Strength Training at Home

Personal training classes are officially done!!

All I have left are my written and practical exams. Written exam will be multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank on April 16. Practical exam will be sometime after that. I’ll have to design an hour-long program and guide someone through it while being observed by my PRO trainer. Eek! I feel like I could use a lot of practice on spotting and explaining things properly. Hopefully I’ll be able to practice on a few people I know before then.

Alarm went off at 6am today, which is mega-lame for a Sunday. I did however make that hot breakfast I promised ;)

A sweet omelette Ellie style. One cup egg whites, mixed with 1 scoop vanilla protein powder and cinnamon. Fried and filled with mixed frozen berries and almond butter.

Topped with sugar-free syrup because it just felt right. Good times y’all. This will definitely get a remake!!

No pictures of snacks today. I need a break from my boiled egg photos. For our last personal training class, we just went over some of the business aspects. I have no idea where I’ll be training. I was all gung-ho on a Goodlife Fitness gym, but the feedback I’m hearing on it isn’t that great. Of course, I’ll take whatever I can get when I’m in Toronto, but it would be neat to try something different like boot camps or work on wellness stuff in offices. Of course, writing my little heart out too! ;)

Oh, also notable, I got lost on my way home. I missed the turn-off to my city and ended up on the road to the U.S. border (to Maine). Oops! I managed to get turned around pretty quickly, but there were definitely a few panicked moments and cuss words thrown about.

Dinner was whipped up in 10 minutes, and I was sitting down to eat by 5pm!

Tofu pan-fried in sesame oil and Bragg’s, with a whack of Europe’s Best Imperial Blend. It’s got edamame, water chestnut, snap peas, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots and bamboo shoots.

All topped with Diana’s teriyaki sauce and black sesame seeds. The bamboo shoots almost remind me of pineapple in both texture and taste. Or, from what I remember of pineapple, since it makes me sick!

Requisite after-dinner chocolate…


President’s Choice European extra-dark. It’s alright. I think it’s 85% which is a touch too dark for me, 70-75% seems to be what my tastebuds like best.


Strength Training at Home

M. Said:

Could you do a post on this pretty please?….

if one was going to buy a few workout items for home (cheap hopefully!)

what kind of free weights do you recommend and at what weights/how many?

what else-a balance ball?

Would be awesome to know if one could use above items to cover strength training(and abs) at HOME,cause I can’t afford a gym…

Would be SUPER GRATEFUL for a post with advice/tips/what to do!

Thanks if possible.I would be happy if I knew I could get enough strength training in for all body parts at home somehow with free weights….


Ask, and you shall receive!

You actually don’t need much to get in a decent strength training workout at home. All you really need is your body! Think about it, our bodies are 100+ lbs of weight to throw around, that sounds like a pretty hardcore workout to me ;)

I did a post on bodyweight exercises waybackwhen, but I see some of the pictures and links in it have expired. To recap, some awesome equipment-free things to do include:

Squat jumps
Lunge jumps
Mountain climbers
Jumping jacks

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are a million variations of those moves, and the great thing is they’re not only resistance training, but will also keep your heart rate up.

Now, as for specific equipment, you will need a mat. Especially for floor exercises. Carpet can be really uncomfortable when you have to kneel on it. Not to mention the fibres get stuck on you when you’re rolling around on the floor sweaty :\

As for weights, these Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are my dream item:

But, they can also cost almost $500. Something that’s a little more affordable would be closer to this weight set.

You can usually find these for under or close to $100. They’re kind of flimsy, but you get a barbell that adjusts into two dumbbells and over 100 lbs of weight.

If that’s not up your alley, then 5, 10, 15 & 20 lb dumbbells should be a good starting point. That’s enough for most women, or newbie men (although 30 lbs + would be required for intermediate men). Most exercises that require a barbell can be adjusted for dumbbells, and that’s always an additional investment you can make further down the road if you want to.

If you’re lifting weight, a bench is also something to consider.

This could run you another $100, reeeeally nice to have, but not necessary. As mentioned, a ball can be subbed in for many of the exercises you would need a bench for.

I also can’t forget tubing/resistance bands.

