This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.
These Are a Few of My Favorite Things ….
In the lists below you will find all sorts of things that I love. I love them because they make my life better either by helping me stay fit, keep my mind clear, or make my life easier. I’m excited to share them with you because I hope they will do the same for you and your family. I will never recommend something I don’t believe in or have not used myself. Each item on these list has been personally selected by me for a spot on the list.
If you have or purchase any of these, let me know how you like them!
I get a lot of questions about what type of mat I’m using in my YouTube videos. It’s the Gorilla Mat! I bought one of these to try with my clients and I loved it so much I bought a second one exactly like it. The size I have is 9′ x 6′. It’s perfect for one person to do workouts. The padding is great and it is super durable and easy to clean. Plus it saves my floors! If you have one of these mats you can easily create a workout area out of an unfinished room and keep yourself and your equipment clean. My mats get beat up hard on an hourly basis and they look fantastic.
Have you ever worked with a wall ball? It’s a different kind of medicine ball. It’s soft and unbalanced. You can lift it, throw it (bounce it off walls or toss to a partner) and slam it! With my clients I also use it for abs and lower body exercises. These wall balls have little finger loops for easy transport. The one I’m holding in the photo is my favorite because it’s got my favorite colors in it. I’ve found new fun in throwing these against the foundation of my house to release stress. A squat between each toss is a great workout.
Bam! These gloves pack a punch (pun intended). When I started kickboxing I tried out multiple glove styles and manufacturers. Sanabul’s won first place. All of the gloves felt supportive, so my decision came down to the way my fingers fit in the gloves. The Sanabul has a little pocket to tuck your finger tips into at the front and it’s supported by padding. Plus these came in a ton of colors. The price is reasonable too. Be sure to research the “weights” as they come in 8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz, etc and you will need to buy the proper weight glove for your size. Happy punching!
The aerobic deck is a sturdy, versatile and compact piece of equipment that I use with all of my clients and for my own workouts too. In addition to being a weight bench with three levels of incline (75-deg, 50-deg, 25-deg plus flat of course), if you fold in a single leg, voila – a decline bench! Fold in both legs and the deck lowers from 14″ to 8″ and becomes an aerobic step for cardio workouts. Amazon offers so many color selections, but as you can imagine I could not resist the orange and purple together!
Check out this balance board I’m standing on. I bought this about 10+ years ago for work (my corporate job). I had a standing desk and when it was elevated I liked to stand on this balance board because it felt like a healthy thing to do and it was pretty fun too. But now I use it for my workouts! Try staying stable while squatting with a medicine ball on this board. It is harder than it looks!
I purchased this balance pad to use with my clients and I’m so happy with it. It’s actually a real challenge standing on it with one foot! Adding a little instability to your standard exercises (squats, bicep curls, shoulder presses, lunges) takes those moves to the next level. Your core has to work much harder when you’re on an unstable surface. I have found a bunch of other uses for the pad as well. It’s great for a knee or elbow cushion for floor work. We also use it as a bench pad for squats – when you need just 2″ more help. 🙂
Resistance tubes are a great, low cost addition to your workout equipment collection. I recommend getting more than one resistance level. They are easy to take anywhere. Resistance tubes can be used for full body strength exercises. There are tons of upper, core and lower body movements that can be made very challenging with the use of a tube and they are much easier to carry around than dumbbells! You can even use two at a time to increase resistance.
Most of my weights under 12 pounds are neoprene dumbbells and are pretty easy on the hands. When I starting lifting heavier, I switched to metal-handle weights which were rough on my skin. So I got a pair of weight lifting gloves (actually I tried three different pairs) and these gloves are my favorite. It’s stretchy and was the easiest to get on/off sweaty hands. The padding makes a difference and allows me to workout until my muscles are tired instead of until my hands are raw!
Dumbbells are an essential item for your home (or traveling) gym. For lighter weights (<=10 lb), the neoprene style is quite comfortable and nice for beginners. If you’re purchasing your first set of dumbbells it’s a good idea to consider getting more than one set. For example, most people can lift heavier weights with their biceps than with their triceps. You want to make sure you have the proper weight to challenge your muscles while being aware that lifting too much weight can cause joints to strain. When it comes to lifting heavier, these are my favorite style dumbbells.
Already have dumbbells? A medicine ball is a great next investment. Just google “medicine ball workout” and you will find lower body, upper body and tons of core workouts using only a medicine ball. I have done team workouts and partner workouts with a medicine ball that are super fun. Beginners may want to start with a ball weight between 6-10 lb.
