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!


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.

I am 46 years old. 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, rebounding, or jumping rope.
  • I do a lot of Movement Opportunities, which include hula hooping while I read, phone or in-person walkie-talkies, 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've been eating this way for six years.

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 limit my intake to weekends or holidays (actual holidays, not like Columbus Day). I don't have the cravings I had before because I don't eat sweets during the week, which helps break the cycle. I used to eat something every morning before I worked out – gel, banana, toast – because my body was used to that constant feed of carbs and sugar. I've worked out fasted for the last six years every morning and can 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.
  • 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 thinkitate (just sit in silence and let my mind do what it wants to) every day.
  • I get less worked up over things, and if I find myself going down a ruminating path, I can stop it quicker. I didn't say I don't do it, just not nearly as much and for shorter 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 that I feel make a difference, and those can be found in the Work Well. Play More! Productive, Clutter-Free, Healthy Living – One Step at a Time book.

Two things I added in the last year to be healthy after 40.

The best health investment I made in 2020 was for my Sunlighten Signature II far-infrared sauna. 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). It's become my evening transition from work, and I've used it all but three days that I've been home. I read, do crossword puzzles, meditate or thinkitate for 30-40 minutes.

I also inherited a rebounder from my friend Sara. 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.

These are some of the reasons I feel like I'm healthier after 40.

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

Ten Essential Health Products

Ten Essential Health Products

Would you rather listen instead? Click here for the 7-minute audio recording.

Hey Marcey! If I had to narrow down ten things to purchase to improve my health, what would they be?

I'm glad you asked! Here are ten things I could live without, but don't want to.

Sleeping headphones*. Sleep is the #1 thing I work on with clients if they have issues. It doesn't matter how good your nutrition or exercise habits are, if you don't have a good sleep, you can't optimize the other two. The effects of poor quality or lack of sleep are so significant, entire books are written on it, so I'll stick to the products. I am a light sleeper. We have a white noise machine by our bed, but it doesn't drown out my husband's occasional snoring or sing or talk me to sleep. I used AcousticSheep SleepPhones* for several years (see my review of the Classic version) and recently tested out the Simple version (review here). I opted to return them for the Effortless. Key features – they lie flat against your head, work with any meditation or music app, and double bonus for being able to run with them!

Watch my Review

Sleep mask. Any light can be disruptive to sleep. The photoreceptors on our skin can detect light in our room, and pure darkness puts us in the best state to sleep. Besides our black-out blinds and covering smoke alarm lights with electrical tape, I wear a sleep mask. This keeps me from waking up or disrupting my sleep (even unconsciously) when my husband comes to bed or gets up to go to the bathroom. My mask of choice is the super affordable Dream Essentials Contoured Eye Mask (Get it on Amazon*). It doesn't lay flat on your face (it's a bra for your eyes!), It is adjustable and lightweight.

Watch my Review

Blue-ray blocking glasses.* Okay, this is the last thing for sleep, but do you see how obsessed I am with getting good quality? The blue rays from our device screens disrupt our circadian rhythm and suppress our melatonin. This leads to poor quality sleep and longer sleep latency (amount of time to fall asleep). You can now get prescription glasses with blue-ray blocking lenses or buy video gaming glasses. Gamers use these glasses to help with eye fatigue (do you know we also blink less when looking at a screen?). 

Meditation app. has hundreds of meditations from 2-30 minutes, sleep stories, music tracks, and masterclasses. This is how I started with meditating – just two minutes at a time. Now I have a streak of almost 1000 days. I especially like the sleep meditations (I lied, another sleep reference!).

Coffee alternatives. I like to drink all day at my computer. If I have coffee after 2pm it seriously affects my sleep (good grief, again!). I cut down on the caffeine with Teeccino*, a coffee alternative that brews just like coffee and tastes delicious. I make a half and half version of coffee and Teeccino every morning. My two favorite teas are the Good Earth Sweet and Spicy* caffeine (for mornings and early afternoon) and decaf versions. I am a total diva with these and you will find them in every bag I carry plus my car, so I am never without.

BedTalk #8 – Get your iced coffee fix now!

Magnesium. I don't recommend a lot of supplements, but feel entirely safe recommending magnesium. About half the US and European populations are deficient, and we need it for over 600 reactions in the body. Taking it in the evening can help with sleep and contribute to a healthy poo in the morning. I like Natural Calm* brand and mix a teaspoon in with my home-brewed Kombucha every evening (#KombuchaHippie).

