Getting in shape is a nice idea and generally a “priority” on everyone’s list (think New Years). However, not everyone has convenient or affordable access to a local gym. Pile on a few challenges with work schedules, family obligations and life circumstances and you’ve got a whole dump truck of excuses to help bury that little spark of motivation. To be honest, I get it! Until recently, there wasn’t a gym close to me that offered the amenities or pricing I was looking for. I had just moved, was in the middle of an extensive remodel (aka completely gutting and rebuilding my house), and had just found out I was pregnant (enter nausea and extreme fatigue). A year later, I have an infant, a mostly finished house, and a business I was trying to build and maintain right after giving birth. Were it not for my home gym, I would have found it extremely difficult to maintain my workout routine and reach my fitness goals.
I often get asked what I’d recommend for a home gym. For starters, it depends a lot on what your goals are.
Bare Bones Pack: Do you have legs? Arms? 25-36 square feet of space? A door you can walk through to be outside? Good news! You can be active! There are several bodyweight exercises you can do to build a little strength. This should be a fundamental skill before you move on to more advanced exercises anyway: know how to move your body! Running is also one of the most simple, economic ways to start getting into shape. Bonus: If you have a chair or stairs you can do twice as much!
Basics Pack: For the budding exerciser, someone looking for simple, straight forward workouts, or anyone who just wants a quick, easy way to add a little movement to their day.
I’m pretty sure you can grab all these items at your local Walmart, and you can definitely find these all on Amazon. Definitely grab:
Dumbbells (I suggest at least 2 pairs, one in the lighter range (5-10 lbs) and one in the heavier range (15-25 lbs))
Resistance band set
Some sort of platform (stair, box, chair, etc. Something you can step or jump on)
This should allow you to do a wide variety of exercises. You can also tweak most exercises to fit in to what you have available at this point.
Intermediate Pack: For those whose dumbbells have grown too light, want to add more advanced bodyweight exercises to their routine and are looking for a wider variety in workouts and equipment.
These items are intended to be added to the beginner pack. They are going to cost a little more and require more space, but will allow you more advancement in your fitness and provide some fresh exercise options.
Dumbbell set (look for adjustable weights or a set that provides weights heavy enough for your needs)
Treadmill and/or spin bike
Pull up bar
Medicine ball (find one or two heavy enough for your level)
Advanced Pack: For those who are getting serious about their strength and body composition, have a foundation in strength training, or want the options of a commercial gym.
These items will require space and a pretty solid chunk of change, but can still be found for reasonable prices. Several websites that sell fitness equipment sell these kind of things in packs, so look for options there. The items in the previous packs are also recommended.
Barbell and weights (don’t forget clips!)
Squat rack, power rack or rig (these will vary in price A LOT. If you won’t have someone available to spot you consistently, grab something with spotter bars as well)
Kettlebell (35-55 lbs should be good enough for most exercises, depending on your level)
When it comes down to it, what matters as you shop for your home gym equipment is that you keep your goals in mind. It will require a little investment, no matter what. The more you have, the more you’ll be able to do and the more progress you’ll be able to make. If you want to look like a fitness model, don’t try to do that with the basic pack. If you’ve never lifted a heavy weight, you may not want to start with a barbell and a squat rack (unless you have a trainer to guide you). The point is, there’s an option for everyone and there’s always something you can do to help improve your health.
Need ideas? Contact me or check out my instagram (@definedfitness_ut) or facebook for tips and tricks!