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8 Inexpensive Fitness Tools Every Home Should Have

8 Inexpensive Fitness Tools Every Home Should Have

You don’t have to waste a fortune in order to look good. Being in shape is just a matter of will; you can hire the finest trainers and go to the best gyms, but if you don’t previously decide to dedicate yourself to your health, all of that will be for nothing.

With the right motivation, you can achieve that figure you always wanted in the comfort of your home and without worrying about unrealistic gym bills. Establishing a home workout routine is beneficial for several reasons – this small investment is here to stay and you’ll have every tool at your disposal forever. The whole family can use your little home gym, so that cuts bills significantly for your household, and you will have more time because there will be no home-gym-home traveling every time you want to exercise.

With this in mind, you should be feeling inspired to create your little home gym, so check out the following nine fitness tools that will boost your confidence and help you get fit in no time.

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1. Jump Rope

Although people avoid jump ropes because they usually have only two associations when those words are mentioned – little girls in pink dresses or tough boxers – using jump rope in your exercise routine is highly beneficial and it’s relatively easy for beginners to get used to the different exercises.

Apart from helping you burn a huge amount of calories (it actually can be more efficient than jogging), jumping rope makes you lighter on your feet. This means that your coordination gets significantly improved because this exercise is all about focusing on your feet. The more jump rope tricks you discover and learn, the more coordinated you’ll get.

2. Dumbbells

You should know that when compared to the barbell, dumbbells can be a bit more versatile, giving you a larger choice of exercises, and they are cheaper than a full barbell set and rack combo. They will provide you with plenty of variety in your workouts and they offer a more natural selection of movements, because unlike fixed machines and cables, they can move freely in all different directions.

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This exercise tool can be used to train both the lower body and the upper body, which makes them a worthy addition to your home gym, and one that’s quite efficient and simple to store at that.

3. Yoga Mat

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    The only difficult thing about yoga is starting to practice it – after that I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it just like everyone else. Of course, you should start with a beginner’s program and move up from there gradually. The list of benefits of practicing yoga is quite extensive. Other than the obvious benefit of increasing flexibility, it has a positive impact on your isometric strength and muscle tone, improves your respiration, decreases stress and increases your energy levels.

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    4. Foam Roller

    Your post-exercise routine is as important as the actual workout, and it’s quite important for you to take good care of your muscles. My suggestion is to go with a foam roller in order to prevent sore muscles and cramps, especially when it comes to your back. Lifting weights can burden your lower back muscles and if you don’t do something about it, you can be in pain for weeks.

    5. Stability Ball

    Speaking of spine alignment – stability balls are highly beneficial solution for this problem. It’s quite simple really. Because of ball’s instability, you need to work on balance and thus practice and achieve a proper posture. You can use it for stretches and simple workouts, but you should know there’s a ton of different tutorials that show you how to do a full body exercise with it.

    6. Ab Wheel

    Did you know that each rollout using an ab wheel actually moves over 20 muscles in your body? This smart tool is unbelievably efficient; if you’re persistent with repetition, you’ll get that six-pack you always wanted quite quickly. You should also know that using an ab wheel isn’t any more difficult than doing crunches – you’ll just need some time to get used to it.

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    7. Decent running shoes

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      The greatest problem I had with running is discipline – the most difficult part of this type of training is getting your mind in the zone and staying motivated, and if you do manage to be persistent in it, you will not only strengthen your body but your mind as well. Obviously, running helps you lose weight, but it also firms up your muscles equally and gradually. With a relatively decent pair of running shoes – which you can often get on sale – you’ll be ready to hit the road any time you feel like it.

      8. Mirror

      Having a mini gym is a pretty smart move, but you already know that you can hurt yourself by doing the exercises wrong. I’m sure you’ll go online and consult various tutorials and programs until you find the one that works for you, but you need to make sure your posture and your movements are reflecting those that you see – which is why a big mirror is an essential item in your home gym.

      Did you know that working out makes you happy? When you exercise, your mind tells your glands to release happiness hormones, because you’re doing a good thing for your figure, your health and your confidence. Exercising really contributes to the overall quality of your life and if you actually go through with your little home gym project, you’ll be a lot happier.

