Fitness & Wellness

The Best And Worst Low Carb Foods

The Best And Worst Low Carb Foods

You may find a host of low carb foods on the grocery shelf, proudly announcing it on their packaging. Just noting something is low carb, doesn’t mean it’s a healthy addition to the diet. The same is true for high carb foods. People on a low carbohydrate diet often search for those foods that contain the fewest carbohydrates without focusing on other health benefits. Finding the best and worst low carb goods in Miami, FL, can help you achieve weight loss, while boosting your overall health.

What’s the worst low carbohydrate foods you can add to your diet?

You may be eyeing some of those low carbohydrate candies and confections, but you really shouldn’t. Many replace sugar with sugar alcohol that causes bloating and gas. These foods often include inflammatory highly refined vegetable oils and provide no nutritional value—just like other junk foods. String cheese is another favorite, but like many other types of cheese, it’s highly processed. Processed meat is another food that’s known to be unhealthy, yet it’s low in carbs. Various types of bread and low carb tortillas basically are made in the lab, rather than being natural. There’s a plethora of vegetable oils and spreads that aren’t healthy, but low in carbohydrates. Frozen low carb meals and keto fast foods are also filled with ingredients that sound like a chemical equation. Read the labels before buying.

Finding the best low carb foods is easy.

Check the produce section at your grocery and you’ll find some of the best low carb foods. Most vegetables grown above ground are low carb, with the exception of pumpkins. Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, asparagus and all those leafy greens are just a few of the excellent choices. Put nuts and seeds on the list, too. They’re a good source of protein and low in carbs. Fermented food, cage free/free range eggs, grass fed beef and other meats are also healthy carbs. Healthy oils and bone broth also top the healthy list.

Even “health foods” like protein bars and protein powder don’t always make the list.

Just like those low carb confections, many of the protein bars contain highly processed ingredients and are loaded with additives you’ll never find in nature. These can often affect your microbiome and lead to inflammation. Always check the label for ingredients. Those with natural ones, such as collagen, coconut oil and almond butter are the best. Protein powder is another that needs investigating. Some have been found to contain everything from heavy metals to pesticides. Rather than add those powders, add nuts or eggs to your diet.

  • Vegetable oils and spreads aren’t nearly as healthy as butter from grass fed cows. Those spreads often have a high amount of Omega 6 fatty acids compared to the Omega 3s. That can cause inflammation.
  • You might think you’re safe by drinking “diet” soda, but stick with the ultimate low carb drink, water. Studies show that diet soda can add inches to your middle, encourage cravings for sugar and disrupt the microbiome of the gut, which leads to glucose intolerance.
  • If you’re hoping for a sweet treat, it’s still available. Dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao that’s sweetened with a natural sweetener like stevia is a healthy option.
  • How slow a carb digests is another indication of its healthiness. Fast digesting sugars and refined carbs are unhealthy, slower digesting ones like melons and other fruit, beans, lentils, berries and beet or other starchy vegetables are also healthy options.

For more information, contact us today at Kirra Collins Fitness

Nutrition For Life

Nutrition For Life

Whether you live in Oklahoma, or any place in this world, you probably have at least a basic concept of how important good nutrition is no matter what your age. In fact, it’s the first thing that needs to be addressed if you want to change your overall health, weight of level of fitness. There’s a saying that a fit body starts in the kitchen. That’s true. While working out will help build muscles, without the right nutrition, you won’t get the results you want.

You need the basic building blocks.

In some countries, starvation is a huge problem for the population. It’s not the case in the United States. In fact, obesity is the leading killer. What’s sad is that both have one thing in common. Both groups, the obese and the starving are often suffering from malnutrition. In the US, over a third of adults are obese and about a sixth of children and young adults under 19 are obese. It all boils down to eating empty calories and making unwise choices when it comes to food.

Healthy eating prevents obesity and that also prevents many diseases.

You don’t have to be overweight to suffer from bad eating habits and the effects they have on your body. Lack of certain nutrients affect various parts of the body. Too little calcium, vitamin k and vitamin D can promote osteoporosis. High amounts of saturated fats and trans fats can lead to cardiovascular disease. You can increase healthy cholesterol and decrease unhealthy bad cholesterol by managing your diet, too. In fact, healthy eating can also improve your mood and build your energy level.

Good nutrition can help to maintain muscle mass as you age or build that cut, competition-ready appearance.

