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Home gyms allow you to create an ideal workout environment and stay consistent. Home gyms are great for stay at home parents, who find it difficult to find time to work out. A home gym eliminates the time spent commuting to the gym and it is easier to work into your daily schedule.
The most common mistake I see people making is placing their gym equipment in an uncomfortable area of their home, typically the garage. I live in Houston, where we only have two seasons, hot and hotter. You don’t want to be running on a treadmill in a 90 °F box. Our home gym is in our game room. We have a TV mounted on the wall, wireless headsets, central air conditioning, and fans to make workouts as enjoyable as possible. My wife and I often leave notes of encouragement for each other around the house or in the gym area because we often workout at different times.
Studies have shown that the most consistent exercisers workout in the morning or during their lunch breaks. Home gyms allow you to workout first thing in the morning so you can remain consist. When I need to work out in the morning, I charge my phone in the bathroom, next to my workout clothing, so I am forced to leave my comfortable bed and drudge across the room. Once I get there and I see my outfit is ready to go, it is much easier to muster enough willpower to workout. It is also comforting to know that my automatic coffee maker is brewing-up a liquid hug of encouragement.
“EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY. I believe in you and I am here for you. YOU GOT THIS! – Coffee.
You can save 50 to 75% off retail on lightly used fitness equipment, at garage sales, on Craig’s List, or using apps like Letgo, but be careful. I recommend you exercise extreme caution when meeting a complete stranger to exchange money for merchandise. Let people know where you are going, try to meet in a neutral location with security cameras when possible, and bring a large friend or two with you to help pick-up the item. For more tips read Craigslist 101: How to buy, and sell safely by John Ewoldt.
At a minimum you will need an adjustable bench, and adjustable dumbbells with enough weight to challenge your muscles. If you don’t have quick adjusting dumbbells, like PowerBlocks, I recommend you have one heavy pair and one light pair of dumbbells to minimize the time spent adjusting your weights from set to set. If you have the space, a power rack and an Olympic barbell set would be a great addition.
A power rack allows you to perform heavy compound lifts in complete safety. They usually have an integrated pull-up bar and some have a dip station attachment. If you don’t purchase a power rack, a dip pull-up station allows you to perform two of the best exercises for building upper body strength. If I could only perform four exercises, they would be the squat, deadlift, pull-up, and dip. A trap bar is another great piece of equipment for a home gym. Using a trap bar allows you to place more emphasis on your legs than a conventional deadlift. You don’t need machines to do cardio. If you have a limited budget, I would prioritize strength training equipment. A pair of running shoes is all you really need to perform cardio. You can find lot of ideas here on No Equipment Cardio Workouts.
Minimum Home Gym Requirement:
- Power Rack
- Olympic Barbell Set
- Dip – Pullup Power Tower
- Dip/Pullup Belt/Weighted Vest/Backpack (to add resistance to dips and pull-ups)
- Trap Bar
- Fractional Plates (8) ½ lbs. plates
- Leg Extension Leg/Curl Attachment for the Adjustable Bench
- Spin Bike/Elliptical/Treadmill/Rowing Machine/Recumbent Bike
- Heavy Bag or Wave Master XXL bag with Gloves
- Kettlebell for cardio training (I recommend 15 lbs. for women, 30 lbs. for men)
- Jump Rope
Other items to consider are:
- A Sport Watch with a Countdown Timer – The best sport watches in my opinion are the Timex Ironman watches. They allow you to customize your rest intervals to the second.
- Interval Timer app or Boxing Timer app – These apps are great for interval training workouts, kettlebell workouts, and heavy bag workouts.
- Body Fat Analyzer or Skin Caliper (Optional) – Many scales provide an estimated body fat percentage, but I find them very inaccurate. The scales help show body fat trends, but I recommend the handheld Omron Fat Loss Monitor for a more accurate measurement. It is quick and easy. Skin calipers are a little more accurate, but they are less convenient and they require some training to use correctly.
- Wireless headphones or wired headphones with a phone holder – Listening to music that pumps you up during your workouts will help increase your workout intensity, focus, and performance. You can get a good pair of wireless headphones for less than $40.
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I hope you have found these suggestions helpful. Could you please Like and Share if you enjoyed this post. Best wishes and best health!
Discipline pushes us, motivation pulls us, but productive habits keep us moving towards our goals.
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