The art of living a minimalist lifestyle is something all New Yorkers embrace by default. We live in tiny apartments with no space for the usual suburbia luxuries like a home gym, multiple panini presses or rooms for guests.
With such limited home space, it’s challenging to own your own fitness equipment to satisfy the urge to lose the Dad Bod. As a result, many think it’s just easier to rely on the local gym or the nearest random boot camp class. Unfortunately, even more dads out there go with none of the above and skip the idea of getting and staying in shape altogether.
However, you don’t need a gym membership or even a bunch of fancy equipment to get into the best shape of your life. Getting healthy in NYC doesn’t require lots of money. It just requires some creativity (such as good eating habits) coupled with the knowledge of how to make the most out of a few pieces of home gym equipment.
Plan and goals
It starts with a worthwhile plan to execute. Establish why you are getting into shape (to run a 5K, to fit more easily in your clothes, etc.) and then set goals. Then you’ll need to figure out what kind of workouts you need to meet your goals.
Ideally, even marathon runners partake in at least one to two strength training sessions per week. That’s the baseline. To do that, all you need to accomplish “progressive overload” (just a fancy way to say, make each workout harder than the last so you can get stronger) is a few feet of space in a bedroom or living room to crank out some push-ups and squats.
Basic strength circuit
Start with this minimalist workout that requires absolutely no equipment (the links explain how to do the exercise):
- bear crawls
- mountain climbers
Perform each movement in a circuit fashion for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds between movements and repeat for three to five rounds for a full body workout.
Next-level fitness: The pull-up bar
You can up your workout environment by purchasing an attachable pull-up bar to hang in a door frame. When you’ve got that, your home gym now lets you do the big three movements — push-ups, pull-ups and squats — that make up most foundational workouts done by anyone looking to strengthen their core muscle.
Try this minimalist routine with just three exercises
- 5 pull-ups
- 10 push-ups
- 20 squats
Set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes and perform each movement in order, resting only as needed. Record your progress and try to beat the number of circuits each subsequent workout.
Progression with these body weight-only movements (or calisthenics) can be as simple as adding one more rep or one more set or by making the move a little harder – like elevating your feet on a push-up or moving from a standard squat to a forward lunge.
Next-level fitness: Adjustable dumbbells
Sometimes, though, even that’s not enough and you’d like to really feel a pump. Instead of running to the local gym, invest in adjustable dumbbells for your home gym.
For the price of one to two months of a membership (or four to five silly cardio classes you’ll find everywhere in NYC health clubs), adjustable dumbbells coupled with strategic body-weight movements offer a much bigger return on investment. And you can schedule your workouts for any time of the day, not just when the trainer dictates class time.
Here’s a full-body home workout with dumbbells (the links explain how the exercise is done):
1) Dumbbell deadlift – six to eight reps
– Rest for 60 seconds and the repeat three times for four sets in total.
2A) Dumbbell push press – 12 reps
– No rest
2B) Dumbbell Bulgarian split squat – eight reps per side
– Rest 60 seconds and repeat two times for three sets in total
3A) Dumbbell step up– 10 reps per side
– No rest
3B) Decline Push up – as many reps as possible
– Rest 60 seconds and repeat two times for three total sets
These three routines are all designed to work the entire body through the duration of the session. That means the core and the legs and the chest and the arms and the back. All of it gets worked in each of the three training routines.
From there, it’s on to the extra credit. Remember what I said about progressive overload. It’s the term that rules the fitness industry for good reason. If you aren’t progressing in your workouts every session, then you aren’t getting stronger. If you aren’t getting stronger, then your training is flawed and your body won’t see the progress you’re hoping for.
Now, go forth and prosper without ever having to leave your tiny NYC apartment.
Home gym dumbbell photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash
Joe Hall says
It’s great that you talked about how marathon runners still do strength training on occasion. My spouse and I are trying to get much healthier this year through training. We need to learn what equipment to get so that we can work out at home.