Easy ways to update your home gym

Hi friends! How’s the morning going? Ours has been good so far. I’m making some cupcakes with Liv -I can’t believe she’ll be 3 tomorrow!- and have some teaching and a training session today.

Since I know many of you are upping your fitness game in the new year, I thought it would be fun to talk about home gyms and ways to update them.

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One of the Pilot’s goals for the new year is to work out more often at home. Since his schedule is volatile, it’s more challenging for him to stick to regular gym hours and a routine. Also, since he has a freakish metabolism, he can eat alltheKrispyKreme and the only thing he gains is another ripple in his 6-pack. Life isn’t fair sometimes. The good news is that even though he looks great no matter what, he’s focused on the health benefits of getting in a solid fitness plan; he knows that he’ll feel better and protect himself from the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

He wanted a weight bench for the man cave/gym, so Santa delivered. 

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Now, we’re going to pick up some barbells and flat weights, and our little home gym got an awesome upgrade.

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(Love catching up with Scandal on the spin bike.)

There are so many ways to add some oomph to your home workout routine, and many of them are inexpensive additions.

Here are some ideas if you’re looking to work out at home more often in 2015. For each category, they range from lowest cost to higher cost, and you can easily shuffle to accommodate your budget.



Your own body weight. There are no excuses for this one! You can get in an awesome strength and cardio workout, using your own body weight. All you need is a little motivation and a little space! Here are some of my favorite bodyweight strength and cardio workouts.

Gymboss timer. This is a great way to add in some intervals during your workout. I especially love using my Gymboss for Tabata rounds at home.

Jump rope. This is a wonderful and inexpensive option to get in a cardio workout. One of my favorite jump rope workouts: 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off x 30 rounds (15 minutes total).

Treadmill, spin bike or rowing machine. This is where it gets a little more expensive, but can be a valuable investment if you’re going to use it (instead of using it as a bonus clothing rack). We have a spin bike in our little home gym, and I’ve used it so many times, especially when I want to sneak in a quick naptime workout. I would love to add a water rower eventually!



Resistance bands. These are lightweight, compact, and perfect for strength training. I’m also a huge fan of the resistance band loops, which can be used for a variety of exercises.

TRX straps. I’ve always been a fan of TRX, but have really started to implement it in my own routine in the past year. 

Dumbbells. I recommend two sets: light and heavy. For women, light can range from 3-10 lbs, and heavy can range from 10-30 lbs, depending on the exercises you’d like to do.

Barbells. These are more expensive for a home gym options, but can be an effective way to change up your strength training routine. Bonus: there are a TON of BODYPUMP workouts on YouTube, which you could do at home with your barbells. (I like to practice BODYPUMP with a pair of dumbbells, which still works well!)

Kettlebells. If you enjoy training with kettlebells, these can be a great addition to a home gym. Once again, I recommend a light and heavier bell. 



Stretching strap. You can a strap to assist yourself in stretches and avoid over-stretching. 

Mat. Not totally necessary -carpet works, too- but can be an inexpensive addition. You can find a yoga mat anywhere from $20-100.

Foam roller. These run about $20-40 and can help to reduce tight muscles from the buildup of fascia. 

Rumble roller. This is the foam rollers’ evil cousin; it works deeper into the muscle and is a more intense option for those who are used to foam rolling and need more pressure.


DVDs or full workouts:

Youtube. The beauty of YouTube is that it’s FREE! There are a lot of fantastic workout channels, including Sarah Fit, Zuzka Light, Tara Stiles, Purely Twins, Fitness Blender, and Melissa Bender. I post workouts on my channel, too and will be included Winter Shape Up videos (plus bonus videos) this year. 

Fave fitness DVDs: DVDs or digital downloads will contain full classes, or are segmented into smaller classes. Some of my all-time faves are here. 

Monthly online memberships. Daily Burn, Physique 57, Barre3, and Bar Method all offer online class options. They’re usually around $30 per month, which is less than an average gym membership.


