Building a Simple and Effective Home Gym for the Busy Mom

I always considered myself to be a pretty fit and active person. When I got married I did what most newlyweds do… I cooked and I ate and I packed on a few pounds! I knew that I wanted to shed a few of the pounds I had gained as a happy newlywed. I would go to the gym sporadically and saw sketchy results. Then, I had two children in two years, which changed my wanting to shed a few pounds to needing to lose at least fifty pounds! As a new mom with a toddler and a newborn there was no way I was going to the gym, even though in my mind I saw myself getting up at 5am every morning, going to the gym and getting my pre-baby body back. You know, like all those other moms out there…. Anyway, that vision did not became my reality. I realized that I was going to have get started with what I already had.

When I decided it was time to get in shape and lose the baby weight, I gathered the various equipment I had scattered all over my house and discovered that I had a pretty effective home gym. I found that you can get fit at home with no or minimal equipment that won’t break the bank! The equipment that I have includes, dumbbells, a stability ball, an exercise/yoga mat, a jump rope, and resistance bands. I use each of these in various ways to create a great workout!

I have three pound and five pound dumbbells. I use the three and five pound weights when I do squats to make them a bit more challenging. Place one weight in each hand. As you bend your knees into the squat position, lift your arms in front of you to shoulder height. Do three sets of five to start. If you can do more, increase the number of reps per set.

Although my stability ball has become more of a toy for my kids, there are some excellent core exercises that can be done using it. A simple and easy one that is very effective is crunches. To do this, lay back on the ball with your feet firmly on the floor. Place your hands with your fingertips to your ears, so you do not strain your neck and gently and smoothly lift your head pointing your chin towards the ceiling.

My exercise/yoga mat is of great use, especially since my entire house has hard wood floors! I use it for everything from sit-ups to crunches to planks and more. When choosing a mat, make sure you choose one that has enough cushioning to be comfortable and enough of a grip so you won’t slide around while exercising.

Another simple tool is my jump rope. I have to admit my rope has been under utilized. However, recently I took it along with me to my family reunion. Mostly because I had packed a jump rope for my daughter and I wanted to show her how to use it. I got a great workout on the go! That is the beauty of the rope. It is compact and travels well. With this in your arsenal there is really no excuse not to get a workout in. If you don’t know where to begin, try this jump rope workout by FitnessBlender.com. http://www.fitnessblender.com/v/workout-detail/Jump-Rope-Weight-Loss-Routine-20-Minute-Home-Cardio-Workout/8u/

Another compact and easy to use item are resistance bands. They can be used for a total body workout. I primarily use them for my arms but they can be modified to workout your legs as well. Two of my favorite resistance band exercises are a simple curl and a shoulder press, although I know I could also do this with my weights. You can also combine those two exercises to make your workout more challenging. Resistance bands come in a variety of colors which correspond to different weights. They can be bought individually or as a set. Again they also travel well eliminating excuses.

Since starting to work out a few years ago I have added Kettle bells to my arsenal. I plan to add these final items to my home gym to continue to add variety to my workouts, a Chin-up Bar, and a Bosu Ball. Kettle bells are the most trendy and popular workout equipment these days. Beside being on trend they provide an excellent upper and lower body workout. A chin up bar provides a full workout for your arms, shoulders, back and chest. They are available in sturdy varieties that don’t require being screwed into your doorway and they are compact enough to be stored under your bed. Lastly, the Bosu Ball is another piece of stability equipment. It looks like a stability ball that has been cut in half. It can be used in a variety of ways to build your core muscles.

Often people don’t embark on a journey to fitness using the excuse that they can’t afford a treadmill or a gym membership. The reality is that three out of four gym memberships go unused any way. I have introduced you to eight must have items for your home gym. If you purchase one item each month, you will have your complete home gym just in time for summer! Remember to be fit and have fun!

What is your favorite at home gym equipment?

Financial Literacy Month

Are YOU Financially Fit?

