As the new year approaches, most of us have some kind of fitness resolution in mind. It was top of the list for me and for the first time ever I’m happy to have a clean slate to start building my training routine again. That’s because this time I’m doing it on my own terms, in my own home and without the gym membership, which I don’t use.
I find gyms a lot. I have a bit of medical history which means when it comes to traditional training I need a lot of modifications. Over the past few years, I’ve grown tired of explaining this to bulky, confused personal trainers and other gym members who confidently approach you on the floor to explain in detail what you’re doing wrong. Don’t get me wrong, gyms are great and important institutions, but it’s hard to feel welcome when your needs deviate from the traditional “busting” weights and cardio. And when lockdown kicked in, I happily took matters into my own hands and slowly built up my own stash of home gym equipment.
I first thought about the sports I really enjoy and settled on Pilates, yoga, and cardio—things that allow me to focus on breathing and fluid movement. Then it was just a matter of finding the right tools to help me build my strength and endurance. And since I found the gym to be masculine and overbearing, I decided that for me personally, my gear needed to be pretty and pink (if possible).
Here are my favorite gadgets that I’ve found perfect for the home.
From exercise mat, $49.95
This is without a doubt my favorite home fitness equipment. A strong core is more than just a six-pack, it helps with balance, posture and the correct execution of other difficult exercises as well as advanced yoga poses. But since most of my medical problems are related to my neck, I’ve always found ab training very difficult and really discouraging.
Step In: the mat that has allowed me to gradually improve my core strength without having to strain to lift my neck off the floor. I still can’t do a full sit-up without hurting my neck, and maybe I never will, but my confidence in ab training is miles ahead of what I’ve had since I bought an ab mat.
The Movement Mat by foldUP, $119
While this mat is more expensive than a basic Kmart option, it makes your floor work that much more comfortable and lasts a lot longer than a cheaper alternative. Last year, at the end of yoga class, I picked up little pieces of rubber that had fallen off my three-year-old mat before promising myself I would invest in a decent mat. The exercise mat is sturdy and thick, which means you won’t have nagging knee pain when you’re cat-cow. It’s also lightweight and folds easily, making it perfect for easy portability or storage at your home gym. The investment is definitely worth it!
Bala Power Ring Kettlebell Alternative, $186.95
The most ergonomic kettlebell ever invented, the Bala Power Ring is a versatile weight that you can use for a variety of different workouts. The round shape makes it perfect for a kettlebell swing, but you can also use it as a gentle weight while squatting or lifting. The super simple design was created with the idea of going beyond the bulky, outdated equipment we see in the gym and making room for easy storage. And you can take it in pink – Perfection.
Freeflow Fitness Resistance Bands, $15.99
Resistance bands are the perfect way to make your workout that little bit harder. These lightweight elastics vary in tightness, which translates to heaviness as you use them for squats, stretches, and repetition of weightlifting exercises. You’ll be amazed at the versatility these bands bring to your home workout. And if you’re feeling a little lost while using it, this set from Freeflow includes a beginner’s guide to get you on the right track.
Bala Balance Blocks, $96.28
A good yoga block depends entirely on the quality of the material it is made of. This set of 2 is made from dense, supportive foam and high-quality execution for which Bala is known. Also available in a pretty pink color, these blocks allow for easy modification of those yoga poses you’re still working on mastering.
Meteor Anti-Slip Dumbbells, $46.15
Any home gym needs a pair of dumbbells for good measure, even if you’re just lifting light weights, to build some arm strength. This set of 8 from meteor ranges from 0.5kg to 5kg, making them lightweight and non-threatening enough to incorporate into your gentle Pilates workout if you so choose. I love the color scheme too – another splash of pink!
Saleyla Fitness Adjustable Pilates Bar Kit, $75.31
If Pilates is your thing but the cost of joining a studio isn’t that high, you can use this kit to set up a small studio at home Based on that. The bar comes with adjustable foot straps and a resistance band that you can incorporate into your workout. We’d recommend this one for those with some prior Pilates experience, but if you want to try it, the purchase also comes with access to three Reformer-style video workouts.
EZONEDEAL Back Stretcher, $21.55
Recovery is just as important as the workout itself, and if you’re feeling pinched or tight after a workout, this back stretcher will be your new best friend. Although it resembles a medieval torture device, the 88 plastic needles relieve back pressure by stimulating it, restoring the spine to its original shape while also stabilizing the spine. And if you train often, take care of it and recover it, your back is of paramount importance.
OZSTOCK 45 cm foam roller, $23.99
Also with recovery in mind, a foam roller is an ideal addition to your gym for stretching your aching, tight and tired muscles. You can get other versions with harder grooves and bumpsbut this non-slip version with hexagonal texture will ease your sore spots when rolling out.
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