The neighborhood gym may be offering a get-it-while-it-lasts deal that sounds very enticing: first month free, 24/7 access, on-site personal trainers, state-of-the-art equipment, low monthly fee, and so on. So you channel all of your resolution and sign up. You’re determined to stick with it this time.
You may do great at the gym, but the commute time, equipment that is used by others, the crowd of people or other factors can be motivation enough to feel like working out at home might be a better fit for your needs.
Many feel that they don’t have the space at home to properly work out, or they simply can’t afford the needed equipment. But nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, with a minimal amount of room and a modest investment in a few essentials, you can create a slam-dunk fitness area in your own home.
What You Should Have
Unless you’re training for a bodybuilding contest, you really don’t need all the complex weight machines that you see at the gym. With a minimal amount of space, a few basic – and inexpensive – pieces of equipment are enough to keep you in shape and help you tone and build muscle.
An exercise mat, which is also called a yoga mat, is simply a comfortable place to do floor exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, Pilates, yoga or simple stretching. And the mat can simply be rolled up and stored when not in use.
Resistance bands can be used in lieu of weights. They are inexpensive, extremely versatile and take up very little room.
A few kettlebells of different weights can be used for weight lifting, strength training and adding resistance to bodyweight workouts. And they’re easy to tuck out of the way when not in use.
A set of dumbbells can do wonders for working your biceps, triceps, forearms, chest, shoulders – basically your entire upper body. You can target very specific muscle groups, and they can also provide added resistance in bodyweight exercises.
Don’t have room for a stationary bike or elliptical? A simple jump rope will give you a cardio workout worth breaking a sweat over.
Creating a Home Fitness Area
Those who don’t live in a New York City studio where they can stretch out their arms and touch both walls at the same time may have a few more options when it comes to setting up a home fitness area. Still, before going out and buying a bunch of impressive looking weight machines, ask yourself, “What are my fitness goals?” Is it weight loss and cardiovascular health? Or muscle toning and building? The answers to these questions will tell you what kind of equipment you need.
Space is often at a premium even in an average-sized home. Still, you can designate a small-to-modest-sized area for fitness. Perhaps a part of the basement, garage, porch, patio or a spare bedroom could be set aside. Along with the equipment mentioned above, a pull-up bar, bench press and barbells can be added. A treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical machine can fit nicely into a relatively small area. Stick with the basics and choose equipment that you know you will use. The nation’s attics are full of ThighMasters, ab rollers, and vibrating dumbbells. But hey, if you want a $2,000 Wi-Fi-capable exercise bike with its own screen and a trainer who will motivate you, go for it.
Make sure your fitness area is well-organized, well-lit and comfortable. A place with a window or two will give you natural light, which can boost both your mood and motivation. And you don’t have to fill every square foot of floor space with equipment; roomy and airy creates a relaxing, stress-free environment. Add a couple of mirrors to make the area appear larger. Keep some towels, a Bluetooth speaker and a water bottle there as well. And a few pretty pictures on the wall won’t hurt, either. The fact is, exercising in an inviting area will make you want to stay. Your quick 15-minute workout may turn into a full hour of intense weight training.
If possible, choose an area where you can leave your larger equipment out. Keep the space clean and uncluttered. At certain times, the very thought of hauling the dumbbells out of the closet or removing items that may be sitting on the treadmill can feel like a task. However, when equipment is cleared and easily reachable, you can feel energized and ready to begin your home workout.
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