Getting fitter and being generally healthier is a goal for many people, but doing so is not always easy. Finding the motivation and time to join and travel to a gym, coupled with the cost of monthly membership, can be a major deterrent.
However, getting fit does not have to involve pounding a treadmill or lifting weights next to a dozen other people or running through the streets in the freezing cold. Creating a gym in your own home provides the opportunity to get fit at your own pace, at a time that suits you, with no monthly commitment. Here’s how:
Choose the space
You do not need a studio-sized space in your home to create a gym. All you require is head room for lifting things, a sturdy floor, and no obstructions.
A spare bedroom can prove effective as long as you can comfortably lift your arms out to the sides and rotate – this means that any activity with dumbbells or a skipping rope will not be impeded.
Alternatively, the garage is an excellent option for those who prefer not to park their car in there. Not only will it be cooler than the rest of the house, but the concrete floor will be less likely to be marked from any gym equipment you can situate there.
Choose your goals
Before investing in any equipment, think about what you want to achieve. There is no point investing in heavy weights if you are aiming to trim down, while a treadmill is unlikely to benefit anyone wanting bigger biceps.
Thinking about what you will need beforehand can also help you when buying workout wear. Treadmill users will require soft sole shoes with tread and plenty of cushion for ankle support. Those embarking on a weight-training programme may want to invest in fingerless gloves and a weightlifting belt to protect their hands and back while exercising.
Choose your equipment
The most important part of any home gym is the equipment you choose, and it is always best to invest in some that will last the test of time. This not only means sturdy apparatus, but also equipment that is future-proofed. This could be a weight rack that can be added to so that you will never max it out, or a treadmill, rowing machine or exercise bike with plenty of settings to increase the difficulty.
Multi-gyms are a great space-saving option that feature cables, weight plates, a variety of handles and an integrated bench. The vast majority of multi-gyms have incremental weight plates that the user can add to as they progress, ensuring a steady curve of progression.
Another benefit of multi-gyms is the ability to work various body parts and eliminate the need to invest in multiple pieces of equipment. A regular multi-gym will have features to train every major muscle group, all self-contained in a compact machine that takes up little space.
Treadmils, cross trainers and rowing machines understandably take up more room, although many modern treadmills are foldable to help with space-saving, while the majority of exercise bikes are actually smaller than a regular road bike, which also helps to conserve space.
Choose the appropriate extras
If a multi-gym does not quite do it for you or you want to splash out, then an adjustable dumbbell or squat rack may be the way to go. Investing in a good 15-20kg barbell will enable you to add a combination of weights for bench press, shoulder press and squats, while a good bench will have both an incline and decline function to allow you to target different parts of your torso.
When it comes to dumbbells, most gyms will have a variety of weight variants, but the advantage of investing in your own is the ability to buy equipment that can be increased or decreased in weight. Dumbbells with removable collars can range from 1kg to truly heavy weights, making them ideal for building muscle or simply toning your arms.
To complete your set-up, a kettlebell, gym ball, skipping rope and sit-up mat can give you a truly all-encompassing fitness solution that enables you to get fit and toned in the comfort of your own home, with no membership fee required.