Essential Items for a Home Gym

Essential Items for a Home Gym

Are you considering a home gym? Are you feeling lost without your gym membership or already dreading the winter when it's too cold or dark to work out outside? I haven't belonged to a gym in over a decade and have all the essential items for a home gym that aren't expensive and leave no excuses. You certainly don't need all of these. Order a few and build your gym up over time. You may also have items that you have that you consider essential. This is what works for me in my home gym.

I often get asked what my exercise routine is. I change it up all the time, and it varies by season, but here is what will most likely be my routine for November – February. I work out intentionally for about an hour every day. This means that it is a focused exercise, sometimes split up into two sessions. I look for movement opportunities as much as I can. As much as I love walkie talkies, either in person or by phone, these decrease as it gets colder. I cannot stand the cold, and my Raynaud's Disease is severe enough that it's painful and dangerous.

Sample days in my week:

Day 1

  • Wake up and do 40 minutes of strength training with running intervals mixed in.
  • Use my standing desk all day.
  • Ride my FitBike for 25 minutes while watching a webinar.
  • Perform 3 x 25 push-ups and 5×10 pull-ups throughout the day.
  • At the end of the workday, jump on the rebounder for 15-minutes and foam roll for five.
  • Do a phone walkie talkie with a friend (if it's warm enough)
  • Get in the infrared sauna for 30 minutes.

Day 2

  • Wake up and do a combo of jumping rope, rebounding, and strength-training (all can be done inside).
  • Use my standing desk all day.
  • Perform 3 x 25 push-ups and 5×10 pull-ups throughout the day.
  • At the end of the workday, ride the FitBike for 30 minutes while reading a few chapters for fun.
  • Get in the infrared sauna for 30 minutes.
  • Read in the evening while also hooping (yes, hula hooping), foam rolling, stretching, or using The Stick.
Marcey Rader's Healthy Home Gym Essentials

Essential items for my own winter home gym.

These are not in any particular order and are at varying price points.

  1. FitBike – I use a standing desk for most of the day. Still, when my legs get tired, I'm a watching participant in a meeting, am reading a book or article, or just need some movement, I use my FitBike. This affordable bike at less than $300 can help you be productive with work without needing to change your clothes, get special shoes, or even break into a sweat. Watch my fitbike review. To purchase, please visit FITDESK and use the code MARCEYFREEMAT to get a free mat on all bikes, under desk products, and desks! ( Get it on Amazon*).
Marcey Fitbike
  1. Foam roller – Trigger Point Therapy* products last forever due to the hollow core. Cheap foam rollers break down. I've had mine for over nine years, and they are still good as new. This is where no-pain, no-gain, makes sense. If it hurts where you are rolling, you need to do it more!
  2. Rebounder* – My recent fitness purchase for minimal joint impact and high-calorie burn. Rebounding is great for balance, cardio, and even your digestion (seriously…feel a little blocked up? Rebound!) I do this for a few minutes to warm up or for a full 30-minute workout.
  3. Jump rope* – Any rope will do, but you may want to stay away from a speed rope if you're a beginner.
  4. Kettlebell* – I do 100 swings every day in sets of 25 or 30 with a 35lb kettlebell. Start out with a light bell making sure you have the correct form before you increase the weight.
  5. Pull-up bar – I did not have defined arms until I was in my 40s. Seriously, look at my pictures from doing Ironman Triathlons and hard-core 24-hour Adventure Races in my 30s, and you'll see some tone, but not definition. Diet has a large part in getting leaner, but I attribute the pull-up to my arms. Even when I'm giving an Email Extinguisher workshop, someone will raise their hand and say, “great inbox stuff, but how do we get arms like yours?” I use my pull-up bar every day as a break between tasks. For the full story, watch the video below. This is the bar I use – ProsourceFit Pull-up Bar*.
  1. Lacrosse ball* – I keep one in the car for when I'm a passenger and one in my living room to use when I'm reading or watching Netflix.
  2. Exercise bands – I like Rubberbanditz and had my own branded kit, The Jetsetter, when I first opened my business. They last much longer than other bands due to the construction of layers instead of a tube. 
  3. Free weights* – Have a few different options, but nix the 5 pounders if you're only going to get 2-3 different sets. Your bag probably weighs that much!
  4. Beachbody on Demand subscription – this helps take the decisions out of my workout routine, and I can follow along. Following choreography is good for the brain.
  5. Sliders *- these make any exercise harder and work well on carpet and wood or vinyl floors.
  1. Hoop – I make my own hoops and have varying sizes. The bigger the hoop, the easier to spin.
  2. Infrared sauna – I have the Sunlighten Signature II sauna. It's the only medical-grade infrared sauna on the market, and the research to back the health effects are solid. It's my new healthy addiction 🙂 Tell them I sent you and get $100 off your accessories!
  3. Stability Ball* – Use this for balance and strength moves. Get the right size for your height.
  4. The Stick* – Great for muscle rolling and myofascial release. Keep it by the TV and roll out your calves, quads, and hamstrings during your Netflix time.
  5. Synergy bands* – These bands are great to go around your legs for squats and lunges—a wide variety of uses for resistance.
  6. Glute trainer bands – Blood flow restriction bands. These are for advanced exercisers. If you are using these, educate yourself first on how to use them properly.
  7. Weighted vest* – Make any exercise more challenging by adding a weighted vest. I use this when hiking, walking around my neighborhood, doing yard work, and some weight routines.
  8. Balance Disc* – Standing exercises on this disc challenge your balance and flexibility.
  9. Push-up bars* – I like these to give me a greater range of motion in my push-up. I've also used them when I had wrist injuries to keep my wrists in a neutral position.

