There are affiliate links throughout this blog post for your convenience, where I can earn a small commission. I never support a product or brand I don't personally use and enjoy, but if you'd like to learn more, you can head to this page on my blog!
Whether your gym is closed or you don't feel safe going yet if it's re-opened, working out in a COVID-19 world has shifted largely into our backyards and living rooms. My husband Anthony and I have been determined to not lose our progress - trying to lose weight/burn fat and "tone up" for me (you all know how stubborn the last five pounds can be!), trying to gain more muscle for him - and really found all of these pieces of equipment helpful.
For Weight Training
Getting a set of resistance bands, especially ones that are stackable, are great for both beginners and more experienced fitness enthusiasts. Anthony loves his stackable set because he can get up to 150 lbs of resistance from the bands. This was super helpful before our gym closed due to quarantine so he wouldn't lose his progress! Plus they were great for me since it wasn't just one set resistance, so we could stack them to our needs.
A set of dumbbells is a must! There's so much you can do with them, for your arms, abs, and even legs. Plus even some heavier ones shouldn't take up too much room in your house. Need more than one set and want something a bit more heavy duty? Check out dumbbell sets with racks!
A stability ball is great to include in your home gym since you can use it for so many different workouts. I love my stability ball kit from SoAlpha because in includes some resistance bands and it has a sheet with a bunch of different workouts that you can do with it.
Not all yoga mats are created equal! You want to make sure you can have a good grip on it without necessarily needing special socks. This yoga mat on Amazon is great for non-slip and comes in a variety of colors.
Yoga blocks are so helpful for at-home practices, especially for beginners (like myself!) still working on deepening certain stretches and improving posture in stretches. They're usually made from foam so they're not super hard on your wrists.
Sometimes, a yoga practice will call for a pillow. I like to use a special pillow (sometimes called a yoga bolster) for this so that way, I don't have to run and grab the ones I use on the couch or my bed and potentially get them dirty on the floor. It's nice to have a pillow with one intention (especially since a big part of yoga is setting intentions for your practice!).
Having a punching bag at your disposal is a great way to work on both self-defense and cardio with some boxing drills. Anthony loves boxing for a good cardio-meets-core and arm workout. I used to use these a lot in my karate days, too, and you can't go wrong with anything by Everlast. You can shop their products on Amazon.
I swear by my stationary bike at home. I have it set up in my bedroom facing my television, so if I still need to get a workout in but I'm feeling kind of lazy, I have no excuse: I can just hop on and pedal while my husband and I watch television. I got mine a few years ago, but here's a link to the newer model version of the exact one I have on Amazon.
A treadmill is also something I swear by, especially in the summer (especially living in Florida) when it's too hot to get a run in once the sun comes up. My parents have a treadmill by Nordic Track that really helped me through my half marathon training (and they're the more affordable treadmill brand out there, in my experience). The ones at my gym are by Precor and I really enjoy their treadmills, too (it may not seem like it, but they're not all created equal!).
Having a fitness watch, especially if you're doing a lot of running or other cardio. If you're into running, biking, and swimming, then a Garmin Forerunner 235 will be a fantastic watch that offers a lot of great features, like built-in interval timers. If you need something for the basics but is still a great watch with great features, I'd recommend this one.
I recently treated myself to a Series 5 Apple Watch and love it for the gym since I can track exercises beyond just biking, running, and swimming - including yoga and weight training. Plus, the Apple Watch gets more specific for what type of indoor cardio activity you're doing, so if you're like me and enjoy trying out different pieces of cardio equipment, you can really get your stats super accurate on the Apple Watch.
My husband and I got a shiatsu massager like this one as a wedding present and it is one of our favorite things we've ever gotten! We swear by it after a particularly intense gym session. Trust me on this one - treat yourself.
Foam rollers are great for a few things. Not only is it fantastic for muscle recovery, but also can be a beneficial part of a warm up or cool down routine. It particularly can help with tightness in both your muscles and joints. Similar to foam rollers are stick rollers, for rolling over your muscles after a workout. My mom has a million of these from the various race expos we've been to and she loves them all. This one is her favorite.
After a great run, I make sure to wear compression socks to help with the blood flow and preventing soreness. I find it really does help! My favorite pairs are my Danish Endurance brand ones from Amazon. They sell sleeves and socks, so if you just need it for your shins you have that option too. They're fairly affordable but still get the job done.
I've seen a play on the "freshmen 15" phrase going around this summer - the "quarantine 19" - but please know that it's a stressful time for everyone right now. Don't punish yourself into working out because you put on some pounds during lockdown. Bake that banana bread because you love it, and then try some of these pieces in your next workout because you love it, too. They're not mutually exclusive!
Jessica is a huge Disney, anime, and Star Wars nerd who channeled that love into motivation to lose 75 lbs.