Do you work out at home, or do you prefer the gym atmosphere? What’s your all-time favorite YouTube fitness channel or workout DVD?

I thrive off of the energy of others, and tend to get distracted easily, which is why I prefer to work out at the gym or take a class. In a pinch, though, it’s great to have options here at home, especially if the Pilot is out of town and I’d like to get in a quick workout.

Hope you have a lovely day! See ya later with some adventures and a veggie dip I’ve been loving.



These are all products I think would make awesome additions to a home gym. Affiliate links are included, and as always, I am sincerely thankful for your support! <3

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  1. Brynn on January 7, 2015 at 4:50 am

    Beyond jealous of your spin bike and Scandal watching! Heaven! I think resistance bands and a jump rope are two of the best (and cheapest) pieces of exercise equipment!

  2. Nikki on January 7, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Nobody has a better YouTube channel for HIIT workouts than Christine Salus!!!!!

    • Jade on August 19, 2016 at 7:53 am

      I agree!!

  3. Erin on January 7, 2015 at 4:59 am

    I get wayyyy too distracted working out at home. I also thrive on the group energy dynamic. I do have a nifty little home gym for days when I’m snowed in or working late and can’t make it the gym. I have a Scandal workout game-similar in concept to a Scandal drinking game lol I also have one for The Bachelor

  4. Linda on January 7, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Live exercise.com has classes live or archived from weights to mat Pilates to yoga to boot camp and cardio. They do 20 shows a week for $8/month.
    Love this for my at home work outs.
    And I love your videos too.

  5. Lucie@FitSwissChick on January 7, 2015 at 5:22 am

    I ususally workout at the CrossFit Box or outdoors, but I have a few things I take on vacation with me! Definitely the TRX, Jumping Rope (gotta keep up with thse Double Unders), Yoga Mat and Foam Roll – my favorite equipment when at home or in a hotel room or beach!

  6. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More on January 7, 2015 at 5:26 am

    I totally need a rumble roller…they terrify me, but I need one! I also learned you can totally get a great workout in using a water jug. Obviously the weight is lighter but up your reps and you’ll still get that heart rate up! 🙂

  7. Sarah F on January 7, 2015 at 5:29 am

    Love this list- thanks 🙂

    I work out at home. I used to go to yoga studios often, but when I moved to the UK (originally from Canada), it was an easy way to save money. Plus, I find gyms and yoga studios don’t have great time flexibility, so I struggle to make the hours when I’m busy at work. Instead, if I work out from home, I can do that at any point. I have just started using barre3 online classes (and am quickly becoming addicted) but I also really like gaiamtv.com (previously My Yoga Online) for yoga classes.

  8. Amanda @ Slimplify Life on January 7, 2015 at 6:02 am

    I think having a gym membership holds me more accountable. And it is kind of fun to have the same people that you see at the same time during your routine…they don’t know it but their my secret gym friends :).

    I’d LOVE a treadmill at home, but that bad boy is esssspensive.

    • Kelly on January 7, 2015 at 8:23 am

      Haha! Secret gym friends…. those are an important motivation! Seriously would be lost without my gym friends. You’ll have to introduce yourself for reals! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      haha i love that!

  9. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on January 7, 2015 at 6:03 am

    We have a garage gym, but it is not attached to our home so it forces me to get out. I get distracted working out at home a lot of times too. Great suggestions on the gear!