Good nutrition helps build and maintain muscles. For older individuals, maintaining muscle mass is important. It keeps individuals independent longer, keeps bones stronger and helps avoid injuries. For body builders, nutrition is the core of getting that competition ready appearance. You need adequate protein, based on your overall goal. It comes from healthy options like chicken, salmon, cottage cheese, lean meat and nuts. Carbohydrates are necessary for energy for your workout, but make it high quality, like whole-grain, fruits and vegetables. Healthy fat, from sources like walnuts, fatty fish, pistachios, almonds, avocados and olive oil should also be in your diet. It’s necessary to produce the hormones that help boost muscle growth and strength.

  • The best diet for you should contain an abundant amount of vegetables and fruits, plus lean protein and a healthy source of fat. It should have all colors of vegetables, which means a variety of nutrients and be based on your overall health goal.
  • Besides eating healthy, a program of regular exercise is also important. Exercise increases blood circulation to get nutrients to all parts of the body. It builds endurance, strength and flexibility.
  • You’ll reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other serious conditions when you have good nutrition for life.
  • Not only will it improve your body and keep you healthy, good nutrition is also good for the brain. Studies show that a healthy diet can reduce the risk of dementia and help prevent cognitive decline.

For more information, contact us today at Kirra Collins Fitness

How Exercising Can Be A Stress Reliever

How Exercising Can Be A Stress Reliever

Are you running around Miami, Florida stressed to the max and so busy you don’t have time to workout? That’s exactly the time you need to workout, when there is no time. No matter where you live, if you’re under stress, that’s when it’s time to start working out. Not only is exercise good for your health, exercising can be a stress reliever. It burns off the hormones of stress, like cortisol. Stress exacerbates health conditions and creates ones where none exist. It boosts energy and can help prevent minor injuries that can occur from doing everyday tasks.

It boosts your happy hormones.

You’ve probably heard of a runner’s high, well that’s the way all types of exercise affect the body. It helps boost the production of the feel-good hormones called endorphins. You don’t have to go running to experience it. It’s part of the body’s chemistry to deal with pain or stress. These neurotransmitters interact with the opiate receptors in the brain and act very much like opiate drugs, except for the potential for addiction. There are 20 different types of endorphins found in the brain and throughout the body.

Exercise can function like meditation.

Meditation helps you escape the day and rest your brain, basically thinking of nothing, just being in the moment. Have you ever noticed how your thoughts seem to disappear when you’re running and you’re just hearing the sound of your feet on the pavement or the wind in your ear? Or how your focus shifts from the day’s problems to each individual muscle when you’re doing power lifts? That laser sharp focus on the specific activity, sights and sounds is like meditation in motion.

Stress can cause side effects like anxiety and depression.

Working out not only boosts your mood and self-confidence right after you do it, it can help make long term changes in your mood. Studies show that when exercise was a complementary therapy, depressed and anxious subjects improved more and more rapidly. It helps improve sleep, which is another way to help boost your mood and reduce your stress.

  • Don’t add to your stress, ease into exercise and don’t push yourself to the point of injury. Make sure you check with your health care professional before you start any workout program.
  • Combine working out with having fun. Get a workout partner and make it social. Studies show that people with a healthy social life also live longer. One thing is certain, a workout buddy holds you accountable for your exercise program.
  • If you’re out of shape and can’t do a regular workout, start slowly. Walk before you run. Walking more each day can build your endurance and get your body ready for a great workout. It also burns off hormones of stress.
  • Exercise can strengthen your muscles, build stronger bones, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, help you lose weight and improve your self-image, too. Those changes can relieve a lot of stress.

For more information, contact us today at Kirra Collins Fitness

What Are The Best Workouts To Do In The Least Amount Of Time?

What Are The Best Workouts To Do In The Least Amount Of Time?

People all over the country from Dallas and Denver to Miami and Oklahoma are busy getting back into the groove and looking for the best workouts that can be done in the least amount of time. Business has gotten busier and finding ways to save time, while staying fit is important. If you can take more time for an hour at the gym, go for it. However, most people have days that are simply too rushed. Rather than skipping a workout entirely, they use these time saving ideas.

Break your workout to three sessions.

If you have a half hour workout…break it down to three ten-minute sessions. One study tracked four groups of people. The first group didn’t exercise. The second group did two 15-minute workouts a day. The third group did a solid half hour a day and the fourth group did three 10-minute workouts. Who got the most benefit? Based on weight lost and improved endurance, all three groups that exercised benefited equally. The group that didn’t workout made no progress, as would be expected. If you have small sections of time throughout the day, you can fit in an entire workout and still benefit even if it’s done in sections.

