The Healthy Bride: 5 Affordable Essentials for Getting Fit at Home

Fitness expert Jen Raymond shares her favorite home gym tools, plus a quick and effective workout for when you’re short on time.
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As spring approaches, I’ve been splitting my time between working out in a new gym and working out from home, which got me thinking about what equipment is essential and what’s on my “wish list”. Training at a different gym means new tools and tricks, and I realized I’ve been missing out on some fun equipment. Last week I used a weighted sled, skier, rower, soft medicine balls (do not mistake for easy!), battle ropes and a punching bag. It was a great mix up to my current workout program and really pushed my limits. 

It’s fun to throw new equipment into the routine every once and a while, but if you’re mostly sweating for the wedding at home, a few essentials are all you really need to achieve gown-worthy results. Below I’ve mapped out my go-to home gym tools and also built a wish list for when I’ll eventually want to switch things up.  

Home Gym Essentials (listed in order of importance)

1. Yoga mat. Take it inside or outside to give you some grip. Unless you are really into yoga, save your money and get one here.

2. Stability ball.  A must. Very inexpensive for what they can add to your workout.

3. Resistance bands. Mini bands or resistant band set. They travel anywhere and are so versatile.

4. Dumbbells. Adjustable are great for when you move up in weight, but they can get pricey quick. You can usually find deals on Craigslist. If you start out with just 1 pair – go heavy. You are stronger than you think!

5. TRX. If you buy yourself just one item this is it!

Wish List

1. Kettlebells. I have a really light and a really heavy one. They are expensive, so if you have an opportunity to grab a cheaper one, do it.

2. Bench or step. This really elevates your game. More stable than a chair and if it's an adjustable bench – bonus!

3. Punching Bag. Stress relief! I see these often on Craigslist and it’s next on my list.  

Side note: I have no affiliations with any of the above recommended, these are tools I currently use or I’ve personally looked into.

Quick and Effective Workout: Up Down Rotating T Plank

I like to have 1 or 2 go-to moves that I can bust out if I’m short on time or location. There are some days when life just gets in the way, and you need something quick. This is your move.

My favorite do anywhere upper body and core focus combo is demonstrated below by my exceptional client Julie. I like to set a timer and then just run through as many as possible before time is up.  It can also be used as a finisher at the end of your workout. 

This move really targets your shoulders, core and arms. Change it up with more tricep focus by completing a narrow pushup, or up your heart rate by adding 10 mountain climbers after each pushup.

Directions:

Begin in a forearm plank. Starting with your right side, move into a straight arm plank. Starting with your right arm, lower back down into a forearm plank. Repeat with the left side. Push back up into a pushup position, perform one pushup and then rotate to the left side into a straight arm side plank. Hold for a count of 3 and then return. Perform another pushup and then rotate to the right side for another straight arm plank. Return to forearm plank position. That is one rep. 

Modifications

If your form fails or you aren’t quite ready for a full pushup, start on your knees or replace the pushup with a plank hold on your toes. Drop your bottom leg and bend at the knee to modify your side plank. 

Jen Raymond is a National Personal Training Institute Certified Personal Trainer and Precision Nutrition Certified Coach and has been in the business for over a decade. She recently launched her fitness training business for women - FitGirlsNW.