Create Your Own Home Gym

August 12, 2012

Motivation, Tips & Tools

How to Create Your Own Home Gym

Tired of paying expensive health club fees?  Have a hard time getting to the gym in time for the class you want to take? Does it take too much time out of your already busy schedule to get to and from the gym + the workout time??  Then you should create your own home gym – here are some quick and easy steps to get you going.

One of the biggest benefits of the Beachbody® programs is they give you the flexibility to workout on your own time and in your own home.  You don’t need a lot of space or expensive gear to get started.  Figure out your initial space and budget and do what is best for you and your situation. Although it is even better if you can carve out a space in your home to create your own home gym, as you’ll be more motivated to do your daily workout, but it it not possible, then do what you can.  You just want to ensure you are setup to be consistent in order to get you the results that you deserve.

Step 1: Pick a room.

Ideally, you should set up your workout space in an area of your home that isn’t high-traffic. This eliminates excuses. For instance, if you set up your home gym in the den, your workout time may conflict with when others want to watch TV—if this is the only option you have, then you need to put your time on the calendar and claim it for yourself – try to get them to join you if they complain!

Here’s what to look for when selecting your workout room:

  1. Do you have enough space to move around? If you’re doing Beachbody workout programs, you won’t be using a treadmill or stationary bike. You’ll be moving around. Ideally, your workout area should be 15′ by 15′ so you can leap, jump, and lunge without running into the furniture. Beachbody tries to follow a “two steps in either direction” rule when creating workouts. However, since those “steps” are often more like “leaps,” more room to move will likely net greater results and less bruises.
  2. How high are the ceilings? Are they high enough so you can jump without hitting your head? When doing jumping jacks or plyometric workouts, you want to get results, not a hole in your ceiling and/or a trip to the emergency room.
  3. How sturdy are the objects in the room? When you jump, are you likely to knock anything over? This includes lamps, fragile knickknacks, vases . . . let’s not go on. Planning ahead will not only save your stuff but help your workout because you won’t be worried about what you might hit during P90X’s Airborne Heismans.
  4. Where can you put your equipment? Ideally, you want to pick somewhere where you can leave your equipment—weights, yoga mat, agility ladder, push-up bars, foam rollers, etc.—out so it’s easy to access. Alternatively, pick a room where you can store your equipment easily either against the wall or in a large trunk or chest.
  5. What’s underneath the room? If you live alone in a freestanding dwelling or you want to work out in the basement, don’t worry about this. Otherwise, be mindful of your downstairs neighbors or the others who live in your home and pick a room that isn’t located above their bedroom. Here’s a tip: if you let your downstairs neighbors know your intentions and work with them to set an ideal workout time, you’ll save yourself an angry call from your landlord.
  6. Is it well-ventilated? When you’re working out, you want to be able to stay hydrated. You can accomplish this partially by drinking water during your workout, but also by making sure your workout space is well-ventilated. Open the windows and get a big box fan to keep you cool while you’re sweating up a storm.

Step 2: Get good flooring.

Having the proper flooring in your workout space can make the difference between sore knees and a happy, healthy you. If you’re going to be jumping or doing exercises that may cause you to slip, put down a few locking rubber mats with rug runners beneath them so that they don’t slide. The padding will make the surface softer to land on and you shouldn’t go flying. If you are looking for a little extra padding for a jumping-intensive program like TurboFire®, consider a Beachbody Plyometric Mat. It’s thicker and denser than a yoga mat and will help save your joints. This is especially important if your space is on concrete like the basement floor or garage.  If you plan to mostly be stretching and doing less-intense activities, you should be OK with just using a yoga mat for padding.

A carpeted area can serve as padding, but be careful about too plush carpet. Even if you lay a mat on top of it, the surface isn’t stable and you can sink . . . which might lead to a sprained or twisted ankle.

Step 3: Invest in the right equipment.