Work out harder.

Increase your intensity and cut your time a little shorter. If you’re working out at a moderate pace or with lighter weights, make it harder on yourself by adding more weight and increasing the intensity. You shouldn’t workout as long when you’ve bumped up your efforts to the max. Push yourself to the limit. Doing interval training with less resting time between sets is another way to get more bang from our exercise time.

Make compound moves part of your workout.

Compound moves involve several muscle groups working at the same time. It can save time when you’re doing strength training, especially. You can combine two exercises in one with a squat that adds a bicep curl or do a lunge as you’re doing a tricep extension. Do a movement that combines several muscle groups in one exercise, like a deadlift or basic squat.

  • Write out your workout, so you don’t have to stop and think or find the video when you have time to workout. You will save time and get your routine done faster when you know exactly what comes next. Having it in front of you, on paper, is one way to do it.
  • Turn off your phone to avoid distractions. Even the best intentions can go by the wayside. If the call is important, they’ll leave a message.
  • Do a four minute nitric oxide dump three times a day. Dr. Zach Bush created it and it includes squats, arm swings, arm circles and overhead presses. It’s perfect when you have just a few minutes to use.
  • Can’t exercise? Sure you can. Instead of driving to the store, walk. If that’s not a potential, park further from the store to get in more steps. Take the stairs not the elevator. Take a walking lunch.

For more information, contact us today at Kirra Collins Fitness



We begin the year full of confidence, ready to smash our goals! Unfortunately, however, many will slowly lose this motivation and forget the goals they set in place after only a short time into the year. I want to teach you girls how to set realistic goals that you can stick to!

When it comes to goal setting, I like to follow the S.M.A.R.T acronym!


Really try to pinpoint exactly what you want. ‘I want to get fit and healthy’ is a great start, but what are you going to do to get fit and healthy? Write down a gym schedule, get an activity tracker and stick to a meal plan that includes heaps of micronutrients! The Kirra Collins Fitness Home Body Program provide both training and meal plans that are specific to your body goals so they are a great place to start!

Examples of specific goals 

  • Make training a part of my lifestyle! This can be at the gym or at home, but it will be a specific amount of days per week.
  • Improve my running time over 5km
  • Decrease my body fat levels by 1-3%
  • Increase my squat, deadlift, bench and chin-up PRs
  • Learn the basics of all the key lifts by following a consistent program or getting coaching
  • Increase my daily fruit and vegetable intake to 5 serves of veg and 2 serves of fruit
  • Learn to do a chin-up unassisted!


Once you have your specific goal, how are you going to measure it? If your goal is to be fitter and stronger this year, then it could be a great idea to do a fitness test at the start and end! Test your cardiovascular fitness and any lifts that you want to improve, then set a specific number that you want to improve your results by. Keep reminding yourself of these numbers and working towards them to stay motivated throughout the year!


Put your goals into perspective and really think about whether it is possible for you to achieve them. If you have one huge goal, for example buying a house, then maybe break it down to something that you can actually achieve within the year or a specified time period. Aim to save a certain amount of money towards the house instead! If we set huge and unrealistic goals, then we are less likely to continue working towards them, when we realize it may not be achievable within the year.



Does your goal align with your lifestyle and priorities? If you set a goal to hit the gym 5 days per week, but you also want to study full time and work enough hours to save a certain amount of money, then it may be time to prioritize your goals. Which is the most important to you in the next 12 months? Decide this and then adjust your goals accordingly, so that they all remain achievable.


You have completed the first 4 steps of your SMART goals. Now you need to put a time frame on them so that you can work backward from that. Have the end date close enough that it stays at the top of your mind and you don’t lose motivation, but also give yourself enough time to actually complete it. If your time frame is the entire year, then I would suggest setting mini-goals and milestones throughout the year to keep you on track. I have been competing for years, so this has been a really good way to set specific time frames and achievable targets. I have my competition dates locked in months in advance and I am able to plan my year around these dates.

This goal setting method is tried and tested and effective when implemented. I want you girls to create goals that are setting you up for SUCCESS! The best way to dial in this process is to take some time out to think about your goals, write them down on paper, and display them around your office or home to keep it at the forefront of your mind.

