5 Ways to Work Out – Without Leaving Home

Living room with The Mirror and Yoga mat
Photo courtesy of Mirror

You Don’t Need a Big-Budget Home Gym to Create an Exercise Space That Works

Have you ever considered how much time you spend driving to the gym, waiting for a class to start, and chatting with Katie afterward about the next PTA meeting? It adds up. Wouldn’t it be great to have a home gym, so you could cut that time in half? There are a couple of problems with this vision; building a home gym requires both space and money. So, maybe put that idea aside for a bit and think of creative ways you can squeeze in a workout at home without busting the budget. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Now You See It; Now You Don’t—The Mirror

Woman working out in front of Mirror in living room
Photo courtesy of Mirror

No, it’s not an optical illusion. The workout space your spouse was just grunting and sweating in has disappeared, and all that’s left is a sleek wall mirror. It’s “Mirror”—a high-tech fitness product that literally vanishes when your workout is done. This virtual workout bills itself as an “interactive home gym,” according to Mirror CEO and founder Brynn Putnam.

When it’s on, the Mirror uses your personal fitness profile and biometric data, coaches you throughout the workout, and provides access to New York City studio-style classes. You can see yourself, your instructor, and your classmates in a display that includes an embedded camera and speakers. No cumbersome equipment here, folks. But it does come at a price. The Mirror retails at $1,495 with $39 monthly charges for access to live studio classes and a library of on-demand video workouts.

2. Roll Out Your Mat Anywhere, Anytime—Yoga at Home

Woman stretching on pink yoga mat
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Most yogis know that a mat and a tiny space (21 square feet) are all it takes to practice yoga. But let’s face it, a private space helps get you in a focused Zen mood. With the cold weather upon us, the outdoors is off limits. [For warm weather tips, see 5 ways to create an outdoor meditation garden.] However, a simple moveable, folding shoji screen (an age-old staple of Japanese décor) can attractively close off a corner of your master bedroom, sunroom, or even dining room, and, voila, you have in-home yoga studio.

YouTube channels are a great way to complete your practice from the comfort of your own home. Try Yoga With Adriene for various yoga fitness levels, as well as a class for back pain sufferers. Also, Body Positive Yoga, led by Amber Karnes for plus size yoga practitioners, offers great tips on pose modifications. Additionally, you can check your smart device for mindfulness and mediation apps and podcasts—they’ll help transport you to a different place entirely.

3. Bring the Gym With You—The BodyBoss Home Gym

Woman working out at home with BodyBoss
Photo courtesy of BodyBoss

The BodyBoss Home Gym is a clever workout system that uses a base, resistance bands, and a series of attachments. You can connect the bands to the base in different configurations that allow for targeting specific muscles (e.g., squats, curls, shoulder presses) or a full-body workout—and it’s relatively easy on the joints.

This workout system can be setup anywhere in your home and, when not in use, folded up for easy storage in a closet, under a bed, or in the trunk of your car. It’s portable and lightweight (just 15 pounds), so it travels well. The resistance bands are of good quality, but the system only comes with two, so you may want to purchase spares. Amazon is currently pricing this system at $179. If you’re not feeling empowered by the BodyBoss, you can take advantage of the 30-day money back guarantee.

4. Stream a Workout or Take a Virtual Class from Any Room

Woman taking live VFit Studio exercise class for an effective home workout
Photo courtesy of VFit Studio

If you like the energy of a group class, but don’t want the hassle of enrolling at the gym, on-demand workout videos and live streaming platforms are smart choices.  Platforms such as  BeachBody, DailyBurn and Pure Barre On Demand offer streaming of pre-recorded classes. For as little as $12 per month, these dynamic workouts can be viewed on your laptop, mobile/tablet, or smart TV (or with a Fire TV stick). You can even sync your Fitbit, Apple Watch, or other wearable to the platform so you can track your performance on their leaderboards and monitor your progress over time.

These programs are great if you are self-motivated, but if you’re looking for a bit of encouragement, take a LIVE virtual class from a certified trainer. VFit Studio, a virtual fitness program started by a fitness expert and certified trainer, who also happens to be a busy mother of three, created this platform to work with your busy life. It offers 65-plus different classes per week. They vary in styles and levels, from Barre to high-intensity cardio. The instructor, via webcam, virtually comes to you—to keep you engaged and help you succeed. Classes are as short as 30 minutes and led by real people—not studio models. You have to sign up for classes, which helps eliminate excuses and the chances you’ll “drop out” mid class. Not that you would ever do that (wink!). You can try your first week free here.

Let’s Hang at Home: The Pull-Up Bar

Several of today’s fitness routines incorporate chin-ups into their workouts. There are many options, but a doorway pull-up bar is the best choice for minimalism, as it can be quickly taken down and stashed in the nearest closet. Doing exercises with a pull-up bar is an excellent form of resistance training, and there are loads of tips online on how to do chin-ups, leg lifts, and how to start out slowly using a chair. The ProSource Multi-Grip Chin Up Bar offers multiple grips that provide small and large grips for the different workouts. This is a good exercise accessory with a price tag of only $25.


Pro Source Pullup Bar in Doorway for a home workout
Photo courtesy of ProSource

5. Spinning at Home—From Biking on a Budget to Bright Shiny Objects

RAD Magnetic Bike Stand
Photo courtesy of Amazon for RAD Sportz

No one likes the look of a clunky, mammoth-sized stationary bike parked in the family room or man cave. An easy hack to help you avoid this “elephant in the room” is to use your outdoor bicycle in a stationary stand or trainer.  That way, if you decide to entertain in the space, you can quickly hang the bike in your garage.  According to BestReviews, the highly rated Saris CycleOps Fluid 2 Indoor Bike Trainer offers a wide resistance range at $300, while the RAD Portable Magnetic Bike Stand folds completely flat and comes in at less than $100. Both are good choices on a tight budget.

Woman riding Peloton bike in family room for home workout
Photo courtesy of Peloton

If you do have deeper pockets and additional real estate, Peloton’s fitness bike is impressive. It has a 22-inch screen with speakers, well-produced live streaming and on-demand spin classes, webcam for in-class video chats, and interaction with self-made celebrity instructors. A burgeoning Facebook following has exploded with fan clubs and offshoot communities filled with Peloton enthusiasts. For the homeowner looking for this community appeal, it’s all yours for  $2,245.

As with The Mirror and streaming apps mentioned above, there is a monthly subscription fee to participate in Peloton’s virtual training activities. The digital-only subscription was reduced this week to $12.99 per month after the company’s television ad went viral. So, it might be a good time to jump on board. (Note: Monthly subscription fees with the bike remain at $39.) Keep in mind, this machine will need a designated space in your domain.The bike is fairly compact, requiring just 4′ x 2′ of space.


Writer, Maureen Ryan Thorpe

Maureen Ryan Thorpe is a freelance writer who grew up on the North Shore of Boston and has written about people, places, and technology for years. She aims to impart tips to readers on how to “do-it-yourself,” save money, think creatively, and live life to the fullest.

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