5 Essentials for a Home Gym

As you all know, I workout A LOT at home – about 90% is done when my girls are asleep. So having a home gym or equipment to workout at home is key for me. Caitlin from @HealthyHudson  recently connected with me and is going to be a guest blogger today! Thanks Caitlin for you expertise!


Hi all! I am Caitlin Hudson, just your average fitness loving, health addict, SAHM. I also love to write, and would just like to thank Anna for letting me share some of my writing with her and all her readers (you guys!). I live in Virginia so I am used to both the cold and the warm weather and couldn’t be happier about where I am in life, except for the extremely cold days,brrrr. So enough of me, I hope you enjoy my post on some of my main home gym essentials. If you have any questions feel free to email me!

5 Essentials for a Home Gym – A Post from Caitlin Hudson

I tend to walk into the gym with a sort-of wide-eyed expression. Look at all the machines I can use! But as nice as the gym is, sometimes the weather stinks or I just don’t feel like going out. I found that the best way to avoid losing momentum is to be ready to go at home. And as it turns out, exercising from home doesn’t require a lot of preparation or equipment. A few key items can make it a snap to do cardio, yoga, Pilates and weight-training.

1. Room to Move
When I look around my living room, I see a daycare center – toys everywhere. If I had a spare bedroom, I would undoubtedly put the toys in there. Since I don’t, I have to get creative about finding enough space to exercise. But I don’t need as much room as I once thought I would. Most exercises I do at home, even cardio, have me moving in one spot, more or less. So as long as I can kick out in any direction or lie down and move around without knocking things over, I’m good to go.

2. Weight-Training
When I was just getting started with workouts from home, I realized quickly what my gym had that my house did not. That, my friend, is weight-training equipment. The good news is that it’s not hard to outfit the home with limited equipment that fulfills a lot of roles. The first thing to get is a set of dumbbells. Now, I don’t want clunky dumbbells everywhere. So I invested in a set of dumbbells from Beachbody that comes with three weight selections. They take up much less space and are easy to switch from one weight to another. Another option is a set of resistance bands. They are so versatile and can be adjusted to make the resistance lighter or heavier, and they’re also great for stretching.

3. Jump Rope
When I got a jump rope not too long ago, it had been years since I’d used one. I remembered how I used to jump forever. Well, it is quite the workout: 150 calories burned in only 15 minutes! And who knew that high-intensity cardio could be so inexpensive? Jump ropes cost very little and take up almost no space, which makes them the easiest and most obvious investment for the home gym. They are also easy to find: Dick’s, Target, Amazon, etc. I actually found mine at Marshalls. For a purchase that cost me less than $10, I figured I couldn’t lose. And I was right!

4. Stability Ball
I had one of these from pregnancy and labor with my first. They are so comfortable to bounce on! And they really work the muscles. Stability balls can be deflated and inflated simply for better storage, but they also ramp up workouts in ways I wouldn’t have believed. I like them for stretching, to improve my balance and to concentrate my focus on my core. The possibilities are really endless for ball exercises. If you’re looking for a place to start you can check out this post from Fitness Magazine.

5. Exercise Mat
The mat is another one of those exercise tools that has a million purposes. Flooring in hardwood or tile is all the rage these days. But have you ever tried to exercise on it? Tile is so hard on the knees and hands. And if I’m not careful, I’ll scratch my wood floors. Enter the exercise/yoga mat. It adds extra comfort and makes it easier for me to protect my floors from my high-impact workouts. I personally own the monster mat (also purchased from Beachbody) – which has a “sticky” texture to grip my wood floors and keep me from sliding.

When I was first thinking about creating a home gym, I got sticker-shock considering all the equipment and machines I’d have to buy. But it’s not that bad. For about $100-$150, I was able to fully outfit my home with useful tools that take minimal space and guarantee that I can stay in shape, no matter where I go.


Thanks Caitlin!! My house is like a giant day care too. Don’t tell the girls but I use their play mats a lot!

For those in Canada, you can look for sports gear at Sport Chek, Cleve’s Source for Sports, Mountain Equipment Co-op (like REI), even Superstore carries weights/mats etc. now!

Do you have a home gym?

What’s your MUST HAVE for a home gym?