Build Your Home Gym Around Your Fitness Goals
In the wake of the covid pandemic, the popularity of home gyms skyrocketed. As gyms closed, their dedicated members took their fitness routines home. So did scores of training novices - motivated by a desire to fight the boredom and potential weight gain of self-isolation. For too many, that inspiration ended with lapsed workout regimes and expensive equipment gathering dust.
Here is a list of tips from home gym experts for creating a home gym based on your fitness goals and exercise preferences. Many were inspired by errors made by the experts themselves. The hope is that by sharing them with you, you'll be able to avoid discouraging experiences and develop a clear vision of the workout area you’ll look forward to using.
Identify Your Goals
Many experts point to hasty equipment purchases made before consumers asked two vital questions:
1) What am I trying to achieve?
2) What do I enjoy doing?
Are you trying to build muscle, burn fat, increase your endurance, or improve your sports performance? Do you want to rehabilitate after an injury or improve the quality and length of your life? Could you be pursuing a mixture of these goals? There are specialized and multi-purpose exercise machines designed to help you succeed.
A Good Mix of Cardio and Strength Training is a Must.
It’s recommended that you do about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. Adding two or three strength-training sessions during your week is essential. Whatever cardio or strength training can do on their own pales compared to what they can do together.
We know that cardio burns fat, lowers your blood pressure, increases your endurance, and lessens your chances of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Research shows it can also slow down the aging of certain cells, enhance your concentration, mood, sleep, and – ooh la la – sex life. but it can’t do everything alone. Even the vaunted high-intensity interval training (HIIT) needs some muscle to back it up.
Strength training can involve free weights, cable machines, resistance bands, your own bodyweight, or anything that resists the flexing of your muscles. As those muscles grow, they devour fats. They also give you the strength, flexibility and agility to do better at everything from daily tasks to sports performance. Strength training also lessens joint pain and the risk of bone damage.
Filter Your Options
Of course, you’ll want to measure your available workout area and set a budget for equipping it. There are so many aspects to determining your available space and spending money that we’ve addressed them in two separate blogs. For now, let’s talk about matching your goals with the equipment that can help you attain them.
Talk with your doctor about your health needs and limitations. Get a handle on how you can start and how you can sensibly progress, following a pragmatic timeline for your goals.
Do your research. Search online for equipment that can produce the results you seek and fits into your footprint and budget. Independent reviews of fitness equipment are invaluable – especially if the reviewers have tested it themselves. Besides comfort, quality and efficiency, you’re also looking for portability, ease-of-assembly and longevity. Last but certainly not least, check the warranty.
How accurately/easily can you gauge your performance? While some cardio machines offer apps that can fully track your workout progress and show you a movie to boot, they might not fit in your budget. If you understand cardio and fat-burning heart rate zones, a heart rate monitor can keep you within them. Most machines supply one – and can also guide you through a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout.
Be honest about what you can handle. A lot of top exercise machines are praised for the multiple benefits they deliver. Although some machines can cater to any level of athlete, others are exclusively for advanced users. You'll want a machine that challenges you but doesn't overwhelm you. Trying to do too much too early can overexert your body, undermine your ego, and dampen your enthusiasm.
There’s a way you can determine much or all of this at the same time.
Try Before You Buy.
Does a friend own a machine you’d like to try? Can you get a day pass or guest pass to a gym? Trying equipment gives you firsthand knowledge of its comfort and efficiency. You can feel how it works on the areas you want to target and sense if you'll want to use it long-term.
Many stores will also let you sample a variety of machines from different manufacturers. Even better, informed, experienced sales staff can fill in important details and answer all your questions.
Try AFTER You Buy.
Seeing how well a piece of showroom equipment works is one thing. Seeing how well your machine works is another. Whether you assemble the equipment yourself or the store sends a technician, you’ll want to inspect and try the equipment afterward. Look for the following:
- Scratches, cracks and dings: Some flaws look small but can eventually cause big dangerous problems
- Wear problems: Try it quickly and look for wear issues (cables rubbing where they shouldn’t, etc.)
- Functional problems: Is something interfering with your full range of motion?
- Of course, used equipment is cheaper, but you’ll have to give it good once-over, as it probably won’t have a warranty.
- If you search online, check to see if the seller has been rated.
- You might happen on a barely-used find, as some sellers have made the same buying mistakes we’ve warned you about - purchasing a piece of equipment that wasn't right for them. However, it could be right for you. Just make sure you understand your own capabilities and limits before you dig into your wallet.
Bring Your Workout Room Planning Questions to Flaman Fitness.
Have a whole garage for your home gym or just the corner of a room? Our experts can help you fill it with fitness potential. Just drop by or call your nearest Flaman Fitness location and tell them about your fitness requirements, floor space, and budget. They can offer amazing solutions, whether you’re building up around existing equipment or starting from zero.
Flaman Fitness is an excellent place to “try before you buy” – with a huge selection of top-brand machines, including Canada’s largest Bowflex showroom.
Category: Your Fitness Resource
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