I have been an active group exercise participant and instructor since 2001 and this is the best exercise mat I’ve ever owned. It’s the right thickness (8mm), it’s durable, and easily cleanable. This mat comes in two thicknesses and I’ve used both and both are nice. But the 8mm just feels the best on the back and knees. Many of my clients have also purchased this mat and love it.
Update: I went back to buy another one of these mats and the 8mm was sold out. So I found this mat and I love it just as much.
In 2009 I was introduced to the BOSU at a fitness instructor conference in Philadelphia. Did you know BOSU stands for “Both Sides Up”? Yes, you can work on this ball with the dome down or facing up. There are an endless amount of exercises you can do by stepping on, crunching on, jumping on or kneeing on this thing. Doing crunches on the BOSU is uniquely challenging while providing support to your low back. The BOSU which was once only blue, now comes in a ton of colors.
CamelBak Biking Hydration Backpack
Every biker needs a CamelBak! I’ve had mine for 15+ years (I don’t recommend buying light pink, mine’s pretty dirty) and will never give it up. The water reservoir in mine is 100 oz and that is the size I recommend for teenagers and adults. They have smaller sizes for younger kids. The CamelBak keeps my water cold and the way the straw attaches allows me to drink without having to stop riding. Everyone in my family has a CamelBak.
Sport Utility Wagon
This utility wagon is awesome. I have used it at the beach, sporting events, camping, and for my fitness classes. It currently resides in my car trunk where I open it, fill it and roll it out onto the grass and set up my outdoor classes. The wagon is super sturdy and strong. I load it up with dumbbells on a regular basis and have never had a problem. It folds compactly and is light weight.
Get Out of Your Own Way by Mark Goulston
Get Out of Your Own Way is a great weekend read that is down-to-earth and going to resonate with you in ways other books haven’t. I love the organization of the chapters, making them quick powerful messages. The author’s advice to read all of the sections (even if they don’t sound like they relate to you), is good advice and I recommend doing just that. I found little nuggets of wisdom that made me learn more about myself, my friends, family and clients which has helped me be more self aware and a better communicator. I think this is a great book to share with teens and young adults, too.
Habit Tracker by Lamare
I have tried making my own bullet journals in the past and ended up getting caught up in trying to make the design perfect instead of working more on the content! I found this inexpensive, undated paper calendar Habit Tracker and I am going to use it in 2022. It’s hanging on the door inside my office so that anyone who walks in can get a quick visual on how I’m doing. Great for accountability! Plus coloring in little squares is really satisfying.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
I listed to Atomic Habits on audio book this summer and I learned real life doable strategies for creating and maintaining healthy habits. I then bought the book so I could refer to the ideas again and again. My favorite parts of the book were learning about 1% better, habit stacking and that even a bad workout is better than missing a workout.
12-month Weekly Planner by Moleskine
I’ve been using the Moleskine Weekly Planner for about 8 years now and it’s perfect. The Moleskine planner has the weekly calendar on the left and lined pages on the right. I write my appointments on the left and my to-do’s on the right. I hilite my to-dos when complete or transfer them to the next page at the end of the week if they aren’t. The Moleskine Notebook is great for taking notes. I use it too!
Neck and Back Massager
I received this neck and back massager for a Christmas gift it’s great. My back feels tight all the time. This works really well for two reasons. One, it has plenty of pressure and the harder you press your arms down the deeper the massage. Two, you can slide the neck wrap down so the nodes are hitting on your upper, mid or lower back – wherever you need it most. Just a few minutes each evening has made a difference for me.
This summer we got our dryer vents cleaned and we learned that repeated use of fabric softener and dryer sheets cause premature vent clogging. So we bought a pack of Dryer Balls. The balls work! They fluff up the laundry, remove static, and leaves clothes fresh and soft. The only problem I have is my dog Bo likes to steal them and chew them into a nice large cottony mess. So the pack of 6 is down to 3.
My favorite water bottle is this one from Addidas. What I love so much about it is the lid design. I can actually hold the bottle, open the lid, take a drink and close the lid using only one hand. This is great for when I’m indoor cycling but really it’s just so handy in general. The lid has a screw cap that is secure so if I drop the bottle it doesn’t leak. The mouth opening is big so you can take big drinks. I absolutely hate tiny little mouth holes! And it doesn’t have a straw or a bunch of small parts. Because I love this bottle so much for it’s lid, I found the lids online and bought them for all my bottles. In the photo I have it attached to a 32 oz Hydroflask bottle (great bottle, terrible lid).
Balega Hidden Comfort Socks
High quality sneakers and socks are the best place to spend your money when it comes to your workout gear. My favorite socks are Balega Hidden Comfort Socks. I have tried a lot of sock brands over the years and I keep coming back to Balega. They are worth the investment. We all need to take care of our feet!