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» How to Develop a Home Gym on a Minimal Budget

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Adding a modest gym at home increases the likelyhood that you will work out regularly!
Adding a modest gym at home increases the likelyhood that you will work out regularly!
Maybe you have a tight schedule, and the only time you can make it to the gym is at 1 AM.

Perhaps you have an infant at home, and you’re itching to lose the baby weight, only your gym won’t accept children under 18 months in the childcare program. Maybe gyms intimidate you; or you can’t stand the sight of so many people in spandex, or you can’t afford the fees.

Whatever your reason, your only choice is to exercise at home. You have a little space, but fancy exercise machines are expensive.

Do you really need to spend a fortune to get a workable home gym? The answer is no. Follow these tips to create a nice home gym and stay in shape on a budget.

  • Measure your doorways. Exercise equipment is hefty, and it’s not necessarily going to fit through narrow doors or around tight corners. Make sure you know how you’re going to get it inside.
  • Measure your space, and allow for sufficient clearance around each piece of home gym equipment. Think about the range of motion for each activity. For example, if you’re using a rowing machine, you need clearance on each side to get on and off, and you also need sufficient space to pull your arms back.
  • If you’re working with a small space, the reality is that smaller spaces are better served with smaller pieces of equipment. If you splurge on one large cardio machine and don’t have room for anything else, you’ll probably get bored pretty fast. You’ll also save money by thinking small.
  • Think about what kinds of exercises you like, or if you’re just starting an exercise program, think about what kinds of physical activities you enjoy. For example, if you like to go dancing, you might enjoy cardio dance DVDs.
  • Carefully weigh the benefits of mirrors and televisions. On one hand, a mirror can help you to check your form, and televisions can help to make the time fly. On the other hand, it’s easy to become more concerned with how you look in the mirror or what’s going to happen next in your favorite reality show than with the quality of your workout.
  • Make sure your home gym allows for both cardiovascular and weight training. Most people focus on one or another, so you see a lot of gyms loaded with free weights and nothing else, or a series of cardio machines without a weight in sight. A balance of the two is the ideal recipe for fitness. Consider these cost-effective cardio and weight options:
    • Cardio: Jump ropes, step benches, and Bosu balls are all relatively inexpensive tools that can help you to get your heart rate up and keep it there if you don’t have the space for a cardio machine.
    • Weight training: Consider investing in a set of resistance bands or dumbbells. The stress is on the word “set.” You want to be able to choose the right weight or resistance to make each exercise fatigue your muscles, and you want to be able to increase the difficulty as you get stronger.
    • Also consider a medicine ball; they’re terrific to work the core.

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