The must-have equipment for a home workout
Gyms are off the cards right now. But with the right equipment, you'll feel inspired to work out at home
Our resident health coach and personal trainer gives some helpful hints on what equipment to use and how to make sure you get a really thorough and effective workout.
Bring on the feel-good factor. Taking the plunge into a fitness regime can be daunting, but adding a few stylish items of ‘activewear’ to your wardrobe can do wonders for your self-confidence and give you that extra motivation to get going. Working out feels good when you feel good.
Stella McCartney provides slick, breathable, activewear; it is well tailored and perfectly suited for intensive cardio sessions, running and any yoga or strength exercises. Meanwhile, if you want to do a gentle stretchy routine try Love Stories @ Selfridges’ knitted jogging bottoms and long-sleeved jersey top. For elegant eco-friendly, zero toxicity fabrics look no further than Backlabel. The Italian fashion designer has mastered the art of fitness wear meets loungewear meets active-daily-life wear.
1. Blue Yoga Long Sleeve Shirt and Blue Yoga COMF Tight Leggings by Stella McCartney for Adidas, both £75 (buy shirt here and leggings here). 2/3. Eclypse Leopard Sneakers by Stella McCartney, £475 (buy them here). 4. Red Running Long Sleeve Shirt by Stella McCartney for Adidas, £85 (buy it here).
The yoga/exercise mat is the focal point of your workout and deserves to be prioritised. It is worth choosing a mat that is not only durable and functional, but also aesthetically pleasing so that it will inspire you to practise at regular intervals. Mats can be taken on holiday, to the gym, to the park or to yoga classes and are essential for stability, grip and hygiene. In short, get a mat that you love.
For a truly luxurious feel try the beautiful silk and fur mats offered by Holistic Silk, or alternatively opt for the top-end range from Attayoga. If you treasure your mat it is well worth the price tag. Lululemon offers a wide range of attractive designs, but if it is pure functionality you are after, and you are happy to replace on a frequent basis, most supermarkets now offer a very adequate selection.
Swiss balls, sometimes known as exercise balls, are a versatile tool, that can be used extensively for core control, strength, balance and flexibility exercises, as well as for posture purposes. Forget colour and aesthetics when choosing your ball. Size and durability are the most important factors. Most ball brands come in three sizes; small, which caters for people ranging from 155cm to 167.5cm tall; medium, for those ranging from 167.5 to 175cm tall; and large, suiting those over 175cm in height. Durability is of paramount importance to protect yourself when exercising. A good quality durable ball can last for years, even decades; a poor quality ball can burst during exercising, which can be highly dangerous not to mention embarrassing.
Swiss Pro Ball by Swissball, the original suppliers of the equipment piece, offers the ultimate in all round quality. It's eco-friendly and the hardiest of all the balls on the market, with a surprisingly affordable price tag. Wellness Ball Active Sitting is a high-end alternative; its snappy black and yellow removable cover has a QR code allowing your smartphone to access specifically tailored exercise programmes. This ball, however, only comes in one size – 55 cm diameter. Although offering an excellent therapeutic alternative to the office chair, the zip and handle of its cover may slightly compromise the range of exercises possible.
Hand weights or dumbbells are normally used for upper body strengthening exercises and postural alignment. The most important factor when choosing hand weights is, quite simply, the weight of the weights. This will depend on your level of fitness, and on the exercises that you do. When buying dumbbells make sure that they feel good to the touch. It is a matter of taste, but we would recommend the less slippery feel of neoprene or vinyl over the more traditional cast iron or steel.
‘This Is It Stores’ offers multicoloured sets of dumbbells ranging from 1/2kg to 5kg. Buy a few sets to ensure you always have the right weight to hand. Most large supermarkets stock individual dumbbell weights. At the top end of the market are tailor made options: you can order your very own leather hand weights – which are offered by Gym Marine – or even treat yourself to a pair of gold hand weights, for an outlay of £89,999.
1. Hock Robusto Leather Training Weights by Gym Marine, £196.35-225.95 (buy them here). 2. Core Balance set of 2 Neoprene Dumbbells by This is it, £2.99 per set of 2 (buy them here). 3. Hock Goldloft Gold Dumbbells, by Gym Marine, £89,999 (buy them here).
The kettlebell is not an essential piece of equipment and in some ways doubles up with hand weights in its capabilities. If you have the space, however, it offers variety and can be an extremely effective tool for cardio exercise. *Note: It is very important to master the correct technique, as, used incorrectly it can cause lasting damage to the spine or shoulders. Seek advice or guidance from a qualified personal trainer before trying at home.
The prime criteria for choosing a kettlebell is grip. Originating from Russia, the most basic models are black and cast iron. The grip on a kettlebell is crucial; swinging it about with sweaty hands can cause injury.Powder coat kettlebells are a good option for improved grip texture and are offered by Kettlebell Kings, along with Cerakote kettlebells, that can be design customised. However, many vinyl and neoprene kettlebells are also widely available in high street shops and online – all are highly functional and a good lower budget option.
Cerakote kettlebell by Kettlebell Kings, $77.-$344.99 (Buy them here).
Fitness wristband or watch
When it comes to exercise there is nothing more inspiring than a realistic and achievable goal. Fitbits have become the gold standard in both exercise tracking and health monitoring. Jazz up the versa model with a striped strap, of if you are looking for a versatile Fitbit-cum-jewellery piece, opt for the more elegant bangle strap. Alternatively invest in the new Apple I-watch series 3, with its comprehensive range of live health information, which allows you to literally keep your finger on the pulse at all times.
It is important to keep hydrated during exercise so why not buy a reusable S’well bottle to keep with you at all times? Made from stainless steel in highly covetable designs, S’well bottles will keep your drink cool for up to 24 hours and hot for 12 hours, but most importantly they are really good for the world.
S’well Clio Sports water bottle, by Frame, £42 (buy it here).
by Annabel Arkwright