7 Essential Home Gym Items

What if I told you that creating a home gym won't cost you a fortune. You won't need fancy equipment or shelves of free weights. Don't believe me? Read on. There are seven essential items that I have and use at home, and are items you can use, to create your own home gym. The best part is that they won't take up room at your home, and can be stored away.

1. Dumbbells and/or a kettlebell

7 Essential Home Gym Items 2 Dumbbells are necessary because lifting weights are one of the best ways to burn fat and shape your body. A good weight to start with is 5 pounds, preferably working up to 10 or 12 pounds. If you can also afford to get a kettlebell, then I suggest buying one, preferably at a weight of 20 pounds or higher. Kettlebell are different from dumbbells because you activate more muscles when using them when you use them to do certain variations of exercises. Not sure on where to start with a kettlebell workout? Man vs Weight has a great workout!

2. Resistance Band

Weight-A-Bands Resistance bands are a must-have, particularly if you are always on the move! These can also be used for strength training and will help tone your muscles. Resistance Bands offer a fun way to change up your routine, so you don’t get bored, challenging your muscles. There are also certain exercises you can only do with resistance bands which are incredible for toning up the glutes.

3. BOSU Ball

7 Essential Home Gym Items Ah! The BOSU ball. Ths is one of my favorite fitness its. It is versatile and a great addition to any home gym. BOSU stands for "Both Sides Up" or "Both Sides Utilized." It's got a flat platform on one side and a rubber dome on the other (resembling half an exercise ball), and it can help you improve your balance and flexibility, sharpen your reflexes, and reshape your body. Virtually any workout can be enhanced by incorporating the use of a BOSU ball because it requires you to use more muscles to stabilize your body, it means your workout will be more intense, making you burn more calories, too.

4.Exercise ball

7 Essential Home Gym Items 4 An Exercise Bal because it can both be used for stabilization movements and again, as a new way to challenge your muscles. It helps to tone your entire body. It is one of the mostly suggested equipment to improve core strength, stability, and posture.

5. Jump rope

Jump Rope is a fantastic and portable piece of equipment which offers an incredible form of cardio and also a way to tone your arms and legs. I am a huge fan of Michael Olajide Jr, who is the personal trainer of Adriana Lima, and the key component of their training is the jump rope. Seach YouTube fror videos. Many YouTube videos coach you on how to jump rope using variations and jump rope workouts. I also have a great post on how to blast fat by jumping rope.

You Might Also Like... Burn & Firm With Jump Rope (Workout)

6. Sliders

Okay so I am a little biased on this one, but sliders are AWESOME! Slider/Gliding Discs help you mimic moves from the pilates reformer and megaformer movements. They can be used in a variety of ways that challenge your muscle in a new way. Anyone who has bought one and tried some of the moves from my super sliders video can certainly attest to that. The key with these is slow and controlled movements.

7. Foam Roller

A photo posted by Valerie Fidan (@valeriefidan) on

The Foam Roller is your best friend when it comes to recovery and tending to sore muscles. If you are working out regularly, I seriously encourage you to spend on a foam roller. Not only is it affordable, but using a foam roller is like having a massage. A foam roller is a form of self-myofascial release, which essentially means that you are rolling out the knots in your muscles which can become very tight with exercise and can cause your limbs to look slightly bulky.

So there you have it! With these seven essentials, there is no way you can't reach your fitness goals. Look online, read magazines, seach Instagram, buy workout DVDs so that you can get ideas for what moves to do using these specific fitness pieces.

What You Should Be Eating & Doing For More Muscles

What You Should Be Eating & Doing For More Muscles letsregale.com
What You Should Be Eating & Doing For More Muscles letsregale.com

Ladies, don't be afraid of building muscle. We need this in order to look lean and toned.

Muscles are beautiful. They give shape and definition to our appearance. However, the strength and power do not come so quickly, and by tweaking a few things in our everyday routines, we can build leaner, stronger and more muscle.

So, how do you go about doing this? It comes down to two factors: fitness and diet. And, out of the two, diet is the most important. Think of this as the 80/20 rule: 80% diet, and 20% fitness.

Diet? Yes, it is often neglected, and it can't be avoided. Nutrition plays a critical role in muscle growth and recovery. What you take into your body does matter.

One of the fundamentals in muscle health is the macronutrient, protein. Protein is essential for the repair and recovery of muscle. Without an adequate supply, your body will compensate by taking if from the muscle you already have, and you will, in fact, lose muscle. WHAT! Yep! Your body will get what it needs in protein from your own muscles. So it is important that you take in more protein to feed your muscles and allow them to grow stronger.

