A Celeb Fitness Guru Shares Her 4 Fave Products For Getting Fit at Home
If the holidays have left you more than a little strapped for cash (read: a $150-per-month gym membership is NOT in your budget), getting in shape for the New Year can be quite the daunting task, especially if the weather is keeping you cooped up indoors. How the heck are you supposed to get an action hero bod like Cara Delevingne when you’re working with a space the size of a shoebox and a budget to match? Never fear. In addition to picking up some gym equipment that fits in your apartment and maybe even figuring out a small space home gym setup (no pressure), we chatted with celebrity yoga guru and pilates instructor Kristin McGee (the gal responsible for getting LeAnn Rimes Cibrian, Bethenny Frankel and Tina Fey fit), to get the lowdown on how you can actually put that stuff to good use… for $30 or less.
1. TheraBand ($14): McGee suggests beginning with the TheraBand, probably the cheapest and most simple piece of equipment to use.
Try Backrows: “Sit with your legs out in front of you and wrap the Theraband around the soles of your feet,” she says. “Hold each end of the band in your hands and pull your elbows straight back. Squeeze [your shoulder blades together] and let go.”
Try Bicep Curls: McGee says this exercise is great for those of us (ahem, or, more likely, all of us), that sit with a rounded back looking at our iPads. “From that same seated position, turn your palms upright, [and], still holding each end of the band, pull your palms toward your shoulders with your elbows high in the air.” Bonus points? “This is also great for your abs if you lean slightly back,” she shares.
If you want to mix things up, McGee says it’s also okay to stand and “wrap [the middle of the Theraband] around a handle (such as a door handle) and take each end [in your hands] and step a few feet away” before performing the motions described above. But do be warned – McGee says the band can slide off handles, so beginners may be safer keeping the band around their feet, where it can’t slip off.
2. Stamina Pilates Magic Circle ($25): “The Magic Circle is another thing I love,” McGee gushes. “It’s great for toning your inner thighs.” Oh, and it’s also under $30. (Tell us more, tell us more!)
Try Thigh Squeezes: This move is just what it sounds like. “You can lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat,” McGee says. After positioning the Magic Circle between your inner thighs, you simply squeeze them together for 20 reps. Do three sets of these. Easy peasy!
Try Skull Crushers: Don’t be scared by the name of this one — it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. “[Put] one end of the Magic Circle around your foot and lie down on your back,” McGee instructs. “Hold the other end.” With your feet flat and your knees bent, McGee says to hold the Magic Circle straight up above you with your hands wrapped around it (your fingers should be facing your face). Bend your elbows back toward you while squeezing, and then extend them back out toward the ceiling.
3. Gymnic Mini Exercise Ball ($13): “The ball is similar to the Magic Circle, in a sense,” McGee tells us.
Try Ankle Squeezes: “[Lying] down on your back, [place] a squish ball between… your ankles,” McGee begins. “Lower your legs down to the ground and then back up, squeezing the ball [as you go].” She says this works that hard-to-reach lower pooch as well as your inner thighs.
Try Bridge Up: “While you’re still lying with your back flat on the floor, put your feet on the ball,” McGee coaches. “Then try to press into your feet to lift your hips. This is killer for your hamstrings, glutes, lower back and abs.”
Try Tick-Tock: Sitting up with your knees bent in a tabletop position, McGee says to place the ball between your inner thighs, then drop your knees from right to left. This targets your obliques and waistline while “still getting your hips and inner thighs.”
4. Empower 3-in-1 Kettlebell ($27): McGee tells us that an 8-10-pound kettlebell ($27 at Target) is a good weight to start your home gym out with.
Your relationship with your finances is one of the most important relationships you'll ever have, and you can't avoid it. That said, for many of us, the pandemic only added to our financial stress. If you find yourself feeling frazzled, just remember that financial insecurity isn't a net-worth issue — it's a mindset issue. And, we happen to have plenty of advice on how to turn your money mindset around so you can take charge of your funds once and for all.
To start, feeling secure begins with a strong foundation, and there's no better time than now to get started stacking the bricks. It's easy to get swept up in the January "new year, new me" mentality, but really? Any time is the right time to get yourself in order. You don't need to wait for a new year, a new moon, the right moment, or a sign from above. You don't even have to start on the first day of the month — you just need to start.
Introducing NerdWallet: A Safe and Reliable Money App
To help with that, we've put together a list of the just-right-for-you ways that NerdWallet can help you monitor your financial outlook. Haven't heard of them yet? NerdWallet is a personal finance company that helps consumers make smarter financial decisions. Their website and app let you compare different financial products, find articles and tools to make financial decisions with confidence, and keep tabs on your finances (hey there, credit score, I see you!) all in one place. Plus, NerdWallet has over 75,000 glowing reviews in the App Store (and a 4.8 star rating) if you want to read up on any more testimonials.
Tim Chen, NerdWallet's CEO and co-founder, started this financial journey in 2009 after his sister needed help finding a credit card. Even with an economics degree and a Wall Street background, it took awhile for Tim to find the right recommendation (so don't feel too bad when it takes you a while, too). Their mission is to bring clarity to all of life's financial decisions.
So it's safe to say that NerdWallet is a pretty good sherpa for your journey, too.
Get the most from your money
Did you know that the money you park in a savings account can lose value? Harsh, but true. If your money isn't earning interest that's on pace with inflation it will actually be worth less to you in the future. And if the bank charges fees? Forget about it. Make sure you're earning the interest you deserve and come out on top. NerdWallet has researched dozens of financial institutions to help consumers find the best options. The hard work has already been done for you, so you can just select the account that works best for you and your nest egg.
Keep an eye on everything, securely
Once everything is set up, tracking and managing your finances is what will keep the money machine running smoothly. You can create an account either through the site or the app and link your bank accounts, then keep tabs on all your finances in one place. Get a clear picture of your saving and spending, get insights into how to master your money, and even build your credit score all in one place.
Get extra credit points
Do you have the best credit card for your lifestyle? Some cards give cash back on every purchase, ones with travel perks, and ones that charge way less interest than you're paying now. NerdWallet takes the guesswork out of choosing the right credit card with simple side-by-side comparisons of different credit cards so that you feel confident choosing the right one. Whatever you want to do, NerdWallet can help you find the best credit card to get it done.
Know your options for settling down
Mortgage rates are pretty low and it looks like they're going to stay that way for awhile, so buying a home might be the move sooner than you think. But there's so much more to a mortgage than just the interest rate! To help you choose a mortgage lender, NerdWallet has in-depth reviews on multiple lenders in a mixture of categories so you get the home loan with the mortgage rate, term, and fees that's right for you.
Settle an old score
NerdWallet helps you monitor your credit score for free and helps you see how little things (like raising the limit on your credit card or paying your bills on time) can increase your score. NerdWallet partners with TransUnion® to provide your VantageScore® 3.0, based on information in your TransUnion® credit report. Your score and credit report information are updated weekly. But that's not even close to all:
- They provide you with tips from experts on how you could build or optimize your credit score
- You'll get a detailed look at your credit score and all the factors that go into it—your payment history, credit utilization, the age and type of accounts, balances, and any recent inquiries
- The credit simulator tool gives you an idea of how your credit score would change if you applied for a new credit card, closed your oldest credit card, or got a new auto loan
- You also get free, unlimited access to your credit report
When it comes to managing your money, safe and reliable is where it's at. Establishing a healthy relationship with your finances begins when you take control and practice habits that build wealth. Signing up just takes a few minutes. Set your intentions to build a solid financial foundation, it will only strengthen your relationship with your finances. And don't be afraid to get a little nerdy while you're at it.