I love to ride my bike and run outside, but it's just not possible for me every day when the weather is cold. One thing I never do is make an excuse. Your home gym can be so minimal, it consists of nothing! It's possible to get a great workout with no equipment and just use your own bodyweight. 

Please, for the love of six-pack abs, functional posture, and painless knees, don't let lack of access to a gym or the dark keep you from moving.

If you need an extra boost of motivation this winter, check out my 25 in 25® challenge! It's 25 minutes of intentional movement every day from December 1 – December 25th. Why? Because it's when most people lose their exercise program and the busyness of the holidays take over. Even if the month will be different this year, make it something positive for yourself and join the challenge!

I'M IN!

Pandemic Prologue to Work Well. Play More!

Pandemic Prologue to Work Well. Play More!

Would you rather listen instead? Click here for the 5-minute audio recording.

To celebrate the first anniversary of Work Well. Play More! Productive, Clutter-Free, Healthy Living – One Step at a Time, I have made some updates to the paper and Kindle versions. If you have the Kindle version, it will automagically update when you sync. I've also added a pandemic prologue to the book, which will be in all new copies and recorded in the bonus chapter.

Pandemic Prologue

It's my birthday, September 8, 2020, and I'm sitting outside a Starbucks where I am the only one at 8:12 a.m. The world has changed considerably since I launched Work Well. Play More! in November 2019. The coronavirus halted all travel, kept us in our homes, and moved many of us to remote work. The shift in behaviors and cultures had positive and negative outcomes.

Companies who were suspicious of working from home or said it would never work for them were forced to comply. They realized that not only could they have productive workers, but it could also save them loads of money in commercial real estate. Not all those who now would be working from home had “remote offices” set up. Many managed or are managing from a kitchen table, makeshift office, or their sofa.

Even people who already worked from home had a shift (including me) because they now had spouses, partners, or roommates at home as well. One friend said she thought it would be romantic for her husband and her to be working together and then realized he had a loud phone voice and spent most of his days making sales calls. As a web designer, she was used to quiet and solitude.