Bike desk. 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* ).

Fitbike Marcey

Tahini. Okay. This may seem a little strange, but I'm adding Tahini because I eat it almost every day. Tahini is a light, nutty paste made from toasted, ground sesame seeds. The consistency is like natural peanut butter and it's used in a lot of Mediterranean and Asian dishes. It is the main ingredient in hummus. It is not low calorie or low fat, but it is very nutritious. About 50% of the fat comes from healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. I use it on my vegetables for healthy fat and protein, as a spread on mini tortilla pizzas and to mix with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice for a salad dressing.

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 to play in getting leaner, but I attribute the pull-up for 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 trigger when I go into my closet. For the full story, watch the video below.

A Litterbox Trigger for a Healthy Habit

This is the bar I use – ProsourceFit Pull-up Bar.

Heart variability tracker. This is an advanced technique, but I track my heart rate variability (different than heart rate) to keep my autoimmune disease under control and recognize when I'm starting to overreach or get stressed before the symptoms become apparent. I use the Oura ring, which is also one of the best sleep trackers on the market. I've also used the Elite HRV and Sweetbeat Apps.

There you have it, my ten products I wouldn't want to live without for my health. Let me know if you try them out!

*denotes an affiliate link where I make a few extra coins at no extra cost to you.

Sleepphones Simple Product Review

Sleepphones Simple Product Review

I'm a big fan of the AcousticSheep SleepPhones, marketed as pajamas for your ears. When my CLASSIC version finally gave out after several years of almost-nightly use, rather than replace the cord, I decided to try the Simple wireless version and then switched to the Effortless.

Key Features:

  • Wireless
  • 20-hour rechargeable battery life (in the video I say 8 hours)
  • Six timer options
  • 17 pre-recorded tracks

I'm returning these not because they don't stand up to the description, but solely for personal preference with the pre-recorded tracks. Check out the video for my opinion. *Note in the video I say Effortless at the end. This version is Simple.

I accidentally checked that it was a gift so it came beautifully wrapped.

To buy your own AcousticSheep SleepPhones visit this link* and use the code sleepwell for $10 off the first SleepPhones headphones purchase ($39+, one per person, excludes gift cards).

*affiliate link which gives me a commission at no extra cost to you

BedTalk #8 – Get your iced coffee fix now!

BedTalk #8 – Get your iced coffee fix now!

Do you love to drink iced coffee in the summer but don't want to get jacked up on caffeine all day long? Cut it with Teeccino and get your iced coffee fix with half the caff!

I love cold brew. My favorite drink at Starbucks is a Grande Sweet Cream Vanilla Cold Brew with half the syrup in a venti cup (yes, I'm a diva like that). Since that's a treat drink for me, I stick with a Marceycinno at home on most days. To extend the feeling and taste of the cold brew without drinking 20+ ounces of coffee, I cut it with Teeccino.

Teeccino is a coffee alternative, not a coffee substitute. It brews just like regular coffee and comes in multiple flavors like chocolate mint, caramel nut, and hazelnut. It's a great way to wean yourself from coffee, cut your caffeine intake by mixing it (you won't notice the difference), and still get that coffee feel.

On Sundays I brew a large pot of Teeccino and make iced cubes with it. I put the rest in a container to mix half and half with my coffee throughout the week.

Try it and get your iced coffee fix without all the jitters.

You can buy Teeccino here on Amazon* – or on their website

*Affiliate link where I get a few coins and you don't pay any extra!

For more #BedTalk search for #BedTalkChallenge, started by David Rendall Click here for another BedTalk.

#Bed Talk #7 Listicize the positive changes

#Bed Talk #7 Listicize the positive changes

Marcey Rader in #BedTalkChallenge talks about the positive things that may have come from the shelter-in-place. She and her husband have decided to create a listicize the positive changes they liked from the shelter-in-place and what they will keep in their routine.

Before the quarantine, Marcey and Kevin never ate meals together during the week. Now they have lunch together almost every day. They definitely want to keep that!

A client of Marcey's said he was the happiest he'd been in three years. Why? What can they keep from their new routines to help him stay in his happy place?

For more #BedTalk search for #BedTalkChallenge, started by David Rendall Click here for another BedTalk.


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