It’s a brand new year, and that means that the average adult will once again find him or herself pledging to lose those five extra pounds that have crept onto the scale over the holiday season (not to mention the five from last year that stubbornly refused to leave). But rather than brave the overcrowded gyms that leave you waiting an hour for your turn on a given piece of equipment at this time of year, or squeezing into an exercise class where you bump your neighbors at every turn, perhaps you’ll want to consider a different strategy this year.
Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to rush to the gym after work and vie with the hundreds of other patrons that have made New Year’s resolutions? If you’re really interested in getting in shape this year, perhaps what you need to stay on track is a home facility that allows you the privacy and ease of use needed to reach your goals.
Here are a few tips that will help you to design a home gym that you’ll actually use.
- Be thrifty. You might think that purchasing pricy equipment will encourage you to get your money’s worth, but relying on feelings of guilt about overspending won’t likely motivate you for long (especially with Craigslist just waiting to help you recoup your costs). What you need is equipment that suits your needs, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
In some cases, a pair of running shoes or a jump rope will do the trick at minimal cost. Or maybe all you need are a few hand weights or some DVDs. The less you spend, the more likely you are to focus on the task at hand rather than worrying about the use value you’re getting out of your machinery.
- Get what you need. While you shouldn’t drop major money on stuff you’re not going to use, you also shouldn’t skimp on the items that really will keep you going. So if the only way you’re going to work out at home is with a top-of-the-line elliptical machine, or all you really want is a spiffy bench and a vast array of weights, skip all the other stuff and spend your money where it’s going to do the most good.
I’d recommend a quality set of adjustable dumbbells. Don’t skip on the weight though. If you know you’re going to need 120s, just go get them. You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t. I know I never did.
- Add variety. One problem for many people when it comes to sustaining an exercise regimen centers on boredom. Working out at home allows for targeted physical improvement, but you might not find it as fun as, say, a game of soccer with your friends.
Think about how you can keep it interesting, whether that means including a weight set, a speed bag, Pilates equipment, P90X DVDs, or a variety of machinery. All could help you to switch it up, which is good for both your muscles and your mind.
- Get vain. You might not like what you see in the mirror at the beginning of your exercise journey, but mirrors are an essential part of your home gym setup, for a number of reasons. First, they can help you to see when you’re doing things wrong, allowing you to correct movements for maximum impact. In addition, they stand to improve the lighting in any room, making it seem more expansive (a trick that is good for your mental health). And of course, over time you’ll begin to see the physical changes associated with your fitness routine, motivating you to keep going.
- Make it attractive. Fluorescent lights and bare walls may be standard fare for most home gyms, but the majority of people don’t find this minimalist look particularly appealing. So make your space more inviting any way you can, say through the inclusion of bulbs that are less eye-searing, plant life, vibrant wall colors, water features, and even art.
Making the space your own can only add to your enjoyment of your home fitness haven.