Kids in virtual school shifted work hours so that parents had to be a part-time teacher and work when they could get to it. Professionals had to adapt their hours and figure out how to balance work, parenting, and self-care. Work-life balance for 2020 is not the same as the balance in years past.

Most days are still a struggle, but every once in a while, the heavens open, and I have a kick-ass day. I've identified what items are most important, and I know when they are due. Plus, I have been working through data in a manner that is “good enough. Today I avoided email chatter and the distraction from a two-hour meeting for an important but less urgent matter. I was able to finalize several reports and pull together an executive summary of my data like a boss because of my “good enough” running summary. Thanks again for giving me these tools to succeed.” Faith Stevison, Senior Scientist II, Blueprint Medicines.

Zoom fatigue is a real thing, as Zoom has moved beyond video meetings to wine tastings, birthday parties, and even funerals conducted virtually. Those with slow internet in rural, mountainous, or beach areas were even more isolated.

In the first part of 2020, people either got healthier or let health slide. Those with extra hours in the day from the lack of commuting or networking some have found themselves biking or hiking 1-2 hours. They have cooked more meals at home, and the pounds melted off. Others who live in cities and relied on gyms or group sports for their fitness have found themselves going stir crazy and challenged to exercise. The COVID pounds crept on as they stayed stuck in their homes with few outlets to move.

In the US, we’ve remodeled and fixed up our homes and yards more than ever before. This included my own house, which we paid off in July. We replaced all of our floors, gutted our only bathroom, painted every room, and flipped my office and bedroom. This gave me a bigger room with more natural light, which made more sense since I spent most of my time in the office. People have been decluttering like crazy, finally having the time to go through entire closets, rooms, and even the garage. We had more family meals and some of us have spent more time outside. But we missed out on hugs from friends, seeing live music and plays, and meeting new people.

The updates in the book are just tweaks to the recommendations. There is nothing that I believed when I first wrote this book that I don't believe in now, but rather in the updates, I am considering the work-from-home environment for many more people. Some businesses I initially referenced have not made it through these times. I removed them and added others. Just like before, the most recent technology references will be updated in the hidden bonus chapter. It's easier to keep up there than continually updating the book.

The response to the first edition was so positive, it was almost overwhelming. I had people say it was their book of the year and bought it for their entire team or company. I had groups create clubs to walk through the year of habits together. Most gratifying to me is the Masterclass. It was smaller than I had hoped due to launch at the start of COVID, but it is one of the most fun things I have ever done in my business.

May you use this book to guide your own health and productivity journey, whether you are a novice, pro, or master. Your own path—one step at a time. Thank you for trusting me to walk it with you.

Virtual High Fives and Fist Bumps!
Marcey


Interested in purchasing the book to help you declutter your mind, body, and physical and digital spaces?

Already have the book? Reviews matter. Big Time. If you haven't written a review, please head over to Amazon using the links above, and/or Goodreads and write your experience about reading the book. Super virtual high-fives and fist bumps for helping me out and for helping others find a book to guide them on a new path.

Virtual Speaking Home Office

Virtual Speaking Home Office

Would you rather listen instead? Click here for the 5-minute audio recording.

Last March, COVID-19 turned the speaking world upside down when everything became virtual. While I was already doing some video presentations, I certainly wasn't doing every single one that way! Recently, I upped my game and set my office up for virtual speaking.

The foundation

We live in an 1100 square foot house with two bedrooms, one of which was my office. After a few months of being home-bound, it was evident that even when a vaccine is discovered, I won't be traveling as much as I used to. Conferences, events, and meetings will continue to sometimes be virtual or a hybrid event. I also knew that I couldn't continue my current set-up for another year.

We invested the money and remodeled our house to flip our bedroom and my office. I moved from a smaller room with poor natural light to a room with three windows and more space. I can't believe it took that long to realize that we only slept in our bedroom, yet I was in my office 8+ hours a day!

