We all would like to lose weight and get
in shape with a minimal effort. That's how the fitness informercial makes
billions per year, promising miraculous results without breaking a sweat.
If you are not fooled by their claims then
you know you have to work at getting in shape and losing unwanted pounds. So
where do you go for a challenging workout? If you are into walking and running,
during the temperate seasons you can get your cardio exercise in the great
But to get a total workout that is not
limited to moderate weather, you will need to either join a gym or equip your
home with fitness equipment. The major advantage of a home gym is convenience.
And it is convenience that can result in a more focused exercise regimen. Home
gyms are growing in popularity. In 2000 over $6.7 billion was spent on home
Granted health clubs have the advantage of
working out with other like-minded individuals. And if you are the type of
person that needs inspiration from others, the health club provides that
environment. Of course, for singles it is a great place to meet the opposite
The disadvantages are time wasted driving
to the health club, waiting in line to use equipment and costly membership
fees. I personally like to work out first thing in the morning. My time is
limited due to my work schedule. The extra time required to drive to a health
club would deter regular workouts. Exercise for me is not a social activity. I
want to burn as many calories and strengthen as many muscles in as little time
as possible. In my case exercising at home is more practical.
Designing a Home Gym
If you decide that working out at home
makes the most sense, the first consideration will be the location. You may
choose the basement. But if it is dark and damp, this is not an inspiring
environment. Another consideration is an extra bedroom or part of a family room
or den. You want an inviting location that is well ventilated and provides
sufficient light. For those that like to keep up with the latest news or the
soaps, a room with a television would be appropriate.
If lack of space is a consideration, there
is fitness equipment like folding treadmill or compact home gyms that minimize
Selecting the Proper
In determining what fitness equipment to
purchase, you need to define your goals and consider the type of exercise
machines that can help you reach those goals. Numerous homes are littered with
unused exercise equipment that substitutes for clothes hangers. Too often
people buy informercials equipment that is that latest fad. They discover that
the exercise bores them, and that the equipment is poorly built and does not
deliver on the promises.
Another common mistake is buying cheap
equipment that provides an unsatisfactory workout and frequently requires
repair. This is particularly true when purchasing a treadmill. A cheap
treadmill is unstable, noisy and can be a shock to your joints.
There are tips on buying various types of
For walkers and runners a treadmill is a
logical choice. And the good news is the recent models are built for endurance
and a pleasurable cardio experience. A Treadmill is the most efficient
equipment to burn calories and lose weight, that is why they are the most
You'll want a treadmill with a motor that
is continuous duty with a rating of at least 2.0 HP. Continuous duty motors
give you constant maximum power. Non continuous motors are unable to run
smoothly for an extended period of time.
Select a treadmill that accommodates your
stride with an adequate length and width. The deck should be at least 18" x
53". If you are a runner and tall, you may want to consider a "stretch" model.
The deck should have a reasonable amount of cushion for minimal impact on your
feet, ankles and knees. Several manufacturers offer extra thick cushioned
treadmills as an option.
For variety you'll want a treadmill with
incline control and computerized programming. Incline control simulates an
uphill climb, while the electronics can be programmed to create a diversity of
running or walking experiences.
Multi-station home gyms provide health
club quality strength training in the comfort of your home. Depending on the
model you can get over 50 exercises. A home gym offers a complete strength
building workout for the entire body. And as the name implies, multi-station
home gyms allow for more then one person to workout at once.
Look for equipment that has a natural
resistance feel. The quality of the cables and pulleys will make the difference
and will guarantee longevity. That smooth feel is usually lacking on so-called
home gyms that rely on bands or bows rather then actual weight racks. In
addition, you want a gym that has ergonomic features. The shape and location of
pad, pop pin and pivot point should feel natural.
Elliptical trainers offer a no-impact
workout that exercises numerous muscle groups. This is achieved through the
dual cross-trainer arms combined with the foot pedals. Elliptical trainers
provide the following advantages:
Time Efficiency - The dual action of arms
and legs optimizes energy expenditure. Requires less time to achieve more
As with treadmills, elliptical trainers
vary from K-mart specials to health club quality. It is important to find a
motorized machine that has a natural stride and is built to last.
This is a just a short list of potential
home fitness equipment. It can be supplemented with stationary bikes, free
weights, steppers, aerobic steps, rowing machines and countless other products.
Determine your goals (lose weight, build
strength, etc.), then narrow your search to the appropriate equipment. The
selection needs to be based on what will work for you, not what will be the
best for hanging laundry.