10 Tips on Home Workout Gear
By Steve Edwards
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
Working out at home is a lot easier than venturing
into the wild and working out outdoors. With no wind, snow, rain, or mud, you
have very little use for terms like Smartwool, Gor-Tex, or Synchilla. It's also
less intimidating than going to the gym. With no one to impress, you don't need
to seek out the latest fashions from Prana or Nike either. So, you're probably
thinking, what is the big deal with home workout gear?
At home, you have the same physical
parameters affecting your workout that you do outdoors. How to get warm, stay
cool, fuel up, and not allow your body to change temperature too fastall
these issues still matter, even when you're in your living room. Sure, they are
easier to control than when you're out in the tundra, but you still need to
plan for them. Working out at home is more efficient than training elsewhere.
Having a kitchen, shower, and closet nearby add a technical advantage that you
may not have realized. Let's take a look at some of the most important
considerations for getting the most out of your home workout.
- Get a mat. One thing that doesn't change
at home is the importance of the platform you work out on. Your shoes, and what
they're standing/jumping on, are the most important pieces of home workout
equipment. Most of us have limited space options and we're probably stuck with
whatever happens to be the floor surface of the one room that is ideal for our
workout. Owning a workout mat, or two, should be a top priority. The minimum is
(or yoga) mat. These are pretty thin and designed to pad your joints during
floor workout movements. If your floor is unforgiving, like cement, you should
also consider a
mat. These are made to withstand the rigors of jumping like that done in
Power 90®. A good mat
will absorb shock and also improve the effectiveness of your workout and reduce
your chance of injury.
- Choose the right shoe.
Footwear is extremely important. Some workouts, like
Booty Ballet®, are better to do barefoot, but most are performed better
with shoes. Choosing the right type of shoe will help. Consider the movements
you will be doing and then go shopping. It's best not to multitask a shoe.
Running shoes are made for running forward. Basketball and tennis shoes are
made for explosive movementsboth forward and lateral. A good home workout shoe
should do a little of both. There are "fitness" shoes. However, there are many
different varieties in each shoe category. Something like a trail running shoe
can be good for home fitness because it provides more lateral support than a
traditional running shoe. Spend a little time researching prior to shopping.
This may seem like overkill but it's time well spent. And you'll only have to
go through the research process once.
- Get a professional fit. There are people in
the world who are trained on the differences in foot shape, cadence, and
walking and running form, and they know how to put you in a shoe that will work
the best. Let them. It's worth an afternoon of learning about your feet and
what style of shoe fits you well. The few hours you spend learning on the front
end can reap huge rewards, especially if you never get injured and can move
pain free. (On that note, make it an afternoon of shopping. Your feet swell
during the day so you don't want to be fitted in the morning.) The local Big 5
probably isn't the place you want to have this done. Look for a shop that
prides itself in fitting customers in the right shoes. A good running shoe
store, for example, will have cameras and treadmills and will do a complete
gait analysis for free. Use this service and buy from them if you can. These
stores can't stay in business if you go home and buy your shoes from
Zappos.com. And if they go out of business, then we all end up paying the price
by getting injured more often.
- Treat your feet with respect. Even the best
pair of shoes wears out. They may not look like it, but soles break down over
timeactually, it is recommended that running shoes get replaced every 300
to 500 miles, no matter what they look like. Often, changes are subtle, and the
only way you'll notice is to try on some new shoesit is then that you can
feel when your cushioning has worn down. Since your workout shoes are probably
the best fitting shoes you have, try rotating the newer pair into your workout
slot. Then use the older pair for more menial tasks, such as errands,
housework, and low-impact workouts. Spend most of your time in your athletic
shoes and save the Manolo Blahniks for special occasions. Your feet also change
shape over the years so remeasure your feet each year or so. If they've changed
size or shape, it's time to get fitted again. Your feet, and everything
attached to them, will thank you.
- Own some workout socks. Those cotton tube
socks that are 10 pairs for five bucks are fine for some applications, but
working out isn't one of them. Socks are an extension of your shoes. Workout
socks are made with extra cushioning where you need it and materials that wick
the sweat off of your skin so that your feet don't slip and you won't develop
blisters. A pair of $10 socks will last a long time if you use them for your
workout and change into a cheap pair when you're done.
- Cotton for comfort, not exercise. While
we're on the subject of cotton, let's look at its use for athletic
applications. It's great for watching sports. Cotton is comfortable,
as long as it doesn't get wet. When it does, it loses its ability to insulate.
During a workout, sweat will turn your comfortable cotton T-shirt into a
conductor to refrigerate circulating air. While this doesn't matter as much at
home, the more you promote quick changes in body temperature, the more you're
asking your immune system to work overtime. As the seasons change, you'll
increase your risk of getting sick.
- Layer. Layering your clothing is an
essential survival skill for explorers and outdoor athletes, but it's also a
performance aid at home, especially when it's cold. You don't want to begin
your workout feeling cold, so bundle up beforehand. Unlike when fighting the
elements, you don't need tech wear. In fact, bundling up in cotton is just
fine, as long as you'll be taking it off as you warm up, and before it gets
wet. The great thing about being at home is that it doesn't matter how many
layers you wear. Put on as many clothes as necessary to get warm prior to your
workout, then take them off as you move along. When you finish, reverse the
process so that you don't get chilled. Begin by adding a layer prior to your
cooldown session (before you feel cold). Keeping your temperature regulated
helps your body recover better and keeps your immune system running
- Carry a water bottle. A great aspect of home
training is that food and water are always available. There's no reason to bonk
or to be dehydrated again. Of course, this doesn't always work as advertised.
There may also be junk food, soda, or beer in the fridge, so that availability
equation can also work against you. To offset this, make a habit of carrying
your water bottle around at home. Repeated studies warn us that we're
chronically dehydrated. Keeping yourself hydrated will energize your workouts,
enable you to push harder, keep your immune system running strong, and make you
less apt to binge eat and/or drink (read
these 10 reasons to drink water).
- The shower. One of the best pieces of home
workout equipment is your shower. Not only can you be clean and shiny within
minutes of finishing your workout, you can use your shower to improve recovery.
Getting blood to circulate quicker is one of the keys to an efficient recovery
from exercise and hot/cold showers are a great way to do this. Alternate your
water temperature from hot to cold during your shower. Make each temperature as
extreme as you can stand it and try focusing the water on the targeted muscles
of that day's workout. A few cycles of this after each workout can do wonders.
read this for more on hot/cold showers.
Another great recovery tool, not much beats ice for
increasing circulation. You probably know that ice works well when you've been
injured, but it also helps you heal from the rigors of daily exercise. Icing
the body parts you've worked out will help you recover faster. Try icing while
watching TV, and bundle up while doing it. You want to keep your core
temperature warm while making your muscles cool.