This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I was paid for this post and received the included fitness equipment as compensation. All opinions and routines are my own
It’s been a while since I wrote about fitness. Which is ironic because I have learned so much more about our bodies, nutrition and exercise this past year.
I have never felt or looked better in my life than I do right now after having a kid and at age 32. Which again is ironic. You expect your fitness level to decline with kids and age, yet it’s clear to me that what declines is your drive and time for it more than the actual ability.
So, I have a whole series of posts planned for this, touching on every aspect of my fitness journey and my routine.
Today I want to talk about building a home gym. And hopefully with it being a New Year, this coincides with your 5th resolution to get fit. This time you’ll definitely get it!
Any good fitness routine should include cardio and weight training. I want to go over and discuss weight training in detail in the next post because there is a lot to cover, but when it comes to IMMEDIATE ( this is key) weight loss, there is nothing better than cardio. Please note: that if you want sustainable weight loss, cardio isn’t the best option. Combination of functional exercises/weight lifting and HIIT/cardio work outs is best when it comes to exercise (and nutrition is everything of course).
Obviously, you can do cardio whenever wherever, it’s probably the easiest exercise type out there. The issue becomes when:
1. You do not enjoy cardio exercises
2. You do not have time and/or drive to do them.
Yes, you can go running (but what if you hate running like me), or biking (but what if you don’t have child care and your child is too big for bike seat), or rollerblading (but what if your balance sucks). And once again, who has the time to do 30 (for cardiovascular benefit) or 60 (for weight loss) minutes of that every day?
The solution is easy and affordable: Home gym cardio equipment.
I will go over three types of cardio machines that should cover pretty much any need you might have.
The Standard Elliptical
Very simple concept. Lower and upper body work out with very little joint impact. Great for old and young people. I personally always forgo a treadmill at the gym in favor of elliptical to finish up my lifting work out.
I would recommend ProForm Easy Strider. Small and compact, easy to assemble and has everything you would need for a small home version: a cup holder, a fan, several resistance levels and a heart rate monitor. And when not in use, you can easily roll it out of the way using the attached wheels.
This one is a very cool concept for those of us who are working from home moms. You work up quite a sweat and can finish a full spinning session all while editing photos (you photographers out there) or answering emails. This one of my preferred methods of getting a cardio work out in when I don’t have time to go out rollerblading or don’t have a volleyball game, because it still allows me to get my work done. Anything that is a multitasking activity is a win for us moms, right? I recommend the ProForm Desk X-Bike Exercise Bike.
If you prefer a regular spinning work out, you can take the desk off and you add handles with heart rate monitor grips and watch your favorite TV show. This allows for a more focused work out when spinning while on your computer. However even working on the computer, you finish absolutely soaked and with a good leg work out.
This type of exercise was new to me, so I did some research on it. Turns out rowing is one of the best low impact, high calorie burn, all body cardio exercises out there. While it seems that all you do is work your upper body while rowing (if you’re unfamiliar with the machine and the sport), it’s actually primarily a lower body work out. So if you want to tighten up those glutes and hamstrings, this is the perfect machine to use. Make sure to google the right way to row. You’re supposed to push off with your feet and not pull with your arms for the 60% of power. This is perfect for me since I am trying to build up my lower body strength and endurance. I love the Stamina Magnetic Rowing Machine.
Remember, you don’t need to be able to dedicate an hour or even half an hour to it. Set one of these machines up and do a version of HIIT work outs in between mothering, working or doing housework. Do it all that way all day. Do it in the morning or evening. Raising your heart rate periodically throughout the day is beneficial and it’s great for your metabolism.
And think about the example you would be setting for your kids. The first thing Lexi wanted to do when she saw the machines was do it herself. In her nightgown. Yup.
Obviously all that work out that you put yourself through, especially in the beginning, you will have some soreness in your muscles. Back pain is even a bigger issues for women after childbirth if they did not build or re-build their core. So the best thing to do is strengthen it, however in the meantime, check out Backtracker.
Now I use this thing daily for 5 minutes even though I no longer have any back pain (wow I just realized that, must have strengthened my core enough through all that gym time). But it does wonders to relieve any tension and just feel better. I have some sore spots in my upper back after back day at the gym and this is a nice way to work them out and loosen all that lactic acid. The Backtracker inventors claim that this simple massager will relieve persistent back pain and I can definitely see that. So even if you have pain unrelated to work outs, I would consider it as an acupressure type of device to get some relief.
So currently, Kohl’s is having a Fitness Equipment sale. I am considering getting some weight training equipment. I already have a barbell with weights for squats and deadlifts that turns into dumbbells, so I want to pick up a squat rack that doubles as a bench press and a bicep curl and a butt blaster type of machine.
Tell me about your favorite type of cardio exercise and how you find time and energy for it!
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