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Nina Dobrev is used to living her life on the go. Whether she's venturing the globe or filming a new movie, it seems the actress is always going at full steam ahead. But when the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, Dobrev (much like the rest of the world) was forced to press pause on certain elements of day-to-day living, including how she worked out.
"One of the things that I realized when the pandemic started was that... I used a personal trainer and relied on a lot of outside sources for my fitness — especially because I used to be so busy traveling and working," Dobrev tells Shape. "But once I was home, I realized I didn't have much [gym equipment] at home so I went into a mad dash." (Related: How Nina Dobrev Completely Revamped Her Workout and Eating Routine)
Dobrev ultimately decided to convert one of the rooms in her Hollywood Hills abode into a home gym. "I started slowly, over time, accumulating equipment and things that I could use to move my workouts at home," she says. While weights and a Pilates machine were among her pandemic purchases, the Vampire Diaries alum also added a NordicTrack Treadmill (Buy It, $1,899, amazon.com) and a SoulCycle at-home bike (Buy It, $2,500, equinoxplus.com) to her mini-gym, the latter of which has served as something of a twofer. "When I'm done shooting and I have to memorize the next day's work, I can sit on the bike with my script and exercise, and learn my lines for the next day," says Dobrev. (Read more: Creative Ways to Reenergize Your Treadmill Workout)
For Dobrev, now having a home gym at the ready is something she's super grateful for. "I'm really proud of my home gym, I use it a lot," she shares. "It's really nice to have that flexibility of working out, whether it's really early in the morning before I got to set, or really late a night when I get home from set, or after a long flight." (See: Is It Better to Work Out In the Morning Or at Night?)
Of course, big-ticket exercise equipment such as a treadmill or stationary bike can put a sizable dent in a budget — and if you're not an A-lister, it may feel out of reach. One potential workaround for scoring a home gym à la Dobrev? Financial tools such as Affirm (which Dobrev recently partnered with) that allows shoppers to purchase items instantaneously and pay based on a plan of their choosing (i.e. a three-month, six-month span with a set fee). "It gives consumers the flexibility to shop for things that they want, need, and can pay for overtime on their own terms without any late or hidden fees," she says. (Related: The Best Budgeting Apps for Anyone Who Doesn't Know the First Thing About Money)
While Dobrev will have a busy holiday season ahead with the Nov. 5 release of her Netflix rom-com, Love Hard, the actress is also focusing on her flourishing wine collection, Fresh Vine, with BFF Julianne Hough. "Julianne and I both believe in a balanced lifestyle and having fun," says Dobrev. And to that mantra, let's raise a glass!