Create your perfect gym at home

Mirafit kindly gifted me some of the home gym equipment featured in this post. All muscles made from them are my own :)

Tess Agnew fitness blogger is doing exercises in a garden gym

Whatever plates you’re spinning, whether you’re juggling family life, long days at work or are just out there trying to stay motivated to workout in this miserable weather (I’m with you!), finding the time and energy to exercise regularly isn’t always easy.

Sorting the work-life balance is a long term goal of mine since becoming self employed, and I’ve realised it’s not always the fact that I’m working so much that I don’t have time to exercise (although sometimes it definitely is). It’s also more the fact that I just need a solid routine. I need to create the time, and stick to it, whatever the weather.

So what better way to do this than getting in some exercises at home?

The benefits of home workouts:

  • No soggy commute – roll straight out of bed and onto the mat for some you time.
  • It’s free! No gym membership, no feeling guilty for not going…
  • You can train whenever you like! Squats whilst the kettle boils, a quick hiit circuit in between jobs.
  • You can listen to whatever music you like, as loud as you want (as long as you don’t annoy the neighbours!)
  • You don’t have to worry about what you look like. Weights in your onesie? Dancing round the kitchen in your pjs? Let’s go!

Creating your gym at home is a great way to get it done when you’re short on time, if the weather scuppers your ride or run plans, or actually, you just can’t. be. arsed to leave the house. You don’t need to set yourself up with a full on home gym set up either – there’s plenty you can do from the comfort of your living room with minimal or zero equipment.

Tip: Wherever you do your workout it's important to wear a good sports bra. 
I reviewed my favourites for this Red Bull sports bra guide for 2020.

What’s the best home workout?

There are lots of ways you can get your fitness fix at home but whatever you choose it has to be something that’s easy and convenient for you – otherwise it won’t get done! As long as you’re making regular time each week to move your body and work up a sweat it doesn’t matter which workout you do.

 

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Home workout ideas

The good thing about exercising at home nowadays is there are so many free online workouts to follow so you’re never without inspiration of what to do. The downside to so much choice of course, is paralysis – where do you start?

Figuring out your fitness goals will help you decide. Ask yourself:

Are you looking for high energy home exercises to lose weight, work up a sweat and get a hefty dose of endorphins?

Do you want quick and easy home workouts for beginners to move every day and build up slowly?

Or is it strength you want to build, keen to try out your first set of home dumbbells or have a go at a kettlebell circuit?

If you’re just starting out:

Try these quick and easy ways to fit movement into your every day around the home. You can substitute any of the exercises in this video for the ones featured in this NHS 10 minute at home cardio workout. Kudos to George for the starring role in this video for This Girl Can! (He’s a right tart!) 🐱

To work up a sweat:

The Body Coach has hundreds of free hiit workouts on his YouTube channel like ultimate beginner’s hiit workout featured on the article I wrote for his blog, or go short (but sweeeet) with one of his 10 minute tabata workouts (this is where you work hard for 20 seconds interspersed with 10 seconds of rest for a short 10 minute workout). Sounds easy? Give it a go and see me afterwards…

I’ve been known to have a go at a few of these in the garden gym back in the days when the weather used to be dry for more than 20 minutes…

 

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Need more? Read this Beginner's guide to starting your home fitness journey I wrote for The Body Coach a while back.

 

To get nice and strong: create your own home gym

We all know cardio is great for building aerobic fitness, increasing lung capacity and heart health as well as boosting those all-important endorphins but for me over the past couple of years, I’ve really fallen in love with strength training. The good thing is you can get a really decent strength session with zero equipment and little space – there are are plenty of challenging bodyweight workouts online.

But when yo do have even just a little equipment like a set of home dumbbells, your own kettlebell or maybe even a barbell if you’ve got room, you can do so much more.