  10. Fancy on January 7, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Hey Gina! I love your blog, been reading for years 🙂 However, there have been so many issues lately that I’m not sure you are aware of. Lately the magazine words “Glamour” and “Redbook” have been showing up in the middle of your posts, not ads…just huge words in the middle of your own words which may show up instead of your own pictures? Also, there are times when I can’t see any comments or if I can, they are all messed up. Many of the pop up ads make it tough to click out of them to read the posts, and the whole layout of the blog with your other categories to click are all messed up. Many of these problems have been since your redesign 🙁 Please look into these! I’m on an iPhone…and have had 2 different iPhones since your redesign and these problems have occurred on both phones. 🙁 Just thought you would want to know…

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      hi fancy!
      thank you so much for letting me know. when we first launched the redesign, i was having the same problem on my iPhone. my designer said it had something to do with ad code, and i have another designer working on it now. he said with the upgrades it should resolve itself over time, and for me, it hasn’t happened again since. if it happens again soon, would you mind sending me a screen shot? that way i can send him what you’re seeing. so sorry for the inconvenience 🙁

  11. Catherine Cormier on January 7, 2015 at 6:21 am

    When we moved outside of the city a few years ago it became inconvenient for me to continue with my gym membership. I cancelled and have been gradually adding to the home gym equipment ever since 🙂 When I had a membership I couldn’t imagine getting in a good workout from home … now I love working out at home so much I don’t know if I could go back to having a membership.

    I love being able to wake up before work and run downstairs for a workout – no one cares what I look like, no fighting over equipment, can try out new moves without feeling silly, don’t have to battle traffic or finding a parking spot!!

    I have a few dvds that I like and I also have a subscription to Fitnessglo. They are a fitness class streaming website and I constantly find classes on there that give me a great workout. Everything from cardio, dance, HIIT, Barre, Kettlebell, Strength, Bosu …

  12. Erika S. on January 7, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Loved this post…so many good suggestions. AND you reminded me that I need to invest in a foam/rumble roller!

    I prefer to work out in a gym too…I push myself a bit more and can’t just stop and sit down on the couch…hahaha!

  13. Kelly Scott on January 7, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I can’t wait to have a full home gym one day! I love the freedom of working out wherever and whenever. Right now, I have a foam roller, 2 yoga mats, pilates mat, light dumbbells, resistance band (amazing!), and bosu ball. Can’t wait to add some paralletes, yoga blocks, wall-based pull up bar and something I can use for hip thrusts!!!

  14. Helene @healthyfrenchie on January 7, 2015 at 7:23 am

    We got ourselves the water rower as a christmas present a year ago and it’s amazing! It’s very quiet and so good on the joints. It also looks lovely. And since it’s in the spare bedroom, it’s nice that it doesn’t “clash” with the decor like other equipment might

  15. Heather @ Housewife Glamour on January 7, 2015 at 7:32 am

    While we have plenty of space in our basement, our home gym is real sad. I’ve got some resistance bands, a few sets of weights, and a stability ball. I would LOVE to get a treadmill and/or a stationary bike one of these days. Watching Scandal sounds like the BEST way to do cardio to me! 🙂

  16. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on January 7, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Great ideas! I’ve been thinking about doing something in my garage but need to figure what to do in the scorching AZ summer. What kind of spin bike do you recommend for at home? In looking for something not too pricey please.

  17. Linda @ TheFittys on January 7, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Oh my god oh my god she’ll be three!! She is adorable, and I really wish you were my neighbor so I could babysit her.

  18. Shari on January 7, 2015 at 8:07 am

    My husband prefers the home gym while I prefer to do classes at the gym. I feel like I get more out of structured classes than trying to figure out everything on my own. But it is nice to have the home gym for days I can’t get to a class. We have a rowing machine and we added a in a spin bike a few months ago, as well as various size hand weights, resistance bands, DVD’s and other odds and ends. It’s also nice for weekends when classes are crowded and harder to get into.

  19. Kelly on January 7, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I also thrive being at the gym and working out with a buddy/small group or during a class. BUT…. I have to say, I need to think of being able to work out at home, even if just for 20 minutes is a good way to get something in on the days I wouldn’t go to the gym. I cannot go 5/6 days a week but working out at home can fill in for the off days. My mindset needs to change on this, thanks for the post! Now, if I can get the motivation to work out on my own…. to be continue! 🙂

  20. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on January 7, 2015 at 9:02 am

    That’s so nice you’ve got a home gym going. I prefer to work out at the gym in the group fitness setting for sure. The energy of others helps me to work harder! 🙂

  21. Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona on January 7, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I prefer working out at home. I find getting myself to the gym a tougher hurdle to deal with than the risk of getting distracted.

