Your “Build A Home Gym” Christmas List

Still haven’t given anyone ideas on what to get your for Christmas? Well first of all, shame on you! And secondly, I’ve got you covered. Your friends and family might not be able to get these items under your tree by next Thursday morning but they can most certainly order them for you so come January 1st you’ll be all set to hit your New Year’s fitness goals hard in your very own home gym!

Let’s face it, always having to go to the gym or fitness classes in the winter months can be a nuisance, especially if you live in an area like I do where you get snow and ice conditions. Having an area and a few pieces of equipment at home that don’t take up a huge area makes working out on the fly so much easier.

Together with the help of Unique Fitness Concepts I’ve put together a list of equipment that I think would be great for building your own home gym. All of these items are available right on their website so you can easily forward this post to anyone who is still looking to get you a present and tell them to help by giving you the gift of fitness! And I’ll admit that everything on this list is something that I would like to have myself, maybe I should have put this list together sooner and given it to my family! :D

The key with having a home gym, especially if you don’t have a tonne of room is to buy core pieces that can be used for multiple things (strength, cardio, balance, etc.) and one of my all-time favourite multi-purpose pieces is the BOSU.

BOSU

I want one of these so badly! And don’t worry, if you’re not into the pink they also sell the traditional blue BOSU. I liked this kit because it comes with a workout DVD so those of you who have never used a BOSU will have some workouts you can follow as you get started and learn how to use it.

Another great multi-use piece of equipment is the medicine ball.

SPRI Medicine Ball

I have a 5kg ball, but would love to have a second heavier one. If going the medicine ball route, I would suggest buying two different weights if you can afford it (or your family can ;) ) because that way you can switch weights for different exercises as needed. Also as you get stronger (yay for building muscle) you’ll want a heavier option so it would be great to have one already on hand!

One of the absolute best pieces of equipment for someone without a lot of extra space is the resistance band. They are light, take up virtually no room at all and are KILLER. Just ask the folks in my Body Sculpt class. We are currently using resistance bands for a bicep song and by the end we are all crying inside! I found two different sets that I thought would be great, the first being your standard set of SPRI bands,

SPRI bands

and the second is a set of loop bands.

Loop bands

The SPRI band set is wonderful because it comes with 5 different levels of resistance, so you might start out with the lightest but make your way up to the heaviest over time. Another great thing about these bands is you can double them up using more than one at a time, increasing your resistance even further. As for the loop bands, they are especially amazing for lower body work since you can loop them around your legs and do all sorts of wonderful/terrible exercises with them. The same goes for these ones, as you get stronger you can up the resistance. Trust me, these resistance bands might be lightweight, but they will pack a deadly punch when it comes to strength training!

Another must-have item for your home gym is a good exercise mat. You don’t want one that will be slipping all over the place, and you also want one that is thick enough that it will cushion your knees when you are doing floor exercises. If you think you will be doing a lot of yoga, investing in a good quality yoga mat is a must. Here I’ve chosen the Manduka eKO Mat in purple, but on the site there are lots of different options. This mat is on the heavy side (7 lbs) so if you are looking for one that you can easily take with you to classes as well, you might want to pick up a lighter one (or get this one and get a little extra strength conditioning while carrying it ;) ).

Manduka

Now we come to the item the Fevens have been dying to get for years…

StairMaster TwistLock Dumbells

adjustable dumbbells. These weights take up the space of one single pair of weights, while replacing entire sets of hand/free weights. So amazing. Of course because they are fantastic, they come with a heftier price tag, but are well worth the investment. Each time I see a post on Instagram or Facebook of someone with their adjustable weights I turn a bit green with envy. One day my beauties…one day.

This final item might not be a must have for everyone, but once again it’s something I’d love to add to our collection,

RumbleRoller

the RumbleRoller. I am both terrified and excited by it at the same time. If you don’t already have a foam roller, or foam roll at the gym I would suggest starting out with a standard foam roller before moving onto a beast like this. But if you have been foam rolling for a while and are ready to get even deeper into the fascia and tissue this would be a perfect addition to your home gym. Just don’t call me when it makes you cry!

There you have it, my list of “must-haves” and one “maybe-have” for a great starter home gym. You really don’t need a pile of expensive equipment that takes up an entire room to get a good workout. A few key pieces will serve most people as well, if not better without being an eyesore.

Question:

What is your number one must have for exercising at home? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by Unique Fitness Concepts, however all opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are entirely my own.

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Make Movie Night Better

I’m so darn close to being on vacation I can taste it! And that means that I am getting ready to snuggle in and watch all of my favourite Christmas movies while sitting next to our stove, looking at Christmas decorations, and eating snacks. And what pairs better with a movie than popcorn?

movie

For the past 6-months or so I’ve completely avoided popcorn because the last time I had it was when my IBS was acting up and it made me feel ill. I can never have theatre popcorn because the added chemicals and additives makes me crazy sick, and honestly I do miss it. When the folks from Popcorn, Indiana offered to send me a couple bags of their Movie Theatre Popcorn in the new Warm-up bag I decided that it was time to see if I could eat popcorn again!

PI BAG MovieTh FR

Popcorn, Indiana isn’t your typical store bought popcorn. Their popcorns are made with no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, are made with non-GMO corn and are certified gluten-free. I opted for the Original Movie Theatre Popcorn, but they have a number of flavours and styles available (including Popcorn, Indiana FIT which is 40 calories or less/cup).

I was really impressed when the popcorn arrived and I checked out the ingredient list: popcorn, vegetable oil, clarified butter, salt. Yay for real ingredients!!

To warm you corn you tear a hole in the top of the bag and microwave it. Our microwave is pretty powerful so I had to be careful not to burn it, but overall I was happy with how the popcorn reheated. I typically don’t care for re-heated popcorn, but this didn’t have that “re-heated” taste or texture. It wasn’t s hot as microwave popcorn but I think that is to be expected since the kernels are already popped.

And in case you’re wondering, not only did the popcorn pass the taste test, it also didn’t upset my stomach or leave me feeling like I’d eaten an entire box of table salt, three cheers for Popcorn, Indiana!!

movie2

The real problem is I have already scarfed down the two bags they sent and my vacation hasn’t even started yet….oops. At least I know I can pick some more up at the grocery store because I scoped it out on Friday ;) #priorities

If you’re not into popping your own popcorn, and want an easy theatre-style popcorn without the extra chemicals and nastiness found in those microwave brands check out Popcorn, Indiana. 

Disclosure: I received complimentary product in order to execute this review, all opinions are 100% my own.