The weather in DC has been really crummy this week, and the forecast today is calling for even more cold and wet. While I know there are quite a few of you out there braving the elements to get in your workouts, some days I raise the white flag and elect to fit crash in the comfort of my
tiny cozy apartment. Or, in cases like Snowmageddon or Hurricane Sandy, there are times when I am actually stranded inside and can’t get to a studio.
That being said, I wanted to share with you what equipment I have tucked away for such an occasion. I lovingly refer to this hodge-podge collection of gadgets as my “home gym.” My apartment has extremely limited storage space, so I had to be judicious when picking out what types of things I thought would deliver a varied and effective workout. After a few years of trial and error, I’ve whittled it down to what you see in the photo. Here’s the breakdown:
- TRX: This jack-of-all-trades tool is a must for anyone with limited space or lots of frequent flyer miles. It’s small, lightweight, travels easily, can be hung over doors, trees, basketball hoops, or clipped onto other gym equipment, and delivers a powerhouse full-body workout for any fitness level. It’s one of the best investments I’ve made and I absolutely love using it at home because I never get bored with all of the options it offers. My only wish is that I had more space to play around in – that narrow hallway you see isn’t very forgiving – but it does the trick when I’m stuck indoors and need to sweat.
- Sandbag: I purchased mine online from Ultimate Sandbag, but have also experimented with a few home made (and less expensive) prototypes as well. Any bag of basmati rice, cat litter, dog food, or potting soil will do the trick. Throw it into a duffle bag with handles, and voila! The sandbag is another great tool that delivers full-body conditioning and has incredible versatility. The Ultimate Sandbag website has a few videos of what working out with a sandbag looks like – if you’re interested, I recommend checking it out to get some ideas.
- 15 lb. weights: This seemed like a good in-between weight to work with. I didn’t want to buy multiple sets of free weights, so I just picked a number that was not too light and not too heavy. There was really no science involved. These can easily double up if I need to do 30 lb. one arm rows or something like that. I use these mostly for arm exercises and for one-arm plank rows.
- jump rope: My downstairs neighbor would have me evicted if I used this in my apartment, so I go to the lobby or laundry room and do my jump roping there. Sure, I look kind of crazy, but it’s better than the alternative of me not working out and being cooped up indoors. Then we can talk about crazy. Jump rope a killer way to warm up before using the TRX, an excellent cardio workout when done on its own, or a great addition to an interval workout using the sandbag.
- 10 lb medicine ball: To be honest, if I had to toss one piece of equipment, this would be the first to go. I originally purchased it with the intention of using it for ab and arm exercises, and I have occasionally thrown it into the mix if I’m feeling really creative. Because it’s a bit mushy, it works great for balance exercises like these push-up variations.
- dip station, ballet barre (not shown): No, I don’t have either of these installed in my apartment, but I do have two kitchen table chairs that work just as well. Stand in between them to create an advanced dip (like this), or use the seat of one chair to do dips with your feet on the ground (like this). Want to practice your favorite barre method moves but can’t get to the studio? A chair works for that as well. I’ve tried this barre workout from Whole Living before and would recommend it. Try it and let me know what you think!
Fitness isn’t something reserved for studios or gyms, and it certainly shouldn’t have to cost very much. Sure, a gym is a convenient place to work up a sweat, but if it’s not available to you, don’t let that stand in the way of taking care of your health and reaching your goals. Just know that sometimes you have to get a little creative and bring fitness to where you are. I hope my “home gym” gives you some ideas.
So if it snows today, as predicted, just know that the crashes will continue uninterrupted from my glamorous home studio. Do your worst, weatherman!