    I’m going to have to get myself a set of resistance bands. I’ve been eyeing them for awhile now.

  22. Kay @ Kay Bueno on January 7, 2015 at 9:44 am

    I’m such a gym-gym person.

    I wish I could keep myself motivated with a home gym, but I’m so easily distracted that I really need to be in a place where my sole focus is fitness. At home, I COULD do that Blogilates video, oooor I could watch How to get Away with Murder, clean my bathroom, make cup of tea, etc.

    Love your home gym though.

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      i’m the same way– it’s so easy to get distracted!

  23. Chelsi on January 7, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I wish I had room in my tiny apartment for a home gym! Someday. For now, I’ll sit here and be jealous of your equipment. 😀

  24. Tracy on January 7, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I definitely prefer working out at the gym. It’s a big social part of my day! Love seeing my friends and meeting new people there. I’m also highly motivated by the gym-goers around me.

    Looking forward to hearing about the veggie dip! Have a great day!

  25. Alex @ True Femme on January 7, 2015 at 10:41 am

    My copy of HIIT IT is supposed to arrive today and I am so excited to start HIIT workouts! I do also love the energy of a class and I push myself a lot harder in group workouts, but in addition to Pure Barre I also really need some good cardio challenges that I can do at home.

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      wahoo!! i hope it got there 🙂

  26. Britt@MyOwnBalance on January 7, 2015 at 11:46 am

    I love love working out at home with DVDs. There have been a couple of great new online fitness classes too from AKT in Motion and YogaWorks. I love that they switch things up and keep it fresh.

  27. Rhiannon @ Bound to be a Buckeye on January 7, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    I love our home gym. It gives us no excuses. I always seem to find a reason why I can’t go to the actual gym, but the basement is too easy to pass up. I was enjoying yoga class at the local gym, but they scheduled it right at dinner time. It’s too hard for me to swing right now. The big piece of equipment we’re hoping to get next at home is a row machine.

  28. Molly@This Life Is Sparkling on January 7, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    I like working out at home when it’s too cold to go outside (aka now) or when I just don’t feel like making the drive to the gym.

  29. Rebecca on January 7, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Your office looks like mine did growing up 🙂 My dad was in the Air Force and always had pictures of planes and other such things hanging up. He flew in Alaska in the 80s!

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      that is amazing! 🙂

  30. Elle on January 7, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I love belonging to a gym just because of the variety and quantity of equipment available, but I also love the convenience of working out at home.

  31. Cathy on January 7, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Group fitness classes at the gym are my all time favorite but I do have a couple things at home. I have a mini trampoline at home that I use from time to time. I like it because it doesn’t seem to disturb my downstairs neighbor and its easy to move around. I also have a TRX and the insanity dvd’s which are nice if I have to travel for work and can’t find a good gym option on the road.

  32. Jess on January 7, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I love the gym/ class atmosphere too, but I can’t fit it in at the moment with 3 little ones home all the time. So most of my workouts are at home. Jump rope and dumbbells are my best/ worst frenemies. Haha. I would love love love a spin bike!

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      that’s all you really need! way to get it in with 3 littles. i have one, and it’s still tough, so i can’t imagine

  33. Kimberly Ramsey on January 7, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Great post! I have a mini gym at home but still love the atmosphere of a class. I moved and have been looking for a bodypump class around me, I did not know there were free workouts on YouTube. That just made my night! Thank you!

  34. Kate on January 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Great post! Love all the suggestions!

  35. Angelica on January 7, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    YAY! Excited for the Winter Shape Up videos!

  36. Janelle on January 8, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Kettlebells and more dumbbells are on my wishlist!