You can buy tubing in a variety of widths, all at a different resistance. There are a gazillion exercises you can do with tubing. Everything from the seated row seen here, to shoulder presses, bicep curls, donkey kicks. etc. I don’t personally use bands a lot, just because I prefer adding load in the form of actual weight. But these bands work your muscles just as well, and you will be sore the next day! Google can give you better exercises than I can, a quick search led me to this page full of fun animated demonstrations. I just have to stress, that when using bands it’s all about FORM. Don’t let the bands own you, keep it a nice and controlled movement, otherwise you could pull something and do unintentional injury!

Question of the Day: Any at-home strength training items you think are a must? As mentioned, I’m a strong believer that all one needs is their body, imagination, and a sense of humour ;)


Posted on March 28, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Great post! I have my own little home gym including a treadmill, two balance balls, yoga mat, free weights (8, 10, 12, 15, 20 lbs), jump rope, and an 8lb medicine ball for abs/plank. It’s perfect for days I just don’t feel like hittin’ the gym!

  2. Love the looks of that omelette. I know what I’ll be trying for breakfast tomorrow!

  3. This was awesome! I’ll have to check back when (if?) I start school and don’t have as much gym time. Oh, and I’ve done the “almost ended up at the border” thing but for me, that would land me in Mexico…which is somewhat more scary than Maine…although you never can tell with those Red Sox fans…

    • Hahaha, it’s a running joke here that the second you cross the border you get crazy looks if you ask for “pop” instead of “soda.” Amazing that the US border is only an hour drive from where I live, but the cultural differences are huge!!

      • I thought pop was a Southern thing! I grew up outside of DC and always said soda. Well now that I live in the South people act like I’m being “uppity” because I don’t say pop! lol!

  4. AHH thanks for the tips girlfrand!! UHH your breakfast looks AMAZING!!! i need to make that!

  5. Don’t forget Craig’s List (at least US peeps) for used equipment! Lots of dumbbells and benches to be had from there.

  6. my parents have the bowflex weights…i had no idea they were so cool and hip! CONGRATS on finishing! you are one step closer to living YOUR dream, and i couldn’t be happier for you :)

  7. Excellent post- love it. I’m a hardcore home-worker outer as well as a gym-hussy. I have a ball (as a bench and for core work), 3 sets of weights: 8,10,15. I also have bands but prefer weights. I have some cardio equipment I scored 2nd hand (never ever pay for new). That’s all I need and I’m sore sore sore. ALso a jump rope. You can do soooooooooo much at home if you are creative. I also have a BOSU for fun but it’s totally not required.

    PS How much precisely is a “whack”? ;-)

    • A “whack” is “dump in bowl until overflowing” or, half the bag. An acceptable amount for vegetables. Not an acceptable amount for mini eggs :P

  8. Congrats on your completion of the course! That’s quite exciting!! :)

    Thank you also for the at-home workout tips. I agree – some of the best workouts I have done just involve my body and some interesting moves – oh yeah, and various curse words. Hehe.

  9. Congratulations on finishing the class!!! How awesome:D You’re getting closer and closer, girl! And your passion definitely shines through your posts. Love it:)
    I totally agree with you that it’s completely feasible to get a kick-butt workout at home without any equipment.
    Have a great night, hun!!

  10. Congratulations! And love sound.. & look.. of that breakfast!

  11. Madeline - Greens and Jeans

    OMJiggityG that omelet looks INCREDIBLE!

  12. Oooo I just bought some Tofu for the first time and I need some recipes so seeing yours gave me an idea! Great post :)

  13. I have the Selecttech adjustable dumbells!!!! They’re awesome and I can’t rave about them enough. Lately I’ve Bern using them to do P90X so I’ve been getting mega usage out of them. At one point I considered getting free weights but they were expensive and took up too much space.

