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It’s true. The Doors knew it. You know it. Strange days have found us. Where we once were able to go freely from gym to gym and studio to studio for exercise and training, we're now looking for ways to build our own home gyms to maintain our once-rigorous workout schedule. The home gym has been a topic of conversation for some time, especially now, when at-home fitness routines have become the norm, and we’ve all taken to our own form of personal training. (I mean, who else is going to push you to do one more squat in your living room if you’re not motivated to do it yourself? Luckily, there is a cure for that, but let’s save that for another time.)
If you’re lucky enough to find a dumbbell these days, congrats. Same goes for resistance bands, adjustable bench press machines, and really any form of certified home gym equipment... The market has been depleted, Amazon is sold out, and even the rentals from your favorite gym are probably gone. That said, you’re probably wondering, “How do I get crafty? What are some weirder gym equipment solutions that could work? How do I still get my exercise on if my home gym is just a yoga mat in my single-room loft?” Ah, my friend, we have the fitness solutions you need right here. So, buckle up, break out your paper plates (you’ll see why in a second), grab a bottle of wine (not for that), and get ready for some new weight training, cardio, and strength-building routines that only require what’s around your house currently (and an open mind).
These are the top 10 at-home gym equipment ideas (plus 3 extra because we love you):
According to Healio, off-premise alcohol sales were up 55% in the third week of March 2020 (compared to the same time last year), which means, you may have either some full (or empty) bottles of your favorite vintage lying around.
With your wine bottle, you can recreate almost all your weight training exercises, from squat thrusts and chest presses, to kettlebell swings (careful not to drop it) and medicine ball passes.
When “this all started,” you no doubt went out and bought more than a few cans of soup for good measure and “just in case.” Maybe you got what you wanted and went through your cans already, but if you’re like me and now have off-brand SpaghettiOs's sitting in your cupboard, you can put those to use in your home gym.
Try holding a few cans when doing bicep curls, shoulder sculpts, and even in your cardio routine. Why not take your soup for a run and hold a few cans next time you sneak in a few-mile run? Talk about making training delicious, amirite?
As stated, finding dumbbells online right now can prove to be a little difficult. This should, of course, not deter you from still getting your squat on and your strength training in order.
Grab a couple of books, ranging in page count (and, therefore, weight), and try a literary bench press or two. We heard that Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick specifically because it made for the perfect goblet squat weight when you’re without actual home gym equipment. (NOTE: This fact has not been verified.) Now, you add War & Peace to the mix of home gym necessities, and you’re going to be seeing the tone in no time.
You’re going to have to wash your clothes at some point, right? Whether it’s every single time you leave your house and come back, or every-so-often, you’re going to go through laundry detergent. So, using it as one of your adjustable weight substitutes is quite convenient.
Detergent too heavy for another squat rep? Time to do the delicates. Still too heavy for a 10-set bench press? Try the heavy-duty cycle. Without proper exercise equipment, your linens may be cleaner than they have ever been before. Silver linings, right?
If you don’t have a dumbbell at your ready (and don’t want to spend the money right now), grab a backpack or a reusable grocery bag and fill it up to add weight to your favorite exercises. Curls? Yes. Rows? Definitely. Another option: add a bit of extra weight to other movements like squats, lunges, and push-ups by wearing your filled backpack.
A barbell works great at the gym but is much harder to store and use at home. So, if you’re missing exercises like deadlifts, chest presses, or rows, grab a suitcase, fill it up, and get to work. Pro tip: When you’re able to travel again (hopefully soon), you can use this on-the-go piece of “equipment” in your hotel room or at the airport.
Personally, my dogs have always been a source of cardio. Even if I have proper home gym equipment, I walk my dogs two times a day just to get out of the house and get my blood moving. Since COVID-19 started, I have been walking them three to four times per day. And, when I get bored, I’m now trying to use them as weights, given they’re both around 70 pounds.
Sliders are a great workout and crucial to many fitness routines. If your home gym is without official sliders, grab a few paper plates and get to work.
Find a carpeted space if you can, throw those plates down, and try out some sliding burpees, side slide climbs, and sliding thigh slimmers. For safety, please do not eat off the plates afterward.
If you have hardwood or tiled floors, paper plates may not move easily. Instead, try dish towels or even paper towels (if you can find them at Costco) to get your slide on.
Head to your local hardware store to find the right length(s) for you. Most of the time, bungees are rounded—so make sure you secure them, so they don't roll. Step on top, then use the cords to add resistance to curls, rows, and shoulder presses.
Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, Muhammad-Ali-from-home style. No, you don't need a bag to get a great boxing workout. Instead, focus on form, watch yourself in the mirror, and go for it. Brace your core while you jab and uppercut your way to toned arms.
Need to stretch out your muscles after a good workout? Don’t have a resistance band or bungee cords? Enter leggings. We all have an old pair laying around somewhere, and the best part? They’re soft and stretchy.
Rachel Simhon of Bodyworks DW even used a pair of leggings to help out one of her clients virtually: "I did some jaw releases with [a client] and showed her how to move her neck with some support of like different tools that she had around. We used a pair of leggings—we improvised with a lot of different household objects to try to get her a little bit of relief."
Long story short, get creative. Wrap that bad boy around your foot and stretch those hammys to the sky, and maybe just book an appointment with Bodyworks (under “Appointments” and “Video Visits”) if you want to use it on your neck...
Sometimes home gym equipment does more than just bolster your strength training routine. In fact, if you have an emotional bond with your home gym, your kids should fit nicely into your exercise scenarios.
Depending on their age, you can find a range of workouts to do with your kids. Have infants? Try bicep curls with them in their car seats. Toddlers? Just chase them around and feel the cardio burn. Preteens? Might as well call them “resistance bands” because getting them to do anything will be a lesson in patience. Teens and up? Incorporate them into your daily exercise. Pull-up bar challenges are always fun as a family, right?
Finally, when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, you just need yourself. So long as you maintain motivation and determination, you can view yourself as your own home gym with every piece of equipment you need to work out attached. Whether it be air squats, Chaturangas, or bicycle crunches, bodyweight is the new equipment.
While the times are trying, silver linings are presenting themselves daily. Remember: keeping an open and motivated mind, as well as digging into your ingenuity and creativity, can help sustain you and your health—both mental and physical. Home gym or not, the equipment is right there.
Want to book a virtual workout and try out your new “equipment”? Browse Mindbody to find classes!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.