Getting Set Up: At-Home Fitness

Improve workout consistency with this minimalist at-home gym set up 

Making health and fitness a part of your everyday life in the long run requires versatility. Things are not always going to be perfectly laid out the way we want. In fact, this will rarely happen. 

So if you already belong to a gym, go to group fitness classes or attend weekly sessions with a trainer, it's important that you expand your fitness repertoire.

The ability to do a workout at home will make a big difference for you and your exercise consistency. 

An at-home gym set up is crucial for;

  • when you are strapped for time and need the valuable minutes it takes to drive to the gym, get changed, shower, etc.
  • when you are having one of those days and would prefer to be alone.
  • when the weather is bad and want to avoid any extra commuting.
  • if you are following a 'right when I wake up' routine where you exercise first thing in the morning before your shower, breakfast, etc.
  • if you are having visitors stay at your home and you wouldn't feel right leaving them to go to the gym.
  • and more.  

Keep it Basic

You really don't need the newest and fanciest equipment to get the job done. Here are the key features you want with your at home exercise routine; 

  • simple
  • effective
  • emphasizes quality movement
  • promotes consistency (reduces justifications to not workout) 
  • time flexible (i.e. can be modified for short, medium and long durations)
  • affordable (i.e. treadmills cost a lot of money)
  • small in size (i.e. treadmills take up a lot of space)

Your Most Valuable Tool 

Your most valuable tool is your own body. If you master movement and learn to consciously contract the right muscles in the right movements you will have effectively mastered the most important tool in fitness. 

Even the most fancy and expensive piece of equipment is only as good as the body that is using it. 

Make sure to always keep this in mind no matter what piece of equipment you use.

Here is our minimalist at-home gym set-up.

1. Dumbbells

Dumbbells are possibly the best investment you can make when it comes to fitness equipment. They can be used to perform exercises for essentially every movement worth doing and they won't break or wear out. 

Instead of getting a full set of dumbbells like you see at a gym, aim for 2-3 pairs. Ideally aim for a light pair (i.e. 8-12lbs), a medium pair (15-25lbs) and a heavy pair (25lbs+). The actual weight you choose will vary from person to person.

Why you want them;

  • durable
  • relatively cheap
  • don't take up a lot of space
  • extremely versatile


We love Hex dumbbells.  They don't roll around on the floor and the handles are good for gripping compared to some other styles. Oh, and they tend to be the cheapest available. 

2. Kettlebell(s)

The kettlebell is a great piece of equipment. Although almost all dumbbell and kettlebell exercises can be done interchangeably, you may notice that you prefer using a kettlebell for certain movements.

The handle as well as the way the weight hangs makes the kettlebell a really nice option for things like, swings, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, push presses, front squats, etc.

Purchase 1-3 kettlebells of medium to heavy weights. If you are a beginner, try using your kettlebell for goblet squats and deadlifts variations.

Why you want them;

  • durable
  • relatively cheap
  • don't take up a lot of space/easy to store
  • extremely versatile
  • good for more intermediate to advanced exercises


You may want to consider purchasing an ergonomically designed kettlebell. If and when you perform exercises in a front-rack position, the kettlebell can dig into your wrist/forearm. With an ergonomic design it can reduce the discomfort. 

3. Resistance Band

Resistance bands provide 'progressive resistance'. This means that the more the band is stretched, the more resistance is provided.

These are great for adding variety to your workout, especially when focusing on the end range of a given exercise (i.e. rows, bicep curls, etc.). 

These bands are also the perfect travel companion. They're lightweight and easy to store.

Pick up 1-3 levels of resistance bands (ideally light, medium and heavy).

Why you want them;

  • lightweight
  • relatively cheap
  • don't take up a lot of space/easy to store
  • great for specific exercises that can't be done with dumbbells and kettlebells
  • provides progressive resistance


Aim for the looped resistance bands. They are more practical and easier to store than the bands with handles (although these are good too). Inspect your band before use, as they can wear out over time (causing them to snap).

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4. Yoga Block

A yoga block is great for making modifications to stretches and exercises.

Depending on your level of mobility, some stretches can be difficult to perform. Using a yoga block to shorten the range or to support your weight can make the difference between you modifying a stretch or not doing it at all.

We also like using yoga blocks to perform deadlifts in shortened ranges.

For example, if you are new to deadlifting, try placing a yoga block (or two) underneath your kettlebell. Not only will this shorten the range for you, it will give you a target to practice your form with.  

Why you want them;

  • lightweight
  • easy to store
  • great for making modifications to stretches/exercises


Although it is worth purchasing a yoga block. You could just as easily find an object at home that you already own. Try stacking a few hardcover books or using a small sturdy box. 

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5. Stability Ball

Stability balls are great for adding variety to your routine (namely, core exercises). The main benefit is in the name. Stability balls de-stabilize you and force you to improve stability. When used properly there is a lot of benefit.

As a bonus, stability balls can be used like a weight bench for things like presses, supported rows, push-ups, etc.

Here are some of our favourite stability ball exercises;

  • roll-outs
  • stir-the-pot
  • jackknife
  • hamstring curls
  • bridges/straight leg bridges
  • deadbugs
  • prone Ts, Is, Ys, Ls, Ws
  • slow mountain climbers

Why you want them;

  • lightweight
  • easy to store
  • great for core exercises
  • substitutes for a weight bench


Air can release over time, causing the stability ball to deflate.  Make sure to keep your stability ball properly inflated. 

6. Your own body

Don't forget that your body is the most important tool you can use. We can't say enough about the benefit of high quality body weight movements.

Make sure to always try to increase your pain-free range of motion for a given movement and aim to consciously contract all of the right muscles.

Here are bodyweight exercises you can include into your at-home routine;

  • lunge variations
  • squat variations
  • push-up variations
  • plank variations

Take Away

Having the proper at-home gym set up will remove many of the excuses we have for not doing a workout. Make exercise convenient and easily accessible. Instead of the 'all-or-nothing' approach of go to the gym or bust, why not adopt an "always something" approach?

You don't need to spend a fortune to invest in your at-home set up. And remember, it's exactly that. An investment in yourself...

If you'd like help setting up a fitness program that you can do at the gym or at home, let us know. We'd be happy to help you reach your goals. Call us today at 613-295-8080 or email us at

Committed to your success,

The Evertrain Team

Want to learn what it takes to move better, have consistent energy all day, lose weight (keep it off) and get stronger than you've ever been?

Any health and fitness program should involve the essential components that you need to get results. It should incorporate nutrition, fitness and lifestyle factors. It should also meet you where you are right now and guide you one step at a time so that you can progress comfortably, confidently and most importantly with out injury, in a way that is sustainable (we all know quick fixes never work). 

These key points and more are what has made LeanAfter50-Online such a great fit for our clients. We take the time to make it right for you and find ways to make sure you are always progressing.

If you're interested in learning more about the program, we encourage you to contact us so that we can have a no-obligation phone call to discuss your goals and see if the program is the right fit for you. In order to deliver a great coaching experience, we can only take on so many people at once. Space is limited.

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