Thousands of well-intentioned people across the country join health clubs every month. They meet with a sales associate, get information about classes and amenities, and take a tour of the facility. Finally, they sign on the dotted line of an ironclad contract and leave feeling like they have accomplished something. For many of these people, however, all they have achieved is wasting their money.
Joining a gym is a significant financial and time commitment. A large percentage of gym members do not make good use of their membership, and a sizable number completely waste it by never actually returning to the facility to work out. Going to the gym can be a major hassle with a busy schedule. Plus, you may need to pack clothes, food, shower essentials, and more. If the gym is busy, you may need to wait to use equipment, which either lengthens the time of your workout or limits its effectiveness if you only have limited time.
Working out at home eliminates a lot of the inconveniences of having to go to a gym. There is no expensive membership, no commute, no waiting for equipment or signing up days in advance for classes. Having a home gym eliminates the annoying sweaty guy giving you unwelcome advice, cheesy music playing in the background, and best of all, the excuses for not getting in a workout.
When building out the perfect home gym, the first thing to think about is choosing a suitable location. You want a dedicated area with adequate space to work out in as well as store your equipment. Working out in your living room might be okay for bodyweight exercise, but it quickly becomes inconvenient if you have to rummage around in a crowded closet to dig out your weights and yoga mat. Along with enough space to work out in, your location should also have proper lighting and ventilation. There are few things worse than working out in a stuffy, claustrophobic corner of your dimly lit basement.
Once you get your location sorted out, you will need to decide what type of equipment to buy. Bodyweight training can go a long way, but there is a limit to what you can do unless you want to attempt very challenging movements or very high volume of simple movements, which can get boring. While the equipment you use will depend on your fitness goals, there are a few essentials everyone should have, such as equipment to do resistance training with.
Equipping the perfect home gym takes a bit of time. You definitely don’t want to rush out and buy everything all at once. It is best to start with some basics then add additional equipment over time as you and your gym grow. Set a budget and buy accordingly. The average monthly cost of a gym membership in the U.S. of $40-$50 can be used as a starting point.
Kettlebells are an excellent choice for a home gym. They are versatile and can be used to perform a vast array of exercises, including all of those you can do with a dumbbell or barbell and more. Adding to their versatility, kettlebells are great for strength and power training as well as cardio and endurance-based exercises. Kettlebells don’t take up a lot of space, and can easily be stored in a closet, on a shelf, or in a designated corner. Since they are so portable, kettlebells can easily be transported to train outdoors or in a different location. As a bonus, they are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of weighted equipment.
Initially, you will only need a few different sizes: a light pair at 4-6 lbs., one medium-sized bell at 10-12 lbs., and a heavier one around 18+ lbs. You can accomplish a lot with only four kettlebells! While dumbbells are another good choice for weighted equipment, they aren’t as easy and effective to use for both a cardio and strength-based workout.
Next on the list for essential resistance training equipment is a suspension trainer. This is another extremely versatile piece of equipment that allows you to perform tons of bodyweight exercises. You will need to attach the suspension trainer to a solid anchor point, which may require you to purchase amount and securely screw the mount into a wall or ceiling, but it is well worth the cost and hassle. The suspension trainer can easily be used outdoors by attaching it to a tree, pull up bar, or other solid object.
Outdoor or Jump Rope
For cardiovascular training, the cheapest and most accessible option is to get outside. Ideally, find an open area that has an incline as well as a flat area for jogging and sprinting. If going outdoors is not an option, a jump rope is the next best thing. A jump rope is inexpensive, takes up little to no space, and is easier on your joints than running.
Rower or Airdyne Stationary Bike
Two other great options for cardio are a rower or an Airdyne stationary bike. Both are a bit more expensive than a jump rope and take up a decent amount of space, but give you a much better total body workout than a treadmill or elliptical.
To round out the basics, the final piece of equipment to add to your home gym is a sandbag. With an outer canvas bag, a few different sized filler bags, and sand, you can create a variety of weights to suit any exercise you want to do.
Gym Mat/Adjustable Workout Bench
Two other items that are not absolutely essential but worth having are gym mats and an adjustable bench. Not only will a good quality yoga mat protect your floor, but it will prevent discomfort on your knees and elbows. There are many other mat options that come in various sizes, thicknesses, and colors, based on your preferences. An adjustable bench is definitely more of a “nice to have” than a “need to have”. You can get away with using a chair or ottoman for many exercises, but eventually, you may want to purchase a bench for ease and comfort.
Building a home gym requires doing some research and setting aside a budget, but the amount of time and money you save by avoiding a gym membership is well worth it. And since you can work out at any time in the comfort of your own home, there is no excuse not to prioritize your fitness. Now that you have cleared out a desirable space and bought the essential equipment, it’s time to put on your workout attire, crank the tunes, and burn some calories!
About Kettlebell Kings
Kettlebell Kings is a premium-quality kettlebell and kettlebell content provider, based in Austin, Texas. You can view our equipment, kettlebell how-to’s, and get expert advice at https://www.kettlebellkings.com and https://blog.kettlebellkings.com. For more information, call us at 855-7KETTLE to learn more.