The cost of setting up a home gym outweighs the convenience it offers – or does it?

As big a part of my life as the IT world is, it’s not the only thing I think about. I also happen to be an avid fitness enthusiast! I believe exercise and wellness are big parts of leading a happy, healthy, and successful life, and I’d like to pass that on to you.

In this series, I’ll share simple and effective tips and insight for leading a healthier life. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be surprised by how soon you feel a difference!

This week I’ll be sharing a few tips to help you set up a great home gym without giving your wallet a workout.

For a lot of people, the biggest obstacles to their fitness goals are time and cost. Gym memberships can be pricey – especially when you just don’t have the time to really get your money’s worth out of your monthly membership fee. The alternative option, of course, is to set yourself up with a home gym instead. That way, you don’t need to leave the house to get a little exercise.

That takes care of the time obstacle but doesn’t do much to help with the cost. Equipment is expensive, and trying to find a spot in the home you can convert into a workout space is easier said than done.

But if you think you need a spare room full of exercise equipment in order to build the perfect home gym, you’re going about it all wrong.

Of course, if you have space and the cash to go all out, you absolutely should – provided you’ll actually use everything you buy. But for the rest of us, it’s surprisingly easy to create a fully functional workout area for a fraction of what you’d expect to spend.

First and foremost, forget the idea that you need to have multiple pieces of equipment like treadmills, stationary bikes, or ellipticals. If you’ve got the room in both your home and your budget for one of these items, then great! A treadmill is a surprisingly versatile piece of equipment, and a great investment, but not a necessity.

All you need to get a great workout at home is the following items:

  • A set of foam rollers – great for stretching, yoga, and core strengthening
  • A good jump rope – great for cardio, especially when you don’t have room for a treadmill
  • A set of adjustable dumbbells
  • A set of resistance bands
  • A stability ball or balance discs

These items are all less than $100, and can easily be stored in a closet if the only space that happens to be available to you is your living room. If you do have a spare room, a garage, or even a screened in porch available for you to convert into a gym space, you can invest in a set of shelves to keep all of your equipment within easy reach.

When choosing a spot to build your gym, try to pick a room that has lots of natural light. If you’ll be in a back room or basement, pick up a few extra lamps or small stick-on touch lights to keep yourself from working out in a dim space. Creating the illusion of being someplace open and airy will help keep you motivated. You can also hang a large mirror to make your space look bigger, and add a plant or two to help boost oxygen levels in the room. Spider plans, ferns, and bamboo palms are all great choices.

Have a place to set up an iPod dock so you can listen to your workout playlist. If you have a workout DVD you like to use, make sure you’re either in a spot where you can see the TV, or have a convenient place to set your laptop so you can follow along easily.

Finally, whether you’re in your garage or your living room, make sure you space is as clutter and distraction-free as you can make it. This is especially important if you’re working out in or near the place you keep things like bills or work documents – the last thing you want to be thinking about during a workout are things that are going to stress you out and throw you off your game.

The most important thing to remember is that this is your space. Personalize it. Customize it. Hang up a motivational poster or two, and do whatever you need to in order to make your home gym into a comfortable and functional space. You have to want to spend time in it, so make it the kind of place you want to be in.

For more information, join Central Florida Fitness Tips on Facebook.

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