How much is enough? The average female should consume 0.4g protein/lb body weight a day. That number can fluctuate based on gender and activity level. Very active athletes should increase that amount to 0.6g-1.0g protein/lb body weight a day. But, don't go overboard with protein because after your body has met its requirements, the body uses protein as a fuel, as if would for carbohydrates. If you take in more protein or carbohydrate than you need for muscle production or fuel, the body will store the excess as fat tissue. Some researchers have examined excess protein intake (more than 4.5 g/lb body weight per day) and are concerned that there may be possible health concerns with this type of diet.

Where can you find healthy sources of protein and add it into your diet?

The truth is we live in a carbohydrate-fueled society, and it is easy to not include protein in your daily meals. The best way to add protein to your diet is to be sure every meal you eat during the day has added protein.

Food High in Protein

  • Lean cuts of beef, poultry or fish
  • Eggs, legumes, beans, peas
  • Dark leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
  • Nuts and dairy
  • Protein powders, both plant-base & whey

By eating protein with good complex carbohydrates (think darkleafy greens, quinioa and oats), you can increase the absorption of protein into the blood stream and to your working muscles. An example of meal that is balanced muscle food: 3oz. Chicken, 1-cup sautéed kale or spinach, 1/2-cup mixed berries.

Now, let's talk about the second part which is fitness.

To build muscle, you must work the muscle. When you weight train, you create small tears in the muscle and as it repairs itself it becomes stronger. These “tears” can be caused by high repetitions or larger amount of weight.

Here is a simple workout for arms and legs to build muscle.

  • Triceps Dips 5 X10 repetitions.
    • Rest between each set of 10.
    • Increase number of sets or repetitions to make more difficult.
    • Goblet Squats 10X10.
      • Rest between each set
      • Hold a weight like a kettlebell or dumb bell.
      • If you increase weight by a lot, then decrease the number of repetitions to 5.

So there you have it. Some sound advice for building muscle. 

This Is Why LISS Should Be A Part Of Your Workout Routine

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As I'm sure you know, cardio is a key element of a good fitness routine, but HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is intimidating. And, I’m sure you've heard the term “LISS.” For those of you who don’t know what it means or why it is so beneficial for you, I’m going to explain it in this blog and why it's beneficial. This Is Why LISS Should Be A Part Of Your Workout Routine letsregale.com

LISS stands for Low-Intensity Steady State cardio. As its name suggests, it is any form of low-intensity cardio where you maintain the same pace for a set period. This is running about 65-75% of your max heart rate for an extended period. For most people this means a slow jog or very fast walk. This period is usually marked as anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes. When thinking about HITT versus LISS, it’s pretty much a sprint vs. a marathon.

This is completely different to HIIT, which focuses on quick bursts of cardio followed by a rest period. This type of cardio raises your heart rate fast and can cause an “after-burn effect”, where your body continues to burn fat even after you have stopped exercising. While HIIT can be great for burning fat and calories in a short amount of time, I do not recommend that it be the only type of cardio you do as part of your exercise routine.

LISS Builds Fitness Levels

If you are looking to build up your fitness or haven’t exercised in a while, LISS is an excellent way to do this. Not only is it simple to do, but it is an easy addition to your exercise routine. This is because LISS does not place a lot of strain on your body, and may be done several times per week.

Example os LISS

LISS is great because it can be done in or out of the gym; Pretty much anywhere. You could go on a brisk walk around your town, or a comfortable bike ride, or you could utilize some equipment by having a gentle session on a rowing machine, stair machine or elliptical. Another great example of a full body LISS would be to spend some time in a swimming pool, having fun while also working out.

Why Is It So Popular?

There are three main reasons why LISS has become so popular in recent years. The first is that it is perfect for fitting in as a form of exercise that #people can do on their ‘rest days’ for HIIT. The second is that it is not intimidating in the slightest compared to more active and intensive workout regimes. And, third is that it appeals to those who would class themselves as ‘lazy’ because the low effort of the exercise shines over the fact that you have to commit to extended period of time.

Does LISS Work?

To put it simply, yes, it does. When maintained as part of a healthy, balanced diet and fitness, LISS can be just as good for your as any other kind of regular exercise. The trick is not to cut corners and commit the time to these extended periods of lower intensity exercise.

It Is Great For Recovery

If you have had a few tough training sessions during the week, adding in another HIIT or resistance session may not be the best idea for your body. LISS can be an excellent way to still fit exercise in because it is low impact. Its low-impact intensity means that you are unlikely to hinder your recovery by training over the top of sore muscles. LISS can help to increase blood flow to damaged muscles and reduce post-workout stiffness.

You Can Do It Often

If you complete your LISS exercises correctly and don’t put any unneeded stress on your body, there is no reason that you shouldn’t do it every single day. The more you do it, the more it will become routine, and once something is a habit, the day feels weird if you don’t do it, not if you do.

If you are used to high-intensity training, then LISS is the perfect complement for when you want to work out that day, but your body is still in slight recovery from your more intense efforts from the day before. It’s a great way to stay permanently active.

