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10 Tips on Home Workout Gear

By Steve Edwards
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to Win!

Working Out at HomeWorking 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 fast—all 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.

  1. Plyometrics MatGet 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 a stretching (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 plyo mat. These are made to withstand the rigors of jumping like that done in P90X® and Power 90®. A good mat will absorb shock and also improve the effectiveness of your workout and reduce your chance of injury.

  2. Yoga Booty Ballet®Choose the right shoe. Footwear is extremely important. Some workouts, like Yoga 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.

  3. Shoe SalesmanGet 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.

  4. Soaking FeetTreat your feet with respect. Even the best pair of shoes wears out. They may not look like it, but soles break down over time—actually, 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 shoes—it 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.

  5. Cushioned SocksOwn 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.


  6. Workout OutfitCotton 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.

  7. SweaterLayer. 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 strong.

  8. Drinking WaterCarry 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).

  9. ShoweringThe 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. You can read this for more on hot/cold showers.

  10. Ice PackIce. 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.

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RICHARD DAFTER

I am a full time Beachbody Coach. I motivate and guide close to 2,500 Club members and head a team of 11 Beachbody Coaches who are all committed to helping you reach your goals. Before joining BeachBody, I was a certified personal trainer for more than a dozen years and have been a running coach for over 20 years. Continued...

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