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How To: Make a Home Gym… The 7 best fitness accessories!

4 Apr

A few years ago I gave up my gym membership which is a pretty big deal for me given I’ve belonged to a gym since I was 15. I love running and body weight workouts, and working out from home is so much more convenient than driving or walking to the gym. Plus, doing so has made me more consistent and cut out excuses…now,  I’m more likely to simply get my workouts done first thing in the morning.

Home workout equipment has come incredibly far and DVD workouts like P90X and Insanity (I’m a graduate of both:) give you a gym quality workout without having to leave your living room. In fact, that’s the very idea behind many of my printable workouts on Fit Fab Cities! I found a couple of my favorite home workout fitness accessories that bring gym worthy results to you at home, plus simply make your workouts more fun! And I always love to try new fitness trends and workouts so I use the some money I would have spent on a gym membership to try out speicailty fitness classes like TRX and Barre.

Here are a my 7 favorite fitness accessories that make for a perfect home gym. You can go with just one thing or even all of them!

  1. TRX Suspension trainer: This allows you to do thousands of exercises using your body weight and you can anchor it to a door at home. You can check out my review of my favorite TRX class here.
  2. BOSU Ball: stand on it while doing shoulder presses, curls or squats to get an added core bonus or use it for some killer crunches.
  3. Kettelbell or Kettelbell Set: This is one of the best pieces of fitness equipment out there! You’ll get a cardio burn (up to 20 calories per minute!) plus strengthen and tone every muscle in your body. But make sure you learn how to use it with proper form first so you don’t get injured!
  4. Dumbbells: It always great to have a few sets of dumbbells at home. I like these since the vinyl covering will help protect your floor from scratches.
  5. Jumprope: 10 calories per minute…simple, easy, effective cardio in a hurry!
  6. Bodylastics Resistance Bands: These are a great compliment or alternative to dumbbells and I love this Bodylastics set since it has many different levels of resistance. In fact, you can even stack a few together to really feel the burn! Plus it comes with door anchor attachments and the bands are super strong so you don’t have to worry about them breaking.
  7. Stability ball: Perfect for core work, sit on it for shoulder presses, lay down for chest work, prop your feet on it for pushups or use it against the wall for squats. It’s an inexpensive accessory that will really amp up your workouts!
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My Workout “Stick-With-It” Secret …

14 Dec

My husband is quite adept with technology and I’m pretty happy some of it has rubbed off on me because all that nerdy goodness has not only improved my running but is also totally my secret to workout success.

I’ll be honest, sometimes instead of working out I would much rather just sit down on the couch and watch TV. So, here is where being a bit of tech nerd has totally changed my life. (I’m not overstating…I really love this thing that much!) Now instead of having to choose between 5 miles on the treadmill and the latest episode of Revenge I get to do BOTH!

There is a downloadable software called Roxio Toast Titanium (for both Mac and PCs) and it allows you to copy your DVDs  (ones you already own, of course:) into digital files onto your computer so you can watch your movies and TV shows on your iPad, iPod or iPhone. This is great… but my favorite thing about Toast is that if you have a Tivo you can transfer any Tivo’ed show from your Tivo onto your computer and then Toast converts them to digital files meaning you can load your favorite Tivo’ed shows right onto your  iPad, iPod or iPhone. (This may sound a little complicated but truth be told it is so simple and easy to do.) Think about it… you can watch everything on your Tivo playlist and burn off last night’s dessert.

I love this…not only do I get to catch up on the Teresa/Melissa drama on Real Housewives of New Jersey but I also really look forward to my runs! The best part is I can knock out long treadmill milage or extra time on the elliptical without even a hint of boredom creeping in since I’m glued to Project Runway for over a hour!

If you like to do your cardio indoors and you need just a little extra motivation to get you to or through your workouts I totally recommed downloading Toast and you can do that here. And if you already have a Tivo..it’s pretty much a must:)

Roxio Toast Titanium download link. 

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Fitness Fan On Your List (Or you!)

