Work it Out Wednesday

I cannot believe that it is already Wednesday–the rest of this summer has been flying by!

On Wednesdays, I will be going over exercises, workouts, and gym equipment, so if fitness is your main thing that you want to learn about, be sure to check in every Wednesday (or you can subscribe to my blog so that you never miss a post!)

Despite popular belief, you do NOT need a gym membership or fancy equipment in order to get a good sweat sesh in.  I have worked out in fitness facilities of all kinds–recreation centers, the YMCA, Titan’s gym (which is known for more of the “body-builder” type, my basement, outdoors, and now in my home garage gym.

My garage gym is nothing fancy–no air conditioning, concrete floors, and the occasional spider web and insect roaming around.  BUT, it gets the job done and that’s all that matters.

So, I’m going to go over some of the basic equipment I have in my garage gym in hopes that it helps you to create (or add!) to your own. Each image is clickable for faster shopping!

  1. Dumbbells

 

Guys. These are a MUST! Personally, I am not a fan of the “coated” ones.  I use the same exact ones as pictured above–solid, plain ‘ol iron.  Makes me feel a little more badass 😉 Regardless of the kind you use, it is necessary to have a few different weights on hand.  If you are just starting out, I would recommend 5’s, 8’s, 10’s, and 15’s to get you started: it offers a variety for each muscle group and, for your weaker muscles, it will allow you to have a goal to work towards–the next weight up!

2. Resistance Bands

 

As you can see, these come in a few different options.  I like the loops for lower body exercises, such as banded squats, and glute work.  The handled ones, I use for upper body–things like chest press, shoulder press, and curls.  These are great for at-home workouts or for when you travel because they are SUPER portable!  Also, these are one of the most inexpensive pieces of fitness equipment and pack a great value because they are extremely versatile.  I am ALWAYS finding new ways to use my bands!

3. Exercise Mat/Yoga Mat

This was the very first piece of fitness equipment I owned (thanks, bestie!) as I had joined yoga and Pilates classes during high school.  Like the above, my yoga mat is a Gaim–I just love how pretty their designs are.  I mean, I want to look at something interesting when I’m holding that plank–don’t you?!  When looking for a mat, make sure you get one that doesn’t slide around (mine is a little tacky so it stays in place even on carpet); the last thing you want is to face plant during your workout.  Mats are great for core work, such as crunches, bicycles, planks, etc. If you have joint pain or issues, I would recommend, getting a bit more plushy of a mat (like this one) so that you have a little more cushion for your wrists, knees, and elbows.

4. Kettlebell

And last, but not least, the kettlebell.  Again, I like the boring cast-iron ones, but it really doesn’t matter what it looks like–so get whatever style you like.  For beginners, I recommend a 15 pounder, which is linked above, as it takes a little getting used to using properly.  I love kettlebells for their cardio abilities, but you can also do a lot of resistance training exercises with them as well.  My ultimate favorite kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell swing or one-handed swings.  Man, that gets your heart rate up! No need to buy an expensive treadmill or elliptical–simply do some swings with your brand new kettlebell during commercials each day and you will definitely get that heart rate up!

These are my basic essentials and what I recommend for starting out.  What about you? Do you have a favorite piece of equipment that has become essential to your workouts?

Share your thoughts!