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Last minute gift ideas: 10 essentials for your at-home gym

Many of us do not have the time or extra income to invest in expensive gym equipment or memberships. With that in mind and the holidays fast approaching, I have composed a list of affordable gift ideas for those you love, including yourself, that I have personally used and with which I have had great results. The prices ranges are anywhere from $5 to $150.

  1. Dumbbells are my favorite personally. I can achieve so much with just a few pairs. I would recommend a light, medium and heavy set to start. Everyone is different, so be careful to determine which weights are most appropriate. With gains in strength, more weight can be added to the collection. FiveBelow is a great place to find weights up to 10 pounds for $5. Most other stores sell them for about $1 a pound.
  2. Pullup Bars require determination and practice, but they are essential for one of the best full body exercises. These bars easily hang over any door and are removable. Approximately $40.
  3. Weighted Balls are incredible for performing movements with large ranges of motion with facility. I use these when weights are too cumbersome to effectively heave-ho.  These come in a variety of weights and sizes. They are excellent for Russian twists, woodchops, ball slams, and wall throws. Approximately $15 – $75.
  4. Jump ropes are so fun and convenient to use. Your coordination and cardio improve everytime you jump. The one I prefer has comfortable handles and a rope that keeps its form with no tangling. Approximately $5-$15.
  5. Sliding discs are an incredible way to engage your muscles. Using them well means recruiting many muscles to carry out a movement properly from start to finish. It requires focus, control, balance and strength. These can be purchased for about $25 a pair on-line.
  6. Interlocking Floormats are very important to my workout space at home for a multitude a reasons. They cushion the impact on my joints while jumping, hopping, performing plyometric movements and exercising in a sitting position. They also are slip resistant which improves my grip and control while lunging or planking for instance.  They protect my floors. Mine are interlocking and can easily be reconfigured and relocated to suit my needs, indoors or outdoors. Approximately $70 for 4 to 6 tiles measuring about 2′ by 2′.
  7. Mirrors are so important to assess, motivate, and encourage.  Sometimes we underestimate the results of our efforts because we are afraid to look in the mirror. Look at yourself and wear clothing that allows you to see the benefits of your hardwork! Use your mirror as a tool to measure your progress.
  8. EZ Curl bars and light , medium and heavy pairs of weight plates and cuffs are a huge plus in your at-home workout space. The number of exercises are limitless. These bars can significantly push you to the next level. I find them to be comfortable especially for women in that they are more compact than straight bars. I can manipulate them in many ways depending on my workout goals for the day. I have used E-Z curl bars to perform traditional arm and chest exercises but also abdominal moves in plank. The are more versatile than one might expect and worth the investment. Approximately $40 – $70.
  9. A step and risers have served me well over the years. I can perform almost any exercise typically done on the floor on my step with the added benefit of changing the angles at which I target the muscles I am working. I use mine for plyometrics as well as for uneven movements isolating one muscle at a time, such as the uneven pushup. I use my step as a bench to perform chest presses and pullovers. Most importantly for me as a step enthusiast, I utilize mine for step aerobics. Approximately $90 .
  10. Portable bluetooth speakers are such an integral part of getting my mind right and excited for an awesome workout. I love that music ignites something within people that gets them pumped for the task at hand. I make my workouts enjoyable through the use of uplifting music and variety. Portable speakers come in many price ranges.  The one I use cost approximately $200.