Training indoors might be that workout; you can build your home gym depending on your unique needs and budget, and working out at home couldn’t be more convenient. Plenty of us can’t get two hours to go to and from the gym, but most of us can fit in a 20-minute session in our living room. Start with two quality pieces – one cardio and one strength – and create a plan of action concerning how and when you will work out. Once using your home gym has become a routine, you can add equipment to your collection.
The cardiovascular piece
It’s Free: Walk or jog, use your condo or household stairs and/or do body-weight workouts such as high knees, jumping jacks and burpees. Why I recommend: If you are wary of investing, free is the ideal price. Downside: The lack of equipment can get boring in future. Another idea - Skipping rope ($10+).
Why I recommend it: Skipping is a cheap and convenient way to burn a relatively huge amount of calories in a short time. Also, it tones your arms and shoulders, strengthens your bones and with shoes and some motivation you can do it nearly anywhere. Downside: The impact can be difficult if you have bone or joint issues, such as osteoarthritis, and many people find skipping for more than a few minutes tedious. Think about sandwiching it between other cardio such as jumping jacks, high knees or jogging. A moderate cost item - Mini trampoline ($100+).
Why I love it: The mini trampoline gives a low-impact cardio exercise that also challenges balance. In addition, jumping on it is just plain fun. I use it as a cardio interval between my strength sets: Try a set of lunges and then 100 high knees on a trampoline. Downside: It might not seem hard enough for those who prefer more hard-core cardio workouts. Big-ticket items include an elliptical, rower, bike or treadmill.
The strength piece
It’s Free: Body-weight workouts such as squats, lunges and planks. Why I do it: These are traditional favorites for a reason; they are convenient and they make changes. Downside: Body-weight training can get tedious, and if you are headed for muscle hypertrophy (bulk), you will ultimately need to invest in a weighted vest or dumbbells to provide your muscles with fitting progressive overload. Consider: Foam roll ($30+).
Why I recommend it: A number of comparatively inexpensive pieces of equipment exist, including resistance bands, stability balls and the sit fit, but the foam roll offers multiple uses: Roll out sore muscles, stretch, train balance and core, and maintain posture. Downside: It is really weird to travel with. A resistance band is easier to stuff into your suitcase.
Moderate cost: Stackable weights such as PowerBlocks.
Why I like it: PowerBlocks stack inside each other, which means - you can own a wide range of weights without compromising quality household real estate. They are not more than the size of a breadbox.
Downsides: Almost none since strength workout is – literally – for everyone. Whether your goal is to cut excess weight, work on your posture, be functionally fit or prevent osteoporosis, you should lift weights. Newbie lifters who require 5 pounds or less might want to hold off on getting stackable weights. Step in with soup cans and an individual set of three-lb weights. As you become stronger, you can invest anytime in a small set of stackable weights.
Big-ticket items: Home-gym stations and cable systems.
Cables, such as the Nautilus FreeMotion Cable Cross system, are designed for full-body functional movements. What you pay for comes down to personal preference, goals and cost. If you choose to buy a weight station, try to find one with a pull-up bar, lat pull-down and options for both low and high attachments.
Downside: obviously it’s cost and relative quality. Gym stations and cables are really costly, and often their all-in-one nature means that all the movements can be done adequately, but not ideally. My idea: If your main purpose is to use weight machines, unless you are willing to invest a large amount of money, join a gym.