Home gym essentials

It’s a well-known cliché, the festive period is over and we’ve all put on a few pounds. Resolutions are made and gym memberships are snapped up across the country, only to be used just once or twice and then left to one side with all our hopes of getting into shape until the same time next year.

Sometimes all the good intentions in the world are not enough, however: there are often valid reasons that we don’t keep our fitness promises to ourselves – a poorly child, being kept on hold in a phone call to our bank/ energy supplier, a surprise visit from an old friend etc. By the time we are free it’s not worth getting in the car and negotiating the journey to the gym.

Comfort and privacy

 A good solution to this is to take responsibility for your own health and fitness regardless whether or not you have a gym membership. Purists will tell you that the only thing you really need to get fit is your own body. You can always find somewhere to go for a run or a swim and you can use the weight of your body to exercise, for example push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and so on.

Those who have to watch children, don’t like the cold or who are particularly self-conscious won’t be seduced by the idea of outdoor Rocky-style workouts, however. We’d much rather exercise in the comfort and privacy of our own homes.

Ideally you should find a room which isn’t used often, or at that you can at least guarantee won’t be used during certain periods (i.e. those in which you wish to work out). If you’re really pushed for space, you could temporarily shift the contents of your living or dining room out of the way while you work out and replace them later.

Basic equipment 

Possibly the most useful piece of equipment you could invest in would be a Swiss ball. This simple object allows your body to use a wider range of muscle groups when performing exercises with it due to its natural instability. You’ll really notice the difference when working on your abdominal and back muscles.

To go with the ball, you’ll need a pair of dumbbells. Rather than buying different sets of different weights, look for an adjustable set with weights which can be added or taken away with ease. This will ultimately allow you more control over your workout.

Another simple but pretty much essential piece of equipment is your gym mat. This functions to protect both you and the floor from each other, preventing you both from becoming covered in a layer of dirt and sweat and absorbing the impact of exercises.

If you can find a suitable space, put up a pull-up bar. This can be used in a number of different ways to enhance your workout and costs very little.

Sweat busters 

So far you’ve got the equipment you’ll need in order to work out your various muscle groups, but if you really want a complete workout without having to leave the house, you’ll have to invest in at least one larger piece of equipment to work out your heart and lungs. Running in circles around your house isn’t likely to do your body much good and will probably eventually lead to you sustaining some type of injury.

Instead, invest in a treadmill, elliptical trainer or perhaps a rower. You’ll only need one as all of these machines are great for cardio exercise. They work in different ways and so you’ll want to find the right one for you and your exercising space. Read through some reviews to find out which is a good fit for all the things that matter to you before making your purchase.

Once you’re all set up, create a workout schedule and stick to it. Let others in the house know that you’ll be exercising at certain times – this will both deter them from distracting you and motivate you to stick to your schedule. If you want to listen to music or watch TV while you exercise, that’s fine, too! If you find yourself making excuses at home – remember a one hour workout is just 4% of your day!