7 Home Gym Equipment Must-Haves for an Effective Workout ...

Home gyms are ever increasing in popularity and to get a working home gym, there are a few home gym equipment must-haves. Whether you have a gym membership or not, there are some days where the time or ability to make it out of your house is just not there. Sure, we could sit on the couch watching past seasons of Gossip Girl while eating a tub of frozen yogurt, or, we can use the no-gym times to home gym! Depending on the workout, your home gym can be just as effective as the one you prefer to visit. These simple home gym equipment must-haves are small enough to fit in your closet, but man, will they pack a punch!

1. Yoga Mat

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The best part of the yoga mat is that most people have this piece of home gym equipment already! Even if the idea of doing yoga makes your skin crawl, a yoga mat is a necessity for any fitness buff. No one likes the idea of rolling around on a dirty floor, or getting their sweaty bodies all over that newly cleaned carpet. A yoga mat will be a nice buffer between your body and your floor. It is also a great cushion for all of our bonier bits- because explaining bruised knees is never fun.

2. Small Weights

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When I say small weights, I mean s-m-a-l-l weights. Having two sets of weights that range between 2-5 pounds is the perfect amount for any woman. Fitness guru and trainer to Gwyneth Paltrow, Tracy Anderson, says that more than this and the workout will change from toning and elongating to building and bulking. Plus, who wants to store a range of weights from 2-50 pounds? No, thank you.

3. Videos

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The simple fact is that 99% of us cannot work out alone. We need some sort of support and instruction in order to truly get an effective workout. There are, literally, thousands of workout videos available to all of us depending on our fitness interest. YouTube has some incredible (and free) fitness options for any fitness level and interest.

4. Cross-Training Shoes

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The nice thing about working out at home is that you usually only need one pair of shoes for any workout you are doing. Some workouts like yoga and Pilates do not require shoes, but anything that involves jumping or fast, twisting movements needs the extra support that shoes give. Since you are probably not doing a lot of running inside your home, a good pair of cross-training shoes should be more than enough and it will keep your cleats free for other, prettier things!

5. Heart Rate Monitor

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Excuse me while I get up on my heart rate monitor soap box… Everyone who is increasing their heart rate while working out needs a heart rate monitor. Our heart rate will show us how hard we are working and what level of activity we are achieving. I cannot even count the number of people who have asked me why their workouts are not working for them; they are not losing fat and sometimes, are even losing muscle. Almost all the people who have come to me with this question are not using a heart rate monitor and they are overworking their bodies without having any idea. And again, almost all of them have this problem fixed when they start using a heart rate monitor.

6. Kettlebell

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These little nuggets are popping up all over the fitness world. Actually, I just saw a kettlebell gym open in our area the other day. Kettlebells are incredible for getting an all-in-one workout. If you have never seen a kettlebell before, it is a little canon-like weight with a handle on the top and can weigh between five and fifty pounds. The purpose of the kettlebell is to get us a cardio, strength, and plyometric workout all at once by throwing and moving the kettlebell. If you are new to kettlebells, a five-pounder should be more than enough. I would not recommend anyone going beyond 10-15 pounds unless you want some serious muscle.

7. Fitness Apps

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Last but certainly not least are all the fitness planning and tracking apps you will quickly fall in love with and not know how you survived before owning them. The first is an interval timer, I use Seconds Pro for iOS, but they have a free version that works pretty great as well. Next is some sort of fitness tracker. For some, a good calendar app is enough- if that is not enough for you, I would recommend any Nike+ app or Run Keeper for all your running needs.

All of these goodies will take up no more than half a drawer or a corner of a shelf, but they could completely change your fitness in the next few months. If you are already working out, you may have most of this stuff at home now, give or take a few items. What are some of your favorite ways to work out at home?

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