While a membership to a world-class gym is a great thing to have, the fact of the matter is these memberships, especially if your gym is a premium one, can get pretty darn pricey. Even if your gym isn’t a top of the line brand, the payments can add up and if you don’t make the most of it because you barely have the time to get away from home or the office, you’re pretty much wasting money on a monthly basis. If this is you and you just so happen to have some extra space to work with at home, we encourage you to invest in putting a home gym together. Before you start freaking out about costs, hear us out. An awesome home gym doesn’t have to have expensive equipment nor does it have to be intimidating. Here are our top picks of must-have “items” to put an outstanding and cost-effective home gym together.
Adequate Room to Stretch Out
No, you don’t need an entire room to put a home gym together. If you’re smart about it, you can set up your home gym in the corner of your bedroom or in a free area of your garage. With that being said, you will need some semblance of spaciousness so that you’re not banging your head on the wall every time you drop down into a burpee. A good rule of thumb is to have about 30 to 50 square feet of space available to you in your home. If you’re small, you can probably even pare that down to 20 square feet. To give you an idea of how big that is, a standard treadmill will require about 30 square feet of space.
It’s going to be difficult to work out in an area that’s too hot just like it’s going to be a hindrance to work out in a space that’s too cold. Where ever you choose to set up your home gym, make sure that there’s some way to control the temperature of the room to keep your space feeling pleasant and to prevent your body from overheating while you work out. If you’re setting up your gym inside your home, this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re placing your home gym in the garage or the attic, there may be a bit more planning required.
A Decent Yoga Mat
Whether it’s for floor exercises or for a good stretch and cool down after your work out, it’s always a good idea to invest in a decent yoga mat. The mat will give you good traction and grip if you’re on a surface that can get slippery when you’re sweating and it’s also a great way to give your body some cushion. After all, do you really want to be doing sit ups on a cold and very hard concrete surface? Yeah, we thought not.
We get it, dumbbells can get pricey. Now, if you’ve got the budget for a full set (so that you can keep increasing your weights as you get more fit) then we definitely support you investing in one for your home gym. However, if that’s not something that you’ve got cash for at the moment, then a great alternative is to purchase a set of resistance bands. They’re great for – you guessed it – resistance training and you can work on pretty much all of your muscle groups with them. Grab bands of varying resistance strengths so that you can continue to incrementally increase and build upon your strength.
A Jump Rope
Got no space for a treadmill? Don’t feel too bad about it because you can bet your bottom dollar that a jump rope will kick your butt just as badly, if not even more, than a treadmill can. Jumping rope is a total body work out(say hello to stronger legs, shoulders and arms) and is absolutely fantastic for cardiovascular health. Just half an hour of jumping rope can burn major calories and the best part is, it barely takes any space to store it. If you want to make sure you get your daily cardio in but still need to save to purchase that big-ticket fitness item, then buying a jump rope is a smart way to get you through that period.
We can’t express enough how important it is for you to invest in a decent activity tracker if you’re really serious about getting in good shape. In fact, it’s an important piece of equipment to have whether you’re working out at home or at a gym because it helps you get a better hold of your workout’s intensity. Some of the more advanced trackers can even go as far as to help you track your reps, time your intervals or suggest work outs to help you hit your calorie-burn goals for the day. Not to mention the fact that’s it’s smart to be able to track how effective different kinds of workouts are for your body.
Some Form of Entertainment
Whether it’s a cheap Bluetooth speaker to blast music on or a TV to play that new show you’re binge-watching, having some kind of entertainment in your home gym can oftentimes spell the difference between a successful work out and a drab one. Why? Because an hour-long workout can be a chore if you don’t have anything to distract you or help lighten the hour up. There’s no shortage of people who will tell you how much of a life saver it is to have something else to focus on when your legs start burning from that jog or the speedy pace you’re keeping up on the stationary bike. Got no money for a television? Go for a phone mount instead. You can watch your favorite shows on your phone and keep your gadget steady at the same time. Just make sure that you place your TV or whatever gadget you’re using in a spot that won’t force you to squint.