Not too long ago, I posted an article that was geared to those of you who were just getting started with at home fitness, where we covered some equipment considerations, the importance of nutrition and tracking it, as well as some suggestion on at home fitness programs to get you started. If you didn’t have a chance to check out that article, you can find it here: At Home Fitness: Getting Started.
Today, we are going to move up from that newbie status and cover some of those same topics for those of you who may have already gotten started with some form of at home fitness and are looking to take things up a notch.
Since nutrition plays an important role in the results your achieve from any fitness program, you’ll want to step up your game in this area as well.
By now, you should be comfortable tracking everything that you are eating and consistently hitting your daily caloric goals in order to either lose weight or gain weight. To make sure you are getting enough calories, you will want to read or re-read the following: Are you getting enough calories? In this article, I walk your through the basics of determining your daily caloric needs based on a number of factors.
You will also want to start considering the kinds of foods you are eating and perhaps adopt a more specific nutrition plan; vegetarian, Paleo, flexible dieting (IIFYM), etc… I personally follow the flexible dieting plan myself. In principle, you simply eat the proper amounts of protein, carbs, and fats to meet your daily caloric goals, regardless of the source. That last bit “regardless or the source”, is something I don’t take to far into extremes as some people do; think pop-tarts, huge stacks of waffles, ice cream, etc.. It can be a slippery slope for some who adopt the flexible dieting plan, so be sure that you know your own weaknesses when it comes to being able to restrain yourself as needed.
Do I need to buy organic?
Some people who get more serious about their nutrition think that they have to buy everything with the organic label slapped on it. And while this is a good principle to keep in mind, it is not entirely necessary. Organic foods will have been grown without the aid or use of pesticides, and thus would not have any of the residue that may be found on non-organic foods. Regardless of the label, it’s a good idea to wash/rinse your fruits & vegetables prior eating.
Of course, organic foods tend to be higher in price, so you’ll have to budget accordingly if you decide to buy only organic foods. There are some foods where it is better to opt for the organic variety if possible. Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach are the most popular and are commonly grown on huge farms across the country and thus subject to pesticide use. To keep your grocery costs down, try buying from local farmers markets or growing your own fruits & vegetables tends to be cheaper when considering organic.
Now that you’ve been through one or more programs that require no additional equipment, it may be time to expand your fitness equipment. Again, starting small, you don’t want to rush out a buy every fitness gadget that is at your local sporting good store. A lot of equipment can be specialized and you might not get the most out of your purchase if you will only be able to use it once per week due to it’s specialized nature. There are literally thousands of options here, but I’ve listed a few that I personally have purchased and use on a consistent basis.
Dumbbells or Resistance Bands
If the goal is to lose body fat, you need to incorporate resistance training into your routine! Resistance bands are a great way to get started here and won’t take up a lot of room either, so they make the perfect gifts for the business traveler. I have a set that purchased almost 2 years ago and haven’t outgrown it to date. Look for resistance bands that offer an anti-snap safety feature which will allow you to workout with confidence in the band; BodyLastics is a brand that offers such a feature and is the brand that I have as well.
For the same reason you need resistance bands, dumbbells offer a way to step up your game when it comes to strength training. While resistances bands may be a great starting point for some of you, dumbbells are a more traditional means to strength training and allow you to really push yourself and add some lean muscle mass. There are several types of dumbbells available; iron, adjustable and rubber. The option you choose has several factors, budget, space and preference to name a few. I really like the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, they work for my situation and my budget. Keep these factors in mind when shopping for dumbbells.
Want to work your core, change up how you perform push-ups, include some resistance training within your cardio routines? Medicine balls are a great way to take an existing workout that you have mastered and make it even tougher and more effective! They come in a variety of weights and are typically made of rubber to make gripping easier.
I Want This
Remember the jump rope? Well, it is still an effective and very inexpensive way to get a great HIIT style of workout! Jumping rope is a can be a perfect warm-up or cool-down to your normal workout, just a few solid minutes of jumping up and down will really get your hear pumping and the sweat flying.
You may think that an Agility Ladder is just for athletes and while it is typically found in training programs geared towards athletes, they aren’t solely for those that aspire to play professional sports. There are a TON of drills that you can perform with an agility ladder, each with their own intent and goal on the type of fitness goal you are striving to achieve. The agility ladder is an economical way to perform footwork drills for improved speed, balance and coordination.
If you are doing any kind of Yoga in your training regimen, you’ll want/need a Yoga mat. They provide a soft and comfortable, yet solid foundation to hold all of those crazy yoga positions, but they are also great for when you are stretching out those sore muscles.
By now, you likely have a dedicated space where you are hitting your workout each and everyday. If that space is only being used for your workout, you might want to consider some foam flooring. Foam flooring is a great way to protect not only your body when doing high impact style of workouts, but it also will protect the floors on which they sit from a dropped dumbbell or all of the sweat you’ll be losing while working out. Most of the foam flooring that I have seen comes in square-shaped puzzle pieces that allow you to fit them in your space best. Before buying, make sure that you measure the size of your space to ensure that you get the right amount to cover your space appropriately.
Doorway Pull-Up Bar
Admittedly, I still struggle with pull-ups, but I still do them. It is hard to find a more complete exercise that can strengthen your back. A doorway pull-up bar is a great option here since it can be taken down and stored when not in use. When shopping for a doorway pull-up bar, make sure you consider the location of where you plan to use it and measure the amount of clearance you have so you are able to install it properly. Another feature to look for is multiple hand positions. This will allow you to perform several different type of pull-ups without a separate piece of equipment. The P90X Pull-Up Bar is a great example of what I am referring to here with 5 different hand positions available.
A Dedicated Fitness Space
With some of the extra equipment that you may be acquiring, you may find that you need or want to setup an area within your home that is dedicated to your new fitness routine. While this may not be possible for everyone, it is a great way to ensure that once you are in that space that you are focused just on your routine and avoid the distractions that can happen in a shared space.
I made this transition about 2 years ago when I converted an under-utilized room in our home to an area that was 100% fitness! You can check out the transformation of what was once a sitting room/dining room to what it is now here: New Workout Room Digs Even since I originally setup this space, I have made some additions and changes along the way and I need to provide some updated photos. I’ll give you some updated photos in the next segment of this series to give you an idea of what it looks like now.
Suggested Fitness Programs:
Today we looked at some of the things that you might consider as your are making fitness a more significant part of your life. Adopting a nutrition philosophy makes things a little bit easier to manage and sustain going forward, but consistency is key when it comes to nutrition, so just be sure that you are staying consistent here. Equipment needs (or wants…) become a factor, but as does budget. Don’t feel like you need to go out a buy everything all at once. Instead, add an item here and there as you get further along and before you know it, you have a great mix of equipment that will allow you to get a lot of variety in each and every workout!
In the next segment, At Home Fitness – For the Fitness Buff, I’ll give you even more equipment suggestions as well as additional information on supplements as we move up from enthusiasts to a full on fitness buff!
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Add your comments below to suggest ideas that you might have for nutrition or equipment!
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