Something unexpected came when I passed my ACE certification.
Magazines and catalogs for the fitness professional!
While I think I knew, on some level, that I was now a member of the community, I didn't expect to be marketed to in that way. But I am. And it is really eye opening, educational and fun.
The IDEA Fitness Journal, by far, is the most important - sharing articles about the latest in research, trends and ways to improve your career. There are also opportunities for earning the continuing education credits I need to keep my certification.
The catalogs, though, are just plain fun. There are a gazillion and one products for gym owners and private trainers to buy - from the basic dumbbells and exercise mats to equipment used in functional training classes, such as big ropes and sandbags. It's really easy to get overwhelmed paging through them ... or max out your credit card, thinking you need all the things.
As winter settles in and our treadmill grows louder, I'm doing a lot more circuit-type workouts in the early morning and I've discovered something. You don't need a bunch of fancy equipment to get in a good workout. Here are my three must-haves for a home "gym."
Jump rope. There are lots of ways to get your heart rate up when working out at home - high knees, butt kicks, plyometrics, doing the basement stairs. A jump rope is nice to have, though, as it can add variety and is easy to incorporate into circuit routines. It's also a challenging workout as 5 minutes of skipping rope can seem like a 5-mile run. Bonus: Use it as a make-shift yoga strap when stretching.
Set of weights. Nearly any workout video on the market or on YouTube will require a set of weights, as the benefits of resistance training are numerous. Lighter weights can be fairly inexpensive and will serve one well to build some muscular endurance and "tone up" as so many people desire. Unless you are not conditioned - at all - though I wouldn't buy anything less than 5 pounds. As a person begins an exercise program, she is likely to see fast gains as the body makes neuromuscular connections and she can quickly "outgrow" the selection. To minimize the financial investment, I would select a set of weights that you can lift in a bicep curl for 10 or so reps. A lot of programs suggest 12 to 15 for basic fitness but the goal is to get stronger, and the 10 reps in the store will quickly become 15 with a bit of work.
Stability ball. Not only is a stability ball great for ab exercises, it's a great tool for working the chest and back at home. Many of those exercises utilize a bench or fixed equipment that isn't always affordable. The ball does bonus work by giving you a base while challenging your core.
I'm lucky that I have had these things for sometime and, as I expand my equipment, I can look at some of the more "fun" things. My list includes gliding discs, to further challenge my core; a BOSU trainer, for balance exercises; and a medicine ball, for ab work and functional training.
Do you have those three must-haves? Here's the Core Values expanded workout for the week, which incorporates those items.
Standing Oblique Crunch
Stability Ball Pass
Spread Eagle Jackknife