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/scott-webb-39047/ via pexels.com

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      Djordje Todorovic

      Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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      Last Updated on September 4, 2020

      How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle to See Results Fast

      How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle to See Results Fast

      There’s a lot of confusion, mystery, and desperation around how to lose fat and gain muscle. We applaud body transformation pictures we see on Instagram, Facebook, and magazine covers but are never able to replicate the results ourselves.

      Well, that mystery is over because I will tell you exactly how to achieve those results in this article.

      The journey to getting there is straightforward but not easy. Most people give up too early in the game, when they stop making visible progress.

      Keep reading to learn how to utilize your metabolism and the laws of muscle building to lose fat and gain muscle fast.

      Skyrocket Your Metabolism to Lose Fat

      Learning how to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time is one of the biggest misunderstandings of body transformations because they are opposite metabolic processes.

      To lose fat, you must have calorie deficits each day, and to gain muscle, you must be in a caloric surplus, but you cannot do both at the same time.

      When you look at pictures, it looks like it can be done simultaneously, but what is actually happening is a change in fat and muscle percentages.

      If your weight stays the same through your journey, and you lose body fat, your percent of lean muscle mass automatically goes up by default. You didn’t gain any muscle, but your fat and muscle ratio percentages have shifted.

      Calculating Your Calories to Lose Fat

      There are many good calorie calculators out there that will give you an estimate on how much to eat to start losing fat for weight loss. You usually need to cut about 10 to 15% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) calories to start the process.

      You can find a visual explanation of TDEE below[1]:

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      Use TDEE to learn how to lose fat and gain muscle.

        Remember that the calculators are just an estimate. It’s up to you to track your measurements and to adjust your caloric intake to ensure you’re getting the results you’re looking for.

        Metabolism calculators take into account four different ways your body burns calories to come up with your TDEE, or how many calories you burn in a day:

        • Resting metabolic rate
        • Thermic effect of food
        • Thermic effect of activity
        • Non-exercise activity thermogenesis

        Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

        This is your baseline metabolism at rest, or how many calories your body needs to survive if you spent the entire day lying in bed awake.

        RMR accounts for about 60 to 75% of your total daily energy expenditure. Your RMR is mostly determined by how much you weigh.

        A heavier person has a higher RMR than a lighter person, even if the lighter person has a higher lean muscle mass, because the metabolism of muscle only contributes to about 20% of your total RMR energy expenditure[2].

        Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

        You’ve heard that to lose weight and gain muscle, you should be eating lots of protein. This is true for a number of reasons:

        • Lowers your intake of other types of foods, like processed carbs.
        • Increases satiety, so you continue to feel fuller, longer.
        • The building blocks for your muscles are found in protein.

        About 30% of the calories from protein intake are burned off during the digestion process, which includes absorption and waste removal of it. Eating more protein as opposed to other macros increases the amount of calories burned during digestion. That’s why you feel fuller with a higher protein diet.

        Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA)

        The calories burned in TEA are relatively minor in your entire TDEE equation. TEA is any calories burned during official exercise, like going to the gym, doing an aerobics class, or going for a run. It covers any exercise you do outside of your normal activities.

        Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

        The calories burned in NEAT is the big game changer for most people and can vary up to 2000 calories burned per day between people with identical RMRs[3].

        For the majority of us, when we’re done with our workouts for the day, we don’t do much else for movement. We spend about an hour in the gym, and instead of using the other 15 hours awake as an opportunity to move and burn more calories, we spend it sitting.

        This is how there can be such a big difference between the amount of calories burned between two people who have the same RMR.

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        Outside of your gym workout, any additional body movements count towards burning additional calories. The quickest way to add this to your day is to make everything you do as inconvenient for yourself as possible.

        Examples of inconvenient activities that count towards NEAT include:

        • Taking the stairs versus the elevator
        • Parking farther away
        • Getting up to change the TV channel versus using the remote
        • Pacing and walking while on a phone call instead of sitting down

        Increasing your NEAT goes a long way to helping your burn calories faster, leading to quicker fat loss. For more ideas on how to make life a little more inconvenient to up your activity level, check out this article.

        The Laws of Building Muscle

        Congrats on reaching the stage where you want to tone and get some definition! Learning how to lose fat and gain muscle isn’t an easy process, so if you’ve taken it on, that’s a huge step.

        To build muscle, first you want to increase your calorie intake.

