Everyone has his or her fitness goals, whether big or small.
And working on your fitness goals at the comfort of your own home is one of the best ways to achieve them without having to break the bank on a costly gym membership.
Now, before you dart out the door in search of treadmills, barbells and whatnot, you first need to identify what exercises you plan on doing, as well as a realistic, tangible fitness goal you plan to achieve.
Once you’ve sorted these out, you can then determine how much space you need as well as what types of gym equipment, machines, and accessories you need to turn any space into your exclusive gym.
Living in a small space doesn’t mean you can’t set up a dedicated home gym. We’ll show you some of our best practices in doing just that.
Work with the Room you’ve Got
If you’re lucky enough to have a room with extra space, or just enough of it, then you will have no shortage of options as to which exercise machines you can fit or what exercises you can do.
However, if you live in a cramped, tight space, you’ll need to select machines and workouts that do not require you to utilize large amounts of space.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of exercises that fit that category, and they are tried and tested.
Here are just some of the exercises you can do in tight spaces:
- Jumping rope.
These are some of the best-regarded exercises that will produce results, while building up your cardio and fitness levels significantly.
If you have space for one or two pieces of equipment, you can throw in a pull-up bar (there are plenty of door-mounted options), or even a TRX suspension system. Jason Ferruggia will show you just how easy it is to do TRX exercises at home.
Small Home Gym Essentials
This is going to be the fun part for most, but resist the temptation of swiping your card to purchase fancy machines. Rather, start with the essentials that every home gym ought to have.
The best way to do this is to cop simple equipment you can use in a variety of ways, like the following:
- Yoga mat. Perfect for stretching, Pilates, and yoga.
- Resistance bands.Multipurpose bands for resistance training and doing stretches.
- A couple of kettlebells.These are tools strength training, resistance training, and enhanced bodyweight exercises.
This is a bare-bones approximation of the essentials.
If you have a little more space, you may include the following:
- Medicine balls. Yet another fantastic strength training tool.
- Dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells are perfect for cramped spaces.
- Foam roller. Easy-to-store stretching device.
Remember, always base your equipment choices to your specific workout routine.
The Budget Home Gym
As we all know, equipment can either be had for a song or exorbitant amounts of money. Start small, then expand your home gym as you go.
Shop for Great Deals
Check out your local big-box retailer for gym equipment. Oftentimes, you can find the building blocks of a home gym at very competitive prices from retailers everywhere.
Also, be on the lookout for clearance sales and the like, because you’ll never know what you’ll find. You can buy all sorts of equipment for less than your garden-variety sporting goods retailer.
Hit the Craigslist Circuit for Larger, Secondhand Items
There’s no shortage of online and offline marketplaces where you can buy gym equipment on a budget. Think of eBay and Craigslist, for starters – chances are, you’ll find listings for all sorts of gym equipment. This is particularly useful if you’re working with a limited budget for larger items.
Don’t Believe the Hype
There are plenty of health and exercise products that are overhyped, but not worth getting at all. Be wary of buying equipment that makes absurd or outlandish claims – many of these aren’t worth the money they sell for. Instead, stick to treadmills and other proven exercise machines and visit reputable websites to check their reviews.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Gyms don’t have mirrors just for vanity’s sake. Mirrors help you check your form, which in turn minimizes the risk of you contracting an injury.
Mirrors take on a whole new level of importance when you’re exercising at home alone without the luxury of a trainer checking out your form. They are by no means a substitute for a dedicated personal trainer, but having a large mirror in your home gym goes a long way, especially when you’ve gotten your workout down pat.
Got Cash? Buy More Advanced Equipment
If you have a little extra space for a machine or two, choose one that fits your workout goals.
Are you trying to boost your cardio levels, or are you trying to gain muscle mass?
You wouldn’t want to buy a treadmill if you’re doing the latter, and neither should you buy a TRX system if you’re trying to do the former.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of places where you can get the latest information on fitness technologies – do a little bit of research, see if the price is fair, and if it is aligned with your goals before making the purchase. There’s an appropriate machine for each goal.