Saturday, January 2, 2016

Get Healthy in Your Home Gym

The very first time I began working out, it was in the living room of my mom’s house.  I was in junior high.  There were no weights, resistance bands or jump ropes.  I was not familiar with heart rate monitors and FitBits were unheard of.  My workouts were fueled by a drive for success and commitment to my goals.  Along with a VHS tape, Your Personal Best, featuring Elle MacPherson and Karen Vogt, I broke a daily sweat and moved to the beats of “Ain’t Nothin Gonna Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder.  Since then, my fitness goals have evolved, along with my home gym.  

Whether your goal is to lose weight, build strength or work toward both, a home gym can offer a solution to a busy lifestyle.  A home gym is a convenient solution whether you are short on time, prefer to get your sweat on in private, or are obsessed (like I am) with all of the latest gadgets and pieces of fitness equipment.  So how do you separate the functional from the funny-looking?  Below, I have listed six of my favorite products that I have found to be sweat inducing and results producing.  

Training with dumbbells offers several benefits that will improve your health and physique.  Similar to resistance bands, strength training improves bone density and increases your muscle mass.  Because muscle requires more energy to maintain, it improves your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day.  Weights can also be incorporated into circuit workouts, which will keep your heart rate up and improve muscle endurance.  Think “dumbbell squats for 30 seconds/jumping jacks for 30 seconds,” repeating similar sets and rounds for 20-30 minutes.  Consider purchasing the Rubber Octagonal Dumbbell Single from Power Systems.

Jump Rope 

The thought of jumping rope immediately takes me back to childhood, when I was the most uncoordinated person in gym class and would have rather had my fingers rolled over by a scooter than my face slapped with the plastic pieces of an old school jump rope.  It was during a trip to New York City that I gave the jump rope another chance.  The hotel I was staying in had a fitness center with very little equipment, one being a jump rope.  I wiped away my doubt and anxiety to pick up the jump rope, only to wipe away my sweat 5 minutes later after a heart-pumping, high intensity experience.  The jump rope can be used as part of a cardio circuit, or between strength training sets to make the workout more challenging and keep your body stimulated.  The movement activates the calf muscles along with the arms and shoulders in particular. Because it is a weight bearing exercise, jumping rope also improves bone density.  You can purchase a jump rope here from Vitamin Shoppe.  

XBAR Slider Pads
Sliders make a traditional move like the mountain climber, or plank with knee drives, more challenging.  As you are in this position, holding a plank and drawing one knee in at a time (with a foot on each slider), the quads and abdominals muscles activate to draw your knee in and flex the hip. With sliders you will use more muscles to balance your body in position. Additional shoulder stability is required and your chest muscles are used as stabilizers.  Save 10% at by entering MEGANLINGE at checkout. Shipping is free.

XBAR Fitness System
The XBAR is a resistance band inspired training device that offers over 100 full body exercises.  Resistance band training is a very effective method, requiring your body to move against resistance through the entire range of motion.  Picture the motion your arm creates when doing a bicep curl.  A dumbbell feels heaviest as you curl, while resistance bands make your muscles work hard through the entire movement, especially at the top, when the band is most taut.  This also stimulates the core muscles more, particularly when doing squats or lunges with the XBAR.  

The XBAR does not require a lot of space and comes with three different levels of resistance bands and a door anchor, offering variations and modifications for all fitness levels.  Save 10% at by entering MEGANLINGE at checkout.  Shipping is free.

Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor
The Wahoo Fitness TICKR monitors your heart rate, calories burned,  and time plus distance and pace when connected to your phone.  The TICKR's dual band technology works with most smart phones and GPS watches.  By monitoring your heart rate, you are able to increase or decrease the amount of work you are doing based on your goals.  It is also a great way to track your progress.  As you become more fit, the same workload that once increased your heart rate to 140, may end up bringing it only to 130.  This is because your body has become more efficient at handling the stress placed upon it.  At that time, consider increasing the workload to continue improving your fitness level.

Interested in learning more about my online fitness programs and challenges?  Click here for information about personal training!


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