One of the most important factors of setting goals is believing that you will be able to achieve them, and you always have the power to adapt to your circumstances. Life is going to constantly through obstacles at you, there will never be the “perfect” time to achieve certain goals. When you set out to achieve a target be prepared for the fact that you might need to navigate around blockers. I cannot tell you how many times I have set out for a big picture goal and be thrown a curveball. But the difference is that I don’t give up on achieving this goal, I adapt to my circumstances and overcome it. This is exactly what I mentor my Kirra Collins Fitness Ladies on as well, not only overcoming physical blockers and achieving the extraordinary but also mentally completely changing the game.

So if you are more ready than ever, let’s make this year a goal-crushing one to remember!

Mindset, Nutrition & Training Expectations

Mindset, Nutrition & Training Expectations

Mindset, Nutrition & Training Expectations

The 3 pillars of success; mindset, nutrition, and training, are essential to achieve your fitness goals. If you can master your mindset, nutrition and training, then you are well on your way to achieving your goals. All 3 pillars are separate, as well as interconnected, and each pillar needs to be worked on separately. However, the order is what most people get wrong!

1. Mindset

Your mind and body go hand in hand and both need to be in harmony. Mindset refers to everything that is going on in your head. This is what I consider the first pillar, and it’s where most people fail. The mind is stronger than any muscle in your body and if you can conquer your mindset then you have already won half the battle. Mindset includes attributes such as discipline, determination, motivation as well as negativity, unworthiness and laziness. Mindset is your foundation, and without a solid foundation you can’t build a house.

2. Nutrition

Next comes Nutrition – Nutrition is what we choose to eat. Nutrition is always based on education. If you can educate yourself on what to eat, and what not to eat, then you can conquer your diet. There is so much misinformation out there about food that confuses people, so once you understand this you can start making informed choices about your health and diet. However, there is one more factor which is understanding your body – there is no one size fits all diet, so you need to find what works for you.

3. Training

The final pillar is Training; Training is all about exercise and moving your body. There are different types of training for different types of goals. Training is specific to your goal, so if you want to compete in bodybuilding then you must weight train, but if you want to compete in marathon running then you must run.

Why are the pillars in this order?

Let’s work from the final pillar back to the start, and begin with training. No matter how hard you train, you can’t out train a bad diet! Even the best workout might burn 600 calories, but if you go and get takeout straight after your workout and have some chocolate and ice cream as well, your workout is basically for nothing. Now this isn’t talking about your perfectly planned cheat meal, this is talking about the whole “I trained today so I’ve earned that cheesecake”.

Next let’s look at Nutrition – while nutrition is a crucial part of your plan, and goes hand in hand with your training plan, if you don’t have the right mindset you are going to struggle to achieve your goals. You could have the best nutrition plan in the world, but if you are too lazy to cook your own food, or get emotional and constantly overeat, you won’t achieve your goals. Fix the mindset, then get the perfect nutrition plan, then train hard and follow your workouts – that’s the key to success.

So now you might ask yourself, how can I master all three of these aspects? As you would train in the gym, you also need to train your mindset and your nutrition knowledge.

1) Mindset Training

Success happens in the mind. We set goals, we plan and we execute, all in our minds first. So just like you train your body, you also need to train your mind. There are a few simple strategies that you can work on to help you conquer your mindset, and get in the right frame of mind.

Work on your work ethic. Everybody has a work ethic and some are stronger than others. Those with a strong work ethic are the ones who usually succeed. Those with a strong work ethic don’t need to be told what to do, they don’t slack off and they don’t need monitoring. To improve your work ethic train yourself to finish tasks, be rational rather than emotional, put work first, don’t dwell on the negatives, be productive, get up early, and lastly, create a regimented routine and see it through to the end. Failure is not a failure if you learn from it and push forwards!

2) Nutrition Training

You will never achieve your fitness goals without a solid diet. Nutrition is about education. You can either learn from a dietician, personal trainer or from your own research. There is a lot to know but the most important is how your body reacts to certain foods. Everybody is different and some bodies do not respond well to ingredients like glucose, gluten, lactose or corn. So if you have stomach aches often, then make sure you get an allergy test and monitor what you’re eating.

The next thing you need to do is educate yourself on the numbers. You should be able to pick up any food and read the nutrition label. That is the fats, carbs, protein and calorie content and then you should be able to make a decision if you should eat it or not. Learn which foods are high in protein, fiber, carbs, and good fats. Learn which foods are nutrient dense and packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as which foods are packed with sugar and are high GI. A simple rule of thumb here is that if it has more than 5 ingredients, put it back and take something else.