  37. angie on January 8, 2015 at 6:04 am

    I love both, i love taking classes at the gym. But right now they are doing construction on our aerobics area so there are no classes.. So i do cardio at home, which is workout videos. Right now i am doing the new Insanity Max:30. Then in the early morning before work and school my son and i go to the gym for weights.

  38. Jill on January 8, 2015 at 6:29 am

    I recently bought a treadmill so we’re trying to re-design our home gym since it takes up so much room in there. We have the small gym and then an office/guest bedroom, so we’re thinking of getting rid of the guest bed and swapping the office and gym. Seems like a workout on it’s own, but it would be great if we could both workout in there at the same time, and I need my floorspace back for mat work.

  39. Carrie on January 8, 2015 at 7:48 am

    We have kettlebells, some adjustable dumbbells, 2 jump ropes, 2 yoga mats, and TRX straps (that Santa brought!), and I find that we can get in a killer workout with these. I would also love to get some kind of cardio equipment (bike, rower, etc.) because winters in Ohio are not outdoor friendly at all, and I think they would be nice for low impact or lower intensity cardio days. We do a lot of body weight HIIT at home, too, but you gotta switch it up! We still have a gym membership, which we use to take some random classes and to lift – lifting heavy weights and using barbells. It’s a nice combo.

    My favorite Youtube fitness channels are Fitness Blender and Blogilates (POP Pilates).

  40. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork on January 8, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Thanks for the YouTube links! I’ve been mixing a lot more YouTube stuff with my usual DVDs and am loving the variety. I prefer to work out at home for convenience as my time is really limited, but there is something about being at the gym that can be extra motivating. I do have a gym membership and usually make it there for one of my workouts a week, usually to use equipment I don’t have at home (such as much heavier weights, TRX straps) or to get in a run on the treadmill because it’s so freezing cold outside.

  41. Cassie Vaughn on January 9, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I work out at home. It’s just easier… no excuses!

  42. Marlene @Fit Delight on January 9, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Hi! I’m a home gym person all the way. After years of working at the gym I got burnt out. I love being able to workout in my home gym in whatever clothes I want and be able to dance (or try) without anyone seeing me 🙂

  43. Maggie on January 17, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Are there really a ton of bodypump workouts on youtube? I tried searching for some a few months ago and could only find a few, and some weren’t even in English. Which ones have you found/done?

  44. Danielle Dunn on January 21, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Love the home gym! The Hubs and I just moved into our new house & he is def turning our garage into his man cave workout arena too…My little SUV still manages to fit, but just barely 🙂 And to answer your question – loving the PiYo DVD right now and Cassey’s YouTube channel – Blogilates!
    xo Danielle

  45. Richard on September 3, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Barry’s Bootcamp in Hillcrest has complete disregard for others and are only concerned about their bottom line. This bootcamp is on the ground floor with all residential condos above them. They play their sound system at extremely high levels (night club level) and even the amplified voices of the instructors can be heard 16 hours a day, 7 days a week in the condos above. Multiple complaints through the years have produced few changes. The world we live in is crazy. It ALL about MONEY with no regard for human suffering. Many residents in this west wing have complained for years but nothing is ever done. They had the gall to tell one tenant if HE changed his flooring from carpet to hardwood floors that would help. Can you believe that? Ear splitting base sounds and they tell the resident above to make a “band-aid” fix. I live two floors above and one to the north and I hear their low level base from early in the morning until 9:00 at night. I hear the base sound in my pillow as the sound comes thru the floor and walls and also comes in the closed windows as the sound outside is pervasive as well. Can’t watch TV or surf the net or just read without having to listen to a low level drone of intermittant rumbling of base sounds. One solution for Barrys: turn your sound down 25% and put in EFFECTIVE sound proofing. But they won’t. There answer is “this loud volume music is what our customers want”. Pure arrogance, complete disregard for other peoples lives. IT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY!!!

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