Sixteen years ago, pre-children, I had a fancy gym membership. It was a gym just down the road from where I worked and I was able to go twice a day. I’d pop down for a swim at lunchtime and then after work I’d spend a few hours there using all the amazing equipment, having another swim, sauna, ice bath and using the hydrotherapy pool.
I kept going right up until after my due date with my first baby. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I had to hide out in the women-only gym, because back then people (men) would happily approach a pregnant woman who lifted weights to tell her to go home.
I love the gym and any opportunity I’ve had since then to use one, say when we’ve been at a hotel, or spa day or something, I’ve made sure I’ve used the gym first before anything else. I love it.
Whilst I do know mums who manage to still go to the gym after having children, for many, myself included it’s just not been practical. The cost of a gym membership, limits on time, distance to travel and the practicality of it often means, for many mums this just isn’t possible.
When time is limited for example, driving 30 minutes to a gym, to work out and then drive 30 minutes home, doesn’t seem like a good use of time. There is an hour of time there, where you could be exercising, rather than sat in the car.
Exercising at home isn’t the easy solution of course. You have to be highly motivated to move your body, research workouts and look at what is best for you. You have to become your own personal trainer, and with the pressures of motherhood and work life, that isn’t always an easy thing to do.
Over the years I’ve had to experiment with a range of things to see what works. The thing is that this changes over time. For example, I’ve done home workouts with a baby strapped to my chest, I’ve done workouts at a play centre with a toddler on my shoulders, having to stop halfway through to breastfeed a baby or change a dirty nappy. I’ve been on runs with a single and double stroller. I’ve done push ups in the lounge with a giggling baby next to me. I’ve been on runs with my children. I’ve tested them on spellings whilst I swing my kettlebell around. Every week is different and you have to constantly change and adapt which can become very frustrating. Overall though, I think this makes you more willing to try things and experiment – you can’t wait for the perfect conditions to exercise, you would be waiting forever – you just have to go for it.
I’ve collected a range of home exercise equipment and aids as the years have passed, so I thought I would share some of my favourites with you.
Battle Ropes are a relatively new addition to my routine, I had them as a gift for my birthday, and they are just brilliant. Battle ropes are a wonderful full body workout. They exercise the core, the hands, arms, shoulders, back, and even the legs for a full-body workout.
You can use the rope to sculpt muscles, improve endurance and burn calories. It can also increase reaction time and metabolic rate. The longer the rope the heavier it becomes and more challenging the workout will be. Shorter ropes aren’t as fluid, but they allow for smaller spaces. If you are beginner at rope training, 30ft will be easier to hold and use. The longer one is more suitable for challenging intermediates and pros, or if you have a large space available.
Kettle Bells are probably my favourite form of exercise and I’ve had a kettlebell of some description for about 10 years. If you are thinking of getting one, I urge you to get the cast iron ones, they really are so much better and easier to hold. I find the plastic coated ones far too slippery and awkward to hold on to.
There are loads of different weights available. I started off with an 8KG and 10KG and I now use a 16KG, 20KG and 32KG, which is the one I’ve just progressed to. Don’t buy one that is too lightweight, it needs to be challenging. However, If you do make a mistake, or find a few weeks in that it’s too light, these things sell on really well on marketplace.
Training with a Kettlebell hand weight means versatile and challenges for your whole body. It combines different fitness components (strength, endurance, cardiovascular, mobility, speed, reflexes and coordination) and thus quickly leads to noticeable and visible training effects. Training with the kettlebell is suitable for fitness enthusiasts of every training level and enriches your workout enormously especially the strength/endurance training.
Resistance bands are perfect if you travel a lot, or have limited space. These are also really cheap to purchase. My top tip would be to buy a fabric band or set of fabric bands, rather than the rubber ones as they are more durable and more comfortable.
The resistance bands below are a good example, they are very light and portable. In addition to exercising at home, you can exercise at the office, outdoors, etc. Just put them in your bag or backpack and then take them everywhere with you.
The inner layer of the fitness band has a non-slip latex thread to prevent slipping, due to sweating during fitness.
Dumbbells are amazing. Don’t waste your time buying anything less that 5KG though. I use 5KG, 8KG and 10KG. You don’t need fancy equipment to build muscle strength. Now is the time to grab this pair of dumbbells with 10kg/22lb apiece to improve balance, sleep, heart tissue health, metabolic rate and body composition.
Like with kettlebells, there are tons of free workouts online to guide you. You will be a dumbbell regular in no time at all.
A skipping rope is a fantastic addition to your home workout collection. Obviously, you could use your child’s, but there are some fantastic adult skipping ropes out there.
Jumping rope supports fat burning, tones your muscles, helps to shape a nice figure. It also improves bone strength and heart-healthy and enhances physical coordination.
Compact and comfortable the skipping rope makes it easy to achieve maximum fat burn, tone your muscles and reach peak fitness anywhere.
If you are working out from home you will need a decent exercise mat. It’s work taking the timme to find a decent one that will last you. This exercise mat provides the perfect stable support for all ground workouts as well as other fitness programs such as Crossfit, Pilates and Yoga, ideal for stretches, sit-ups, push-ups, planks, and more.
I actually had one of these when i was a teenager and I loved it. This is another good value and compact item that can really be a gamechanger.
While the double wheel setting primarily engages the core muscles, the single wheel setting is specialised to engage shoulders, back, forearm muscles etc. Combined with other training programs (such as HIIT), it will ultimately help you to achieve your training goals faster. If you are planning to do your rollout on surfaces other than carpets, such as tiled floors, hardwood floors, this ab roller provides you the perfect anti-slip rubber grip for added traction and stability. More importantly, it rolls on all floor types smoothly without noises.
I discovered foam rollers about eight years ago, and I’m so glad I did as I literally use one everyday now, I honestly wouldn’t be without it.
This foam roller has three levels of pressure, to relieve muscle tension, improve facia health, prevent injury and improve your range of motion.
Do you have any exercise aids at home? What is your favourite?
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Kettle bells seems to work best for me. Skipping means being outside and I have neighbours……. Hula hooping is fun indoors though !