3) Exercise Training

So what do you want to train for? What are your goals? Your goals will determine what kind of training you should do. Types of training include weight training, bodyweight training, running, swimming, cycling, plyometric training, Olympic lifting, etc. Once you have decided on a type of training you will need a progressive program that will lead you to your goals. If it’s not progressive, you won’t progress – it’s as simple as that! The next step is for you to learn the correct exercise technique for each movement. This is important as it will reduce your chances of injury, and allow you to continue on your training plan without any stops.

Mindset, nutrition and training are your three pillars of success. Train each of these pillars and master them. If you are able to do this then you will achieve your fitness goals.

How To Cope With Emotional Eating

How To Cope With Emotional Eating

How many times have you gobbled something down, not because you were in reality actually hungry, but because you were stressed, tired, bored, anxious, angry, or insert emotion here?

You might be an emotional eater. But there are ways to overcome emotional eating.

Many of us have been taught that food can “soothe a mood,” that shoveling scoops of Ben & Jerry’s straight out of the pint can help dull the ache of a breakup.

Comfort food — those warm, salty, melty bites of mac-and-cheese, for instance — preys upon our inability to say “no thanks” when we seek a reward or feel stressed.

When we use food to appease our moods, it sets us up for a vicious cycle of possible weight gain, followed by self-recrimination, followed by more emotional eating.

But you can stop this cycle if you learn a few simple tools.

Are You An Emotional Eater?

How do you know if you’re eating for emotional reasons? Try this self-test— answer each of the following five questions with “yes” or “no”:

  • Do you eat between meals even when you’re not physically hungry?
  • If you eat between meals, are you eating on auto-pilot — i.e., mindlessly and without complete awareness and attention to what you’re doing?
  • When something upsetting happens, do you reach for the nearest bag of cookies to make yourself feel better?
  • Do you fantasize about foods that are your special “treats” such as chocolate cake or kettle chips?
  • When you eat these treats, do you hide out and eat them by yourself because you’re embarrassed to eat them in front of others?

If you answered “yes” to more than two of the above, you may be an emotional eater. When you want to eat when you’re not physically hungry, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

  • What am I feeling and why?
  • What do I really need besides food right now? (Hint: It’s often rest or a break from what you’re doing)

Emotional States That Can Lead to Emotional Eating

Sadness, anxiety, and anger are the three emotional states I see most often among my patients that can lead to bouts of emotional eating.

Some people eat to celebrate, to suppress boredom to reward themselves, but when it comes to patterns of emotional eating, I see them stem most from sadness, anxiety, or anger.

Sad Eating

Let’s face it: When heartbreak or loneliness hits, eating that tub of ice cream seems like a good idea. A bit of sweetness to drown out the sorrow…

But before you know it, you can get caught in a self-perpetuating negative cycle that can be very difficult to escape. You eat because you’re sad, then you feel even more blue because you’ve eaten so much.

This can lead to a “what-the-heck” attitude, increasing the likelihood of overeating when the next bout of the blues strikes.

Healthy alternatives:

  1. Express yourself: Your melancholy mood was probably caused by an upsetting incident. Get it off your chest by talking about it with someone you trust. If nobody is available to talk, try writing down your feelings.
  2. Move: Battle the blues by moving your body and getting your heart pumping. Even doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise can boost the feel good chemicals in your brain.
  3. Give yourself permission to let it out: Light some candles, take a hot bath, listen to sad music, cry until you run out of tears. Allowing yourself to feel sad will help you process.

Or put on headphones, turn up the music, and dance, or punch pillows — pick a constructive way to emote that’s not eating.

Anxious/Stress Eating

Many of us eat to relieve our stress or anxiety in particular, those that are high in fat, sugar, or both.

Excessive intake of these types of highly palatable foods shares similarities with the effects on brain and behavior that are seen with some drugs of abuse, according to research published in the journal Nutrition.

Healthy alternatives:

  1. Stick to a regular, healthy sleep routine. If you’re not sleeping well because you’re stressed, the lack of sleep can result in poor food choices. Research shows that people who got insufficient sleep for several consecutive nights increased food intake to keep them going. When they returned to getting adequate rest, they stopped eating as much — particularly carbs and fats.
  1. Do something relaxing and calming. We all have different ways of relaxing. The next time you feel stressed and anxious and instinctively turn to food, resist the urge to run to the cupboard or fridge, and instead practice a relaxing activity.