We replaced the flooring and covered one wall with shiplap from Home Depot. It is beautiful and provides a nice, neutral background. My background before was purple photo paper in my logo color, but it severely limited what I could wear. I had to have it behind me because the alternative was people seeing my closet and door. Not an ideal scene, and as a speaker, I can't use a virtual background because it looks unprofessional, and when I would move, I would lose an arm or get blurry.

Watch the full Speaker Office Tour

Furniture for virtual speaking

Marcey Whiteboard

I added a ladder shelf with only things that I love from clients or friends and a few marketing pieces. I lost wall space due to windows, so I bought a reversible mobile whiteboard that I can use when speaking and for my own use. My new standing desk gave me space for dual monitors, and now I'm completely spoiled. I already had a standing desk, but it was narrow and didn't allow me to have all the technology. I don't think speakers should be sitting, even when virtual. Would you sit onstage? Stand up!

Mobile Whiteboard – I keep all of my quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily priorities on one side of the whiteboard and use the other side for presentations. This hosts the Smart TV, and I can easily roll it out of the way when I'm not speaking.

Standing desk – I like this one because it's adjustable and gives me plenty of space for all of my tech and to write.

Sit stand desk photo

Technology for virtual speaking

I had no idea what to buy, so I relied on Evan Carroll from Attended Events to purchase the goods and install them. He came to my house twice for set-up and training and did a quick emergency video session before my first virtual keynote. He was worth every single penny not to research all of it myself and just tell me what I need to know, complete with an Amazon shopping list. It all took some time to get used to, but I love my new set-up!

Accessories for virtual speaking

Before, I didn't have anything natural in the office. Now I have plants, and I can't believe what a difference it makes! With my new office, I vowed to only have things that were truly special or functional. I love the lack of clutter.

Gardenix Self-Watering Pots – I kill plants, so these self-watering pots were a real find.

Door Hanger

Work Well. Play More! Door hanger – I use this when I can't be interrupted by my husband. When the sign is on the door, I'm Working Well so I can Play More!

I love my new office and set-up to speak virtually. I still prefer speaking live, but I am fortunate to make the investment to create an environment that allows me to speak more naturally and for my audience not to see a toy soldier or talking head on a screen.

If you need a speaker, check out my Speaker Prospectus. I can help you Conquer the Calendar, Master Tasks, Extinguisher Email, Escalate Energy, and Work Well Remotely!

How I finally got healthy after 40.

How I finally got healthy after 40.

Would you rather listen instead? Click here for the 6-minute audio recording.

Today is my 46th birthday. I'm the happiest and healthiest I've ever been physically, mentally, and emotionally (a lot given the 2020 circumstances). This photo was hard to post because I feel a little embarrassed, like I'm showing off, but I promise I'm not. I'm showing you that it is never too late to improve your health. I'm actually more healthy after 40 than I've ever been before!

Healthy exercise after 40

Marcey Rader Bike

In my 20s and 30s, I never ever thought I would have abs. I trained 20 hours a week for Iron-distance triathlons, 24-hour adventure races, and ultra-marathons. The result? A ton of endurance and the ability to go on for hours. However, I wasn't super lean. Even though I knew that ultra-endurance training wasn't healthy, I kept at it, pretending that pushing myself that hard and exercising at that level was beneficial. Turns out, it was really more of an escape from my job. Something I could identify with that made me feel worthy, and a way to impress people when I told them I had covered over 300 miles in a week or worked out for three hours that day. 

The result after a decade of that was nervous system fatigue, sleepless nights, gut issues, and triggering three autoimmune diseases. Oh yeah, and going into menopause at 36 years old. When I was diagnosed at 39, I did one last race after my 40th birthday and said goodbye to competition. Surprisingly, I didn't miss it because I was able to identify with something more important, the growth of my business, and helping my clients. 

