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While I love the mental and physical benefits of a good workout, after a solid three-year hiatus (blaming the pandemic-induced gym closure for… some of this time), I’ve found getting back into the weekly fitness routine I had cemented has been next to impossible; I’ve been able to commit to 40-minute walks at a slight incline on my treadmill here and there and I even successfully completed a full two months of weekly pilates before I got married last year. Still, I have to admit that finding a way to recapture the motivation to return to a lifestyle where regular exercise was non-negotiable has been a sometimes literal uphill battle.
Over the past year, I’ve come to accept the fact that my all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to physical health is no longer serving me well, mentally or physically. It’s taken me a long time to realize that just because you eat a greasy burrito for breakfast doesn’t mean the rest of the day or diet is doomed, and ordering fast food from the couch is the only reasonable option to honor such failure.
From now on, it’s all about baby steps—small, achievable goals and staying consistent Don’t get me wrong; I’m still looking for shortcuts when it comes to making the most out of my workouts and health endeavors. If you’ve ever spoken to me, you’ve most likely heard about my beloved sauna blanket and how, aside from detoxifying the body, it also can help you burn up to 600 calories per hour (allegedly) just by lying down in it.
This is just one example of my commitment to taking the easy way out of workouts without blowing them off altogether. Whether you’re looking to amplify the results of your workout routine or just looking for small ways to help you move a bit more without overcommitting to daunting goals, scroll through below to check out my favorite fitness products for those inertial folks more inclined to rest than activity (read: the ‘lazy’ workout class).
DeskCycle Under-Desk Mini Elliptical Machine
Down from $280
DeskCycle offers a few work-from-home-friendly and lazy-person-approved exercise machines that help you get in extra steps, build lean muscle tone, and squeeze in a cardio workout at home—whether you’re on a Zoom call while working remotely or catching up on your favorite shows. This under-desk elliptical has amassed quite a cult following for its ease of use and convenience. “So quiet, a must for anyone glued to their desk for 8hrs or more. I work from home, and sitting at my desk, my heart rate will hold between 50-62BPM, that’s practically hibernation. Using the desk cycle, I can get my heart rate up to 95-125 BPM. Using my Apple Watch to track elliptical movements, I average 400 cals a day,” one reviewer says.
LifePro Vibration Plate Fitness Machine
Down from $269
Touted for its ability to burn extra calories, improve circulation, boost lymphatic drainage, and even reduce back pain, vibration therapy has made a major comeback over the past year. Vibrations cause the muscles to contract, just like they would if you were, say, lifting a pair of weights doing bicep curls, which in turn, is thought to help build muscle and burn fat just by standing on the device. You can find these devices in gyms or invest in one at home. “After having 2 kids in less than 2 years, I had stopped working out consistently and was finding it difficult to get back into. I went on Amazon and typed in ‘get toned at home easy,’ and this was one of the products that came up. After using it for 1 month my body was finally starting to be toned again. I noticed that I had been sleeping better as well,” one five-star Amazon reviewer said.
Adding a weighted vest to my walks has made a major difference. The added resistance makes the workouts much more challenging, and I feel like I’m engaging more muscles and burning more calories when I wear it. Do I like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider with it on? Yes, but I’m not mad about it. Other Amazon shoppers seem to be seeing accelerated results with it too. “Great addition for any workout or hike! Sand-filled straps create a comfortable fit that doesn’t dig into my shoulders or neck as other vests have done,” one Amazon shopper said.
HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket
I could wax poetic about the sauna blanket all day if you let me. The health and mood-boosting benefits I’ve experienced from a year of using mine consistently blew away my expectations, and I could never live without now. The sauna blanket is making this list because lying down in one for an hour can burn up to 600 calories without having to move your body at all, but the post-run high you feel after, along with flushing out heavy metals and toxins is a bigger selling point, in my opinion. To read more about the benefits and my experience, click here. I also really love Sun Home Sauna and Heat Healer’s infrared sauna blankets as well.
Cyrotheraphy Circulation Therapy Machine
Ice baths and cyrotherapy are having a major moment in the wellness space right now. Ice and cold therapy are believed to offer a slew of health-boosting benefits including speeding up recovery post-workout, improving circulation, and quelling inflammation. This at-home device works similarly to cold-therapy devices in spas, but allows you to reap the benefits in the comfort of your own home. It’s not necessarily an exercise device, but it is a helpful tool for post-workout soreness and as a tool for injury prevention. “This unit is great because it gives you a steady source of coldness without worry of your body heating the source to the point it is no longer cold. It also allows you to stay put in one place and not have to walk to switch ice packs out,” one five-star reviewer says.
Weighted ankle and wrist weights have been around since the ’80s, but thanks to Bala, they’ve never been so chic and wearable. I like to use mine when I’m doing housework, taking out the trash, or even on my wrists when I’m typing… hey, it’s better than nothing, right? “These are so great. Even though they’re just 1 lb each, that little bit of weight makes a big difference when doing yoga, pilates, walking, etc. The color and design are pretty too. Definitely recommend,” one five-star Amazon shopper wrote.
Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair
An excellent alternative to the beloved standing desk, Gaim’s balance, and exercise ball chair promises to engage the core, encourage better posture, and boost focus by inducing micro-movements while you sit. Are you going to get six-pack abs from using the chair? Probably not, but many Amazon reviewers say they’ve noticed a remarkable improvement in their help across the board. “My abs and back hurt less in a few days. My core started firming up. I would like to say I developed a six-pack—but no. Instead, my stomach firmed and flattened a little. My love handles don’t jiggle as much,” one Amazon shopper said.
Katalyst EMS Fitness System
Get a two-hour workout in just 20 minutes with Katalyst’s next-level fitness system that harnesses the power of EMS (Electro Muscle Stimulation) to engage hard-to-activate muscles while simultaneously amplifying fat burn. Katalyst is the first-ever at-home EMS training system and is the only FDA-cleared full-body EMS product for consumer use. The celebrity-approved Katalyst system comes with an EMS suit and access to a library of trainer-led workouts, from cardio to strength training, HIIT, and more. I used the Katalyst for a week, and it was the sorest I’ve ever been after a workout. If you’re looking for a time-saving workout that maximizes your results, look no further than Katalyst.
The DB Method Squat Machine
This Internet-famous squat machine went viral during the pandemic thanks to its foolproof and easy-to-use design that maximizes results (and lifts the booty) with minimal effort. Our staff writer Erica is a huge fan and credits the DB Method with giving her a better rear-end sans the gym. “The DB method has helped me to achieve my most toned thighs ever. My muscles are strong without being bulky, and the ass-ets that get flattened from working at a desk all day have also admirably perked up. Now my knee doesn’t creak so much, and I stopped using a support bandage,” she says in her review. Read it here.
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