If you don't want or don't like to go to a gym, go ahead get a few workout items to your home. If you have your own equipment in hand, not having a gym membership can no longer be the reason for not working out.
In this post, I want to share three most important workout tools that are worth investing into, when you start putting together your home mini gym.
“I'm In Better Shape Without Going to a Gym!”
Last week, I received a comment to this post that really inspired me and gave me the idea to put together this post. Here's what Kimberly said:
“My gym membership is up at the end of this month. I’m seriously considering not renewing it. The gym stresses me out. I have a room in my condo that I turned into a mini home gym. (—) The year before last I didn’t have a gym membership and I feel like I was in better shape then as opposed to this year when I actually purchased the membership.”
I thought it was so cool because Kimberly shows a great example of how you can get into a great shape by working out at home. I have nothing against gyms and I do go there once in a while myself too. But if you feel that gym is not your thing, it stresses you out or you don't have time to go there, that doesn't mean that you can't get or stay in shape.
So You Don't Have a Gym Membership?
Whenever you ask people why they're not working out, the reason number one is that they have no time.
The reason number two is usually one of the following:
I don't have a gym membership.
I hate going to a gym.
I hate running on a treadmill. (Ha! Me too!)
If you've ever said something along these lines yourself too, we're going to solve this problem right now. By creating your home mini gym, you're all set for working out and getting into the best shape of your life, if you're ready to put in some work.
It Started with One Kettlebell…
A few years ago, I started getting bored with running. I found CrossFit and fell in love with it. However, I ended up doing CrossFit just about half year. I moved to another country and had no job and no money… I was struggling to pay my rent every month, so the last thing I could think of was paying a few hundred Euros every month for CrossFit. I just couldn't afford it.
But I didn't want to only run either and had to figure out other ways to keep working out. So I went to a store and bought a kettlebell. It was a really small one–8 kilos I believe–because I was still very beginner.
But it worked. I broke sweat every time when I did thrusters, swings, squats and other exercises with it, in my tiny bedroom that I rented from my friend.
If you don't make excuses, you can find your way to workout, even with just one kettlebell.
Putting Together Your Home Gym
So, if you can't or don't want to workout at a gym, you can get your sweat on at home. If you're lucky and can workout outside, that's awesome (I'm lucky–thank you, Califronia).
But even if the weather isn't good, you can workout inside. I did it all the time with my 8 kg kettlebell when I lived in Finland.
Of course, you can always do bodyweight exercises and not get any weights at all. But I personally like to have weights too. So, when I moved to California, I started buying workout equipment, piece by piece, and build my own little mini gym. I needed these things to keep my own workouts interesting, but I also started using them for training my clients.
By now, I have a lot of equipment, but I didn't buy them all at once. One thing at a time! While some of the items that I have cost even less than $20, buying five items like that adds up. So there's no need to get everything today.
The Three Essentials
So, where to start building your home mini gym if your resources are limited, space-wise as well as financially?
Below are the three pieces of equipment that I would get first, along with some additional tips on what to look at when getting them.
I couldn't imagine my workouts without kettlebell swings, goblet squats and snatches, so kettlebells are a necessity in my mini gym. Kettlebells are also super durable and hardly ever need to be replaced. (But you probably do need to get heavier ones as you get stronger.)
Tip 1: The only time you may need to replace them is when the color on them starts to chip–and that's really annoying. Chipped handle will rip your hands, which feels and looks really bad.
I really love this brand and have never had them chipping at all. The handle of CAP kettlebells is a little bit thicker than some others and really smooth, which I really like.
Tip 2: If you're getting your very first kettlebell and are an absolute beginner, 20 lbs works for most women and 25 for most men. If you have a bit more experience, you probably know what weight you're using.
A set of dumbbells is a great investment. You really can't break iron, so they're durable and last forever!
There's a whole variety of exercises that you can do with dumbbells. Dumbbell workouts go way beyond traditional bodybuilding exercises and they're actually way more versatile than you may ever have thought of. You can see an example here (be sure to check out the free workout!)
Side note: If you're a runner, here's a simple circuit workout for you that you can do with just two dumbbells.
Tip 1: If you don't have a whole lot of room or you simply want to save money–I do!–get adjustable dumbbells. You can easily add and remove plates from handles, and make the weights as light or as heavy as you like. The maximum of these dumbbells is 52.5 lbs per one dumbbell.
The only downside of these particular dumbbells is that they have round plates. If you're a beginner, doing some exercises like plank rows may be difficult if you don't have the strength and stability to keep your wrists strong in case the dumbbells with round plates start rolling. In that case, something like this would be a better option.
Tip 2: Do yourself a favor and leave those pink 1-2 lbs dumbbells in the store. For women, I recommend a pair of 10 lbs dumbbells if you're a beginner, and for men, 15 lbs, if you're just starting out. Don't be afraid of weights.
3. Jump Rope
Jump rope is an awesome tool for many reasons. First, it's super portable. I have it with me whenever I travel, even if I only have a carry-on bag. It's also super cheap. You can get one for under $10. Lastly, it's perfect for fast-paced cardio workouts that are the fastest way to get your sweat on.
There are various jumping exercises that you can do with them, from simple single unders to double unders. Chek more options out here.
Tip: I recommend getting a PVC rope that doesn't have a steel cable in them, like this, because the ones with cable can hurt pretty bad, especially when you're still learning to do double unders. Also when they start to break–and all of them will eventually–the cable will hurt really bad when it starts to stick out!
If you have a few basic items in your home gym, you have way less excuses for not to work out.
You don't have to get all the equipment that you can find at the gym, and you can always add more stuff like a pull up bar, get more kettlebells, a few resistance bands, a medicine ball etc later. But by getting a few essentials– a kettlebell, a set of dumbbells and a jump rope–you are setting yourself up for successful home workouts.
Do you have any workout equipment at home? If so, what do you have?