Across the country, cities are closing down businesses in effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. That includes restaurants, gyms and other businesses where more than 50 people can congregate. Closing restaurants is inconvenient, but many establishments are still running their kitchen and offering take-out. Closing gyms, on the other hand, is completely different. You could never afford to buy the machines you use at Planet Fitness or Gold’s. Or can you? According to Topfitnessmag.com, “This happens to be a golden age of all-in-one machines coming in the full range of prices and features.”
Some of the best home gyms are very reasonably priced. The machines may not be as large or as sturdy as the multi-station equipment at your local gym, but personal equipment is also exposed to much less wear-and-tear. “You want to balance quality and functionality with the price to ensure it meets your needs both now and in the future,” says Verywellfit.com.
How much space do you have?
The biggest problem you have is that you don’t live in a large house. Some of the best home gyms are located in an apartment or condo. If you have a garage, that’s a perfect location for a home gym. The second best location is a spare bedroom. If you don’t have a lot of space and can’t turn a full room into a home gym, you don’t have to! You can put a portable workout system like the Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym in the corner of your home office. Or, if you barely have an inch of extra real estate to spare, buy some resistance bands or a suspension kit, like TRX Home2 System. You can stash these in a drawer or a box in your closet.
What are your fitness goals?
There’s nothing magic about working out at the gym near the mall. Whatever your fitness goals were at Equinox, you can achieve your goals and better vibes in your own personal home gym.
Strength training and building muscle
If you want strong muscles and less body fat, consider a resistance machine or weight rack.
For your weight-lifting regimen, you’ll need a machine with weight stacks or weight plates. But keep in mind that at some point you’ll get stronger and will need to add more challenging plates. So be sure to look at machines that allow weight upgrades. According to Barbend.com, one of the best reasonably-sized home gyms is the Weider Ultimate Body Works. This machine lets you do seated chest presses, squats, V-crunches and lateral pulldowns—all from the same bench.
If you’re building muscle mass, look at machines that have resistance rods or resistance plates. You’ll also have a choice between machines that have a seated bench or horizontal bench. This is for performing exercises isolated to specific muscle groups. The Bowflex PR1000 lets you do at least 25 different exercises that target every muscle group. Plus, it offers more than 200 pounds of resistance rods.
For a weight-loss regimen, you have to burn calories. To have one of the best home gyms there are for weight loss, consider: resistance machines and cardio machines, like an elliptical, stationary bike, or treadmill.
According to Topfitnessmag.com, “Low weight and high repetition equal more calories burned, which in turn gets rid of fat and tones the body.” With a power rack, like the Relife Power Tower, you can do as many pull-ups, chin-ups and dips that you want. It’s also compact enough for apartment living.
You really don’t need that much equipment to have a functional home gym. The best home gyms are stocked with smaller pieces of equipment specifically designed for resistance exercises. A balance trainer costs from about $79 to $250. The pricier products are bundled with workout apps and fitness booklets containing tips for all the different ways you can use the equipment to burn calories and drop pounds.
A lot of home gym buying guides don’t include cardio machines because you can’t use them to get a full body workout. But if your goal is to lose weight, you have to do cardio, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or cross training, which you do on a cardio machine and using resistance equipment, like push-up stands or a pull-up bar.
Tip: While fitness trackers are not actually exercise equipment, consider using one to help you achieve your fitness goals. These gadgets are great for counting steps and heart-rate monitoring. Also, many trackers have tons of functionality for strength training and muscle-building workouts too. According to Activitytrackerworld.com, “Devices such as the Beast Tracker contain many embedded sensors in the form of gyroscopes to track all manner of weightlifting activities.”
Best Equipment for your Home Gym
Here’s an idea. Instead of filling a room or a garage with large workout machines, why not just buy a few pieces of inexpensive exercise equipment? You can hit any fitness goal with a few items.
Speed ropes: Get in your cardio and HIIT with jump rope. Prices range from $8 to $99 for a weighted rope that also comes with an app.
Dumbbells: Compact free weights can be used individually or one in each hand. Bowflex has an adjustable dumbbell, SelectTech 552 Dumbbells, that replaces 15 sets of weights. It offers from five pounds of resistance to more than 50 pounds at the turn of a dial.
AB wheel: You’ll get a six-pack with this device faster than driving to the closest bodega (get it?). They range from $20 to $69.
Resistance bands: You could live in your car and still have enough space for resistance bands. You can use them to tone muscles in your legs, thighs, arms and back. They’re good for strength training and conditioning. A three-pack goes for $9.99 and a fancy kit with a storage bag and app for $132.