Getting or staying fit and healthy is somewhat of a priority for most people, and even if it’s not something you’re actively taking part in right now, there’s never the ‘right’ time to get fit. Now is the best option you have, and if you’ve been thinking of setting up a home gym for whatever reason, then now is a good time to try and make that a reality. But there are a few things you should consider before ordering a shipping container full of equipment direct to your doorstep. Read on to find out how to best replicate the gym experience in the convenience of your own home.
Yes, setting up your home gym isn’t the cheapest endeavour. However, what’s more expensive is paying gym fees for a decade. So if you know you will be living at the same house and working out for the next five to ten years, then setting up a home gym that you can gradually build and add gym equipment to works out to be a cost-effective solution, and one that buys you time and convenience, minimizing the amount of excuses to miss a training session.
No Need for Fashion
Another way home gym owners save money is by not worrying about fitness fashion. All you need is a pair of old shorts, you don’t even have to worry about shoes – in fact training barefoot has a huge range of benefits. Just look at old pictures of the legend himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and you will generally see him training without shoes, and for good reason.
Convenience is Key
With convenience comes a far greater likelihood of you committing to a training program. If it’s right there in your house, then there is literally no excuse to miss out on even a fifteen minute workout.
Tailor Your Inspiration
One thing a lot of people hate is walking into the gym and getting slapped in the face with loud obnoxious techno music. When you’re training at home, you can create your own playlists and training to your own beat – whatever inspires you to work hard and keep pushing through those last few reps. Most people opt for hard rock or rap, but whatever it is that gets you there, blast it and get in the zone. You also get to decorate your gym with whatever posters, quotes, and images will inspire you to train hard and get the results you’re working towards.
Get the Key Equipment
To be able to call your home gym a gym, you need more than just a few dumbbells. The essential items are the olympic lifting tools – squat rack, olympic bars, a range of plates from 2.5kg up to 25kg, a bench, and preferably a bench press rack, a chin up bar, dip bar, some kettlebells, and some dumbbells.
Once you have all that, you’re pretty much covered. Later, on you can add to that a lat pull-down machine and seated row, but invest in the olympic lifting equipment first because that will give you the key strength training workouts that you need. Whatever equipment you get, go for quality and you’ll get the longevity out of it. There is a lot of stuff that you can get at an affordable price, but for the big things, squat racks etc. – go for quality, well-made equipment that will see you through some years.
Put Up a Boxing Heavy Bag
Another piece of very useful equipment for any home gym is a heavy bag. Using a heavy bag to work out offers a great way to train that strengthens and builds muscle while working your aerobic fitness, and the best thing about a heavy bag workout is that you can literally train for 12 minutes and still end up with a great workout.
Size and Space
Plan your gym with a scale floor plan to ensure you maximise the space you have. Also be sure there is enough head room and that the space you have set aside for your home gym can actually fit everything you want. You can never plan too much, so take the time to do it right.
Having the right lighting will make a big difference to your gym experience. Flourescent lights are fine, but be wary of where you position equipment based on where your main light sources are. Most gym-goers have had the unpleasant experience of laying back on a bench press or adjustable bench and getting a bright light directly in line with your eyes. It makes it very hard to focus on pushing the weight to your max, and is unnecessarily distracting. You don’t want that every time you do chest at home. So map out your gym, and create a plan.
A good gym needs at least a few good sized mirrors. Mirrors accomplish a couple of things, they allow you to watch yourself doing an exercise so you can ensure you have the right technique and reaching the full extension and contraction for each repetition. They also allow you to look at yourself working out and get the momentum of inspiration and motivation going by seeing the progress you’re making. We work out for health and fitness, but let’s not deny the fact that it’s also about aesthetics, and that there’s nothing wrong with that. Feel good about looking good.
You need to install mats or flooring that can take a pounding, otherwise you’ll run the risk of destroying the flooring that you have. Before you bring in equipment, install gym mats and padded or sprung flooring for deadlifts and other olympic lifts.
Plan to Succeed
What you don’t want is your home gym to become a mass of cobwebs and another failed attempt at home fitness that will end up on Gumtree or on the side of the road in several years time once it’s become rusted and ratty from sitting in the corner for years on end. Set up your home gym to create a space for your achieve your fitness goals. This means you need self-discipline, and like the biceps you’re flexing, it is just like a muscle that can be developed and strengthened over time with regular use and disciplined implementation.
Even though your gym is at home and therefore can technically be used any time of the day or night, you still need to schedule in and timetable your workouts. And let your family know from the get-go that if you are in the gym, you are unavailable. You will need to be firm and adhere to this rule if you ever plan on getting a work out in. If you allow interruptions, you’ll rarely get past a ten minute workout. Go in there, take the phone off the hook, lock the door and get to work. Set goals, stick to them, and stick to your routine – by doing that you will create your own success.