Would you love a personal, private gym? Imagine the time and money you could save by shifting your sweat session from the gym to your own home-based health club.

While creating a residential fitness retreat sounds pricey, you’ll be surprised to learn that you wouldn’t have to pawn off your father’s signed Mickey Mantle card, or even spend a single cent, to make this dream a reality. Hidden around your home are the only toning tools necessary for improving your overall health. Simple staples like laundry detergent, hand towels, even paper plates work as effectively as the expensive exercise equipment found at your local gym.

Here’s how it works:

Don’t throw in that towel

Sweep, swab, and squeegee your way to tighter abs and leaner legs by using an old dish towel. The following moves are best suited for smoother surfaces like a tile or wood floor.

Polished Planks:

  • Place the towel under your right foot. 
  • Start in a standard plank pose with the hands aligned below the shoulders and spine straight.
  • Keep your core muscles engaged as you pull the right knee up toward the torso for 15 reps, then repeat on the left side.
Polished plank
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Polished plank

Rag Reaches:

  • Rest the towel beneath your right hand and resume your plank pose.
  • Keep your toes firmly planted on the floor as you slowly slide the right hand out in front of the body. Hold for two counts, then bring your hand back to the  starting position. Repeat 10 times then switch sides.
Rag reaches
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Rag reaches

Step up to your paper plates

Grab your paper plates, because we’re dishing out a calorie-crushing lunge casserole. Place a paper plate below your foot to protect your knee joint during exercises like the lunge. This gliding motion is smoother on the joints and forces stabilizer muscles deep within the core and around the knee and ankle joints to work hard as they balance the body.

Saucer Split Squats:

  • Standing on a smooth surface, position your right foot in the center of a paper plate.  Keep your shoulders back, core engaged and hands on your hips as you carefully extend the right foot back while bending the left leg until the  thigh is parallel with the floor. 
  • Push through your left heel to slide the extended right leg back to the starting stance. Repeat this lunging movement for 10 repetitions, then practice on  the opposite leg.
A paper plate makes split squats more challenging.
handout
A paper plate makes split squats more challenging.

Detergent dumbbells

Anything that has weight can be used for resistance exercises. Work up a lather by substituting your gym’s kettlebell with a bottle of laundry detergent — just make sure the lid is firmly fastened prior to use.

Soapy Squats:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and securely hold the detergent bottle in  your hands. Bring the bottle to your chest.
  • Keeping your weight in your heels, hinge back at the hips lowering your body until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for two counts, then push through your heels, returning to the starting position. Repeat 25 times.
Who needs dumbbells when you've got a bottle of detergent?
handout
Who needs dumbbells when you've got a bottle of detergent?

Put a spring in your steps

The average stair climber can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $7,000. Why consider this steep price tag or even travel far to use a gym’s stairmill machine when you need just a single step to transform your body, boost your heart health, and burn major calories.

Side Steps:

  • Stand next to your stairs and place the left foot slightly in front of the body.
  • Push through  your left heel to elevate the body and pull the right knee up toward the torso. Squeeze your glutes and abs for two counts, then lower your leg.  Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
Side step
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Side step

The Two-Step:

  • Stand facing the steps. Keep your shoulders back and gaze slightly forward to avoid  hunching.
  • Step the  right foot up followed by the left, then return the right foot down followed by the left. Walk through this pattern slowly the first few times,  then increase the speed. Once you feel comfortable with the footing, move  briskly through this exercise for 30 seconds.
Two step
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Two step

It takes just a little creativity to transform your home into the ultimate fitness oasis.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach with a focus on movement and mindfulness. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.