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I've always been a big fan of at home workouts. Literally, I remember being a kid and following along with this retro aerobics videos with my headband on in the living room. While we were avid gym goers and I've definitely indulged in my fairshare of mass and boutique workout spots, at the end of the day, I always go back to at home workouts. I love at home workouts because you can squeeze them in at a moments notice (like when my baby naps) and you can even get some reps in while doing random things around the house.
It really makes working out feel more like a lifestyle, than an item on the to-do list. While we have invested in some fancy equipment over the years, I believe you can really get started working out at home on some simple and affordable essentials! Even better, they are all from Amazon so #FREESHIPPING for Prime members!! Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. If you aren't a prime member, I highly recommend signing up here! It's a small monthly fee and then free and fast shipping all year!
Let's start with the most basic at home workout essentials: free weights. These little puppies are great! Not only do they come in cute colors, you have a wide variety of actual weights to choose from here. You can even get a cute stand to go with your free weights so they aren't a piled up mess in your living room corner!
Truthfully, this is the only item on the list we don't actually own. Personally, we just use the resistance bands previously mentioned. However, I wanted to add it on here because technically there is a difference between using this strap and the resistance bands. The resistance bands can roll and snap back and hit you in the face sometimes if you're doing like a cross body hamstring stretch, and aren't as comfortable as a true stretching strap. I've always just used a towel or the resistance bands though and it doesn't bother me. But if you want the “proper” equipment, this would be the item to get! Shop it here.
Resistance bands are so great for so many reasons. They are great for actual working out and also for stretching and recovering post workout. This set of resistance bands in particular is my favorite because it comes with everything you could want. Each band is the equivalent to working with a different set of weights, so 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 lbs options to help you with your resistance training. If you're following any sort of Youtube video or in app workout, chances are they will call on at least one of these items at some point.
This is a personal choice so I'll talk about things to consider before giving my suggestions. First, think about the type of floor surface you'll be working out on, and then the type of workout. You don't want to be doing jump squats on a squishy mat where you could twist your ankle, but you also don't want to do jump squats on a paper thin yoga mat on hardwood floors that don't have any give (especially if your like me and will start your workout with any sneakers on to absorb the shock, and quickly regret it). You want something both firm and shock absorbing if you're going to be doing a lot of jumping.
Personally, I've found that a 5-6 mm mat is kind of like the best of both worlds. Not too thin, not too thick. We have this one as an affordable option, and I got this one as a “splurge” option. The main difference is the affordable option is going to feel more slick when you sweat whereas the splurge option will always hold a good grip, even if you take it to hot yoga with you!
This is one of my favorite items!! I always told myself, “ugh it's to big to have at home,” and kept not buying it. But when I was pregnant, it was the perfect excuse to buy it since my midwife wanted me to sit on it while I worked to get the baby in a better position. So here we are, finally with an exercise ball for our home workout! Yes, it's the largest item on the list, but honestly, it's my favorite! Not only can you do abs and arms and glutes on it, but you can also do some amazing chest openers but just lying back on it and letting gravity do it's thing! Shop it here.
OHHH SWEET RELEASE! After all that working out, you will want a nice little release! Acupressure mats are fabulous for just that! All you do is sit, stand, or lay on them and the tiny little pricks do the work for you! Not only are these mats great for recovering muscles and pain relief (seriously saved me when I suffered from chronic headaches) people also say they are insanely helpful with stress reduction! This is the exact one I have because it came with the pillow (and I was having serious neck problems at the time). But here's a link to all of them on Amazon. They all do the same thing, they just come in different colors, materials, price, and shapes, so choose what meets your lifestyle!
At this point it should be clear I like items that you can both work out on and recover with, which is exactly where a foam roller comes in! When E and I first started dating, this was like one of the first gifts I gave him and over the 7 years we've been together now, he uses it almost every single day. There are SO many uses for a foam roller. You can use it to work on your balance, flexibility, or strength. It is a MUST do after every workout to boost your recovery time too and can be used on basically every muscle group you'll be working.
This is the one we have, which I love because it's really long so you can do a wide legged forward fold while rolling. This is one I know a lot of people love because it has spikes – so it is like the acupressure mat combined with a foam roller – but I prefer the two items separate for a couple reasons. First, I use my acupressure mat while sitting at my desk or laying on the couch mostly. Second, the foam roller in itself can feel so intense when my muscles are tight, that the idea of adding pressure points in sounds awful. Third, the acupressure foam rollers are shorter, so you can't use it on both legs at the same time.
This is the newest item in our at home gym: the personal trampoline!! I am SO excited about this item because it aids with lymphatic drainage and boost circulation (great if you have under eye circles like me) in addition to being a great workout! Shop it here.
Reusable water bottle
It astounds me when I walk into people's homes and see cases of water today. We need to stop with the single use plastic, so getting a reusable water bottle is essential IMO. Personally, I'm not a fan of the aluminum ones, I think they make the water taste funny. I also try to avoid even reusable plastic, since if they heat up in the car they can leach microplastics into your water. I LOVE a good glass water bottle with a silicone sleeve though! This one is super sleek, and fits in most water bottle holders on workout machines or in your car cup holder and these ones are a bit trendier and larger. I have and love both for those reasons. But my absolute favorite is this one, which actually purifies water on the go!
What would you add to the list?!
Originally published 08/07/2019; Updated on 03/16/2020