Setting up a gym in your home can be as simple as purchasing a stationary bike and a few dumbbells. For others, it may mean buying a treadmill, a stair climber, and a universal weight machine. Either way, a home gym can be an excellent means for staying in shape. When your gym is conveniently located at home, there’s no driving to the gym and no standing in line to wait for equipment. Plus, a home gym can actually save you money over time when compared to the cost of a gym membership. The average gym membership costs around $40 every month. That’s $480 per year. For five years, the total cost would be $2,400 – and that’s assuming that the annual fees are never increased.
Acquiring equipment to outfit your home gym may cost more money up-front, but the wonderful thing about it is that the costs only decrease after that. You may have shell out money occasionally to maintain and repair your workout equipment, but with proper care your equipment can easily last for many years if you invest in products of reasonably good quality. You can also conserve on your up-front costs by buying used equipment from sellers in classified advertisements. For instance, if you want to include an elliptical machine in your home gym, you might first read elliptical machine reviews to decide which company makes a dependable, reliable machine that will deliver years of effective use. Then take a look through local classified advertisements to attempt to find an elliptical machine that gets solid reviews and is being sold at an affordable price. Chances are you’ll find that someone once invested a great deal of money to buy that equipment new, but then never really got much use out of it. That can be your first bargain find to put in your home gym.
Now that you’ve determined that a home gym is worth the initial expense, it’s time to choose the ideal location in your home. People who have a finished basement or garage should consider using these areas. They are removed from the home’s living areas, so noise associated with the gym should not disturb the home’s other inhabitants. They are also a solid choice because good quality exercise equipment tends to be heavy and garage and basement floors typically are structured so as to withstand a great deal of weight.
A spare bedroom, den, or home office also make good choices for a home gym. Whether you are able to use an entire room, or just half of one, it’s important to clear out a space of at least 8X8 feet, with an area of 12X12 feet generally being considered ideal. If your space is small, you might want to consider foldable exercise equipment which can be conveniently stored away when not in use.
Once you’ve chosen a space, it’s time to consider flooring. If the space is carpeted, this may work just fine for placement of a treadmill, a rack of dumbbells, and any other necessary equipment. Spaces with concrete or wooden flooring may require an additional covering. Consider purchasing carpet remnants to place under your equipment to minimize slippage and cushion your feet. Alternatively, consider buying heavy-duty stall mats from a farm store. These durable, no-slip pads offer ideal cushioning and can be purchased in square or rectangular shapes to accommodate the size of your exercise area.
Cardiovascular development is important and therefore the first equipment in any home gym should be a machine like a treadmill or elliptical trainer. High quality cardio machines can easily cost $3,000-$4,000. These machines come with all the bells and whistles: heart rate monitors, computerized control consoles, and state-of-the-art components. It’s not absolutely necessary to break the bank on a cardio machine, however. Consider what is truly necessary to you when you’re doing a cardio workout. If your main consideration is distance, maybe having a heart rate monitor is unnecessary. Also keep an eye out for good quality used equipment that can be added to your gym inexpensively.
Training with weights should also not be overlooked for a solid, all-around fitness routine. Purchasing weights can be as simple as selecting a variety of dumbbells. They are relatively easy to transport and store and they can provide a decent workout. Anyone looking to seriously bulk up should invest in plates and bars. Many home gym users purchase an all-in-one weight training machine that allows them to get a full body workout with just one piece of equipment. These are usually a solid and economical choice as they deliver the most bang for the buck. New machines can cost as little as $500 and range up to multiple thousands of dollars. Again, these machines can be acquired used, which can translate to significant savings.
It’s important to have equipment that can help you achieve all of your fitness goals. Some people prefer weight training over cardio or vice versa. Others hate taking the time to develop upper body strength. When outfitting a home gym, it’s important to consider your workout aversions and to supply yourself with equipment that will make you focus on your least favorite activities. The reason? These least favorite activities reveal your personal fitness weak spots. Buy some equipment that will let you focus on this area in a positive way and it could soon become one of the favorite parts of your routine.
Safety is of paramount importance in the home gym, so keeping all of your equipment in excellent condition should be a constant concern. Never use equipment that you suspect is not working properly. If you have new equipment that is under warranty, take full advantage of it by calling in a professional for maintenance and repair. Equipment not under warranty may do well with a do-it-yourself repair or may require replacement. Finally, be familiar with your owner’s manuals and abide by all maintenance guidelines.
Even the most enthusiastic exerciser sometimes gets burned out. When this happens, it’s time to change up the routine. Invite over a friend and work out together or try simply changing the sequence of exercises. Sometimes it helps to have a specific goal in mind. Choose an upcoming half marathon or triathlon to sign up for and begin directing all of your workouts toward that goal. Sometimes even some new music can provide the motivation to keep going. The wonderful part about having a home gym is that it is entirely yours – structure it so that you get the most out of every workout to keep your motivation high.
What equipment do you have in your home gym? Leave a comment and let us know!
Michael Burns is a professional writer specializing in the fields of social media and promoting an active lifestyle. He is also an avid antique collector and is currently learning the nearly forgotten art of blacksmithing.
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