Despite Mother Nature’s best laid plans to keep winter in full swing, spring and summer are on their way. Dropping some extra winter weight (we’re looking at you, Christmas and Thanksgiving) now can help jumpstart your fitness goals for summer, especially if you’re staring down something crazy like your first Ironman 70.3 or GORUCK Challenge. Sure, you could shell out some cash for a personal Jillian Michaels or Tony Horton lookalike at your local Globo Gym, but unless you want to feel like a boot camp recruit or Biggest Loser contestant, there are better options. We’ve been testing a few home workout programs this winter to help keep our edge. Here are a few of our favorites.
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Best for Fitness on the Go: Created by a former Navy SEAL, TRX straps are the ultimate in bodyweight exercise, designed to improve strength, endurance and mobility — plus they’re easily portable for business trips or vacation. We even took ours on a recent ski trip to Telluride for cross training on off days. After a few sessions with the included work plan shredding your shoulders, hips and abs, it’s easy to see why more and more gyms are devoting precious real estate to TRX. For more advanced athletes, the Force Kit comes with TRX’s most robust suite of workouts and a comprehensive app.
Best for Fitness Masochists: If you’ve had the pleasure of completing the first couple P90X programs, then you are probably on board with Tony Horton’s ridiculous levels of enthusiasm. If not, be prepared to hear catch phrases like “I hate it, but I love it!” while getting your ass kicked by a combination of ab work super sets, cardio plyometrics, and some serious upper body power moves. The third installation includes a 90-day plan with 16 new 30-minute workouts and a full nutrition guide to complement your workouts. If you want to get ripped without time commitment, this is your program.
Kettlebells From Home
Best for Serious Strength Gains: You’ve probably seen that weird guy at the gym who wears nothing but spandex and Vibram Five-Fingers putting in some serious kettlebell work. He’s on to something. Kettlebell training is embraced by everyone from elite military units to professional athletes and CrossFit enthusiasts. The team at Kettlebells from Home put together an excellent strength program, and all you need is a few of these simple cannonball-shaped weights and their three weekly training videos. Be sure to ease into things, though: we tried a a couple of the more advanced movements like the dreaded Snatch-Thruster Complex on our first workout session, and spent the next few days hobbling between the couch and the refrigerator.