If you want to get fit and tone up, but you don’t much fancy the idea of going to the local gym, you might want to consider setting up your own home gym or exercise space. Doing so will save you money on the cost of a gym membership over the years, and it will transform your unloved garage, basement or spare room into a functional space.
Before you start buying weight benches and kettlebells, though, you should ask yourself whether you’re really committed to an exercise regime. If you’re not, then your new weight benches and exercise equipment will be nothing more than expensive space-suckers. You will also need to know what you need and which equipment you can do without when creating your own home gym. Here are some simple tips that should see you through the process:
Set a Budget
Creating a home gym can be as affordable or expensive as you make it. A lot of people waste silly sums of money purchasing cardio equipment and specialist exercise equipment that they don’t really need and which aren’t nearly as useful as they expect them to be. So, if you can avoid doing this, you can save a lot of money and still build a beautiful, functional gym.
Ideally, you should aim to set a budget of around $2000. This should enable you to buy all of the equipment you actually need to get fit, especially if you seek out used equipment on Craigslist or eBay, for example. Concentrate on buying the basics, and you can add to your setup as you progress. To get started with you5r home gym training, all you need is:
Barbell and Plate
Essential to your home gym will be a good barbell and plate set. You will carry out the bulk of your workouts with this equipment performing simple manoeuvres such as squats, lunges, deadlifts and power cleans. You can find a guide to using barbells here.
It is important that you have a good quality bench, which has been well put together and which is comfortable to use, which is why it is often worth trying out benches before you buy.
If you want to be able to work out every part of your body, you simply cannot do without a rack. They may seem a bit large and cumbersome, but you just won’t be able to get the same level of workout, particularly in the leg, chest and shoulder area without one.
A smith machine consists of a barbell and steel rails. They enable you to make vertical lifting movements such as squats, and are much safer for the novice than doing squats freehand without the use of a supportive machine. Check out this guide to smith machines for more information.
Buy the heaviest kettlebells you can manage, and you will be able to perform a full body workout, which also has cardiovascular benefits, in a fraction of the time it would take you to do so with dumbbells. Kettlebell swings, in particular, are good for getting the heart pumping and toning up the body. If you have kettlebells, you won’t even need a treadmill or elliptical machine because you will be getting a cardio workout from the fast movements you do with the bells.
If you want your gym to look good, you can even buy kettlebells in lots of bold colors, so if you buy a few, they will really brighten up the place (not that that’s the most important reason to buy them).
Creating the Right Atmosphere
If you want to push yourself to spend more time in your home gym, you will need to enjoy yourself while you’re there. A lot of whether you enjoy your experience or not will depend on how much you enjoy sweating it out with the equipment, but if you can also create a pleasant atmosphere in your home gym, you are much more likely to keep going back. Colors that are good for encouraging exercise include light blues and greens, but you should avoid reds as they are thought by many to encourage the appetite.
Flooring is of the utmost importance in any gym, but especially in a home gym where you may well be working out alone. Your choice of gym floor must be safe, protective of your property and able to prolong the life of your gym equipment. For this reason, I would recommend that you purchase commercial foam flooring.
Of course, there are other things that you might want to have in your home gym, which although not essential, will help you get fitter when used correctly. Here are some of the most popular:
Dumbbells may not be as effective as kettlebells, but they are still great for toning up, especially if you are new to the whole fitness things. If you have space, install a rack of dumbbells and state off with the lower weights until you are fit enough to tackle the heavier stuff.
A Punch Bag
You can get a surprisingly good workout by hitting a punch bag for 15 minutes or so. Not only will you sweat, burn fat and tone up, but you’ll also relieve some of that pent-up stress and frustration with each punch, too.
Although not strictly essential, it is probably a good idea to install some mirrors in your home gym so that you can check your form as you work out. If you can see the way your body is moving, you will be able to workout without injuring yourself because you will be able to see what you are doing.
Mirrors also give the illusion of more space and reflect the light, so that you have a pleasant place in which to exercise.
Once you have all of the above in place, all that remains is to actually take the time to use your brand new gym, You’ll get fit in no time, and the room will become a huge asset to the whole family.