When I first decided to lose weight, I found the concept of a gym intimidating and was too afraid to purchase a gym membership. I had this idea the gym would be filled with a bunch of really fit people who were going to make fun of the chubby couch potato just starting out. So I decided I wanted to work out in the privacy and comfort of my own home. Even though I wasn’t super into health and fitness, I was still familiar with the name Jillian Michaels and the hit show Biggest Loser, so I decided to buy the Biggest Loser work out DVD. I also found her 30 Day Shred program along with some other work outs On Demand. Once I was comfortable with those work outs, I went to Sears and purchased a treadmill. Running was always a challenge for me and I hated it when we had to run the mile in PE class. I almost always had the slowest time and felt like crap afterwards. But with my treadmill it was a chance to kind of redeem myself (even though I was far removed from high school) and conquer something that always made me feel defeated. So I started off by walking at a brisk pace for a half an hour and then for an hour. From there I would jog as long as I could and then walk when I became tired. Finally, I started running as fast and as long as I could. I thought I was going to die! My chest and calves were burning and I was sweating in places I never sweat before. It was hard, but I didn’t let that stop me. I kept pushing! Eventually I became more comfortable running. I even started running outside sometimes to change things up. So that is how my love of running began :). To this day, I still run as my main form of cardio. I run about 3.5 miles 5-6 days a week and I love it! There are still times when I think I’m about to die when I decide to change things up and run faster or increase the incline, but I keep going and challenging myself. If something doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!
- Treadmill – I still have the same treadmill I originally purchased. I don’t recall how much I paid for it, but good places to shop around are Sears, Walmart, and Fred Meyer
- Weights – I have various sizes since not all muscle groups are the same size. You need different size weights to challenge those different areas. I have 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 20 pounds dumbbells. The ones that are 20 pounds were a Walmart steal for $20. They are adjustable from 5-20 pounds each. The other size weights I purchased from Target or Ross. I don’t recall the prices, but as the size of the weight increases, so does the price
- Resistance Band – Medium resistance band purchased for $5 at Ross
- Stability Ball – Purchased from Ross for $5
- Weighted Jump Rope- Each handle has a 2 pound weight. Purchased from Walmart for about $10
- Yoga Mat – Free! I attended a local Pop Sugar fitness event and they gave each participant a mat. I mainly used it when I was trying out Hot Yoga
- Ankle Weights – Each ankle weight is 5 pounds. I purchased them from Walmart for less than $20
You don’t have to purchase expensive workout clothes either. They just need to be comfortable and durable. I purchased my Nike running shoes from DSW so that I wouldn’t have to pay full price. I purchase clothes from a variety of places, but great choices include Walmart, Ross, Marshalls and Value Village. At Walmart I would stick with items from Danskin. That brand has been around for a while and they have good quality clothing. At Value Village I found workout clothes from Nike that were brand new with tags, along with Under Armor and REI brand clothing.
Free Online Workouts
To supplement my running, I like to incorporate workouts that include strength training, plyometrics, and HIIT cardio. Some of my favorite YouTube channels include Shelly Dose, Relentless Jake, Jessica Smith TV, Sweat Stream, Fitness Blender, and BeFit.
My DVD player broke (booooo), but I started building a collection of workouts that included kick boxing, abs, and Yoga. My favorite DVD’s are from Jeanette Jenkins. I really like her energy!
During the summer, I like to occasionally take my runs outside. I like using a park bench for pushups and lunges. The beach where I like to run has a couple of hills, so I will run up and down the hill a few times and then continue on the path.
Side note: always remember to be safe when working out outside. Make sure the area is well lit, there are other people around, and that you are aware of your surroundings at all times!
Using Your Own Body Weight
Even if you do not have equipment at home yet, your own body weight is still very effective. You can do lunges, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, tricep dips, high knees, jogging in place, glute bridges, and butt kickers.
House Walking – Inspired by Lisa Lillian of Hungry Girl
House walking is just that. Walking around your house instead of laying on the couch or sitting down. You can house walk during commercials and while you’re talking on the phone. Imagine walking around the house while on that hour long call with your best friend. You could rack up some serious steps and calories! And you don’t have to live in a house to house walk. I live in a one bedroom apartment and still have space to house walk. More about house walking can be found here: http://www.hungry-girl.com/ask-hg-q-and-a/show/housewalking-daily-steps
Though I had an initial aversion to the gym, my views have changed. I believe a gym membership can be effective especially if you are just starting out. You can utilize the trainers and the fitness classes to help you get started. But a gym membership is not essential in order to attain the body you want. You can begin with a few pieces of equipment or DVD’s and build on from there. Whether you choose to workout at home, purchase a gym membership, or do both, just make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, add variety, and challenge yourself.
Do you have a home gym or a gym membership?
Below are pictures of my home gym equipment and some of my DVD’s