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!


#BedTalk #9 Coronahair for Charity!

#BedTalk #9 Coronahair for Charity!

Are you struggling with #Coronahair? Have you walked by your mirror and scared yourself because you aren't recognizable? Does it look like a cat landed on your head, and you desperately want to be your hairdresser's first appointment back? Fix your Coronahair for charity!

My friend Jess Ekstrom is the founder of Headbands of Hope, a non-profit that gives a headband to a child with an illness for every headband sold. They have donated over 500,000 headbands around the world. 

Headband of Hope

They sell other headwear and clothing, and due to COVID-19, they are now donating a mask to a healthcare professional for every item sold!

Use the code PlayMore for $5 off your order by clicking on this link. * Headbands of Hope

Thank you to Becky Sansbury for coming up with this great idea!

I'd love to see photos of your #Coronahair. Check out my husband's band, Jack the Radio, who felt that their #Coronahair was art-worthy.

corona hair

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

Living in the COVID-19 Bubble

Living in the COVID-19 Bubble

Coffee on vacation in Mexico before COVID-19 took over our lives.

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

The world around me has changed in the last month, but not in a way that has impacted me significantly. I write this and have mixed feelings. Guilt, embarrassment, and the need to justify. I am living in the COVID-19 bubble.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way because I’ve talked to other people about it. As I’m writing this, I’m not even sure if I will post it. I don’t want people on the frontlines, risking their lives, to read this and think I don’t appreciate them or that I am naive. I’m not a COVIDIOT and believe this is less devastation than it is. I do, however, have some fortunate circumstances that have allowed me to live in this bubble. Others like me whisper it like we are afraid others will hear “my life hasn’t changed that much” or “my life is good right now.”

I may look back on this post a month or year from now and want to delete it. Things change from day to day. I’ve cried exactly three times since this all happened, but for the most part, I’ve been a 7 out of 10 on the happiness scale.

When did I cry?

  • Listening to a story on The Daily from an Italian doctor who said he had to make choices on who would live and who would die.
  • When I talked to my best girl Michelle, who we have had monthly dinners with as couples for two years, and wondered if we would go back to that when it’s all over.
  • Seeing my Instacart driver spray down her trunk, outside door and inside her car after delivering my groceries. All while wearing a facemask and gloves. Bless you, Instacart driver.

I am in the COVID-19 bubble. 

I have a business that has not been impacted; instead, I have actually gained business. As a professional speaker, I was already doing virtual presentations and webinars. I have been training companies to transition and work remotely for years. When it all hit the fan, I reached out to companies to remind them of my experience and immediately started getting booked to help. I got new clients out of it as well. 

Other speakers are struggling. Either their message isn’t appropriate right now, or they targeted industries that are deeply hit. Also, since I focus on health behaviors, people reached out because habits started to go in the toilet. They could see where this mess was headed if it kept up (a 20-pound weight gain and a mental breakdown).

I’m very healthy and don’t take that for granted. I work for it and focus on nutrition, sleep, and exercise. I don’t have to leave my house (and have only two times in almost a month) and am not exposed. My autoimmune disease causes me to fight myself. Still, I rarely get sick otherwise, and even when my husband had terrible flu in February, I didn’t catch it. I practice healthy choices, and it’s the highest priority in my life, but COVID-19 doesn’t care about that. My bubble keeps me safe.

My husband was able to transition to virtual drum lessons. He lost his gigs for a few months, but he maintained all but two students. He lost about 1.5 weeks of income, but after figuring out how to set up his studio, he now in some ways prefers teaching remotely.

Speaking of my husband. I like him. Of course, I love him, but I also like him. We enjoy hanging out together. I have seen only him for the last three weeks except for about 10 minutes when I dropped off a package to a friend and stood in her yard and talked to her. We’re not sick of each other, and since he has no reason to go into the studio early anymore to rehearse, we eat lunch together every day. He has a different schedule than me and works afternoons and evenings, so we each have our own time since I work during the day. Since he’s not going out with his bandmates, gigging or rehearsing at night, he is home at a reasonable 8:30, and I see him before I go to bed. 

I’ve been Zooming for years. I see all my coaching clients over video conference, so none of this was new to me. There was no learning curve (until they made security updates!). The people who need virtual happy hours or virtual meals together are feeling isolated or lonely. I do not. In fact, Zoom is the last thing I want to be on at the end of the day because I’m on it for several hours already. I’ve asked precisely one couple to Zoom with me. It’s because we will be missing our weekend trip to their house and I KNOW we would be talking about the new season of Ozark, so I gave that option.

As an introverted extrovert, I need a lot of privacy. I’m someone who is not often bored. I can always find something to do or like the time to think or read books. I like people, but I love my privacy. Since I’m Zooming all the time anyway, I’m good with my interaction. Ask me a month from now when it’s been sixty days, and I may feel differently, but for now, I’m okay.

My family lives far away. I’m not used to seeing them, so it’s our regular chatting on the phone while I’m walking around my neighborhood.

So there. This is my life right now. I definitely miss some things, like monthly dinners with Matt and Michelle, going to Full Bloom on Sundays for our family meetings, mountain biking at the park, and my Mom and Dad’s trip here in April. But for the most part, I’m good. Not great. Not fantastic. But good. 

I do not take it for granted.

I am grateful every day.

I am sorry for the lives of the people who have been turned upside down with an illness, kids at home because they can’t go to school, job losses, and lack of cash flow. My heart goes out to you.

I’m in the bubble and will stay here as long as I can. I hope wherever you are, you can find a safe space as well.

Virtual hugs,

Marcey Rader Signature
#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.

#BedTalk #6 Walking backward to move forward

#BedTalk #6 Walking backward to move forward

Do you feel like lately you've been walking backward and not going anywhere or are falling behind?

I was excited to get the latest book from Jeff Nischwitz, Just One Step: Walking Backwards to the Present on the Camino Trail

Jeff literally walked backward during his epic journey because it was too painful to walk forward. I've also experienced the same thing after a marathon, where walking backward eased the pain I was in. Even though we couldn't see where we were going, we were still forging ahead whether the outcome was the end of an epic trail or the bottom of my stairs.

It might seem like lately you've been moving backward, but flip that switch. Is there a growth opportunity out of it that is actually propelling you forward? Maybe not now, but in the future?

Stay to the end, where you see my current book of choice, the fluff one sometimes has to read in the midst of a pandemic!

The #BedTalkChallenge was created by David Rendall.

#BedTalk #5 Stop Shoulding on Yourself

#BedTalk #5 Stop Shoulding on Yourself

Declutter your house! Learn Dutch! Organize all your files!

Are you starting to should on yourself about all the things you should be doing? Even worse, are you shoulding on others? Stop shoulding.

When we use the word should we are saying that we failed. Not everyone's work or responsibilities has decreased. For some, it has increased. Don't feel like you need to keep up with everyone else.

For the people who aren't working they may be excited to find time to finally learn that language.
For people who have been wanting to work on a house project for a year, they now have the hours to do it.

But if you are working hard all day and you just want to watch Ozark in the evening?
Go for it. Stop shoulding on yourself.

Just make sure you do some push-ups and squats in between each episode 🙂

For more #BedTalk search for #BedTalkChallenge, started by David Rendall



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