Angry Eating

Unfortunately, when we stuff our anger down with food this doesn’t get rid of our anger. It simply buries it. If we don’t deal with the emotion, it will keep popping up.

Healthy alternatives:

One way to get out of the angry eating trap is to delay eating — even 10 minutes will do — and to sit down, take a deep breath, and tune in to what you’re really feeling.

Ask yourself the following questions and patiently work your way through the answers.

  • What happened today that may have made me angry?
  • Why did that event stir up angry feelings?
  • What do I need to do in order to let go of this anger and feel peaceful?

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to let your emotional state sabotage your efforts to eat healthy. By reframing the situation and your emotions, you’ll able to step away from the fridge and toward more positive solutions.

The information provided on this website (including the Blogs, Community pages, Program Materials and all other content) was originally intended for a US audience. Regulations in your country may vary. +Results vary depending on starting point, goals and effort. Exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss and muscle definition.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your physician and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program or using any supplement or meal replacement product, especially if you have any unique medical conditions or needs. The contents on our website are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to diagnose any medical condition, replace the advice of a healthcare professional, or provide any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Creating Your Home Gym In 4 Steps

Creating Your Home Gym In 4 Steps

Setting up a home gym is the perfect choice for those who don’t want to pay for a gym membership or want to exercise from the comfort of their own home. Even if you don’t have a lot of room in your house, there are plenty of ways of building a home gym that don’t require large amounts of space or building knowledge.

One of the most important parts of working out at home is making sure your home gym is set up to inspire, motivate, and allow you to get the most out of your workouts. Having your home gym set up properly means ensuring you have the equipment and space you need to easily go work out whenever you want.

1. Choosing a space

The first step to building a home gym is choosing the space you will be working out in. But before you do that, there are some things you need to consider:

How much space you have in your house

Ideally when setting up your home gym, you will have an area dedicated just for working out. However, if you live in a smaller home, you may not be able to do this. If this is the case, choose an area in your house that has enough room for you to work out in without disrupting other spaces.

This might mean your home study or your living room doubles as a home gym. Or if you have a spare room in your house that’s not in use? That is likely your best choice for setting up your workout space.

What workouts you will be doing 

Think about the style of workouts you will be doing. For example, if you’re doing strength training at home with lots of equipment, you’re going to need a lot more space than if you’re just doing cardio HIIT workouts with little to no equipment. Have a think about the types of workouts you will be doing before choosing the space to ensure you’ll have enough room to get your workouts done comfortably.

Make sure you like the space

One of the most important parts of setting up your home gym is ensuring you like the space you’ve chosen. Whether that means having a dedicated room for your gym, or working out in your living room, make sure you set up your space so that you actually like being in it. If you don’t like going to your home gym, you’re not going to like working out in it.

2. Home gym equipment to get you started

The next step in setting up your gym is determining what home gym equipment you need to use. This depends on the style of workout you’ll be doing, or if you will be doing a combination of styles. There is some gym equipment designed specifically for cardio, others for strength training, and some for both.

Gym equipment for cardio

For cardio workouts, there are several different pieces of equipment you can invest in. The basic equipment you may want for setting up your home cardio gym includes:

Yoga mat

A soft yoga mat will help with protecting your joints in high-impact cardio exercises.

Skipping rope

A skipping rope is a cardio staple for jump rope exercises that can be added into any HIIT routine (or as a warm up exercise).

Ankle weights

Ankle weights are a great addition to almost any exercise, adding resistance that will make your cardio moves more challenging.

Resistance bands

Resistance band exercises help build overall strength and stamina in your cardio workouts.

Gym equipment for strength training

For strength training, there are several different items you can invest in to get the most out of your strength training workouts:


Dumbbells add weight and resistance to almost any movement, making them an incredibly versatile addition to your home gym. If you don’t have access to dumbbells, you can always substitute with household items.


Kettlebells are great for making lower body exercises more challenging, and are a useful staple to have in your home strength training gym.

Barbell and rack

A barbell and rack require a lot more space than dumbbells or kettlebells, but if you have access to a garage or larger space within your home, this will allow you to progress your strength training with heavier weights more quickly.


Fitballs are lightweight and affordable, primarily used for core exercises.


A bench is useful for both strength training moves like bench presses, or cardio moves like bench jumps.

Gym equipment for recovery

And finally, it’s important to invest in items for post-workout recovery. While you don’t need equipment to do stretches, there are some items that can help enhance your recovery sessions:

Yoga mat 

Yoga mats are useful for stretching, to support your knees and joints and soften any hard flooring.

