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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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At Home Fitness That Works

Written by Sofia Martimianakis

When I was cleared to return to exercise, after having my daughter, the stars had to align for me to make it to the gym. I wasn’t going nearly enough to justify a monthly membership. On the rare occasions that I did make it, I was distracted thinking about whether my newborn was crying inconsolably back home or if I was about to leak through my shirt. I missed workouts feeling fun. I missed being able to train with my husband without having to arrange childcare for my daughter. Taking turns going to the gym took most of the evening which meant less time for chores, self-care and quality time spent together. The solution for our family was creating a mini home gym.

After shopping around, we found the prices at Fitness Depot to be very reasonable for the quality of the products we were getting. Their staff members were friendly and knowledgeable, and we never felt pressured into making a purchase. We decided on a dumbbell set, bench, kettle-bell, mat and resistance bands for our mini gym. It was everything we needed to get a whole-body workout at home. We saved time by training together again and best of all, we could have our daughter nearby! It was exactly the motivation I needed to commit to a consistent workout routine.

Resistance Training

Weight training helped me feel strong and capable. When you’re able to shoulder press and row with heavy weights, your toddler almost feels light when they ask you to carry them. The following are examples of resistance training workouts that can be done at home with minimal equipment.

Upper Body Shred

Round 1

  • 4 sets of Dumbbell Bench Press 8-10 reps
  • 4 sets of Bent over Dumbbell Row 8-10 reps per side
  • (Followed by a 60-second rest in-between sets)

Round 2

  • 3 sets of Incline Dumbbell Press 12-15 reps
  • 3 sets of Neutral Grip Shoulder Press 12-15 reps
  • 3 sets of Kettle-Bell Swings 15-20 reps
  • (Followed by a 90-second rest in-between sets)

Lean Lower Body

Round 1

  • 4 sets of Romanian Deadlifts 8-10 reps
  • 4 sets of Alternating Lunges with Dumbbells 10 reps per side
  • (Followed by a 60 second rest in-between sets)

Round 2

  • 3 sets of Kettlebell Goblet Squats 15 reps
  • 3 sets of Glute Bridges 15 reps with a 2-second hold at the top
  • 3 sets of Calf-Raises 20 reps
  • (Followed by a 90-second rest in-between sets)

Cardiovascular Training

Incorporating cardio into my fitness routine helped me keep up with my growing baby and see results faster. I prefer rowing machines and steppers because I find it easier to visualize I’m outside paddling or hiking up a steep trail. My favourite form of cardio is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training.) It’s an efficient workout that maintains muscle-mass while burning a significant number of calories!  During the warmer months, I do my HIIT workouts outside but you can also do interval training on any type of cardio machine.

Outdoor HIIT

  • 20 Split Squat Jumps (10 per side) or 20 Jumping Jacks
  • 50m Flat Ground Sprints
  • 50m Hill-Sprints
  • (30 second rest in-between each exercise)

Repeat the circuit 5 times and work up to being able to do it 10 times.

Indoor HIIT (On any Cardio Machine)

  1. Warm up for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Go full-force for 20 seconds on an increased resistance and/or incline.
  3. Reduce the resistance and/or incline and maintain a pace slightly faster than your warm up for 40 seconds.
  4. Repeat 10 times and work up to being able to do it 15 times.
  5. Don’t forget to cool down for 2-3 minutes after your final round.

HIIT (On any Rowing Machine)

  • Row for three-minutes at a slow and comfortable rate for your warm up.
  • Then increase your workout and go into a quick paced row for 60 seconds.
  • Then go back to your slower paced row for another 60-second set.
  • Repeat this to complete 3 to 5 full sets
  • Cool down 2 to 3 minutes at comfortable slow pace.

Benefits of a Home Gym

Although purchasing fitness equipment for your home requires an initial financial investment, we found that the lack of monthly membership fees saved us money in the long-term. Another great thing is that you can start small and add to your home gym as you go. Being able to train at home eliminates travel time and allows you to train whenever you get the chance.

Buying fitness equipment was the right choice for me and my family because it meant I could train with my husband without having to arrange childcare for my daughter. Now, training at home means more time for family adventures but when my daughter was younger, any time saved went towards napping.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.