Personal Training Products
The home gym is quickly becoming the solution many have been looking for since we are all living in a time urgent world where convenience is key to fitting in exercise. Some people simply prefer not to agonize over researching and paying for a health club membership that they may not even take advantage of when they can get the same results in the privacy of their own home with a minimal investment.
The convenience of a home gym even with limited space lets you keep your workouts regular when you life becomes irregular. And you can’t beat the convenience.
Building a Home Gym without a Budget and with Limited Space
Start by knowing there are many exercises you can do simply with your body weight – especially if you are a beginner. Some examples of strengthening exercises include; push-ups, wall squats, stationary lunges, front and side leg lifts and sit-ups. Jumping jacks, stadiums (taking the steps), walking and jumping (with or without a jump rope) can be done for cardiovascular endurance. No equipment is necessary for flexibility exercises.
Without any equipment at all, you can set up a mini-circuit around your living space that includes alternating the above strengthening and cardiovascular exercises. Build up to repeating the circuit several times per session. Printing out the names of the exercises on index cards and placing them around the room will help you to keep order to your routine and not waste time. Change the order of the exercises each workout for variety and fun.
As you get stronger, progress by using household items like soup cans for the strengthening exercises. As you continue to get stronger, progress to half-gallon containers filled with water and then to gallon containers for the bigger muscle groups like the legs. You can also fill a back pack with weighted objects for added resistance as you do lunges and squats. You can increase the intensity of the cardiovascular exercises simply by moving a little faster which will ensure that you continue to work within your target heart rate.
For your flexibility program simply plug in your favorite soothing music, dim the lights, relax and slowly go through a total body stretching routine. You’re only a few steps away from a hot shower.
Starting with a Minimal Budget
If you have a small budget of $25.00 - $50.00, the following items will give you the most mileage for your dollars. With limited funds you want to include equipment that is flexible and can grow with you.
Resistance bands also known as fitness tubing are a great alternative that can be used in the smallest of spaces as well as thrown in a suitcase when traveling. These are available with variable resistance and most exercises can be adapted with a little creativity. Adding door connections to resistance tubing will aid in completing a full-body workout. Fitness tubing kits are available for under $30.00.
Exercise Balls Also known as stability balls, resist-a-balls, therapy balls or swiss balls. They are the best-kept secret for the home as they are cherished by physical therapists and personal trainers. The balls can provide a total body strengthening workout as well as be incorporated in cardiovascular activities and assist in stretching. Exercise balls can be used with your body weight or you can add resistance to it – like the bands mentioned above. They can replace a flat or incline workout bench and create a challenge not only to your strength, but balance, stability and coordination as well. Exercise balls come in several sizes and beginners should work with a larger less inflated ball. As you become accustomed to ball exercises add more air for a firmer ball.
One of the best features of the ball is that most of the exercises incorporate the abdominals and lower back which are great for posture and giving you a taller and leaner appearance. You need a space about as long as your body to work within. Fitness balls can be purchased found for around $10.00
Exercise videos are a wonderful way to add variety to your program and keep your routine interesting. There are thousands of videos available in every discipline of exercise including kick boxing, Pilates, stepping, tai chi, flexibility, boot camp, belly dancing and abdominal conditioning. Most video’s average $20.00 can be done in minimal space and with little or no equipment. DVD’s can also be rented from a video store, library or swapped with a friend.
Dumbbells run about $.99 cents per pound. A beginner should get a set of 3, 5, 7 & 9 pound weights to start. Dumbbells will add many options to your exercise equipment repertoire; they are very functional and can produce wonderful strength gains which will ultimately increase your metabolism. Dumbbells can easily be stored under a bed or couch or at the bottom of a closet for easy access to your total body workout.
Use All of Your Resources
If you have a bike for outdoor use, you can bring it into the living room and perch it on a trainer during the off-season. When you are done, conveniently store it away until your next ride. If you reside in a complex that has facilities like a meeting room, fitness center or swimming pool, take advantage of their space and equipment if any. Borrow equipment from friends that are letting it collect dust or shop for equipment in the classifieds and at auctions like eBay. Many equipment stores will also sell reconditioned equipment or floor models. You can certainly find some bargains on a shoestring budget.
Buying Tips for Fitness Equipment
When possible, purchase equipment from knowledgeable sales people who are savvy about health and fitness equipment. They should be able to answer specific questions and help you buy the right equipment for you.
Commercial verse Home Equipment
Look for light commercial versus home models which are usually made more cheaply. Light commercial models will be sturdier, are less likely to break down, feel better biomechanically and will last longer.
If you can’t try it don’t buy it. Go to the store in running shoes and sweats and use the equipment for at least 10 minutes. If you’re ordering by phone or through the internet, be sure to check out the return policy and time limits. Check for quality and ask about warranties.
Home equipment can be a hit or miss when it comes to quality and durability, as you may have witnessed. If you are going to make a purchase, it should be durable and well made, stable during use; the action should be smooth and the motor should provide enough power to challenge you now and in the future. Most importantly, it should be an activity that you enjoy doing and will continue doing down the road. You can also see if there is a loner program for a week to take it home and try it out.
There’s Still No Quick Fix
Beware of infomercials have helped sell over $450 million worth of exercise equipment over the past few years. These slick commercials with beautiful bodies and celebrity endorsement prey on people wanting a quick fix. Here are a few ways you can spot misleading claims and avoid getting stuck with something you won’t use:
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Fitness results don’t come easy and they definitely won’t come in only 5 minutes a day without sweating.
"Rocking away fat" or "squeezing your way to a trimmer you” is not realistic. Working any muscle will help to strengthen a muscle and increase your overall metabolism, but to burn fat and increase your metabolism, you’ve got to get your heart rate up and work for it.
If you can duplicate the movement without the equipment then you probably don’t need it. If you aren’t getting the results you want from abdominal crunches, then an "ab roller, ab trainer or ab twister” isn’t going to do it either.
Don’t forget that nothing is going to take the place of good old-fashioned hard work and discipline. Don’t look for a short cut or an easy way out. The best way to get the results you want is by combining a low-fat healthy diet, regular cardiovascular exercise and weight training.
Balancing Your Exercise Routine
When putting your routine together think about keeping a balance between cardio and strength options
If you can do your aerobic training outdoors year round, you can focus on strength equipment for the house. If you are limited to seasonal outdoor activities, a cardio video may be a priority for your home gym. Choose something different than the activity you do outdoors.
As discussed earlier, you can get a complete strength workout with very little equipment. A plethora of exercises can be done with limited space or tight budgets. As long as you follow the basic principles of exercise training like overloading the muscles, progressing your workouts and working within your target heart rate, you are guaranteed to see results.
A one-time investment in minimal equipment can give you a lifetime of results and ultimately enjoyment. You won’t miss the drive to the gym!