We’d all like to be a bit fitter, right?
We don’t necessarily want to be like Arnie the Terminator but a general level of fitness is something to aspire to.
But saving for a home deposit or renovation doesn’t always leave big bucks for a gym membership. So, how about setting up a home gym, or just zoning in some exercise space at home?
You don’t need to go crazy kitting out your space, or be super fit to get started.
We spoke to some fitness experts to get some tips on setting up a home gym and fitness area.
Get the tunes on
Leading Australian Nutritionist and author of the 20/20 Diet, Lola Berry is an expert in healthy living and yoga.
“My top tip for setting up a home gym is to make it a space that you love so it doesn’t feel like a chore to be there,” Berry says.
“Team this with some ace tunes. Having music I love and making sure the space is fun makes me happy to be there. Also make sure you’re doing exercises you enjoy.
“I love yoga, but when I need that extra push, I make sure I have a pumped up tune on for extra motivation.”
Fitness expert, trainer on Channel 10s The Biggest Loser and 12WBT warrior Michelle Bridges says a couple of affordable pieces can help you get the most out of your workout.
“Dumbbells are easy to use, exercise balls are really versatile and perfect for core strength, a skipping rope is great for cardio and takes up no space, and a mat will make floorwork a lot more comfortable,” Bridges says.
Passionate personal trainer Celine Nourry owns Power Frog Personal Training. She says to start small and, if you’re going to invest in machinery, pick the right pieces.
“For a home gym I’d start with very basic equipment such as dumbbells, a jump rope and a Swiss ball or medicine ball,” says Nourry.
“There’s an infinite amount of exercises you can do with just your bodyweight and these simple pieces which will allow you to do a mix up cardio and weights. It’s a great place to start.”
Nourry says a cross trainer would be her star investment piece.
“If you can only invest in one piece of equipment, I’d pick a cross trainer. A cross trainer gives you bang for your buck compared to treadmills or exercise bikes,” says Nourry.
Michelle Bridges says consistency matters when it comes to exercise.
“Have a plan about when you’re going to work out and stick to it,” she says.
“Get to bed early so you can become a morning exerciser. There are less distractions in the morning and it keeps your metabolism boosted for your day ahead.
“Don’t just hit repeat. Just because you’re exercising at home, doesn’t mean you can’t mix up your training. Think about setting up a mini-circuit, changing your music or inviting a friend over to keep it fresh.”
If you do invest in a piece of home gym equipment, make sure you use it for exercise – not a clothes rack.
Celine Nourry shares her tops tips to staying motivated.
Give yourself measurable and achievable goal(s) that you want to reach and set realistic deadlines. Aesthetic goals such as “having a six pack” or “toning up my arms” don’t work and result in people giving up pretty quickly.
Instead, set goals based on realistic fitness achievements, as this will help your stick to your at home fitness regime for longer.
Start with a very simple benchmark workout that measures your strength and cardio baseline, such as: push-ups, some cardio and core strength.
What’s the best distance you can achieve in five minutes of rowing/running/cycling or on the cross trainer?
Note the date and measure your results every week. After you’ve completed your benchmark, then pick one or two realistic goals, say 10 push-ups in two weeks, hold a plank for a minute or be able to run 2km without stopping.
Making progress from where you started will definitely keep you motivated.
Having support from your loved ones, co-workers and friends will definitely help keep you on track of your goals as it will reinforce your commitment.
Pick a close friend as an “accountable” buddy who will keep track of your progress and give you someone to talk to if you feel stuck or lack motivation. You can share your workout achievements on social media apps such as Strava, take photos to get support as well.
Hiring a fitness professional to help you reach your goals will keep you on track, and make sure you’re exercising using the right technique. A personal trainer can show you how to diversify your exercises which means you won’t get bored. Personal trainers are cheaper than you think these days, and they’ll often come to you.
If you invite a friend to come along, you can even share the cost.
Michelle Bridges says it’s important to leave enough floor space for mat exercises and stretches.
“You don’t need to kit out your spare room like a full gym,” she says. “Think hard about what you need before you head out credit card happy.
“For example, if you ride to work, do you really need an exercise bike? Your overall training program should include cardio, as well as flexibility and resistance training that targets specific areas, so set-out to fill the gaps. Also start with equipment that can be used in a number of ways.”
Celine Nourry’s top tip would be: Start small, keep it simple and use it!
A final tip would be to get a group together: “If you’re struggling, why not invite your friends over and do a group workout in your backyard or home gym? That’s a great way to inspire people around you to get active.”
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