My home gym
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Working out at home is my preferred method, so I thought I'd weigh in here (heh).
I like to work out at home because I'm a loner--don't like group activities or competition. And I'm a private person. My gym is my living room. Having the equipment at home makes for a very relaxed atmosphere and no excuses. I wear what I want and don't have to worry about the weather, getting to the gym, how I look, etc. You don't have to worry about germs or other people's sweat on equipment at the gym, either.
So here's what I have and suggest for the home exerciser:
1. Music and a two foot square clean spot. I'm serious--for the really frugal, that's all you really need, unless you are an advanced and fit exerciser. With a little imagination you can get a really good workout just marching in place and using your body weight for strength training.
If you want to get a little fancier:
2. A good set of books or DVDs for learning strength training exercises, and for inspiration.
3. A set of free weights appropriate to your condition. Get three sets of dumbells; light, medium, and heavy, if you're just starting out, then add as you get stronger. (For women just starting out, the 3, 5, and 8 might be good, but you won't use the 3s for long).
4. An inflatable stability ball (Swiss ball). The most versatile and frugal piece of equipment you can buy. As well as doing abdominal exercises, it can take the place of a weight bench. You can do strength training, you can stretch, you can do cardio with it--talk about frugal!
5. For cardio: Music to move to, or aerobics videos. You can add a sturdy step stool, an aerobics step, or a mini tramp per your inclination and budget.
Optional, as your exercise repertoire grows and your budget allows:
6. Ankle weights, because it's hard to get enough resistance with your body weight alone after a little while. I primarily use my ankle weights for things like calf raises, lying leg lifts, and quad extensions. They're a little awkward to use, but pretty cheap.
7. Weighted balls--I have a 8 lb medicine ball and a smaller, squishy weighted ball.
8. Resistance bands. I'm just starting to get the hang of these.
You don't have to go out and buy all this stuff all at once; you can add new things as you get fitter and experiment with what you like. Although it sounds like a lot, all this is tucked in a corner of my living room, and doesn't really intrude. If you have a spare room to use as a gym, that's fine, but beware the boredom factor.
Besides the fact that I have a small apartment, working out in my living room gives me the sense that I'm actually living--not doing a chore tucked away out of sight staring at blank walls.