto the cardio machines. I currently wear Adidas cloud foam sneakers on my elliptical machine. And if you’ve ever seen me at a body pump class at Seacoast Sports Club West End or Downtown location (2012-2019), then you know I prefer to be barefoot or in converse canvas chuck tees for weight training.
9. Cute Clothes
When you look good, you feel good. Every couple of years, I toss out my three gym outfits and buy three new ones. I like my matching cute outfits that go with my gym sneakers, and I’m more motivated to workout.
10. Water Bottle
I may have a small water bottle problem. I’m the friend who on hikes brings an extra Ezekial bread and Teddy’s PB+J sandwich and gluten-free pure protein bars and extra water.
Thanks for reading, these are my top ten home gym essentials, what are yours?