Getting to the gym can be tough, especially with our busy working lives. But we all know that exercise is a core component of any weight loss program. The truth is, you don’t need a fancy gym or club to get fit. You can have a very effective work out at home with the right planning! Maybe it will be your primary workout location, or if you do like the gym atmosphere, a home gym can be for those times when you can’t make it to the gym. Better a home workout than no workout! Don’t let “I don’t belong to a gym” be your excuse. You can set up a great, inexpensive home workout gym in a few easy steps.
Choose the space
Make sure it’s a spot that you’ll enjoy being in and one in which you won’t be interrupted by kids, pets, or other distractions. If you’re using workout videos, obviously your space will need to have access to a TV and cable. Or maybe you can use an iPad or other tablet.
Make sure there is adequate flooring, either carpet or a place to put a large mat or rubber floor tiles onto a bare floor. And look up! Make sure there is room overhead for certain exercises like triceps extensions or pullups.
Understand Your Goals
First, is this your primary workout location or an alternate for when you can’t get to the gym? Are you trying to do cardio? Or will you do that part outside?
Second, is your focus on strength training? (Hint: much of your workout should be strength training if you want to lose weight and reshape your body). Almost all good exercise plans call for a mix of cardio and strength training, but many times you can get your cardio outside (walking or running) or through a good video. *link to my post about getting moving?
Choose a Budget
Based on your goals and your space, you probably want to invest in a few high quality basics. If you skip the expensive stuff like treadmills, complex gym machines, or stair steppers, you can outfit a decent home gym for a few hundred dollars or less. Think of it as an investment in you and your good health. If this will be your primary workout spot, this is probably way less than you will spend on a gym membership.
Purchase a Set of Supplies
These basic items will get you started:
If your area is not carpeted, invest in a decent mat. Your feet and back will thank you.
For strength training, try resistance bands, dumbbells or Kettle bells. It is best to have a few different weights for different exercises; this will also allow you progress to heavier weight as your strength improves
For abdominal moves, a medicine ball is one of my favorite tools. Start light (3-6 lbs) and move up.
Your own weight can provide great resistance for squats, push ups, lunges and other exercises.
As I said, don’t invest right away in a treadmill, stair climber, rowing machine unless you are SURE you will use it. You can always upgrade later. I cannot tell you the number of people I know who use their expensive machine as a clothes hanger. If you’re sure you need a more complex machine, you can probably find one lightly used on eBay or Craigslist.
Make the Home Gym Space Yours
You should add some elements to make your home gym a spot that you enjoy, and one in which you can get good work done.
First, make sure you have decent lighting, to keep your energy level up.
Second, most people like to work out to some pump-up music, so make sure you have access to this. Studies show that people who listen to music while working out tend to workout for longer periods of time.
Third, one other motivational object- Maybe it’s a picture of you, or a motivational saying. It can be anything really, if it helps you get your workout done well!
Finally, Add Something to Focus On
Whether it’s pictures of how you want to look, or a quote or two, or even a pair of jeans hanging on the wall, it helps to have that little bit of motivational “oomph” to get you over the top when you’re sweating through your workout.
The sooner you get to work on your home gym, the sooner you will get to work on you! – Rob