Fashion & Beauty

My Little Gym

THE NEWS announced Covid-19 was a pandemic, and pffft went gym routines, yoga classes and Pilates sessions. About a week or so later, though, as we frantically washed hands and Cloroxed anything that didn’t move, Zoom came to the rescue with virtual workouts. I signed in.

I put my towel down on the living room carpet, the computer on the coffee table and found a pair of three-pound weights that I had squirreled away after some physical therapy a couple of years ago. But the floor was hard on my back, so I bought a yoga mat. Much cushier. My weights worked fine for biceps/triceps exercises but resistance bands, say yoga and Pilates instructors, are more versatile—and portable—though that was and isn’t a factor for the time being. So, I ordered a set of bands in three levels of difficulty (red, green and blue). Past purchases also included the Pilates Magic Circle I acquired when I began Pilates classes four years ago. And then my Overball for pelvic core exercises and two Franklin Textured Balls for soothing sore muscles.

It wasn’t too long before my beautiful living room started to look like a disorganized exercise studio with weights and mats (my husband had his own virtual sessions) on and around the carpet and bands and towels strewn over chairs and couches. “Enough,” I said, and moved my equipment stash to my home office/aka guest room. My husband went back to playing tennis outdoors.

Workout clothing? you ask. My collection was triste. A 10-year-old pair of black Lululemon leggings, a newer pair from Sweaty Betty and a random collection of old T-shirts, including one from the Spring 2008 District Sample Sale. Not exactly inspiring.

Fall is here; winter is coming. Get ready for it with a DIY gym. See our suggestions below, along with some motivational workout wear.

—Janet Kelly

ABOVE: The TheraBands Resistance Bands Set ($13.02, Amazon) consists of three bands, each measuring 5 feet long by 5 inches wide. They come in three resistance levels, ranging from yellow (the lightest, at 3 pounds) to green (the most, 6.7 pounds). I hang mine on a doorknob and on a door hinge for upper body work—shoulder-strengthening  exercises  and tricep pulldowns.

LEFT: I sprung for the Stamina AeroPilates Magic Circle $30, Amazon) instead of using the old-generation abductor-adductor machine at the gym I used to frequent. It’s also a good sub for machines that work the upper body area. Designed by Joseph Pilates, the man behind the famous method, it’s an exercise tool you can use anywhere.

RIGHT: Yoga classes use blocks like Gaiam’s Purple Yoga Block ($9.99, Dick’s Sporting Goods) for stability. This one is made of lightweight foam with a non-slip surface. (I don’t have one—yet.)

BELOW: A lot plusher than your average mat, the 5/8-inch-thick Balanced Body Aeromat Workout Mat ($52, Amazon) is kind to sensitive backs and/or joints. It’s also large enough—72 inches long-by-23 inches wide—to comfortably do a yoga routine or rounds of push-ups, bridges and planks.


LEFT: A little shine can elevate any workout, which is why we’re drawn to Alo’s High-Waist Shine Airbrush Legging ($88) in gorgeous oxblood. It lifts, it sculpts, it’s antimicrobial, too!

RIGHT: Amazon’s brightly colored Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs start at $10.40 for a 1-pound pair, a two-pounder is $12.66. The price goes up from there, depending on weight.

LEFT: Black makes us all look sleeker, but how much better I bet we’d all look in a non-draining color like the lavender on this cotton-blend, sweat-wicking Sweatee Longsleeve T-Shirt ($58, Outdoor Voices) with a slightly cropped fit.

RIGHT: The same goes for Sweaty Betty’s Euphoria Short Sleeve Workout T-Shirt ($40). Almost too cute to wear just in your home office/gym. A good reason to go for it: All profits donated to United Way Worldwide’s Covid-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.


LEFT: For anyone, like me, for example, who wants leggings that holds in their abs and lifts their derrières, look no further than the London-based Sweaty Betty’s beetle-blue-colored High Shine Sculpt Workout Leggings ($94, Nordstrom).

CENTER: Pair those sculpt workout leggings with the brand’s breathable, quick-drying Breeze Long Sleeve Running Top ($88, Sweaty Betty). You’ll be the star of your own workout. Reward yourself by grabbing a coffee with a pal—socially distant, of course—afterwards.

RIGHT:Flashy legs are fashionable. Sweaty Betty’s Goddess Foil 7/8 Workout Leggings ($100) with a bronze foil print check that box, and by the way, they’re bum sculpting.


LEFT: Like its aforementioned sibling, the Sweatee T-Shirt ($48, Outdoor Voices) comes in four other colors besides this navy blue. Wear it for everyday activities—running, walking the dog or working out in your gym-equipped office or any other room.

RIGHT: When you’re not in the mood to shine but rather slip quietly under the radar, try this Wunder Under High-Rise Tight 28″ ($98, Lululemon). The pattern on this pair is Wild Thing Camo Deep Coal. Who comes up with these names? The waistband pocket will hold your keys or your credit card.


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3 thoughts on “My Little Gym

  1. Carol says:

    Just ordered a set of bands! Have plenty of weights and a big exercise ball
    Now to work

    1. Nancy McKeon says:

      It’s not enough to buy them–I know this for a fact! I bought mine months ago . . .

      1. Janet Kelly says:

        My motivation is my wonky shoulder.

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