Foam roller

A foam roller is a helpful recovery tool, allowing you to stretch out your muscles and reduce muscle soreness.

Trigger point ball

Trigger point balls target specific muscles points, allowing you to roll out any tense knots or tight areas in recovery sessions.

3. Set up your space

Once you know which equipment you will be using,  you can then begin to set up your space. It’s important to get your space ready so that whenever you want to work out, you have a place to go that’s ready for it, and doesn’t require too much additional work on your side for setting up before you workout.

  • Get a full-length mirror

If you have the space, a great addition to your home gym is installing a full-length mirror. This is not for vanity reasons: a full-length mirror has two important purposes. The first is that you’ll be able to easily monitor your form to make sure you’re performing exercises correctly, and the second is that mirrors add more dimension and light to a room, making it look more spacious.

  • Organize the space

Make sure the space is de-cluttered and organized. This is so that you have plenty of room when working out, and that you feel totally comfortable in your home gym. The more comfortable you are in the space, the more likely you are to be motivated to actually go workout in it.

This might mean adding in additional storage solutions to store your gym equipment in, or reorganizing an existing space to make it less cluttered for your workouts.

  • Set up your equipment

Next up, find a permanent home for your chosen gym equipment. If you’re only using small weights and a yoga mat, for example, you may only need a storage cupboard to store them in when not in use. If you’re investing in larger items like a barbell and rack, however, these will need a permanent home in the gym space.

Regardless of which equipment you have, it’s important that they have a permanent place where you store them so that you don’t lose them and you’re able to create a sense of permanence in your gym environment.

  • Make it motivational

Making your space motivational will encourage you to keep working out. You might like to decorate with motivational quotes or inspiring posters, color-coordinate your gym equipment, and/or add in speakers that you can automatically connect to your phone to play workout music. Whatever you choose, make your gym an inspiring place to be.

4. Keeping it clean and safe

An important part of setting up your home gym is making your environment clean and safe. This ensures there are no accidents or injuries, and you keep your space and equipment in good condition. Here are some ways to ensure your gym stays clean and safe:

  • Ensure you have spray and wipe on-hand to clean down any equipment after use
  • Wipe down your equipment and clean the space thoroughly after use
  • Always put equipment away safely and securely after use. This might mean putting it away in a cupboard, or making sure barbells are put away securely on the rack. Don’t leave any equipment lying around that could be hazardous.

Tips for creating your home gym on a budget

Creating a home gym does not have to be a massive expense. While you can invest in large amounts of brand new gym equipment, this is not necessary for building a home gym. Below are some ways you can create your home gym without breaking the bank.

Go for secondhand items

If you don’t have a huge budget for building your home gym but you’d still like to invest in equipment, don’t worry. Visit your local op shops, or go online to secondhand marketplaces – there are always people reselling their gym equipment for a cheaper price.

Buy items in bundles

If you want to buy your equipment first-hand, look out for bundles of gym equipment. It is often better value to purchase items as part of a bundle, rather than to buying pieces of equipment individually.

Invest in versatile equipment

When you first set up a home gym, the best thing you can do is select items that can be used in many different ways. This means that with just a few pieces, you can have a varied workout that incorporates different training styles.

Items like dumbbells, resistance bands, and a bench, are basic exercise tools that allow you to do many different kinds of exercises on them. Comparatively, a piece of equipment like a treadmill only allows you to run or walk. That’s not to say that treadmills aren’t a useful tool (they are), but they can take up unnecessary room if you’re tight on space, or are just getting started with setting up your home gym.

Skip on the equipment

If you want to work out at home but you don’t want to invest in equipment, then just skip on the equipment. You can still set up a motivational home gym without it. Bodyweight exercises and at home cardio can both easily be done with no equipment necessary. Try our Home Body Workout to get started with no-equipment exercises from home.

What Is Gut Health?

What Is Gut Health?

We promote a healthy diet for our clients in Colorado, which includes food to eat for better gut health. While many of you may not be eating specifically for improving your digestive tract or elimination system, a healthy diet is one way to improve it. What does gut health entail? It’s about having a healthy environment for digestion. If you’ve found yourself bloated or gassy after eating, it’s time to think about a healthy gut.

You have thousands of microbes inside you.

