5 Pieces of Equipment for Better In-Home Workouts

Fall is hands down my favorite season to run. But then, fall turns into winter, and while I want to say that I’m a badass snow-loving runner, there are some mornings when I simply don’t feel like braving it. Like I mentioned in my last post, this season, I’ve been a total wimp.

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That’s where the in-home, living room workout comes into play.

There are lots of excuses to skip a workout during the winter. Maybe you need a mental break. Maybe you have the flu (for the sixth-thousanth time). Maybe, it looks like this out your window.

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But don’t let weather or the skyrocketing price of gym memberships and boutique fitness studios keep you from getting your sweat on. You CAN workout, and you can do it from home with these five essentials.

1. Free-weights

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I’ve been telling myself for years now (no, really, like five years) that I’d order a pair of two-pound weights — mainly because I’ve been using eight- and five-pounders, and for a lot of exercises (especially barre-inspired workouts) they’re too heavy for me to complete a lot of reps (don’t judge). And yet, I haven’t pulled the trigger. Instead, I’ve been using the five-pound weights this entire time. Regardless, stock up on your own weights to give your arms and abs some love. Heavy, light, heck, use soup cans. But have a set of something that you can lift up and down. This will definitely be essential.

2. Resistance bands

I don’t use these often, but they tend to come in handy for light arm work and, more often than not, core work. At any rate, they’re typically pretty reasonably priced. I use a set of bands that were Noah’s from who-knows-when, and they get the job done just fine.

3. Yoga mat

Of course, this will depend on what type of workout you’re doing. Kickboxing? You probably don’t need a yoga mat (unless you’re stretching out your muscles afterward). I find it useful for yoga (obviously), mat Pilates and even weight lifting and core work. I’m a big germophobe, even in my own apartment, so if I’m not laying on carpet, I’m a much happier person.

4. Foam roller

Don’t trick yourself into thinking that just because you’re working out at home doesn’t mean you’re not sweating up a storm! Your muscles are moving and must therefore be stretched immediately after. Foam rolling is a great way to take care of that.

5. iPad (or other media-viewing device)

A portable device is more than just a vehicle with which to watch an instructor or a favorite DVD — it’s also proof that you can seriously work out anywhere. The living room? Awesome. The bedroom? Why not. The porch of your grandparents’ house in Boynton Beach? Excuses are out! (Though, if your grandparents are anything like mine, they’ll probably ogle you the entire time.) Download your favorite videos, or connect to wifi, and you’ll be on your way to an indoor, gymless, boutiqueless workout in no time.

What’s on your indoor workout list of essentials?

A Summer-Like Fall for Runners

The weather outside is so far from frightful, it’s not even funny. In fact, I’d call it downright delicious. 75 and sunny in November? As a runner, I can’t get enough.

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While my legs have definitely been feeling it, I’ve been running pretty much every morning for the last couple of weeks. There’s a part of me that feels as though I have to take advantage of these unseasonably warm days and lighter mornings even if I wake up tired or grumpy. Even if I have work to accomplish at 6am. Even if I instinctively don’t want to run.

Of course, once outside, it’s blissful. No hats or gloves. No triple layer tops. No ski socks. Just me, the warm air, the fall flora, and the sun.

From the Schuylkill…

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…to the Delaware…

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….it may look like fall, but it feels a whole lot more like late summer.

To uplift my mornings even further, I’ve been totally digging a bunch of new running songs released over the last few months:

If we’re being honest though, I could probably just run to Adele the entire time. I couldn’t be more excited for her new album to drop at the end of the month and plan on running to it through all of winter. Bring on the emo workouts. If you need me, you can find me bundled up in winter-wear, weeping tears of joy along the banks of the Schuylkill river.

The only downside to these beautiful mornings is that I’ve been skipping out on all that juicy complementary stuff that helps strengthen me as a runner. I had been hitting up yoga once a week, for example, to combat dark mornings. Or, I’d set up a chair in my living room, grab the five pounders, and make my way through a few barre videos. The variety is healthy, and I’m definitely missing out on that now.

But of course, it can’t stay 75 and sunny in Philadelphia forever. I know the mornings will get darker. The air will get colder. And as winter approaches, I will inevitably get lazier. So, we take what we can get, we live in the moment, and we enjoy it while we have it. In the words of Scott Jurek, “Rational assessments too often led to rational surrenders.” As it gets colder, I recommend that we all think a little less rationally.

Is this not the warmest November ever? Has the weather been unseasonably warm by you too? How do you transition to fall and winter running?