What better time to talk about fitness than around New Years, when many make their resolution to “get back in shape”! It’s no secret that the age of technology that was supposed to make life easier has somehow given us less and less time to do the things we should like workout. Because of this, many people are choosing to get their workouts in at home instead of spending time driving to the local recreation center or big box gym. A highly local personal trainer colleague of mine has provided this guide when setting up your home gym to help you “bust your butt, without busting the bank!”
There are of course some inherent problems with this such as how to choose the most effective equipment to meet your need without spending the equivalent of a new car. Then come the questions of quality, “will I know how to use it”, “how much room will it take up”, and what do I need vs. what do I want?
Within the text of this post you will learn
- What equipment you should get for your home gym.
- The 5 biggest mistake people make when setting up a home gym
- How to make sure you don’t end up with equipment you are not sure how to get the most out of.
- Why bargain shopping can end up hurting you
- And how to get the most for your money.
Let’s start with step one. There are two primary things you must do before choosing what equipment you will purchase and where you will be putting your exercise equipment in your home. First you must decide what your goals are, and second give yourself an honest assessment of your current knowledge of fitness. This is important because not building your home gym around your needs and goals will only leave you with equipment you do not or cannot use which equates to wasted money and space.
If you are like most people, your goal is probably either general fitness or weight loss. With that in mind you primary focus in what equipment to get is going to be pieces that allow you to move from one exercise to the next in as little time as possible since. This will allow you to utilize metabolic resistance training and circuit training which are optimal methods to use for both goals.
Before moving into exactly what kind of equipment you should be looking for, I want to touch on the subject of cost. To put it blatantly, you are not buying cereal. While fruit loops in the bag may taste just like the ones in the box, the same thinking CAN NOT be applied to exercise equipment. Low cost cardio equipment ends up as a clothing rack 99% of the time because they are not user friendly. They function poorly, they are not engineered as well as higher cost equipment (making your knees and back pay the price), and the warranty period is usually no longer than 30 days. The same goes for bargain store resistance training equipment.
I’m a huge fan of getting the best deal for my money. That being said, if you want to bargain shop, make sure you do not sacrifice quality in the name of saving money. Your best bet is to do it by looking for high quality pre-owned equipment, from a quality manufacturer with a good reputation. You will be running the risk of not getting a transferable warranty, but at least if something went wrong, you will have a piece of equipment you have a desire to fix, instead of a large piece of metal you are now trying to figure out how to get your garbage man to take.
On to specifics. Let’s start with cardio equipment. Most people turn to the treadmill as their default option because we all know how to walk and run. There is nothing inherently wrong with that choice; however, working out at home can cause boredom to set in occasionally so if this is your primary choice of cardiovascular exercise, why not choose the free option? The road. It will give you fresh air, get you out of the house, and offer varied terrain to occupy your mind.
The treadmill is great for activity purposes but…. I have had many consultations with clients who tell me they are “currently walking for exercise but can’t seem to lose weight”. Unfortunately, we have been walking since we were about a year old, now 7 out of 10 of us are overweight and 1 in 3 is morbidly obese. It’s time to try something different. When it comes to cardio, my two first choices of traditional cardio equipment for clients are a Versaclimber or a Schwinn Airdyne Evolution bike. Both allow for a full body cardiovascular workout, minimizing the amount of time you must spend exercising, and both are low impact and easy on joints. The Versaclimber is significantly more expensive than the Airdyne ($1895 vs. $795) but offers less noise, more interaction, and a better workout in my opinion. If you have the available funds, the Versaclimber is definitely the way to go but, regardless of which you choose, you will be able to get a FAR better workout than with a treadmill and have a serious safety advantage as well.
On a side note, when it comes to cardio machines, this should be purchased only after your resistance training needs (talked about below) have been met. Without resistance training you have no muscle, without muscle you have no metabolism, without a metabolism you have no energy and not defense against fat storage. For your resistance training workouts, there is no shortage of options. It can often seem overwhelming and, sadly, cleverly marketed gimmicks usually get the consumers buck before the truly useful equipment does. Many consumers turn to all in one home gyms like a Nautilus or Bowflex for ease of use and a lower perceived learning curve. However, with these advantages come 3 very distinct disadvantages.
1. A limited number of exercises, leading to boredom and stagnant workouts
2. They are bulky and take up a serious amount of room
3. They are expensive for what you get.
When it comes to covering your resistance training needs, there is no reason you need to spend more than an absolute maximum of $900 (which won’t even cover 1/3rd the cost of a bulky bowflex unit). Below you will find a list of 5 particular items that will cover EVERYTHING you will need to get you on your way to being in the best shape of your life.
1. A set of PowerBlock Sport 5.0 Dumbbell Set. Check locally before ordering online and you will save a bundle on shipping.
2. A Swiss Exercise Ball. Which can be purchased online or at any local exercise retail store.
3. A TRX Suspension Trainer from Fitness Anywhere.
4. A TRX x-Mount to anchor your TRX.
5. Any 3 DVD Workouts from Fitness Anywhere for your TRX.
For the PowerBlocks, Swiss ball, and Cardio equipment I recommend Healthstyles Exercise Equipment stores, if you are in the Denver Metro Area which will save you a bundle on shipping. For your TRX Fitness Equipment, I strongly recommend purchasing only from Fitness Anywhere. In doing so,
you will get a full warranty with your equipment and be able to avoid the scammers that are selling complete forgeries of this innovative piece of equipment.
This short list of equipment will give you all the equipment you need to have limitless variation for your workouts, plenty of open space to do them in and all the instruction you need to use them is readily available in your new DVDs and on www.youtube.com. And you will be getting all this done for right around $600-$700. If you budget for the $900 I talked about above, that leaves you enough to put up a 32” Flat Panel TV up to play your new DVD’s on.