How I Manage to Work Out in My Teeny Apartment
If you live in a small apartment, the last thing you have space for is a "home gym." But just because you don't have a dedicated room to hide a treadmill out of sight doesn't mean you can't still reap the benefits of an at-home workout. (Namely, convenience, cleanliness, and affordability.) If you're short on square footage, there are still ways to squeeze in sweat sessions at home that don't involve aesthetic compromises or machines that take up precious real estate. As a habitual small space dweller, I've learned tips and tricks for getting my endorphin fix the easiest and cheapest way possible, so keep reading to learn how it's done!
When you live in a tiny place, closet storage is limited and the old addage about not using what's not out applies to your at-home gym essentials, too. Store small-space workout essentials like a set of dumbells, Pilates circle, and yoga mat in cute baskets that look good enough to function as visible décor. West Elm makes great baskets that come in a variety of sizes and patterns, for keeping next to a sofa or on display on a shelving unit.
H&M Jacquard-Weave Cushion Cover ($18)
Use pillows to support your lower back during on-the-floor yoga and Pilates moves, and folded in half between legs for resistance exercises. With inexpensive but still attractive options from a place like H&M Home, you won't feel bad involving them in your workout routine. When off-duty, store the pillows in a metallic wire basket like the one below.
Stamina Pilates Magic Circle ($22)
These small, handy, easy-to-store resistance circles will give you one of the hardest workouts of your life. Don't be put off by the Pilates association if you've never tried Pilates before. The excersise can be as simple as placing the ring between legs or ankles for inner thigh squeezes, or pressing arms together while holding it—but you will feel the burn, trust me. Even in the most cramped of studio apartments, the only space a Pilates circle needs is the width of your body, as it works based on small, isolated, muscle movements. In other words, you could work out in an actual closet with one of them. Additionally, the internet is teaming with free exercise videos based on Pilates circles, so tee one up on your laptop or phone and it will be just like you're in a class, sans judgement and sweaty strangers.
Valeo Neoprene Handweights ($22)
No makeshift home gym is complete without a pair of five-pound dumbells (minimum). Try doing daily squats, arm raises, and bicep curls in your living room and tell us if you don't see results. Rather than standard black or metal, which feels clinical, opt for a more home-friendly powder blue, like these Valeo weights. Store them in baskets from slides one through three.
Yoga Direct Yoga Mat ($28)
Even with a rug, a yoga mat is still a good idea to have on hand both for additional cushioning and preventing slipping of your feet with grip. Roll one out whenever you want to do situps, leg lifts, or follow a full-on YouTube yoga class. Particularly in small spaces, a colorful yoga mat sticking out of a lidless basket has a sculptural aesthetic effect that isn't so offensive to the eyes.
IKEA RENS Sheepskin ($30)
If you live in a place with hardwood floors, anything fluffy and soft that can be used as padding will make floor work much more comfortable, especially layered on top of a yoga mat. The versatile IKEA RENS Sheekpskin looks great on the back of a chair when not in use and provides further cozy support in that function.
Gold's Gym Antiburst Body Ball ($10)
When I injured my hamstring a year ago and had to do physical therapy excercises in my teeny apartment, one of the first things I bought was a stability ball. It doesn't seem like the obvious choice for a small space, but not only are they incredible multi-use excerise tools (lay on top for situps, push between your back and a wall for vertical squats), they double as fun extra seating when guests come over. We kept the ball somewhat hidden behind the center spool of our round dining table and would roll it out when guests came over to our teeny apartment. To our surprise, friends would fight to get a spot on the exercise ball. It was the most desired spot in the house.
Bed Bath & Beyond Mirrored Cube Table ($251)
Having mirrors in gyms isn't for vanity, it's because you get the most out of exercises when you can see and assess your form. It wasn't until I was lying on the ground doing planks one day that I realized the mirrored glass cube side table we owned offered the perfect reflective surface for monitoring my lower back curvature during planks and upper back straightness during pushups. Mirrored cube side tables are glam, make small spaces seem bigger, and are the perfect piece for on-the-floor exercises in an apartment with limited square footage.
What are your favorite tips and products for working out in a small space? Chime in below!