The New Year is here, and even if you have every desire to make 2012 the healthiest year yet, the pesky realities of life can seem like frustrating roadblocks.
Maybe the cost of a gym plus child care is too much, or you don't live near a good workout facility. Maybe you know yourself well enough to know that you will not work out in front of a bunch of strangers.
Whatever the roadblock, your solution - and the start of your Badass 2012 - might just be two words: Home Gym.
For less than $500, the equivalent of a $40-a-month gym membership, you can buy a few essential pieces to create a home gym that takes up minimal space and leaves you with zero excuses for not fitting in some sort of daily training - other than, of course, "I don't wanna."
Below are the basic pieces I'd recommend for a home gym, with prices broken down in case your budget is less than $500. Pick and choose as you need, but pick something. Even if you have a gym membership or outside-the-house workout routine, some of these pieces like the bands and TRX are awesome for taking in your carry-on when you need to travel.
Bosu Trainer: This is one of my faves. Plyometric cardio drills, balance and core exercises, strength training from the shoulders down to your legs - the Bosu trainer provides a full-body workout and takes up very little space.
Cost: $160 including DVD from PowerSystems.com, which often offers discounts and free shipping
Resistance Bands: These harmless-looking bands pack a punch when used to their full sculpting potential, from inner and outer-thigh glute squeezes to biceps curls, tricep kickbacks and shoulder presses.
Cost: $8 to $12 depending on resistance from PowerSystems.com
TRX Suspension Trainer: Their mantra, Make Your Body Your Machine, pretty much sums it up. I teach 45-minute classes using nothing but the TRX and we work every muscle - including the heart, thanks to plyometric and cardio drills like jumo squats, plank mountain climbers, plank running man, etc. It can be used inside a door frame, tied to a tree or pole, etc. And like the other items suggested here, it folds up into a little bag so space is not an issue.
Cost $200 for TRX Pro Pack plus Door Anchor through Fitness Anywhere, and often with a 15 to 20 percent discount and free shipping
Stability Ball: Use these balls for core work, wall sits, hamstring curls, decline pushups, and even cardio work.
Cost: $21 for Reebok Ball at Target
Med Ball: These little balls have lots of potential, whether you use them in place of dumbbells for walking twisting lunges, weighted step-ups, twisting abs, or overhead squat presses. I also love these for uneven pushups.
Cost: $35 for a 6-pound ball at PowerSystems.com
Floor Mat: If you are exercising in a softly carpeted room, maybe you don't need this. But it doesn't cost much and is great to have around for pushups, stretching, and core work.
Cost: About $30 at Target.com
Total Cost: $458