How I work out now:

  • I exercise daily for about an hour in the morning. Heavy on the strength training (no pun intended), running less than 30 minutes, mountain and greenway biking for 40-90 minutes, or jumping rope.
  • I do a lot of Movement Opportunities, which include hula hooping while I read, phone walkie talkies, walking meetings, and riding my FitBike while watching webinars.
Hoop Kindle
Marcey Fitbike
  • I have three baseline exercises I do every day – 50 pull-ups, 75 push-ups, and 100 kettlebell swings.

Key change? Doing more interval workouts instead of long, slow endurance training. The law of diminishing returns will get you when doing those kinds of activities. Building muscle is more important as you get older. And for the love of suns and guns…pick up more than five pounds.

Marcey Exercise

Nutrition after 40

If you've read my books, you know that growing up, the only vegetables I ate were corn and potatoes (which I don't even count as vegetables now). I started eating more variety in my 30s but was still a potato-chip carbatarian more than a vegetarian. Once I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, I went gluten-free and never looked back. My chronic gut problems went away after about two months. I slept better, had more energy, and managed my Hashimoto's. I don't substitute with many GF grains, limiting all grains to two servings on most days. Limiting makes it sound like I'm strict, but there are days when I have zero, and I don't miss them. Why? I. Love. Vegetables.

I had no idea how good veggies could be once I knew how to cook them properly. I easily get 5-6 servings a day and sometimes up to 9. It's not a challenge for me to get them in. I use vegetables the same way I used carbs in the past – subbing zucchini noodles for pasta noodles, and coconut wraps for flour tortillas.

I also was a sugar addict. I now limit it, but definitely don't eliminate it. I don't have the cravings I had before because I don't eat it during the week. I break the cycle by not having it all the time. Where I used to have to eat something every morning before I worked out – gel, banana, toast – I work out fasted every morning because I'm able to tap into my fat stores easier.

How I eat now:

  • Loads of veggies, often starting my day with at least one serving.
  • Fermented foods in the form of home-brewed Kombucha, real sauerkraut, and kimchi.
  • Seaweed or kelp a few times a week.
  • Sweets only on the weekends or holidays (real holidays, not like Columbus Day).
  • Fasted workouts in the morning. Water with Kion Amino Acids is all I use before and during a workout. Note that when you first start doing this, you may feel terrible because your body is used to needing carbs. After 2-3 weeks, your body will get more used to it. This is one of the top ways I feel I was able to get leaner.

I'm such a fan of Brussels sprouts that I was delighted to see that my friend Ron's new restaurant, Mookie's New York Deli, actually named a dish after me – Marcey's Crispy Brussels Sprouts!

Marcey's Crispy Bean Sprouts
Marcey's Crispy Brussels Sprouts!

Mental health after 40

I am a recovering perfectionist and admit to high-strung, high-intensity behavior. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop or reach the next rung on the ladder. Rarely being present in the moment or even considering anything I did good enough. That changed when I hit 40 and became a business owner. Learning it all and attempting to do it all made me a fan of ‘good enough.' I also started meditating and self-hypnosis, even with just two minutes, and now do it daily. The change took a couple of years to notice, but now I wouldn't go without it.

How I'm happier now:

  • I meditate or do self-hypnosis daily for 10-25 minutes, sometimes twice.
  • I get less worked up over things, and if I find myself going down a ruminating path, I can stop it quicker. Note – I didn't say I don't do it, just not nearly as much and for shorter time periods. It's a hard habit to break.
  • I limit my news and don't do any social media except LinkedIn (people tend not to be mean, political, or controversial on that platform).

There are definitely other things I do now that I feel make a difference, but those can be found in the Work Well. Play More! Productive, Clutter-Free, Healthy Living – One Step at a Time book.

Two things I'm adding this year to be healthy after 40.

