Everyone knows the importance of fitness, but finding that extra time to get ready, go to the gym, and then commute back home can be easier said than done- making starting that fitness routine easier to push until ‘later’. Add that with trying to find someone to watch the kids, ongoing gym membership costs, and an inconsistent schedule, and the task can become downright daunting.
The key to a consistent workout routine is finding one that works for you, and for the busy, stressed and budget minded individual, most of the time the answer is a home gym.
Most people picture home gyms as a room stocked full of expensive, high end equipment, but the truth is, you can set up a cheap home gym in any room of your house that will have you well on your way to your goals in no time. No expensive, bulky treadmills and no pully machines you’ll end up hanging yourself with.
All you need is the right equipment and the desire to get into shape.
Find a room that isn’t over taken by clutter, where you can steal away for at least an hour with no distractions. The living room, a guest room or your own bedroom works just fine. Just make sure you have enough room to maneuver, won’t disturb anyone else, and most importantly, no one will disturb you.
To stock your ultimate home gym, you only need a few pieces of equipment:
Fitness DVDS- There are about a million different fitness DVDs ($5-$25) on the market, so pick a wide variety to ensure that you never get bored. Make sure to have a cardio DVD to blast calories, strength training DVD to build lean, sleek muscle, and a yoga DVD for flexibility. The more, the better. DVDs are great when you are low on motivation or creativity, because you just have to pop it in, and follow along.
Hand Weights- Strength training is an important part of any fitness regime, so don’t be afraid of weights. Building muscle will not only give you a firm, toned look, but the more muscle you build, the higher your metabolism will soar. Depending on your fitness level, you are going to need a few different sets of weights ($5-$15); 5lb, 10lb, and 15 is usually a good range to start with. The lighter weights can be used for arm and ab exercises and the heavier for leg exercises like lunges. Don’t worry if you can’t lift the heavier ones just yet; as you get stronger, you’ll be lifting them in no time.
Stability Ball- Despite their name, stability balls add instability to your workout, which maximizes your results by adding more muscle groups. Stability balls are super cheap (about $10) and very versatile. You can use them for any combination of ab, leg and arm exercises and they can make any exercise either easier or more intense, so they are perfect for all activity levels. Most also come with a list of exercises, so you can add new moves to your routine.
Heart Rate Monitor- A heart rate monitor (about $75) is the perfect tool to gauge your exercise intensity. All the exercise in the world isn’t going to help you if it isn’t intense enough. You can pick up a heart rate monitor at any sporting good store, but make sure you get one with a chest strap- they are the most reliable. To make sure you are working out hard enough you want your heart rate to be 65%-85% of your maximum heart rate, which is 220-your age.
Music- what’s a workout without tunes? It should be fun! Research shows that people work out harder when listening to fast tempo songs, so get out your favorite dance tracks and get moving.
Fitness magazines are also a good idea to have on hand, as they come with new routines and workouts that you can try to avoid plateaus or exercise boredom. Other pieces of equipment you might want to look into are the newest fitness crazes, kettlebells, tiny balls of iron you swing around, or BOSUs, a dome shaped board you can use for more instability.
Always have your water on hand to stay hydrated and remember to always wear shoes to avoid injury.
Setting up a gym in your home is simple. Now there is no excuse not to fit in those workouts. Morning or night, you can always retreat to a room in your house to take a little time to take care of yourself. What are you waiting for?