Although the benefits may not be the same as HIIT, LISS is still a worthwhile addition to your workout routine.Do you incorporate LISS as part of your fitness routine?

7 Post-Workout Mistakes You're Probably Making

Maintaining a healthy and fit body doesn't only take place inside of the gym. There is that 80/20 rule... 80% nutrition, 20% fitness. But, within that there are other factors that play a critical role. 7 Post-Workout Mistakes You're Probably Making letsregale.com

Any trainer will tell you that real progress happens after you hit the gym. That's the time when your muscles are recovering and rebuilding. But are you undermining your own efforts? Here are the most common post-workout mistakes you're probably making.

1. You're Forgetting To Stretch.

Nothing is worst than having a painful muscle cramp to remind you of a great workout. The best way to prevent cramping from a workout is to warm up and cool down by stretching before and after you begin to exercise. Make sure to listen to your body and pay attention to your body's limits, so you won't over-stretch and pull a muscle.

2. You're Neglecting The Power Of A Foam Roller

Foam rolling after a workout can likely help you with improving flexibility, increasing blood flow, and help loosen up those stiff knots in your muscle tissue. Try using a foam roller before you begin your cool down stretches to help soothe and relax those tense muscles than can lead to those annoying cramps.

3. Skipping the Cool Down

Cooling down is a vital part of your post workout routine. Your body needs to get gradually back to its normal heart rate. It is great to use your cool down routine to focus on the area of your body that you were exercising. You can never go wrong with a slight jog or fast paced walk on the treadmill for 5 minutes.

4. Forgetting to Replenishing What You Sweat Out

Keeping hydrated is important. Your body sweats to cool itself down but in the process, you are losing valuable nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Rehydrating before, during and after a workout is one of the best things you can do for your body. Staying hydrated helps maintain body temperature and lubricates your joints. Grabbing a sports drink or a glass of water after a grueling workout can help keep you energized and feeling good. But try not to go overboard with the sugary sports drinks because it can put back on the calories you just burned off. In fact, you can make your own at home.

5. Neglecting to Eat

Eating after you exercise sounds a bit backwards. But, getting the proper foods can give you the right amount of energy and fuel your body needs. If you go too long without eating your body may start to eat away at your muscle tissue which can take away from your tone and definition. Make sure to eat the right amount of fruits, vegetables, and protein and stay away from as many bad carbs (choose whole grains) and unhealthy fatty foods as possible.

6. Not Keeping Track Of Your Progress

Don't be afraid to push yourself each time you start your workout! The best way to do this is by knowing how much you accomplished the last time you worked out. This can be done by timing yourself during certain exercises or aiming to keep your heart rate above a certain number. Using a pedometer is a great way to keep track of your distance and progress when going out for a run. It's okay to compete against yourself, and it be a fun challenge.

7. You Aren't Giving Yourself Enough Credit

Working towards any goal can become frustrating at certain points, but you can't focus on what you haven't done and neglect to give yourself credit for all that you have accomplished. Nothing worth working for comes easy without discipline, and this goes for achieving your desired fitness results as well. Putting your workout clothes on and heading to the gym is half of the battle... finish strong!

Rules For Setting Fitness Goals

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Summer will be here before you know it. And, our females know that there are essentially two seasons: the holiday season and bikini season. Rules For Setting Fitness Goals letsregale.com

Now that the last calorie-filled holiday, Valentine’s Day, is behind us, bikini season is in full swing. As you start dreaming of the warm days to come, you might start setting fitness goals that you started at the beginning of the year, but have slowly faded away. Here are some rules to follow for setting and attaining your fitness goals.

Take progress photos

Okay, so this might be a scary step, but watching your body progress is a inspiring experience. It'll keep your motivated to keep going because you’ll want the next photo to look even better. Make sure you have a set schedule for these, such as taking one every four weeks, so you stay on track.

Don't Use Someone else's picture as YOUR goal

It's easy to see look at someone with a great body and feel envious, wishfully hoping that was yours. Everyone's body is built differently. This is what makes us all so uniquely beautiful. But, that also means that your “dream body” isn’t always attainable because of your bone structure and proportions. Instead of comparing yourself to others, only compare your current body to your past body using your progress photos.

Have a goal and a schedule to go with it

Unfortunately, you can’t just lose ten pounds overnight. But over the course of several weeks, you definitely can! Make a schedule for when you’d like to lose three pounds, five pounds, etc. You can even set up a rewards system, for example only shopping when you’ve lost your goal #weight or inches for that month.

Don't obsess with the number

As important as measurements and the scale can be, remember that they don’t own you. Nor, are these numbers proof of your efforts. The more you exercise, the more muscle you gain. You'll be losing fat and gaining muscle, and muscle takes up less room than fat. Even though you’re losing fat, muscle ways more than fat, so you may see the number on the scale increasing or staying the same. Don’t let this discourage you. The numbers should help you, not hurt you in your fitness goals.

