Essential Items for a Home Gym

by | Health

Marcey Exercise

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. My favorite ropes are from Crossrope. I use the Get Lean bundle.
  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 the 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*—Adding a weighted vest makes any exercise more challenging. I use this when hiking, walking around my neighborhood, doing yard work, and doing some weight routines.
  8. Balance Disc* – Standing exercises on this disc challenge your balance and flexibility.
  9. Push-up bars*—I like these because they give me a greater range of motion. 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 impossible every day when the weather is cold. One thing I never do is make an excuse. Your home gym can be so minimal that it consists of nothing! It's possible to get a great workout with no equipment and just using 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.

Want actionable, health-powered productivity tips in less than 15 minutes?
check out our podcast!


“Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.”

jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects


You have Successfully Subscribed!


millions of americans unplug on vacation... are you ready to be one of them?

Leave your work behind without the usual pile-up upon return. Get the secrets to come back Health-Powered™ and RECHARGED!

Check your inbox for the secrets.