Elevate your life, sustainably
Elevate your life, sustainably

How to Work Out Sustainably: At-Home Fitness Gear Doing Heavy Lifting for the Planet

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how to work out at home
Image by Bradley Dunn on Unsplash

How to bring sustainability into your home fitness routine.

Of all the quarantine memories, at-home workouts are one of the memories I don’t cringe at. Even post-quarantine and lockdown, at-home workouts are something I’ve been glad to keep as a part of my weekly wellness regimen. Before Covid-19, I never thought to work out at home beyond a few stretches. But now, I enjoy incorporating a good living room sweat session. It’s become a great way to stay active during a busy week when I don’t have much time to hit the spin studio or jump into a Barry’s Bootcamp class. A quick morning workout is also a great alternative to coffee as it’s sure to wake me up a bit if I need some energy to get my day going. 

With my newfound love of living room sweat sessions, I’ve had to up my at-home workout equipment over the last year. My gear was pretty non-existent before we had to convert our homes into our multi-purpose spaces, fitness studio included. Of course, I wanted to ensure the things I purchased were gentle on the environment, were sure to last and were made with recycled materials. I’ve found my favorite sustainable equipment for every part of my at-home exercises, cute outfits and cool downs included. 

Get Dressed 

Finding sustainable clothes has become a lot easier than it used to be. Not only are the options better looking, but they’re also more functional with better fit options, better materials, and much broader size ranges. 

Girlfriend Collective is a perfect example. The brand uses recycled water bottles and fishing nets to make fashionable workout clothes. 

The Compressive High Rise Leggings are one of my staple options for a good workout inside and outside of the house. The compression material makes sure everything stays in place for jumping moves, lunges, and planks. Each legging is made from 25 recycled water bottles saving over 3 gallons of water for each pair. Girlfriend Collective’s size-inclusive leggings range from XXS – 6XL with 3 inseam options. If you’re looking for a set you can also look chic running errands in, these leggings come in 11 colors and can be paired with the brand’s matching bra tops. You’ll be helping save the planet with the bra tops, too — 11 recycled water bottles are used to make each one. 

Lace Up 

Putting on sneakers for an at-home workout may not be a habit for most of us. I’ve gone barefoot for workouts in my living room often. But lately, I’ve found that especially for HIIT sessions, there are benefits to putting on a good pair of sneakers for stability and support. 

Stella McCartney has always been a champion and pioneer for sustainable fashion. The brand’s collaboration with Adidas brings the chic choices we’ve come to expect with activewear that is functional and perfect for any high-powered physical activity. Each collection item is great to work out in and fashionable enough to run a few errands around town after. I particularly love the Climacool Vento 3-in-1 Sneakers which are made from 100% recycled ocean plastic. The multi-way sneakers transition from sneakers, to sandals to removable socks which is great when you need to go from sneakers to socks for a cool down or meditation session after your workout. The sneakers also incorporate Primeblue ocean plastic yarn and Adidas signature Boost technology guaranteeing a comfortable fit. 

Grab Your Mat 

A workout or yoga mat is a must-have accessory for workouts at home. Having something soft and supportive is great for ab work and yoga poses. A great mat is necessary for my hard travertine marble floors but laying down a mat also instantly transforms my space to a designated “fitness studio” and then right back to the living room after rolling it back up post-workout. 

When I looked for sustainably made workout mats, I found quite a few, but the Manduka eKO® Yoga Mat 5mm was the best option for comfort and being slip-resistant. The biodegradable mat contains no PVC and is made from non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber. I feel good about having this mat in my home knowing it’s non-toxic and 99% latex-free. Manduka takes its commitment to sustainability even further with the LiveON program helping consumers recycle their old yoga mats. 

Warm Up 

You’ve got a killer activewear set, stylish sustainable sneakers, and an eco-friendly mat, it’s finally time to start your workout with a great warm-up. My favorite kind of warm-up is to dive right in and get my heart rate up. A quick 5 minutes jumping rope is all it takes to get the blood flowing. I found this sustainable skipping rope that helps me get an instant wake-up call if I’ve had a sluggish start to the morning. It’s made with no plastic and uses a cotton rope and wooden handles for an old-school style planet-friendly workout. Jumping rope can burn 200 – 300 calories in 15 minutes which is more than a 15 minute run so it’s an effective workout that is perfect for the living room. I also like to keep it beside my desk during the day so I can get in a quick 5-minute session if I’ve been staring at my computer screen too long. 


Now that you’re all warmed up, it’s time to really get your sweat on. No matter what lunges, squats or leg lifts you’re doing, resistance bands will add that little edge you need to help you sweat a little more and build muscle at home. These resistance bands from Shreddy are latex-free and vegan made with polyester, cotton, and rubber. I especially love that the fabric ensures they stay in place so I’m not readjusting the entire time. There are tons of Youtube workout videos using resistance bands, and these make sure you can tune in without using the typical plastic or latex options. 

You’ll also love these Kencko hand weights that are beautiful enough to double as home decor. When I was stocking up my home workout gear, I wanted to get things that didn’t scream gym as the spaces I workout at home have to be multi-functional. These dumbbells are perfect for transitioning your home from a makeshift gym to a breakfast cafe all in one morning. While the weights aren’t super heavy, adding them to your crunches and arm raises is just the perfect amount of weight needed to build strength and tone at home. 


Cooling down and recovering is an essential part of every exercise routine. While it’s often skipped or sped through, using your cool down as a way to also practice mindfulness can help you transition from something high-energy to the rest of your day even though you’ll be in the same space. This Halfmoon Natural Cork Massage Roller from Gaiam will have your muscles thanking you for the relief. Cork is a renewable resource and this roller is made with 100% natural cork so it’s good for your muscles and the environment. 


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