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30 day CHALLENGE. Home gym EQUIPMENT REVIEW.

My job is physical.  I need to be able to shovel large amounts of dirt, not often but when I do, man it sucks.  So I figure I better be able to do it fast.  I have 3 kids, 6 to 11 years old.  They never sit down.  They never stop asking questions.  If dad can’t run at the park, what are we doing here?  If dad gets tired and loses it, because he has to answer 50,000 questions all while doing the dishes, the laundry, the dinner, the (insert anything in here) etc.  I ask you again… Then what are we doing here?  

You know when you get to the point where all the outside noise, detonates an explosion of muscle and nerves.  So deep under your skin, that you feel like you might actually peel out of it.  Like the Hulk or the Wolf man?

That’s exactly why these are my go to pieces of equipment.  They provide a variety of challenges that never get boring.  They promote an all round fitness and functionality.  They are cost effective.  In combination you can grow muscle, positively effect heart health, build endurance, power and strength.  Most importantly, it’s not imposing on space and can sit in your living room mocking you into a better body.  

Hey it worked for me!

The following are affiliate links. Equipment that I highly recommend. Any proceeds made from these ads, are at no extra cost to you. The products I recommend, I have used and tested during my 30 day, No days off, workout challenge. I found these items to be of great value. If you do decide to purchase, I thank you for the support in advance.

I am not a personal trainer, physician or physiotherapist. I highly recommend, you consult a health care professional before attempting any type of workout, exercise or fitness routine. Before using any equipment or training routines discussed in this blog. You should again consult with a physician and make sure you are not putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

I am just a guy determined to share, motivate and help others. Passing along anything I might learn from life. Writing these posts as a form of motivation, written from experience. This post is a review of the equipment I recently used during a personal weight loss challenge.

You can read the whole series here:

challenge-physically-transform-mentally

challenge-accepted-no-days-off

shredded-in-30-days

30-days-of-workouts-weight-loss-challenge

weight-loss-workout-challenge

weight-loss-fitness-challenge

challenge-complete-30-days-no-days-off

This is a review of The Equipment from that series.

Kettle Bell

Affiliate link for cast iron kettle bell, workout equipment
Clickable affiliate link

Cast iron kettle bells are incredible for total body fitness.  Working out with them improves, strength power an endurance, all in one workout.  The swing and it’s variations are extremely beneficial to cardiovascular endurance.  Keeping in mind that it must be done correctly to avoid serious injury.

I mention “cast iron” because they are well balanced.  More accurate to their advertised weight (in my opinion), than sand or otherwise filled.  They promote a nice strong unity of the body.  Once you get the form down.  This is probably one of the more fun and challenging pieces of equipment I like to use.  Make sure you do some research before jumping into a kettle bell workout.  I suggest anything by The Onnit academy, and Fitness blender.  They have great beginner videos online.

Marcey Power Tower

Affiliate link for marcy power tower, dip and pull up station
Clickable affiliate link

A body weight pull up and dip station.  It’s not as imposing at you might think.  It can be easily set in the corner of a room, provided your ceiling is high enough.  It’s sturdy and holds just over 200 lbs.  I started using the “power tower” when I weighed 225 lbs.  It handled me climbing it like a new born chimp, no problem.  I still recommend checking the packaging and instruction manual.  If you do buy this product.  It should have a listed weight capacity.

From the ground up.  The Marcey Power Tower has raised push up pegs on the inner side of the base, for a slightly tougher push up.  2 soft foot pads where the base meets the stand, just above the push up pegs.  Where you can get in your 100 sit ups every morning.  

Mid way up the stand, is where the back pad meets the U-shaped arms, extending out.  Forearm pads cover the top of the arms.  A vertical grip on each arm for doing leg raises.  Two more grips extend out at the end of the arms, for dips.

At the top is the pull up bar.  The bar has a few style variations.  Close (used for hammer grip pull ups), regular (hands should be placed just outside of shoulder width) and wide grip (hands placed as wide as the bar will allow).  

Close grip pull ups are intended to strengthen the outer muscles in the arm, the bicep and build thickness and strength in the lats and back.  Regular grip pull ups help to widen your lats, get that “winged” look.  It builds up grip, shoulder neck and back strength.  Wide grip pull ups give a really nice, long stretch to the lats.  Flaring them out even more.  It gives a nice strong stretch and pull to the exercise.   