30 Nov
Fitness Gift Guide

Okay, I’m willing to admit I might be a little weird. Every year for Christmas I ask for some sort of fitness thing. One year it was a BOSU ball, then next it was boxing gloves and last year it was kettlebells and every December 26th I bring my new haul to the gym where I can’t wait to try it out. (Needless to say last year the 35 lb. kettlebell proved a little tricky:)  I think the holidays are a great time to ask for a few fitness things you’ve been eyeing but your practical side won’t let you buy for yourself. I’ve complied a few of my holiday must haves that are sure to make your workouts more fun and give you an edge when it comes time for those New Year’s resolutions.

  1. Valslides $30: Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biel’s trainer Valerie Waters uses these to whip her clients into shape for big movie roles. I am obsessed with using Valsides for killer core exercises and sliding lunges that totally tighten up your butt and thighs. Plus you can use them in your living room or pack them and take them anywhere!
  2. GymBoss Trainer $19.95: This is totally on my list this year. The Gymboss lets you set a repeating interval timer perfect for circuit training, intervals or running workouts. (Think 30 seconds on, one minute off) You don’t have to struggle to set your watch or look at it throughout your workout since Gymboss is small and clips onto your shirt.
  3. Foam Roller $34: If you’ve ever had sore muscles you have to get one of these. It will open up your back and  make those miles on your legs melt away. Simply a must for runners or, let’s be honest, anyone who uses a computer.
  4. TRX Training System $199: Oh I LOVE this thing!!! BTW so do Jennifer Lopez, Gisele Bundchen and Superbowl MVP Drew Brees. This is a complete gym in a bag. You can do thousands of exercises, take it anywhere ( all you need it a doorway or high place to anchor it) plus it’s only two pounds so you can totally pack it in your bag for business travel and vacations. This thing rocks I can’t say enough good things about it so I think I’ll just have to devote a later post and video to my TRX devotion so you can get the full effect. Bottom line…if you’re ok spending a little more money you must get thing. (Good news is you could probably give up your gym membership).
  5. Lululemon Triumphant Tote $118: Not only is this bag waterproof but it’s also made of material that won’t cause your Lulu pants to pill when it rubs against them. Plus I think carrying a cute bag is totally be motivation to hit the gym, right? This bag even has a laptop pocket so it’s business and pleasure!
  6. iPad 2 $499: All right, this is a big ticket item but if you’re thinking of one for Christmas I’ll tell you it is my workout secret. I load my favorite TV shows and movies onto the iPad and I actually look forward to my cardio sessions. Consider it a health care cost;)

Happy shopping!!!

Get Jennifer Garner’s Toning Secret…ValSlides

13 Sep

Valerie Waters is famous for whipping Jennifer Garner’s body into shape  after each one of her adorable babies and Waters also helped Garner get her amazeballs body for her role as Syndey Bristow in Alias. (Even though the show has been off the air for a while we all still remember how amazing Jen looked.) Waters has been personal trainer to super fit celebs like Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, Bradley Cooper, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez and Poppy Montgomery just to name a few.

TOP TOOL

One of Waters’s training secrets for her celeb clients is a piece of fitness equipment called the “VALSLIDE”. It’s simply  an oval piece of plastic with foam padding on top but this thing will kick you butt! It’s designed to slide on carpet and wood floors adding intensity to each and every exercise.

WHY I LOVE THEM

  • This totally ups the intensity and calorie burn of any exercise without having to increase your weights or add time. Ditch the dumbells and place the Valslide under one foot for sliding reverse or curtsey lunges or place it under your hands to make pushups harder.
  • They are one of the the cheapest most effective pieces of fitness equipment for your abdominals. Slide it under your feet in pushup position for mountain climbers that will totally tone your abs.
  • Valsides are lightweight and portable so you can take your gym with you any and everywhere. Oh yeah and you can you them to actually get a good workout in your living room.
  • P.S. check back for a video with some of my favorite Valside exercises!
WHERE TO BUY
Valsides are only $29.99 and you can buy them at www.valslide.com