Would the convenience of exercising in your own private space eliminate persistent laziness and create excuses for not exercising in the past? But, will you really use it — if you buy it? That’s the age-old question usually answered with a resounding “no” by the many people who use their bedroom treadmill as a pricey coat rack.
Set up for success
Where and how you set up your home gym is key to how often you’ll exercise. Also time saving and privacy are the main benefits of a home gym.
Most of the time gyms are relegated to the basement, which is usually the least inviting space in anyone’s house and the easiest place to forget it. The more natural light, the brighter your workout space is, the better.
What to buy
Space, budget and training goals will shape your equipment list, but the most crucial factor is often overlooked.
People often ask what’s the best exercise they can do and the answer is the one that you’re actually going to do. Most likely it’s going to be the type of exercise you enjoy.
Endurance machines, such as a stationary bike or treadmill, train the cardiovascular system. Most people like to have one of these. Also bodybuilding machines, such as a multi gym. Also setting up with a bar bell set, power rack and adjustable bench.
Foldaway equipment is generally cheaper and has the advantage of saving space, but there is a downside. Lightweight portable equipment has come a long way but it’s not quite as sturdy as stationary equipment. Ideally, buy the best you can afford, even if it’s foldaway.
If your space or budget don’t allow for big pieces, a cheaper alternative to raise the heart rate and provide a whole body workout is a skipping rope and TRX bands, Bollmann said, which have the added benefit of fitting in a suitcase when you travel. TRX bands, which he recommends for their versatility, are suspension straps which harness gravity and your own bodyweight to allow you to do hundreds of different exercises.
You might also consider a more radical solution.
Even the best home gym becomes a boondoggle if it’s never used. We’ve all seen machines in homes which end up as expensive coat hangers, so take advantage of free try-out sessions at gyms to become familiar with equipment before you take the plunge and buy.
Be organised and plan ahead.
The workout needs planning too. You have to know what you want to achieve. You need a road map, a longer-term goal, and you break it down into short term goals. The secret to having a good work out is to always try to do a little bit more than you did previously.
Visual cues such as running shoes by the bed or posting up your exercise routine can help. If you're into gadgets, try wearable technology such as Fitbit or Jawbone wristbands which can also spur you on by tracking progress.
The key is to make sure you can continuously challenge yourself. As soon as it becomes monotonous and boring you’ll lose interest. Change the intensity, the number of reps, type of equipment, use your own body instead of always relying on equipment.
And, if you backslide, don’t beat yourself up. Guilt isn’t a reason to start exercising again. Look on it simply as a cue for reappraising what you’re doing. Reframe the way you talk to yourself. If you can change the thoughts around your behaviour from negative to more motivating ones that will help you achieve your goals in the long term.