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No, it's not a set of weights.

Perri Ormont Blumberg
January 16, 2018
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Welcome to 2018; where you can stream belly fat-blasting workouts on your TV and Facetime with your virtual fitness coach...from your couch. With YouTube channels like Yoga with Adriene (we swear by her Yoga for a Rainy Day video) and cardio extraordinaire Fitness Blender, there are nearly endless resources to work out for free from the comfort of your own living space.

So in this digital era of muscle toning and weight loss, what do you need for your home gym? This mini portable foam roller on Amazon for $9.98 is an excellent place to start according to fitness pro Rob "Razor" McCullough, UFC Gym Senior Director of MMA and International Master Instructor.

"It’s a great tool for self-myofascial release (SMR) [a method of releasing tension in your body] to keep your muscles and joints moving properly. When you roll out your muscles it builds compression then releases them breaking up adhesions before they become knots, allowing for better mobility and blood flow to your muscles," explains McCullough. "SMR prepares the body for a great sweat session prior to workouts. Post-workouts, it also serves as a great metabolic flush to prevent delayed onset muscle soreness." Bonus: It takes up practically no space in your closet and fits easily in carry-on luggage when you're traveling. 

To get the most out of your foam roller, McCullough advises the following two moves:

  • To release your calf muscles: Sit on the floor with the roller underneath your lower calf muscle on your right leg. Lift your hips and slowly (about an inch per second) roll the roller up and down your calf muscle to the count of up/down 1-up/down 2-up/down 3- up/down 4. Then repeat on your left leg once you’ve done the entire muscle.
  • Lie flat on your stomach with the roller just above your knee to release your hips and thigh muscles. Slowly (about an inch per second) roll the roller up and down your right leg. Move up and down to the count of up/down 1-up/down 2-up/down 3- up/down 4, as in the above exercise. Then repeat on your left leg once you’ve done the entire muscle.

Ready to spring for one more piece of fitness swag? Another great bet is a yoga mat—even if you're not an aspiring yogi. The versatile tool proves a great base for many workout routines (like that Fitness Blender's 1000-calorie workout you have on deck, right?) and simply having one tucked next to your TV is a friendly reminder that you're a few clicks away from your next workout.

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It may set you back a little more than a foam roller (our favorite on Amazon is $19.99 from Sivan Health and Fitness) but it's well worth the investment. "A yoga mat is the best affordable piece of fitness equipment because it essentially makes any space into workout space. It can provide comfort for performing a full-body mat Pilates workout that gets your heart rate up or it can give space to knock out a quick morning stretch," says Sarah Luna, Certified Pilates Instructor and Senior Vice President of Operations at Club Pilates. Here's to a happy, healthy, and calorie-torching 2018, y'all.