        Based on your TDEE, you want to add about 10% more calories as a starting point. This is enough calories to build muscle, and any excess can lead to fat storage if you’re not training hard enough or aren’t active enough.

        Again, be sure to track your measurements and adjust your calories if necessary.

        Second, follow a muscle-building program that you can sustain for at least 3 to 6 months.

        Consistency is key with building muscles because they need to be stimulated and broken down on a regular basis in order to build back up. You want to strength train at least twice a week for at least an hour each time to start getting results.

        Of course, more often is better but requires better planning and a more complicated body parts training plan. So, start simple if you’re a novice. It’s not necessary to train 6 times a week unless you’re training for a competition.

        Progressive Overload

        Muscle needs to be challenged in order to grow. You need to gradually and consistently increase the amount of load and volume you are lifting.

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        Load means the amount of weight you’re lifting during weight training. Up to a certain point, it becomes unrealistic to keep adding pounds to each exercise every week, at which point you need to switch exercises and work on your weaker points to break that plateau.

        However, the goal with load is to keep increasing the amount of weight you lift.

        Increasing the volume you do is another method to progressive overload. Volume means the total number of reps for that specific exercise. If you’re doing 3 sets of 12 reps, it means you’ve done a total of 36 reps.

        But increasing volume doesn’t mean doing super high reps of 20+ unless you’re training your muscle for endurance versus strength.

        You want to use a challenging weight and be able to lift more of it each week through increased reps and sets.

        Here is a visual explanation of how you can engage in progressive overload[4]:

        PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD FOR MUSCLE MASS by @jmaxfitness - Visit the link in my bio to claim your free 1-week muscle bu… | Muscle, Gain muscle, Weight training workouts

          Training Intensity

          Paying attention to what you’re doing is required if you want to lose fat and build muscle because you want to build and improve the mind-muscle connection to optimize growth.

          A healthy mind-body connection means you’re able to better feel your muscles working during each lift.

          You know you’ve picked the right weight when the last 2 to 3 reps of your intended rep range is challenging. On occasion, you want to push past the burn and muscle fatigue for the last reps.

          This little bit of pushing past the discomfort is the difference between an average body and a body with more definition. Lifting almost to failure increases muscle recruitment, metabolic stress, and anabolic recruitment to grow muscles.

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          Proper Recovery

          This is the most overlooked aspect of building muscles. We focus too much on pre/post workout meals, macro tweaking, and supplements, forgetting that we already have the ultimate tool for recovery: our own body.

          For best recovery practices, allow at least a day, but no more than 3 days of rest between workouts that stress the same muscle group. Overtraining results in diminished exercise capacity, possible injury, and illness.

          Remember, muscles are broken down in the gym and built outside of it during recovery.

          Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, and be mindful of your stress levels to optimize recovery time. A lack of sleep and excess stress will spike cortisol levels, leading to hunger cravings, decrease regulation of burning fat, and cause faster aging.

          You can learn how to lower your stress levels fast here.

          Stop Program Hopping

          Every day, there is new workout, new exercise, new program on a website, in a magazine, or in your social media feed. No wonder we’re tempted to try a little bit of everything!

          Frequent program hopping stops you from getting any results.

          When you change programs too often, you don’t make progress on each exercise. It becomes hard to gauge whether you’re getting stronger or even getting results because you’re not allowing enough time for your body to adapt.

          Strength is a skill that needs to be built and developed by practicing it consistently. If you’re changing the skill set too often, you won’t know if you’re improving, and, therefore, cutting yourself short of future muscle gains.

          Conclusion

          The steps to losing fat and gaining muscle are simple, but the journey to get there is not.

          Tracking and measuring your calories is the quickest way to lose fat, along with increasing your activity level outside of the gym. Having a stronger, more toned body can be yours when you follow the laws of building muscles consistently.

          Applying these methods will guarantee that you get the results you’re after!

          More on How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

          Featured photo credit: Benjamin Klaver via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Cheat Day Design: What is TDEE?
          [2] International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders: Determinants of energy expenditure and fuel utilization in man: effects of body composition, age, sex, ethnicity and glucose tolerance in 916 subjects
          [3] Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: Variability in energy expenditure and its components
          [4] J Max Fitness: PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD FOR MUSCLE MASS

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