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If you’re active on Instagram, Pinterest, or YouTube’s trendy home fitness end, then you’ve seen Bala. I’ll even venture to say you’re either already obsessed or maybe (like me) didn’t even know you were looking at workout equipment. Bala is the home fitness brand for those of us who color-code our calendars in custom pastels and consider how our microwaves and bath towels can contribute to our decor — aesthetically minded folks who still want things to work.
I’m no stranger to home workout equipment — my mom was the talent in a number of home workout videos from the 90s through the 2010s — but as someone who prioritizes the look and feel of my own home, neon exercise bands and clunky weights never seemed to have a place in my space. I’ve gone back and forth between compromising my environment for the sake of a good workout or sacrificing my own wellness in the name of interior design. To make matters more complicated (my M.O… ), none of my city apartments have had the storage space for me to be able to hide my ugly home workout gear. Basically, Bala was made for people like me.
Even if you’re not quite as tightly wound about the look of your space as I am, Bala’s range of home workout equipment would be inspiring to anyone in today’s visually driven world. For me, it’s the collection I didn’t know I’d been waiting for, and it looks beautiful when I accidentally (or purposefully) leave it out when I’m done exercising. I got the chance to try the newly launched Bala Floor Set, which includes the Play Mat, Balance Blocks, and the Hourglass Roller. Of course, I also had to put Bala’s OG product, the Bala Bangles, to the test as well. My take? You’re going to want the complete collection.
I was skeptical at first that these great-looking pieces were only about Instagrammability, not function. But despite how un-workout-y the collection seems, each piece within it is designed with utility as the top priority. For example, in the middle of a vinyasa practice, the semi-circle curve at the top of the Play Mat made me wonder why yoga mats haven’t always been designed this way. I tend to bruise during floor pilates or get uncomfortable while lying flat on my back in savasana, but this mat’s 8mm thickness solves both of those problems for me. Even though it’s thicker than other mats, it rolls up just as tightly and comes with a strap to make carrying it easy. It’s also antimicrobial, and the super-smooth, moisture-wicking surface means I can actually complete a hot yoga class without my usual slip-and-collapse routine.
The semi-circle Balance Blocks allow me to make adjustments by simply moving my hands higher or lower on the curve rather than inconveniently needing to reposition the block, which has been a game changer because I’m able to focus my efforts on pushing myself that extra inch or lessening the tension by moving my body, not the tool that’s supposed to be helping me. The Hourglass Roller then makes my post-workout stretch much more dynamic. Its cinched center means choosing precisely when and where to add more pressure without having to push my legs or back down onto the roller to get it. The Bala Bangle ankle and wrist weights, like Bala’s other hard-touch gear, have a smooth-yet-grippy surface that’s totally unique compared with others I’ve tried. It’s soft to the touch and won’t irritate your skin in cases of friction — no velcro here!
Bala offers kits tailored to your particular routine, from floor workouts or yoga to weights or high impact. There’s also a pared-down kit with just the basics, which I think is perfect for travel. I personally love taking my Bangles with me when I’m on the road. The kits (and all Bala equipment) come in a range of unprecedentedly cool colors when it comes to fitness gear. From sage green to matte black and even soft beige, whatever colors energize and inspire you or simply complement your aesthetic, Bala’s got ’em all. You can even mix and match for your own custom collection.
Bala continues to pleasantly surprise me every time I work out — and since I plan to continue adding to my Bala range at home (hello, Power Ring and Bala Beam), it’s exciting to know that all the fitness milestones that Bala has helped me hit so far are only just the start.
Buy: Bala The Complete Home Gym Kit, $399