While the ratio of microbes in your elimination and digestion system has been reconsidered, it was one time believed you actually had more microbes than cells. However, the minute you defecate, that ratio changes dramatically. Even so, there has been an estimation that the body contains about 100 trillion microorganisms. While they’d only account for about a pound or two of weight, many are extremely important for good health. Your gut or digestive and elimination system contains from a low estimate of 300 to a high of 1,000 different species, with just 30 to 40 of them being the most plentiful. The beneficial bacteria and microbes have a symbiotic relationship with humans, providing some of the digestive processes to deliver nutrients we can use. Without them, people would die of malnutrition.

What causes an unhealthy gut and how do you know you have one?

You may already know one of the signs of an unhealthy gut. It’s a combination of bloating, gassiness, diarrhea or constipation. Gas-X and Beano become your best friend. Other signs are more illusive. It may be insomnia, mood disorders, autoimmune diseases, bad breath, skin conditions and even food intolerance. Some studies show that cancer might even be a result of poor gut health. A craving for sugar not only promotes poor gut health, it’s a result of poor gut health. Not eating a diet that provides adequate nutrition, including prebiotic foods with fiber, overindulgence in alcohol, cigarette smoking, stress, lack of sleep and use of antibiotics can tilt the scales from a healthy gut to one that’s not.

Eating prebiotic food and fermented or probiotic food can help.

Anyone that watches television probably has seen the commercials for some brands of yogurt that provide a probiotic boost to the body. Fermented foods also help. These include kimchi, kefir and sauerkraut. However, you can also boost your gut health with prebiotics, foods that encourage the growth of beneficial microbes. Garlic, onions, mushrooms, bananas and apples are a few.

  • Studies are now showing that lack of exercise can tip the scales to poor gut health. In the studies, regular exercise produced a healthier blend of bacteria for digestion. Stress, another factor in poor gut health, is also reduced.
  • If you take antibiotics, always replace the beneficial bacteria killed by eating live bacteria yogurt or other fermented food and hour before the antibiotic or an hour afterward.
  • Staying hydrated also helps gut health. Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day to be at your best.
  • Cut the sugar and the processed food habit for better gut health. Whole foods have more fiber and provide a friendlier environment for beneficial microorganisms.

Remember To Cool Down

Remember To Cool Down

You may be diligent about doing a warm up exercise, knowing you’re preventing injury and making your workout better, but tend to cut your cool down short or skip it entirely to get out of the gym faster and home to supper or on to work. Your cool down workout is just as important as a warm up. That few minutes of cooling down does important things for the body. The few minutes you save might cost you a lot more than you think.

Cooling down can help prevent blood pooling.

When you workout, you’re body’s circulation is running at peak. Your heart rate is high and the movement helps push the blood throughout the body. Stopping abruptly ends the aid of the muscles’ squeezing action that sends the blood back to the brain and heart. It can even be trapped by the valves in the veins. One sign that this is happening is light-headedness and a feeling you’re about to faint. It’s really not dangerous, but can cause falls or mask a true medical condition that is serious. It can be embarrassing at best and scary at worst.

Cool downs prevent DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness.

DOMS is different from a muscle cramp, which is an abnormal muscle contraction caused by small tears in the muscles. DOMS can start anywhere from 24 to 48 hours of a workout and produces excruciating pain. You can prevent that from occurring, according to a California State University study, with a cool down session. The study showed that just cycling a short time after strength training reduced the probability of it occurring significantly. Cooling down helps the muscles to relax and that helps prevent it from happening.

If you’ve ever felt that jello-like feeling in your muscles after working hard, a cool down is in order.

After a tough workout, the muscle tissue is extremely warm. That means it’s more flexible and pliable. Flexibility is important and the cool down period is a perfect time to do range of motion exercises. You’ll get an increase in your range of motion when you do cool down stretches. That can help prevent future injuries and muscle problems, like back aches, in the future.

  • A cool down session brings the body slowly back to neutral and balanced. It boosts the effect of the feel good endorphins produced during the workout, so you’ll leave in a better mood.
  • Lactic acid builds up in your muscles during a hard workout. The five to ten minutes of cooling down helps clear out this byproduct of exercise and prevents the muscle ache, burning, nausea, stomach pain and nausea that lactic acidosis can cause.
  • You can judge how much cool down time you need by your heart rate. It slows the heart rate gradually, until you’re back to normal.
  • The best type of exercise for a cool down is static stretching, such as brisk walking. Dynamic stretching and ballistic stretching are best saved for warming up.