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Good morning!! I’m happy to say I finished my antibiotics yesterday and it appears that I’m finally on the mend. I’ve been sick on and off since right before Christmas, so I’m just grateful that I’m finally feeling mostly normal again. I still have some sniffles, but I’m not coughing until I throw up or sleeping all day, so it feels like a pretty big win. 🙂

Today I wanted to do something a little different for Friday favorites. I’ve mentioned that we live in a place without very many gym options, most of which don’t even offer childcare (deal breaker for me). Because of that, we’ve spent the last 3 years acquiring equipment so I can workout at home and maintain my sanity. These are the items I’ve found the most helpful (as well as a few thoughts about what might be unnecessary).

A wide variety of dumbbells

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Truth be told, I’d much rather have an adjustable set of dumbbells (like this), when you’re buying little by little as you can afford it that’s not always feasible. I have sets of dumbbells ranging from 5 to 40 pounds, and I’ll keep adding to that as I get stronger. In my opinion, a couple of dumbbells are the most important component of a good home gym!

Some good workout videos

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This totally depends on your style and how knowledgeable you are about training and fitness. If you have a good idea of how to put both strength and cardio workouts together, this may not be necessary for you. I still like having them though, because they help keep me out of a rut and give me new ideas for designing my own workouts. For the most part I use Beachbody workouts (no I don’t sell them, I was just impressed with Insanity so I was willing to give a few more a try). Body Beast is my favorite for strength workouts, and pretty much anything with Shaun T is great for a cardio/strength combo.

If Beachbody isn’t your thing, YouTube has a ton of free options out there. I loved the Bikini Body Mommy workouts when I was just starting to workout again after having Jonah, I’ve done a few free yoga series, and there are a ton of others you can find. If you don’t know a lot about physiology and the appropriateness of certain exercises it helps to do a little research about the instructor and their credentials, but if you have a good working knowledge of exercise physiology you should be able to spot pretty quickly if something is off.

A treadmill

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Running or walking outside is obviously cheaper, but my treadmill has been a real lifesaver at times. I haven’t used it in months because winter is gorgeous in Arizona, but as we start moving towards summer weather it’ll be worth its weight in gold. Some of you might enjoy running outside when it’s 115 degrees, but I want to throw up a little just thinking about it!

A stroller (if you have little kids)

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For the days when the weather is nice enough that you don’t want to hit the treadmill, something to cart along the kids is a necessity. Depending on their ages you can use bikes, scooters, or roller skates instead of a stroller, which is an extra bonus because it keeps the kids more active. Kinsey hit this age a while ago, and Micah is almost there with his balance bike. He makes me go a lot slower right now, but it’ll be worth it in the end when he’s gotten more comfortable with the bike. In a few months I’ll have trouble keeping up with him!

Flexibility

Especially when you have little kids, flexibility makes workouts possible when you don’t really have the time to workout.

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Sometimes a workout is squats and pushups while the kids hit the slide…

Sometimes you do walking lunges as the kids move agonizingly slowly on their bikes or skates…

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Sometimes you do your best to keep the kids distracted so you can knock out a workout really quickly…

And sometimes you just do your best to include them and workout around them. It may not reach the intensity you’re looking for, but doing something is always better than doing nothing!

What other must-haves are in your home gym?

What tricks do you have for working out with little kids around?