Marcey Adjustable Bench

affiliate link for marcy adjustable weight bench
Clickable affiliate link

If you are going to add free weights to your routine.  It is a good idea to purchase one of these.  It gives you more exercise options with or without weights.  It’s not only an incline bench, but also an incline sit up bench.  For when you want to see if your really working that belly.

I would recommend this to someone that is not a beginner.  Who has an established routine and is looking to add more to it.  Don’t get me wrong a beginner can benefit from this piece of equipment.  You can use it for incline sit ups.  Squat support if your new to the exercise.  Incline push ups, for a greater test of your chest.  Decline push ups, for an even greater, greater, test of your chest.  Tricep dips, so your arms mach your now giant chest from all the incline and decline push ups.

No matter your fitness level you can get use out of this bench.  It is not a necessity for everyone.  When you do make the jump to free weights it is something worth looking into.

2 Dumbbells with 100 lbs of interchangeable weight plates

This option can get expensive pretty quickly.  In my case, I built up my equipment stock, over time.  Starting out with 25 lbs dumbbells, working up to 35 lbs and recently having a little luck in becoming the (way to excited) owner of 10, 10 lbs plates.  An extra 100 lbs.  That’s a total of 170 lbs.  THAT’S FREAKIN AWESOME.  Especially when you’re a single father of three.  There isn’t a lot of pennies to put towards work out gear.  So I get creative.  Play it again sports is a great spot to buy used and less expensive equipment.  Face book buy and sell pages are also great ways to find good stuff for cheap.

You can’t beat scavenging at work though.  I work in an industrial environment.  Front end loaders driving around.  Welding, dirt, grease sweat, you know “Man’s” work.  I’m just messing around it’s a little more mundane than that.  But still industrial.  

Any way.  One day I was cleaning out some old piping from one of the storage spaces in the facility.  As I’m moving pipes from one pile to another, with our maintenance supervisor.  A make shift metal rod, crashes down at my feet.  At the end of the rod, are two 10 lbs weight plates.  

Me:  “Are these legit weights?”

Supervisor:  “Yup, just store bought, for counter balance.”

Me:  “For what?”

Supervisor:  “I don’t know.”

Me:  “Can I have them?  Do we use them?”

Supervisor;  “They just fell out of a 4ft tall pile of dirt, covered in useless piping.  You’ve been here 8 years. So have they.  No one know’s they exist.”

Me:  “Soooooo, can I have them?”

Supervisor:  “Yeah” (Heavy sarcasm)  “If you crawl down the lading behind this pile, you can probably find more.  Whatever you find, you can keep.”

Me:  “Woohooo” (trail of dust, like the road runner).

Now I’m the proud owner of enough weight to really put to test my strength.  It also affords me quite a few new options.  It’ll provide some needed variation and most importantly I can really affect muscle growth now.  This find was the equivalent of winning the lottery.  I had wanted to up my game, but I couldn’t afford to.  Also a good spot to find motivation for working out.  What’s the point of the find, if your not going to use it.  There’s a level of guilt that comes with having these glorious additions.

Ok enough boasting.  Free weights are great for a multitude of reasons.  You can isolate muscles and directly effect their conditioning and growth.  You can incorporate full body movements utilizing heavy weight to improve overall strength.  Most importantly, if you use adjustable weights.  Where you have to physically add or remove plates.  You are continuously working your grip strength.  You have to hold and rotate each dumbbell as you move the plates.  Thus adjustable plate dumbbells are, in my opinion one of the most important pieces of equipment you can have at home.

Stationary Bike

For this challenge, and always really.  I use a stationary bike for some of my cardio.  It is a magnetic resistance bike.  With 8 resistance settings, an adjustable seat.  A display, that show’s you speed, distance traveled, duration, calories burned and your heart rate.

My heart rate monitor went a little nutty.  I was trying to get a reading one day, and it said I was at 93 beats a minute.  Which felt low considering I was panting.  Unable to talk and sweating like a fat guy eating chicken wings for a free t-shirt.  So I checked my phones heart rate monitor and sure enough, I was at about 125-130.  My bike is old and has been through a few moves, it doesn’t owe me anything.  I definitely had a misguided confidence about my cardiovascular capabilities.  So check your equipment regularly for any issue with it’s operation.

Hope you found this review in it’s entirety useful, informative and most importantly motivational. Hopefully it gave you some ideas for workouts and the equipment you might want to use. If you do decide to use any of the equipment I have suggested please, click the links in this article or on the fitness products page in the menu and order through this site. The small commission I receive from a sale would be very much a appreciated and be detrimental to the growth of this blog. Thank you for visiting.

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