The equipment you need is entirely dependent on what kind of workout you’re doing. While it might be tempting to go absolutely gear crazy, you don’t need to break the bank to create your own home gym. Begin with a few, necessary basics and build your collection as you go. In addition to adequate space and flooring, here are a few vital pieces of equipment.

TV & DVD Player. If you plan to do one of the Beachbody programs, you’ll want to have the TV and DVD player easily accessible in your space.   If you are starting out on your own without a program, then this equipment isn’t necessary, but you may want to have speakers to play your favorite workout tunes to help you stay motivated.

Free weights or bands. When you’re working out, you’ll find that eating right and doing cardio workouts will help burn off the extra fat you’re carrying. But to create the muscle definition you desire, you’ll need strength training. Some strength training exercises—including push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches—use just your body weight, and those will help tone your muscles.

But to see serious results, you’ll need to use weights or bands for resistance. Especially if space is an issue, I recommend investing in a set of Beachbody’s B-LINES® Bands or a set of adjustable weights such as Bowflex®SelectTech®. Both are compact options and will allow you to increase the resistance as you get stronger. And if you’re traveling, bands are easy to throw in your bag so you can keep working out while on the road.

Pull-up/chin-up solutions. Want sexy biceps, shoulders, and back? Pull-ups and chin-ups will definitely help you get there. You can install a pull-up bar in any wall with the help of a stud finder, but if you’re looking for a less permanent solution, Beachbody offers a Chin-Up Bar that can be easily mounted onto almost any door frame and removed when you’re not working out. It’s designed in such a way so you can do pull-ups, chin-ups, wide pull-ups, corn cobs, and can support up to 300 pounds.

If you’re still looking for assistance when doing those pull-ups and chin-ups, instead of using a wobbly chair, consider aChin-Up Max. Here’s how it works: You put your foot in the strap, adjust the resistance, and lift yourself as if you were doing a normal pull-up. As you get stronger, you can lower the resistance and, one-by-one, remove the 3 bands that help support you until you can eventually do them entirely unassisted.

All this said, chin-up bars can be bulky and difficult to place. If it’s just not going to happen in your place, invest in a good set of B-LINES Resistance Bands and an inexpensive B-LINE Upgrade Kit. This will allow you to do lat pull-downs (a pull-up substitute) using any closeable door.

Of course, you don’t need to limit your collection to just this gear. Have a look at the program you’re interested in taking on next for a complete list of the toys you’ll get to play with. Here’s just a small sampling:

Push-Up Stands can take the pressure off your wrists, prevent you from sliding during your push-ups, and will help improve your form so you can get better results without hurting your joints.

Barbells are an alternative to dumbbells that work well for heavy weights and compound lifts. They feature prominently in LES MILLS PUMP and Body Beast™.

Medicine Balls and Stability Balls. For strength and stability training, as well as aerobic work, there’s nothing like a good set of balls. You’ll find them in P90X2®, as well as Tony’s P90X ONE on ONE® series, Chalene’s workouts, and Yoga Booty Ballet®.

A workout bench. This one takes a lot of space and can be expensive, but it’s a great tool for getting the most out of your Body Beast workouts.  A lower cost and space option is a Stability Ball – bench pressing on one of these also gives you and added core workout!

A mirror. Ultimate home gyms have a full wall mirror to help you gauge your form and correct any mistakes that could cause injury or keep you from maximizing the benefits of the  move.  Also give you inspiration to watch yourself go from where you are to achieving the results you desire!

Inspiring images. If you can transform one space in your home into a permanent home gym, consider hanging some inspiring posters—perhaps of the body you’re trying to achieve, places you want to travel to when you’re fit, or quotes that motivate you—on the walls.

Whether you have a lot of money and a lot of space to create the home gym of your dreams or you have limited space and just a  little money to spend – you want to make sure you create your own home gym to be a place or space where you want to be – motivated to work out. By investing in the right equipment, selecting the best room, and paying attention to the surface you’re working out on, you can create the best workout space for you and your budget that makes working out an experience you look forward to every day!

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