“Inspiration” is a powerful word with immensely noble connotations: Lance Armstrong INSPIRES cancer survivors. Great authors INSPIRE people to question what they know. It implies that individuals – sometimes entire movements – are taken from a state of non-action to action, and that truly is what makes us human.
But inspiration – especially regarding fitness – can arise from not-so-noble ashes. For instance, running into an ex-girlfriend and her new boy toy at a bar, or sitting by the pool at ANY Las Vegas casino will most certainly INSPIRE you to revisit your own personal fitness levels. Nothing like a good slice of Humble Pie to make you look in the mirror and feel like taking your body back.
And that is where the home gym comes in.
Sure, you could get a gym membership, but then you’d have to worry about initiation fees, hours of operation, personal trainers hawking their services, and that guy on the bench that never wipes off his sweat marks. Not to mention cancellation fees, community showers, and scheduling your day around the drive to and fro.
No, home gyms are the way to go. With just the ounce of discipline it takes to set aside four hours a week to exercise, you can see quick results both in physical appearance and emotional confidence, and it can take place right there in your very own home.
But… what do you need to consider before investing your hard-earned money into a home gym?
Let’s just get the main concern out of the way: price. Yes, a home gym requires some money up front, but you are in the business of transforming yourself, so consider that money a start-up cost. And you don’t have to turn your garage or other dedicated room into a Gold’s Gym or 24 Hour Fitness, either. Think about your needs and objectives, start small, and build from there. A good Bowflex resistance home gym comes in various styles – ranging from the mid $500’s up beyond $1200. There is a home gym for nearly any budget.
Regarding accessories: use your judgment on those. Just remember that many of them are diminutive in size, so they will be easy to lose. Weightlifting gloves, wrist wraps and straps, and squeeze locks for bars may be helpful at first, but could wind up just being a waste of money before too long. Some useful accessories you should consider, though, are weight racks and a flat bench. Racks keep your weights off the floor, don’t cost a whole lot of money, and keep you motivated. After all, if you keep your lifting area clean and professional, you approach weightlifting with a professional attitude, and that alone will carry you through those ‘weak’ days.
A good flat bench is your buddy in the weight room. From it, you can do dumbbell bench presses for your chest, presses for your shoulders, rows for your back, leg lifts for your abs, pullovers for your core, and step-ups for your legs. And that’s just the beginning. As your workouts advance and begin incorporating things like plyometrics, the bench can be the obstacle over which you hop or from which you spring yourself up. A good one will cost you somewhere in the $100 range but will be worth every penny.
If you decide you want to bypass all the smaller stuff and go for one of those “complete home gyms” with cables and a circuit of chest, legs, back, and abs built in, that is fine, too. Should they fall within your budget, they can be a wonderful option, offering everything in one place, having few loose parts, and taking up a small footprint in your home. Companies like Bowflex, Weider, and BodyCraft offer some great options that can give you the true gym membership experience.
So there you have it: you are a motivated buyer, INSPIRED by pain, and ready to nab your body back from all those years of neglect. Keep the information above in mind when you go to purchase your home gym equipment so you can see through the clutter of marketing ads and sales pitches, be an educated buyer, and best of all: order your equipment with confidence and excitement, and not intimidation.