Even the tiniest of back ‘gardens’ or modest piece of yard can be turned into a great little outdoor gym. Check out my mini home gym that I’ve added to over the past year with help from Mirafit (I got a bit excited to set it all up as you can tell…)

 

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In my little garden gym I’ve got the following home gym equipment*:
  • An olympic barbell and rack with upto 60kg of plates (I already had my olympic barbell, rack and 60kg of plates off eBay a couple of summers ago, BARGAIN), but Mirafit sent me two 5kg plates so I can adjust the weights at smaller intervals.
  • A bench which sadly doesn’t quite fit under the barbell because *someone* didn’t measure the garden before driving 90minutes to pick up the barbell and bench… 🙄 so I can’t do any bench presses but when we move it’s ON! (Maybe, if it fits…)
  • A 15kg non-bounce slam ball from Mirafit (I chose this because I use it outside – not sure how the neighbours would like it if I was throwing it around indoors!)
  • A 20kg kettlebell I chose this when I was weight training regularly with my PT but now I’m a bit out of practice so need to build up again! When we move I’m going to buy a lighter one so I can do more exercises – turkish get ups, anyone?!
  • And some amazing barbell drop pads for deadlifts which means I can slam them down without worrying about annoying the neighbours.

Tess Agnew fitness blogger lifting weights in the garden

Having the extra equipment means I can do so much more in such a small space although at times it was a little challenging to squeeze it all in… I can’t wait to move next month and show you my new outdoor gym space! I loved getting in some outdoor workouts last summer but towards the winter up to now it’s just been sooo bloody wet the poor gym is currently under a cover hibernating until it’s safe to come out. No one wants a rusty barbell, right?! 😉

The two pieces of home gym equipment that can come indoors though are the dumbbells and kettlebell.

With a compact size and no need to slam them down on the floor they’re a perfect space-saver for living room workouts. A quick scour of The Body Coach’s YouTube will bring up several dumbbell and kettlebell workouts incorporating dumbbell curls, shoulder press, front squat, goblet squat, lunges, step ups, kettlebell swings, squats and more.

Try these online workouts from The Body Coach:

With any of these weighted exercises it’s important to choose a weight that’s right for you. When I got my kettlebell I was lifting regularly but have had a break so now have to build back up before being able to safely use my 20kg one at home again. If you’re thinking of buying any weights to set up your mini home gym, start small and build up as you feel more comfortable, and if you can, buy a couple of different weight variations so you can switch between the two when you need to. It’s also important to note that all of the above workout videos recommend you complete a proper warm up beforehand and follow correct form as per the videos you’re following.

Read my 7 reasons to train with a PT when starting out with weights.

*I was gifted the Mirafit equipment. 

Don’t forget then zen! Yoga at home with Adrienne:

And then, when you’re finished bouncing around the living room or throwing metal around the garden, it’s time to calm the body and mind. Yoga with Adrienne is the absolute ONE when it comes to practicing yoga classes at home. Join 6.1million other subscribers to her YouTube channel for bi-weekly flows covering everything from gentle morning yoga sequences to wake you up to yoga for back pain, weight loss, core strength and more.

Plus, she’s split them into playlists with classes from under 10 minutes right up to 35minutes+ so you can squeeze in some you time no matter how busy you are. Here’s a seven minute pre-run flow for everyone joining me at this weekend’s Brighton Half!

Furry friends always welcome on the mat… 🐈 🧘‍♀️

Read 10 things I've learnt about yoga and why I think yoga makes you high...

 

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Get started on your own home gym set up 

If you want to create your own home or garden gym you can find all the best home gym equipment you could ever need on Mirafit’s website, and check out their product help centre if you have any questions.

We’re about to move so stay tuned for Garden Gym Mark II where I might even be able to fit the barbell the correct way to have the bench underneath, who knows! 😂🤷‍♀️Looking forward for this rain to STOP so I can get back out there either way!

 


Do you workout at home? 

 

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Mirafit kindly gifted me some of the home gym equipment featured in this post. All muscles made from them are my own :)