Challenge yourself every day

If you feel like a particular workout is getting too easy, try something new. If you aren’t as exhausted after lifting your usual amount of weights or running your typical distance, push yourself a little farther. Taking the easy way out is only going to prevent your success in the end. Honor the fact that you’ve overcome your past battles, and then push yourself a little further.

Don't push yourself too far

There’s a fine line between pushing yourself further and pushing yourself too far. Make sure you always listen to your body before and during your workout. If you are too sore to move, give yourself a rest day for your body to recover. Also, make sure you work your way up, always pushing yourself a little past your limits, but not jumping to the next level.

Stay fully dedicated to yourself and your goals

If you want to accomplish your fitness goals, you need to be entirely dedicated to them. This means being willing to spend money and time for the results you want. It might feel tough at the time, but it will be worth it in the end.

Fitness goals are an excellent way to stay on track and monitor your progress. Following these rules for setting fitness goals will help you even more!

What other tips of advice do you have for women making fitness goals?

#BeWell: 5 Ways To Workout Without The Pain

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[dropcap letter="O"]nce you have hit that 8 mph speed on the treadmill, sometimes it feels as you can go on for hours. But, are exercise and pain just two sides of the same coin? I feel like I know this all too well.

This past year I've gotten into running, because it's an exercise that can be done anywhere and at no cost. And, since I've been travelling non-stop for over a year now, I knew I would need to find something to replace SoulCycle and megaformer classes. About six months ago I pushed myself a bit too hard, increasing from 3 mile runs to 7. From 7 miles to sprint drills. I was running outside as well as on the treadmill. At first it was exhilarating and therapeutic in a way. I could ease my mind, listen to EDM and run and run and run. But, then I started to feel pain. I tried to push through it, and I did. This was a big mistake. I ended up getting runners knee, which only hindered me from continuing to run for a while.

Pain as a result of exercise equipment and machine training can be daunting and shield you from the idea of exercise altogether. But by following a few easy steps to take care of your body, all that pain and agony can be reduced, if not eliminated altogether.

Here are five essential things you can do to make sure that your body is ready for the rigorous indoor workout you have planned:

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Suit Up

Comfy clothes and a good pair of shoes can do wonders at a gym. Choose clothes that are either loose fitting or stretchy to ensure that your body can breathe and stretch. Your tired feet will never regret cotton, seamless socks. Even the color of your clothing can make a difference as lighter colored clothing will help you cool off easier in the summer heat.

If you plan to do several kinds of workouts, you will never regret investing in a good, fitting pair of cross-training shoes. Try out several kinds and see what you can break into the best. Sports stores will even help you get shoes professionally fitted.

A healthy smoothie can give you the boost of energy and nutrition needed to get through an intensive workout. Ingredients like peanut butter high in protein and healthy fats, and bananas high in potassium and vitamin B6 can also make your smoothie that much more satisfying.

#BeWell- 5 Ways To Workout Without The Pain

Do Not Forget Food

You've got to eat well to be well. It is true that exercising right after a large meal can be difficult and lead to muscle cramps, but that does not mean you need to exercise on an empty stomach. A light meal close to two hours before your workout, can be the perfect way to ensure you have the right amount of energy to train and help your body heal itself. And a light, high-protein snack soon after your workout can help your muscles quickly recover.

Want some quick pre-workout energy? Bananas, with high potassium and sugar levels, can be the perfect recharge.

The Slow Incline

Initial enthusiasm while starting a fitness routine sometimes causes people to push too hard, too fast. Knowing your strength and your capacity for endurance can help reduce pain early on. Begin at a speed, resistance, or cross-ramp level that is comfortable. As things get easier, slowly shift up the settings. Let your body adapt and adjust to the challenge.

Start slow. It is always better to start out easy and work your way up to your goals rather than pushing above and beyond your abilities.

Studies have shown that having a coffee right before a workout might be the secret to relieving exercise fatigue

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The Caffeine Effect

Now, here is something that you may or may not have heard before: Having a coffee right before a workout might be the secret to relieving exercise fatigue, studies show. Caffeine’s ability to help in the metabolism of fat may actually help in relieving cramps during exercise.

Regardless of whether you are an avid or an occasional coffee drinker, this secret might help you reach your fitness goals faster with minimal pain.

Knowing When it is Enough

Trust me, I know what it is like to be on a roll. Once you have hit that 8 mph speed on the treadmill, sometimes it feels as you can go on for hours. But do not listen to the adrenaline – listen to your body. If you experience any pain in the part of your body that you are exercising, or feel light-headed, it is your body telling you that it is time to heal.

Pushing through the pain might just the first step to developing something chronic. Do not let it get that far!

How do you recover? Share below!