Setting up a home gym not only saves you the time it takes to commute to a gym — not to mention the waits for machines — but you simply cannot beat the convenience. Toronto-based personal trainer Kathleen Trotter shares 5 tips for building a home gym. Besides being a personal trainer, Kathleen lives her advice, having completed 10 (count ’em!) marathons, an Ironman (well, Ironwoman to be more accurate) and 7 half Ironmans. You can also find her on Twitter.
When trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, it is important to take the time to ‘set yourself up for success’. On way to “set yourself up for success” is to set up a home gym. Even with minimal equipment, a home gym is a great way to “set yourself up for success” because it ensures you can always do something.
If you don’t have time for a full workout at the gym (especially because getting to the gym involves travel time), no problem, do a workout at home. Something is always better then nothing!!
If you have a tight budget, don’t worry. You can put together a really decent gym without spending a ton of money!
Get your cardio in by running or walking outside. Or, run up and down the stairs in your building. If you want to invest in a piece of cardio equipment that will not break the bank and doesn’t take up a lot of room, buy a mini-trampoline. They are fun, low impact, and a great complement to running or walking outside.
You can do a full body strength workout by using your own body as resistance. To ensure your workouts don’t become too monotonous, invest in one or more of the following inexpensive pieces of home gym gear.
1. The Resistance Band. This is an extremely versatile piece of equipment. It costs around $10 and has almost limitless possibilities. For example, use it to simulate the exercises you would do with the cable machine at the gym. Resistance bands can be used for just about any muscle group and exercise you can think up–the sky is the limit.
2. The Stability ball. Depending on where you buy it, the ball costs between $20 and $50. Use it to simulate a bench at the gym, or do push-ups and crunches on it.
3. Free weights. Start with light weights and buy heavier as you get stronger.
4. The Foam Roller. The typical foam roller costs around $35 or $40, but it is so worth the money. It is a fantastic piece of equipment for anyone who sits. To stretch your chest, lie on it lengthwise and spread your arms out to the side. It can also be used as a bench to do exercises like bench press and french press, or use it to massage out sore muscles. It is a must for any athlete!
5. The sitfit is a slightly less widely know piece that retails for about $25. (it sort of resembles a woopie cushion). Use it to train your balance and improve core strength. Put one foot on it to do lunges, or stand on it and do squats. If you stand on it barefoot with the spiky bits up it has the added benefit of helping to improve circulation. If you don’t mind looking slightly silly, sit on it while at your desk to help correct posture imbalances. Simply put it on your desk chair and try to keep the air evenly distributed as you sit.
REMEMBER, something is ALWAYS better then nothing. Even if all you do is go for a ten minute walk, make sure you do something!