Ten to twelve hours in front of a computer and on the phone was a big adjustment for someone used to working on their feet and being active. A fifty hour a week schedule consisting entirely of laptop, phone, television…repeat, was taking its toll. A few weeks of perpetual screen time and working from home during a global pandemic left me depressed and living off of GrubHub.
I’ve always been a big eater. A normal dinner could be a 14oz ribeye, scalloped potatoes, and creamed spinach with chocolate lava cake and vanilla ice cream for dessert. But a year away from 40 means my colossal appetite translates to love handles a lot faster than in my twenties. Lucky for me, I’m obsessed with staying active. Prior to last year, I’d start most days with a 6 a.m. hour long hot yoga session, followed by a visit to the gym for some weight training, and if I had a free evening I’d go back for some cardio and core work.
Like most fitness zealots, exercise is critical to my physical and mental well being. It’s stress relief, an endorphin boost, and a social outlet. A few weeks into quarantine, I stepped on the scale one morning and saw I was much closer to two hundred pounds than I had been in two decades. Now, it was personal. There was no telling when gyms would be open or safe to go to. Still, my mental well-being and my waistline couldn’t wait. With this in mind I decided to use my phone for something other than ordering food and hit the website everyone goes to when they need something other than Thai food or tacos–Amazon.
I wanted something new I hadn’t tried and a friend recommended these to help develop strength and mobility — particularly in the forearm, wrists and shoulders.
A pull-up bar is a must have for any home gym. This one fits onto the door frame and can be taken off, folded up, and stored easily in a closet or under the bed. Pull-ups and chin-ups are a fantastic compound exercise that work your arms, back, shoulders, and core. And while some might say they can’t even do one, it’s okay. There’s something for you too.
For those who need a little help with pull ups, heavy resistance bands are perfect. Loop them through the bar, put your foot inside the loop, and the difficulty of the exercise is reduced exponentially. These are great for beginners or those looking to work a set until failure. They can also be used to provide resistance on body weight exercises like deadlifts and push ups.
Light Bands (loop bands)
These are great to put around your ankles and thighs and create more resistance in leg exercises. The less options you have for weights, the more options you should have for resistance.
I like these single bands because they allow you to get a good stretch going; use them to open the shoulders, the hips, put your foot through and stretch out those hammies. These are much lighter than the bands I use for pull ups.
Rule number one, always use a mat for yoga. But even if I’m not doing yoga, I still like to have a mat to do floor exercises and stretches on.
An absolute must for tightness throughout the body. I have had back issues most of my adult life and these things are a lifesaver. There are tons of different ways to loosen up the muscles and hit various pressure points throughout the body to get blood circulating pre-workout or for relief and relaxation post workout.
This is a phenomenal way to add some intensity to your workouts. They’re also great during an active rest between sets.
This content was originally published here.