A far-infrared sauna will soon be delivered to my house. Far-infrared has been shown to boost immunity, increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, improve heart health, heal wounds faster and slow down aging (among other benefits). I'm also buying a rebounder. Yes, that bouncy thing you used to jump up and down on at your grandma's house! Rebounding is gentle on your joints, strengthens bones, and has been shown to increase lymph flow by 15 times! Just like with the sauna, the benefits are too many to be listed. After playing on one for five days at my friend Sara's house, it became a must-have.

There you go…a few reasons why I'm healthier at 46 than I was at 36 and even 26. It's not too late. It's never too late. Make one change at a time. 

Need help implementing small behavior changes to improve your health?
Check out the sneak peek from Marcey's latest book →

Healthy Home Office

Healthy Home Office

What makes a healthy home office? Proper ergonomics is a given as is natural light and temperatures you can control. Step inside my office to see what I use to stay healthy (which also means more productive)! (And please excuse the COVID hair)

Items for my healthy home office.

FitDesk Bike Desk* – I've lost count how many people have purchased these since COVID started. I use mine to watch webinars, attend meetings as a participant, read, and practice my Spanish. Use the code MARCEYFREEMAT for a free under-desk mat at www.thefitdesk.com, or you can buy on Amazon.

Hoop – I make my own hoops, so I have them in different sizes and weights. The lighter and smaller they are, the harder to hoop. You can buy these online.

Sit stand desk photo

Sit-Stand Desk* – This two-level desk has a hand crank that I can move up and down, but with all my tech on it, I just keep it stationary and use my leaning stool if I need to give my legs a break.

Portable standing desk* – My version is from www.standstand.com, but you can purchase several lightweight versions online or check out the one from FitDesk*. I take mine to the park, coffee shops, and on trips. If you have other family members at home, trade off on who gets to use it at different times of the day. And please include your kids. They can get glute amnesia too!

Focal Mogo Leaning Stool* – I use this for quick breaks and even to take outside instead of a camp chair. It requires your core to be engaged so you don't slouch and adjustable so your whole family can take turns using this.

Blue Ray Blocking Glasses* – If you work on a computer, you must get blue ray blocking glasses to protect your eyes and help with eye fatigue. These are also known as gaming glasses, and you can even get them without a prescription. Zenni Optical has affordable, fun glasses with and without a prescription.

Custom illustrated cards – I send out cards on Fridays for my AAA theme – Admin, Accounting, Appreciation. Giving gratitude or sending a ‘thinking of you' card makes me happy and the other person. Science shows it contributes to happiness and wellbeing. I purchased custom illustrations from artist Lisa Wood and had them printed with Vistaprint.

Thank You Card Illustration
Marcey's Thank You Cards

Standing desk mat* – No matter what floor you have, a desk mat can help prevent leg fatigue. I am barefoot at home and stand on mine all day. Check out my reviews below.

EazeeMats Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Standing Desk Mats

Evoluent mouse – I use an ergonomic vertical mouse to help prevent wrist problems. I've had it for over a decade and have never experienced an issue.

Air diffuser – I have a couple of these, one in the bedroom and one in my office. I like InnooCare* because it has a timer, and I don't accidentally leave it running all day.

Essential Oils – I like to diffuse essential oils for at least an hour a day and change it up depending on what I need – energy, relaxation, focus, etc. I like the Doterra brand.

Brain.Fm – I use binaural beats with headphones to help me with focus. I like Brain.fm, video game music, or my own playlist I created on Spotify.

When you work from home, ergonomics, proper lighting, and taking your space seriously often gets overlooked. Incorporating even one or two of these things into your office set-up can improve your health and productivity. Just because you don't have a separate room and are working from the kitchen table doesn't mean you can't use a portable standing desk. If you're sharing space with your spouse or kids, you can still diffuse oils and buy blue-ray blocking glasses for everyone. 

What one purchase or step can you make to make your office more healthy?

Items marked with an * is an affiliate link which means I make a few coins off your purchase at no extra cost to you

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