April is National Financial Literacy Month! So that made me ask myself the question, “Are YOU Financially Fit?” God desires that we prosper and be in good health even as our soul prospers.  The Fit Faith Life is about so much more than just our physical fitness. It is also about the rest of our life lining up with God so that we are spiritually, emotionally and yes, even financially fit!  Let’s be real.  When our money is not right, it affects so many other areas of our lives. It makes it hard to pray, it makes it hard to give, it make it hard to exercise and ultimately can lead to stress that can affect our physical health.  This month I am partnering with my friend Shehara Smallwood of Your Story Financial to share financially literacy tips. We hope that by the end of this month you will be well on your way to living your financial dreams.

Financial Literacy Month
Are YOU Financially Fit?

So, what exactly is “financial literacy”? Financial literacy is “the ability to understand how money works in the world, how someone manages to earn or make it, how that person manages it, how he or she invests it and how that person donates it to help others.” More specifically it refers to the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed decisions with all of their financial resources.  I would like to add that financial literacy is also how you steward all that God has provided you with including your financial resources.  Here are three tips to help you as you look at your financial fitness.

  1. God Wants You to Be a Good Steward: Our goal is to live free. The bible says to owe no man anything but to love them. (Romans 13:8) It also says that we are to be lenders and not borrowers. (Deuteronomy 28) God has given us this freedom. However, it is up to us to make wise decisions that will keep us from being entangled and trapped in debt. It is up to us to manage what God has given us and allow Him to increase it.
  2.  Your Story is Not My Story:  It is so easy in our social media driven world to get caught up in what someone else is doing.  First and foremost, you have to understand that what you see could just be a shadow. It could be that that person is living a debt driven life.  Keeping up with the Joneses is not a viable plan for living the life of your dreams. You have to write your own story and live the life that God has intended for you to live.
  3.  Be Honest and Make the First Move: Facing our finances can one of the hardest things we ever do. Especially if we are not managing them well.  We have to be honest about our choices and our motivations.  Finances, similarly to fitness is a heart issue.  It deals with who we are at our core.  What you spend your money on is an indication of where your heart is. If you are living from paycheck to paycheck there are some things that you have to be honest about in your life. Could it be that you are living above your means, you are underemployed or you are wasteful? It can be a challenge to really face yourself and change. It’s ok, we are here to encourage you and support you as you move ahead towards financially freedom.

This month we will discuss various aspects of financial literacy, including how to save 3-6 months of your expenses, how to plan for retirement, how to plan and pay for college and we will also have several Facebook Live chats to take your questions.  Join us as we get “Financially Fit” together!!

Are You Financially Fit?

 

 

4 Reasons to Do the Core Workout

Four Reasons You Need to Do The Core Workout

Each week on the FitFaithLife Instagram page we share a Wednesday Workout. This week’s workout was The Core Workout.  So, I am sharing Four Reasons You Need to Do The Core Workout. Core workouts target the muscles in your abdominals, lower back, and glutes. They provide power, stability and endurance. A strong core is the foundation of functional fitness.

The Core Workout
The Core Workout

 

REASON 1: Core Workouts Build Balance and Stability

Most physical activities require the use of your core muscles. A weak core makes you susceptible to injury, a weak back and back pain. By doing exercises that build your core, you will enhance your balance stability, which is important as we grow older.

REASON 2: Core Workouts Can Help You Get Flat Abs

Your abdominal muscles are only a part of the muscle group that make up your core. However, there are several core exercises that target your abs and along with a healthy, balanced diet, can help you achieve flatter abs.

REASON 3: Core Workouts Can Be Done Anywhere

Most core exercises do not require any equipment and they can be done anywhere. Exercises like planks and Supermans, only require enough space to lay on your stomach or side.   The Glute Bridge is another classic core exercise. They can be done inside or outside without having to make many adjustments.

REASON 4: Core Workouts Can Help You Reach Your Overall Wellness Goals

Core exercises really should be the foundation of your exercise regime.  The exercises not only tone your abdominals, but they tighten your glutes and legs and strengthen your back.  If you are an athlete training for an event or someone who is striving to live a healthier life, adding these simple but effective exercises to your workouts will yield quick results if you are consistent.

 

 If you missed our other Wednesday Workouts, follow us on Instagram to stay in the loop. What are your exercise goals? Are you strengthening your core?