    The Bowflex dumbbells are perfect for me!!! But you’re right – they’re pricey. I had some money set aside for a designer bag but bought myself the dumbbells instead! Still so impressed with
    myself on that front! lol 

  14. Are jumping jacks and burpees not considered cardio then? i guess they’re a bit of cardio and strength are they?

    I looove 85% dark chocolate! xxx

    • Yup! Almost all those bodyweight exercises are considered cardio as well. Hold some light dumbbells when you do jumping jacks and feel the burn in your deltoids ;)

  15. Ok stength training miss personal trainer…
    what could i do to build a butt? i have never had one. My boobs are bigger than my butt. And i need to get these glutes in shape for bikini comps! I ask this sorta joking, sorta seroius. It’s not my thighs, it’s not my hips, it’s my actual butt. I cannot believe i am leaving this in public on a comment form.

    the tofu that you pan sear, do you press it w/ a tofu prress or just blot w/ paper towels? i am trying to maybe add more in my life, up from 0 in 5 yrs to 1x/ month.

    • Squats! Any and all squats will do amazing things for your bottom ;) Especially sumo or plie squats, where you have a wide stance. Stiff-legged deadlifts are another good one too, I’m partial to the single-leg ones, as I feel like I can get in there better and really work it.

      I’m lazy with tofu, I just squeeze it with paper towel. It’s still a little mushy, but it will firm up better if you let it brown in the pan without stirring too frequently.

  16. Okay this is totally ridiculous..but im actually getting butterflies in my stomach with all this talk about you getting closer to qualifying… my life vicariously through you, much!? :D
    I hope this doesn’t sound patronising..but im really proud of and admire your dedication to this..
    What you’re doing is going to benefit SO many people Susan..I really hope you end up working somewhere where you’re really valued..because your clients will be getting so much MORE than just ‘keep your back straight’ tips..

    peace and love!

  17. I strength train at home, and I have a set of 10 and 12 lb dumbells, resistance bands and a bosu ball. I do a lot of body weight exercises, which I believe give me, and many women lean tone, the bosu ball is great for working the core and the bands/dumbells are invaluble for hitting target spots!!


  18. I want those Bowflex weights SO BAD! Instead I have 5, 8, and 20 lb. dumbbells, a bodybar thingy, resistance bands, a stability ball, and a step thing that can be low or high or angled like a bench. I do most of my strength training at home.

  19. Awesome omelette :D

    I wouldn’t know where to begin with weight training at home, though I am having so much fun with the balance ball at the gym :D

  20. Thanks for the great tips for at-home strength training. I think using your body weight is optimal for strength training exercises as you have to rely on your balance and physical focus (posture), rather than relying on a machine. Plus, it’s way more economical than a costly gym membership.

    Your sweet omelet looks, well, sweet! I have to try one of those soon.

  21. yay! come to SLC and be my PT! :D

    so, i am impressed with how well your eggs cooked up with a whole SCOOP of protein powder in them. how did they not turn to rubber? is there a trick? or maybe i just need to switch up the kind of powder i put in my eggs from the last time i tried. anywho, that sweet omelette looks SO good.

    you just reminded me of my love for bamboo shoots and now i am wishing i had put them in my stir fry from last friday night. sigh. no going back in time, i guess.

    great at-home tips! i am now i firm believer in insanity DVDs because ive got MAD DOMS in my legs from jumping around.. not even one solitary piece of equipment used!

    hope your night is fabulous! love you lots!

    • I was actually expecting them to turn to rubber! Maybe because I used a whole cup of egg whites? It’s probably the powder though, I find there’s a huge difference between brands for some reason…

  22. I think you covered the home weight training pretty well. Since they’re so cheap I have a swiss ball.

    Once it’s nice outside I’m going to paint a ladder on my driveway. Where I use to work out they used them a lot for footwork and jumping squats,jumping lunges both forward and sideways.

  23. Thank you so much for your post reply-very kind of you!

    I live in an apartment of an old building where I can’t do jumping jack type moves though(landlord would be furious below-thin walls/ceilings!)

    Hope I can still get a good strength training at home without “noisy/jumpy ” moves…

    Hee hee here is my next request- a post on apartment friendly quiet strength training (if your up for it!)

    Anyways thanks for all your time and care!Best wishes;)

  24. That omelet sounds AMAZING- I don’t know why I never thought of making myself a sweet omlet for breakfast- I like sweet better than savory in the morning :)

  25. Awww – CONGRATULATIONS, Susan!
    I´m so happy for you!
    That omelet looked amazing… The perfect begging for a such important day!
    Have a great week, girl!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,

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