Call them fitness centers, health clubs or whatever terminology you choose, they have come a long way in the past decade. Some are glamorous and high tech; some are comfortable and low-key. There would seem to be an atmosphere for everyone. But in truth, many people have valid reasons why they would rather not go to the gym. For them, a home gym is a much more attractive way to get in their daily or weekly exercise. Fortunately, setting up a home gym can be a fun experience that doesn’t have to cost a fortune or require a degree in fitness education.
There are many rural communities that do not have a public gym. Or there is only one and it is always soooo busy. Some people can’t afford the membership and others just aren’t comfortable working out in front of anyone else. For many people it is a matter of motivation. It is much easier to hop on the treadmill when it is only ten feet from the couch. But ask someone to go out in the cold to start the car, drive to the gym and then back again and it quickly becomes easy to just put it off all together. For a host of reasons, many people are much more likely to exercise regularly when they have the equipment they need right in their own homes.
- Claim Your Space
The first step in setting up a home gym is to find an area to use. You may clean out a section of the basement or garage. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have an entire room you can devote to your equipment. How much space you have will determine what type and how much equipment you can include. If there is a particular machine you have your eye on, you will need to make sure you have room for it.
Will you be able to leave your equipment set up or do space limitation dictate that the gym will need to be torn down after each workout? With home fitness equipment that has heavy parts such as weight stacks, or expensive electronics, such as some elliptical machines, you may want an area that can be secured from children.
- Assess Your Goals
The next thing to consider is your exercise goals. Are you focusing on aerobic exercise? Do you want to lose weight? Maybe you are trying to bulk up. Different types of equipment work best for different goals. If an overall workout is what you want, you will need several types of equipment.
- Consider Your Budget
Closely tied in with your exercise goals is your budget. You may have Olympic goals but a student’s budget. In that case, you may be better off to use the equipment at the school or Y club. Off course, you don’t have to buy new equipment. There are many places to purchase quality used equipment at reasonable prices. Several experts recommended going this route if you are new to exercise and not certain you will stick with it.
You don’t have to buy everything at one time. Many of the most impressive home gyms have been developed over several years, with pieces added as budgets allowed. Start with the basics, whether that be a good set of weights and a quality bench for those looking to add strength or bulk or one piece of equipment that you know you enjoy and are likely to use often.
- Select Your Equipment
Some people choose equipment that is the hardest to find available at the fitness center. Elliptical trainers and treadmills are very popular as are exercise bikes, rowing machines, and stair steppers. Others like the versatility of free weights, Smith machines, or other multi-purpose home fitness equipment. Some people have workouts that target certain areas of the body, so they incorporate ab machines or dumbbells. Keep in mind that most experts recommend that any kind of heavier weight lifting be done with another person to spot you to be sure you are using correct form and to help with the weights if you suddenly reach your limit.
Many fitness experts feel that one piece of equipment does not a home gym make. If you are using your equipment to replace a fitness program at a health club, you will need to incorporate some of the same versatility. This usually requires some equipment for aerobics and cardio, and others for strength training and endurance. This could be as simple as an aerobics video and a quality elliptical trainer. The point is that you get a good workout.
Some people develop home gyms to supplement the time they spend at the fitness center. Maybe there are days you know you can’t make it to the gym, or some exercises you would rather do in private. Let the health club pay for the big buck equipment, and select the less expensive pieces for your home gym.
- Comfort Counts
Whether you choose to create a single-station or multi-station home gym, the important thing is that you use it. One way to make exercise more appealing is to make your space attractive. Make sure there is adequate light and good ventilation. If you will be doing exercises on the floor, invest in a comfortable mat. Maybe you want to decorate the room with inspirational or motivational posters or pictures of athletes or power lifters you admire. The main point is that if the space is not comfortable and welcoming, you will be less likely to use it.
As a society, we just don’t get as much exercise as we used to. Fitness centers have done an excellent job of trying to help address this concern, but some people are not comfortable with a public workout. Others just like the convenience of working out at home. There are a variety of reasons people choose to set up a home gym. With a little planning and self-assessment, the options are plentiful, and the results can be very effective.