Working out at home is a lot easier than venturing into the wild and working out outdoors. With no wind, snow, rain, or mud, you have very little use for terms like SmartWool, Gore-Tex, or Synchilla. Working out at home is also less intimidating than going to the gym. With no one to impress, you don’t need to seek out the latest fashions from prAna or Nike, either. So you’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal with home workout gear?”

At home, you have the same physical parameters affecting your workout that you do outdoors. How to get warm, stay cool, fuel up, and not allow your body to change temperature too fast—all these issues still matter, even when you’re in your living room. Sure, they’re easier to control at home than when you’re out in the tundra, but you still need to plan for them. Working out at home is generally more efficient than training elsewhere. Having a kitchen, a shower, and a closet nearby add a technical advantage that you may not have realized. Let’s take a look at some of the most important considerations for getting the most out of your home workout.


1. Get a mat.

One thing that doesn’t change at home is the importance of the platform you work out on. Your shoes—and what they’re standing/jumping on—are your most important pieces of home workout equipment. Most of us have limited space options, and we’re probably stuck with whatever happens to be the floor surface of the one room that’s most ideal for our workout. Owning a workout mat, or two, should be a top priority. The minimum is a stretching (or yoga) mat (try the Beachbody Yoga Monster Mat—great for all Beachbody programs). These are pretty thin and designed to pad your joints during floor workout movements. If your floor is unforgiving, like cement, you should also consider a plyometrics mat. These are made to withstand the rigors of jumping, like the kind done in P90X and THE ASYLUM. A good mat will absorb shock and also improve the effectiveness of your workout while helping to reduce your chance of injury.

2. Choose the right shoe

Footwear is important. Working out barefoot is great to strengthen your feet, but if you overdo it, it’s easy to get injured, especially during ballistic workouts like INSANITY, or when you’re first getting into shape. Having the right shoe for the right job allows you to choose when to go au natural and when to shoe up. Consider the movements you’ll be doing, then go shopping. It’s best not to multitask a shoe. Running shoes are made for running forward. Basketball and tennis shoes are made for explosive movements—both forward and lateral—making them better for most home workouts. The best home workout shoe should do a little of both. There are also “fitness” shoes or cross-trainers designed for this purpose. Also, a trail running shoe can be good for home fitness, because it provides more lateral support than a traditional running shoe does. Spend a little time researching prior to shopping.


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