Greetings my fellow humans! 2020 may not feel good for much, and after six weeks of heavy, intense, lung-choking smoke murdered the last hopes of summer, it’s easy to understand why it all feels like a loss, although be encouraged by the crisp air of fall and the lovely leaves as they change.
All of this “being stuck at home madness” has leant itself the unique opportunity for many to get fit (if they can find the equipment), and for me, it was a good chance to build out a gym of my own for convenience and to fill the two month gap left when our gym closed. At this point, we’re pretty self-sustaining sans the pool! 🏊♂️
A few times this year, I have found myself in very detailed conversations with people in regards to the equipment we own/use/train on/etc. so I thought it would be interesting to share what I’ve got. If that’s not your thing, I suggest you bail now and go read another one of my blogs :D
Gotta love the heavy stuff! This is what dreams (nightmares) are made of. I punted on getting a barbell and bumper plates because it just takes up too much bloody space. That’s what the gym is for… Plus, not a lot of bang for the buck with those. I have an ample collection of various resistance tools that are just as productive.
- Kettlebells – the crown jewel of my home gym, I LOVE my kettlebell collection. For those of you following 2020, there was a major kettlebell shortage earlier in the year as everyone panicked and started snapping up equipment. I, thankfully, have had no issues, and currently own a set of 364 pounds of delicious, handled steel.
- Battle ropes – if there is a piece of equipment that defines “Beast Mode,” I would argue that it has to be battle ropes. What is beefier than slamming huge, bulky ropes again and again and again into the ground? You’re going to fire up your anaerobic system, get tears in your eyes (it’s not sweat), and will eventually feel great… just not for a really long time after the workout.
- Dumbbells – kind of a staple of any workout regime, dumbbells are dumbbells. We have a set that can be adjusted, so it saves on real estate and on cost.
- Resistance bands – I haven’t always been a big proponent of the funny looking rubber straps with handles. That said, I have been super impressed with these resistance bands. They can be linked with each other on the same handle for up to 150 lbs of resistance.
- Rogue Monster Bands – useful for deadlift or pullup assists, these things pack a punch and go up to 200 pounds of resistance!
- Perform Better mini-bands – Great for all of those clamshells to keep your hips in check, I have two sets for here and there or wherever.
- Jump rope – no introduction needed here. Jumping is a natural movement pattern. Keep after it and practice those double unders!
Things that aren’t weights but still really pack a punch.
- Slamballs – imagine coming home from work (do you remember when we got to go into the office?) after a brutal day and being able to slam a sand-filled ball into the floor over and over and over again until sweat is pouring down your face and your heart rate is jacked up.
- Medicine balls – great for ab work such as Russian twists, V-ups, and reverse crunches. Your six pack will thank you.
- Rowing machine – Ah, the Concept2 rower. The gold standard for indoor rowing machines, these bad boys will fry your legs and your lats, and make you wish you had never been born. Bring a bucket!
- TRX – The poster child for suspension training, these two straps are quite versatile. Mine are bolted into the garage ceiling, but they can quickly be taken down, setup around a tree trunk at your local park, and away you go. I love the versatility (total body!) as well as the light footprint.
- Gymnastic rings – My newest addition, literally this week, these wooden rings are designed with quality in mind. Can’t wait to dive into gymnast workouts more.
- Plyo box – the commonality with everything else on this list is to fry your body while keeping your heart rate ridiculously high. This three-sided beast is used for jumping workouts, and each side is a different height. Oh, what fun!
This is what I do with 90% of my time, when it isn’t 2020. All of the swim activities take place at the gym (or Donner Lake), and the rest I can cook up in my garage or out on local run and bike trails and paths.
- Time Trial bike – my favorite piece of equipment, and one of my favorite presents ever that my wife has gotten me, the Time Trial bike is where I spend 90% of my racing. Sleek and speedy, it has electronic shifting, a power meter, super sweet racing wheels, and the best decals on the planet. It also matches my race kit B-)
- Road bike – my “go-to” bike for when I throw it on the trainer in the garage, my Specialized Allez has been through the ringer and continues to hold up nicely. I’ve also raced it a fair amount (hooray Donner Hill Climb!)
- Mountain bike – I’ve only done one off-road triathlon (mountain bike), so this is more my casual, out-to-enjoy-the-scenery-escape bike. I love its bold, eye melting colors, and we have had some great adventures. Everyone should have something that can handle dirt.
- Kickr + laptop + speaker + fans – you can read all about my indoor training setup here.
- Shoe collection – I have a wide variety of shoes. Shoes for speed, shoes for long runs, shoes for dirt, and shoes for recovering. And yet, surprisingly, I have the smallest collection in the house
- iPod shuffle + JBL headphones – I am, and likely always will be old school, and I simply refuse to take my phone with me when I run. Just me, my headphones, and some great tunes! Yes, Thunderstruck 🤘
Killing yourself working out does nothing if you don’t properly recover, restore your body, and give yourself time to strengthen (after you have smashed your body to pieces). Easily one of the most overlooked legs of training, recovery (and sleep, specifically) are the actual building blocks of improvement.
- Air Relax – compression boots have recently burst onto the scene. The idea is that they increase circulation and blood flow to your hammered muscles, which in turn promotes recovery. I have used mine almost twice a day since I first got them in 2018. Love them!
- Addaway BioZoom recovery hammer – massage guns are a unique product in that they attempt to deliver a massage session, sans therapist. While not as good as a pair of phalanges, it fills a nice gap in the recovery routine.
- Sidekick muscle scraper – while not quite a soothing experience, muscle scrapers do just that – scrape out blockages in the blood in order to get recovery back on track. It’s not pleasant, and your skin will turn red, but it’s sorely needed.
- TriggerPoint QuadBaller – think of it as a cement truck for your quads – oof!
- Foam roller – Used to smoosh and smash your muscles, this is a must.
- Lacrosse and tennis balls – For the smaller or more inconvenient areas that your foam roller can’t reach. Especially great on the bottom of your feet *commence crying*
- Body Back Buddy – a great tool for self-massage, the unique s-curve shape allows you to get those hard-to-reach places aka crux of your shoulder blade!
- Infrared therapy – A light (literally) device used to promote recovery. More reading here.
Everything else ✊
- Floor mat – every gym needs a great floor mat (or several). I have this one, and I love it!
- Yoga mat – I do yoga about 25 times a year – not nearly enough – but having your own yoga mat can make a huge difference.
- Quality duffle bag – this will be very individualized based on preferences, but I need to be able to fit a change of clothes in addition to workout clothes, shoes, jump rope, and toiletries. You’ll also want pockets for wipes, a workout log, and your headphones. And make sure it’s loud – really loud – don’t get the same boring color everyone else has.