Budget vs. “Blow Out” Home Gyms – 5 Essential Tips to Consider

You don’t need to take out a gym membership to fully develop your body and kick those fitness goals. In fact, home gyms have boomed in popularity over the years as gym enthusiasts choose the comfort of their home over the busyness of the actual gym. Offering a sense of freedom in the hectic lifestyle we live, setting up your own home gym can be the perfect motivation to train regardless of what your wallet or the weather throws at you.

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But how can you create the most effective home gym on a budget? Gym equipment isn’t cheap and whilst those big ticket items will be seen as an investment when you start looking and feeling fantastic, you need to completely blow out your savings to make it happen. Home gyms can build great results and it can be just as safe and as effective as being at the public gym. Here’s a few essential tips to help you stay within budget:

1. Go for Quality over Quantity

Building a gym at home doesn’t mean purchasing every single piece of equipment you ‘need’. Opt for quality items that can tick multiple fitness goals rather jamming your space with bits and pieces. Home gyms are usually scarce on space so be smart about your choices.

Dumbbells are an at-home-gym classic because of the amount of exercises you can do with them, they justify the purchase almost straight away. Opt for pro-styled dumbbells like the RDCH 1-80 kg with recycled rubber coating as these last longer and much more comfortable to use, not to mention eliminate the toxic smells new rubber can give off. These can be stored on a special dumbbell rack and uses rubber coated plates and chrome end to make up the weight ensuring the dumbbell diameter stays the same and are idea for bicep curls and other weight exercises. Other quality essentials can include a medicine ball (ideal for core strength movements), a barbell with different weight plates (a staple for almost every gym) and an adjustable bench that can decline, incline and lay flat.

2. Defining Your Fitness Goals

Understanding exactly what you want to work out will make your gym decisions easier. Define your personal fitness goals and make sure you’re investing in things that help you get there quickly and as comfortably as possible. Are you wanting to focus on strength training or shred some weight through cardio fitness? If you are wanting to lose weight, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all about cardio. Whilst you want to get your heartbeat up and burning calories, cardio exercises alone aren’t enough before after a few weeks your body adjusts and stops losing weight. Incorporating a combination of cardio and resistance training however, is a better place to start.

Most home gym aren’t complete without a barbell and some weight plates to go with it. Weights are ideal for any home gym because they offer a balanced combo of cardio and resistance training. Through the right weights, you have the stabilisation and coordination aspect to your workout and allows you to use different weights depending on your fitness goals. Make sure you look for a sturdy barbell that isn’t cheap looking and flimsy. Pay attention to the diameter of the bar, too.

3. The Bare Essentials vs. a Fully-Fitted Home Gym

There’s a few at home gym staples that are compact and easy enough to tick off some fitness goals, without taking up too much space. Medicine balls are an essential purchase before they offer a variety of exercises to build core strength movements. You can focus on abdominal exercises, throw or catch the ball to assist with different muscle groups. Opt for one that is soft and if you’re unsure about the weight, go for lighter to emphasise speed and power in your workout.

Stability balls are as important as dumbbells to your home gym and will help to build balance and strength. You can do hamstring curls, abdominal crunches, squats, body bridges and so much more. They are cost-effective, easy to store and offer a good variety of workouts to suit every fitness level. Other at home gym essentials can include resistance bands, which are extremely versatile and can be strapped to the door, table or workout bench, and a jump rope for cardio workouts. Look for a rope that’s lightweight for speed and timing or a weighted rope for strength.

4. Big Ticket Items

Big ticket gym items can get expensive really quickly if you let them, so opt for 1-3 pieces max. If cardio is important, invest in a treadmill, bike or elliptical training depending on your fitness needs. If you love running but not during the winter months by all means get a treadmill – but be realistic about what big ticket items are absolutely necessary to your home gym. If weight training is a priority

If you want something that will offer a fully body workout, not just your arms or legs, a rowing machine can be a wise investment. It’s time efficient for busy lifestyles only requiring a 20min workout and you’re done. Functional trainers  or complete home gyms (max 2 and max 5 are good recommendations) on the other hand can integrate heaps of different workouts into the one piece of equipment giving you more bang for your buck and depending on your needs, you’ll probably find you only need to invest in the one big ticket item with it. Complete home gyms offer the benefits of safe training by yourself at home with settings for muscle fatigue and muscle building.

5. Get Buff, Not Broke

Getting fit at home doesn’t need to come with a hefty price tag. It’s all about being smart with your purchases and looking for pieces that can offer multiple uses. Start small and work your way up and don’t invest in the big ticket items until you fully understand your fitness needs.

Lack of time, hectic work hours, distance from gym and ability can make gym memberships a huge waste of money for some people. By turning your own personal space into an at-home gym, you can be one step closer to feeling and looking great in the comfort of your home. Home gyms are a much better investment in your long term health and fitness. On average, a gym membership is around $750 per annum per person, with a family gym membership costing about $2,250 per annum. Statistics from health club memberships indicate the dropout rate is around 90%, which proves investing in your own gym equipment is the way to go for most. You don’t need all the bells and whistles to reach your fitness goals. With the right workout, consistency and your goals set and measured, you can do it all on a budget.

Author Bio

Jayde Ferguson writes for Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment in Perth including all the at-home gym essentials. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.