If the convenience, affordability, and privacy of exercising in your own home appeal to you, then it may be time to consider creating a home gym. Working out at home is a great option for those who can’t afford a gym membership, don’t have time to drive to the gym, or for those who prefer to exercise alone. And if you have a flexible personal trainer, you may be able to convince him or her to provide assistance at your own personal gym.
But before you buy expensive equipment and rearrange your family room to accommodate your gym equipment, educate yourself on what type of equipment is available and what equipment you really need.
Make the Commitment
The first step in creating a home gym is making the decision to exercise. Working out at home takes discipline and commitment. It’s easy to put exercise low on your list of priorities when you see a sink full of dirty dishes, a mountain of dirty laundry, and have phone calls to make. Remind yourself that those things can wait. You don’t want to waste money on exercise equipment that’s just going to sit in the corner collecting dust.
Set a Budget
Before making decisions about what equipment to purchase, set a budget and stick to it. Whether your budget is conservative or extravagant, there are options available. A home gym could take over an entire basement and cost thousands, or your gym supplies could fit in a basket in the corner and cost less than $50. Don’t limit yourself to brand new top-of-the-line equipment.
Check the paper or online listings for used fitness equipment. You may find a great deal on a quality machine.
The next step is to determine what equipment you need. There are so many options available you may be overwhelmed with the choices. Don’t make the mistake of buying too much of the same thing. Your goal should be a total body workout that includes cardio exercise, strength training, balance, and flexibility. If your only gym equipment is a stationary bicycle or treadmill, you’ll be very limited in your workouts.
Second, don’t make the mistake of buying too much equipment. Consider the space you currently have in your home. If an elliptical machine will only fit in the middle of your living room floor, you probably shouldn’t get one. Take into account the height, depth, and width of a piece of equipment. Here are some space recommendations for certain machines. A treadmill needs 30 square feet, rowing machine 20, stair climber 10 to 20, stationary bicycle 10 square feet, free weights 20 to 50, and a multi-station gym requires anywhere from 50 to 200 square feet of free space.
Third, don’t make the mistake of purchasing equipment that is overly complicated to use. You want equipment that is safe, easy to use, easy to assemble, adjustable, and moves smoothly. Be sure to test it out and compare it to other models. While you don’t have to get the most expensive option, quality does matter. Get recommendations from friends, your personal trainer, knowledgeable salespeople, or online reviews.
Stock Your Gym
Next, make your purchases. If you’re tight on space or short on cash, basic fitness tools such as a jump rope and exercise DVDs for cardio, resistance bands and dumbbells for strength training, a stability ball for balance, and a foam roller for flexibility may be all you need to get started. When used correctly, these five small tools can actually give you a well-balanced, full-body workout.
If you’ve got extra space and money to spend, great options include a treadmill or stationary bike for cardio; a weight bench and barbells for strength training; a stability ball for balance training; and a stretch machine for flexibility.
The final step in creating a home gym is to actually use your gym. Set goals for yourself and make exercise part of your daily routine. Once you do, your transformed home will have the power to transform you! Don’t forget your imagination, either!! I’ve seen everything from blocks of ice to buckets of sand. What are some the strangest things you’ve seen used as fitness equipment? Comment below and let your neighbors know!