Outdoor Summer Workouts

Outdoor Summer Workouts

I have always enjoyed outdoor and water activities.  I guess you could call me a “water baby”.  However, I have recently found two Outdoor Summer Workouts that I love and that keep me motivated.  The first is good old fashioned walking and the other is Aqua Zumba! Walking is a great way to get outside and get your heart rate up. It is accessible to just about anyone who want to get in shape. Aqua Zumba is also a great way to get moving and is also an activity that just about anyone can participate in.

Outdoor Summer Workouts
Walking the Track

 

Walking

There are many benefits to a regular walking routine.  According to the Mayo Clinic, regular brisk walking can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve your balance and coordination
Walking Benefits
The Benefits of Walking
Photo Credit: Prevention.com

For me, walking gives me time to relax my mind. I find that as I walk, my creativity flows, I gain insight into situations and I am able to talk to God and be focused enough to hear Him answer. I recently discovered an amazing walking group that allows women of color to connect with each other, walk and be social activists within their community.  The GirlTrek website describes their mission as “a groundbreaking 3-year-old national nonprofit that mobilizes women to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through a habit of daily walking. Through grassroots organizing and award-winning social media campaigns, GirlTrek supports thousands of walkers, over 400 neighborhood-based volunteers, and inspires an ever-growing network of 200,000 supporters through social media. GirlTrek’s health movement is fueled by active role models, street organizers, authentic partnerships, and a whole lot of hustle!” I walk everyday anyway, why not add the component of grassroots organizing.  Through the GirlTrek Facebook page I was able to connect with local GirlTrekers. Ironically, we connected at Aqua Zumba!

Aqua Zumba

In my city, the Parks and Recreation Department operates swimming pools citywide.  They offer free swimming to kids and adults alike throughout the summer.  In addition, they also offer swimming lessons, and exercise classes like Aqua Zumba!  This class at my local recreation center is free. If you were to take a similar class at a fitness club you would pay at least $35 per month for the membership fee. If you are not a “swimmer” it doesn’t matter because you are never fully submerged in the water. You may get splashed a little but your face and hair don’t go into the pool.

There are great benefits to water workouts like Aqua Zumba. Besides being fun, the Zumba website cites the benefits as “There is less impact on your joints during an Aqua Zumba® class so you can really let loose. Water creates natural resistance, which means every step is more challenging and helps tone your muscles”.  So far I have taken two classes this summer and I love the group aspect of the class, I love the music and the instructor, Kenyetta was full of energy.  She says, My mantra is to foster a community where everyone can have a great time once they enter my class or the pool…to leave all that you have on your shoulders at the door..and dance as if no one is watching!.”

The other great part of this class was that after all of the walking I have been doing, it is an excellent way to tone my muscles without putting too much impact on my joints. If you want to take a class check into your local recreation centers or the Zumba website.

What are your favorite Outdoor Summer Workouts?

Welcome to the LIFE

Welcome to the LIFE! After much prayer and thought, I had to make the hard decision to delete the old FitFaith Life and start fresh! Renewal is a good thing! I am happy to bring great new posts, lots of energy and most of all to share great faith and fitness information with you!

For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

So what will be the same and what will change? You will still receive the same great recipes, workouts and inspirational posts. What has changed is really my perspective. I realize that this LIFE is not really about me but it’s all about the life of Christ in me. So, I am going to bring to you the best interviews, workouts, product reviews, and more!

cropped-THE-LIFE.jpg

FitFaith Life is YOUR virtual coach for faith and fitness. I really believe that this life is more of a movement than just a lifestyle. God wants us to be healthy and whole. He wants us to live a life free from disease and he wants us to have the strength and fortitude to serve Him. He also wants a real relationship with us, not just lip service. His love for us knows no bounds and FitFaith Life is all about embracing that love. The ultimate goal is for you to embrace a culture of fierce faith and fierce fitness that will transform the way you view your relationship with God and with yourself.

When you know who you are and whose you are this life is a blessing. I hope you will go along with me on this journey! Are YOU READY to LIVE the LIFE?