fitness, health, Quarantine, Wellness

At-Home Equipment Haul

 I’m a bit later than usual, but this week is all about workout equipment. What do you need to build a routine at home?

“Like many of you, all I did in my apartment pre-corona was stretch. My equipment consisted of one fairly worn out yoga mat.”

Like many of you, all I did in my apartment pre-corona was stretch. My equipment consisted of one fairly worn out yoga mat. Months later, that is no longer the case! I’m excited to share some items I’ve been using personally, along with other creative things I’ve seen across the internet.

1. Sweet Sweat

I think one of the things I found myself missing the most is the intensity of my pre-corona workouts. To increase the sweat factor, I’ve thrown on the Sweet Sweat before lifting, running, or cycling. During my time working at Barry’s, my friend (and now Barry’s trainer) Joe Allen ( introduced me to the Sweet Sweat. It quickly became an essential for me. He explained to me that when working out, your core is the last part of the body to heat up. Hence why we perspiration tends to happen on our arms and legs first, and why we tend to see results in those areas more quickly. I love the Sweet Sweat because it speeds the heating process up by insulating your core. I know I struggled with the love handle area early in my fitness journey, and Joe’s tip allowed me to level up. Just remember that the belt will NOT do the work for you— it’s an aid, not the source. You are. 

Me using my Sweet Sweat during an @aarmy bootcamp.

2. Resistance Bands

In terms of other at home equipment, resistance bands have consistently been a staple in my routine. They’re easily accessible online and effective. Amazon is a great site for purchase as you can buy indiviudal bands (color-coded by strength) or a full set. My bands of choice (along with ab-roller and ankle weights) are pictured below. For squats, the blue velcro-cuffed resistance band is a must have!

3. Ab Roller & Ankle Weights

These two are fairly easy to come by on sites like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. I don’t use them on a daily basis, but once or twice a week I will incorporate them into a workout. It’s important to remember that you should keep your body guessing! Be consistent, but change up your routine and rotate the equipment you use for certain excercises. If you’re doing a workout video that calls for lunges, don’t be afraid to strap on the ankle weights for added intensity!

4. Jump Rope

An easy cardio-alternative. This jump rope is super easy to carry if you’re on the go, and fun to implement into your workout schedule. See my last post, Who Cares About the “Quarantine 15”, where I explained how I made jumping rope a staple in my routine.

4. Weights

A set or two of weights would be ideal at home, but they’re hard to come by and/or priced gouged (don’t even get me started) on sites like Amazon, Walmart, Dick’s, etc. After searching for weeks, I was able to find two sets (20lb & 30lb) from the Facebook market. Just be aware of the average price(s) for the set you’re looking to buy. So many people have been taking advantage of the weight shortage.

5. Mat

I spent the first few weeks of quarantine exercising on a thin yoga mat and I quickly knew I had to upgrade. My body started to feel the impacts of zero cushion and it was hindering my progress. After delving into reviews on Amazon, I settled on the mat linked above! I found it to make such a difference in my workouts. Now I’m sore solely from crunches–not the floor.

6. Running/ Cycling Belt

When running and cycling, I’ve been using the Zipster Lite running pouch from Nathan Sports. A few weeks ago, the straps on my old running belt fell apart mid-run (RIP). I did a bit of research and found that this belt had solid reviews in terms of durabilty and its a slip-on construction makes it less likely to fall apart when in use.

If your budget is tight and brand new equipment is out of reach, buy any of these items second-hand or use household items! I’ve seen so many trainers online using backpacks filled with books, wine bottles, and gallons of water in workouts. For used equipment, I’ve been scouring Facebook market and Craigslist—people are rapidly buying and selling items. 
If you’re looking for workouts that incorporate at-home items, check out this one by Keoni Hudoba (@keonihudoba) using a kitchen pot!

Let’s get to it people. Feel free to comment any items you’ve been using in your own routines!

Diet, fitness, health, Quarantine, Wellness

Who Cares About the “Quarantine 15”

Let’s talk quarantine. To be transparent, this pandemic completely derailed my fitness goals. I went from meal-prepping healthy options to cosuming comfort foods (i.e. pop-tarts, oreos, bagels) on a daily basis. For the first few weeks, I was able to maintain my diet and workout regimen–many of my favorite fitness studios (Barry’s, Aarmy, Y7) quickly launched online programming which I found to be comparable to the in-person experience.

Me doing a handstand push up during bootcamp, led by Akin Akman, one of the co-founders of AArmy (@akiniko).

Fast forward a few weeks….I fell off. Around week 5, I got furloughed from work, was in my apartment alone, and the darkness of NYC truly got to me. It was my first time on the line of depression. Zero endorphins, zero energy. As an extremely active person, I had no clue how to navigate this chapter. Interestingly, I developed one new habit—listening to Angela Davis’ inspiration each day on IGTV (@angelamanueldavis). She brought guests on each day to discuss various topics surrounding motivation and staying inspired to create during the pandemic. Through this, I somehow found the means to get the hell up and restart my commitment towards a better version of myself.

With my newfound inspiration (around week 7), I began to think about workout alternatives. I wanted my endorphins back, but had become bored with online workouts. Distance running is something that I’ve always struggled with, so I made the decision to give it a try and it worked for me! I began creating timed playlists each morning to run to at night when the streets were empty. A friend recommended that I try Strava, which gives you a summary of your run and allows you to track your daily, weekly, and/or monthly mileage and splits.

I soon learned that I could not run every day (recovery is crucial) so I began to use a jump rope and stretch on my off days. Jumping gave me the intensity and burn that I felt when running. I created playlists with songs of various tempos to jump to and found myself getting more and more invested in the creativity of it all.

Jumping rope on my rooftop to a playlist.

In addition to jumping back into workouts, I pushed myself to return to a healther diet. I started getting a weekly shipment of healthy meals from Freshly (I highly recommend for anyone new to healthy eating). The optimal way to eat cleanly is to cook your own meals, but I found Freshly to be one of the better ready-to-eat options. It gave me a lot of ideas in regards to my own meal prepping and allowed me to get accustomed to smaller portion sizes. Regardless of your fitness goal(s), it is important to understand of the amount you should be eating.

At the end of May, I fled NYC to quaratine with my best friend in California. I kept my routine, but also expanded my activities to include outdoor cycling and yoga. Through consuming a lot of self-help content, I was able to take a lot of pressure off of myself. I came to terms with the fact that yes, my body will be different for the time being. I’ve lost muscle mass, I’ve gained weight. It’s OK.

Presently, I’m much happier—my only fitness goal is to listen to my body. Some days I run and do a bootcamp, and other days I don’t workout at all.”

Presently, I’m much happier—my only fitness goal is to listen to my body. Some days I run and do a bootcamp, and other days I don’t workout at all. What’s changed is that now I refuse to look at rest as a bad thing. I’m aware that I overworked myself pre-pandemic and was causing more harm than good. To be honest, I’ve seen more positive changes physically and mentally than I did during months of hardcore working out pre-quarantine.

It doesn’t seem that we’ll be out of the woods for a while, so I urge you to put away the scale and get in touch with your body. Attempt something you wouldn’t under normal circumstances and then listen to your body’s reaction. Try a workout online, cook a healthier meal, or go for a run/long bike ride—you might surprise yourself!