There are plenty of reasons to ditch the gym. It (usually) involves a car ride, which can often be more than inconvenient. The farther away your gym is from your house, the harder it might be to find the motivation to make the trip.
Gyms are also not cheap – they could turn into an expense that exceeds $500 in one year. Over time, this expense certainly adds up.
Gyms are also not the cleanliest place to be. With hundreds of different people rotating in and out of your gym at all hours of the day, sweating up the machines, ellipticals, and other equipment, you are left with someone else’s sweat and germs.
This is, of course, why all gyms have cleaning chemicals and towels, but regardless, they can definitely not be described as clean.
And, on top of all that, most gyms are home to the grunters; those few intimidatingly muscular guys that bench three or four hundred pounds like its nothing, and throw around the 100(+) pound dumbbells, all while grunting loudly through gritted teeth.
For many gym-goers, it is the other customers that they have to work around that make gyms so unattractive.
Even if you were able to somehow ignore the grunters, there is always the problem of a gym that is simply too crowded – sometimes to the point that you have to wait in a line to get to a machine or a bench.
Which means you can either change the order of your routine, which nobody ever wants to do or, you just have to weight it out (see what I did there?)
So, for those of you who have absolutely had it with your gym, there is another viable option. Home gyms. And while home gyms might be more expensive at one time than the cost of a gym membership, at a certain point in time, the costs even out, and you start to save a lot of money.
Plus, you avoid the germs, sweat, and grime, as well as the grunters, waits, and annoying car rides. Having a home gym is truly a great option to pursue.
If you are new to this lucrative concept of the home gym, you might be a bit flustered, unsure of what to buy first. Don’t worry, we’ll take good care of you; here is a list of the first five things you should get first.
#1 – Dumbbells
One of the most versatile tools that is a proven staple of any gym is the dumbbell. They don’t take up an incredibly large amount of space, plus they come in a wide variety of different sizes.
This makes a good set of dumbbells available for any athlete, no matter how much of a beginner or not you might be. The best part is, as long as you get the right set, you can end up saving a decent amount of cash.
Here, I am referring to the any kind of adjustable dumbbell. Adjustable dumbbells save space and money; you can get the equivalent of 15 different sets of dumbbells, all in one. That said, dumbbells, in general, are a gym-staple for a reason.
You can train, tone, and build every muscle group on your body, with just a set of dumbbells. They are an absolute home-gym necessity.
#2 – Weight Bench
This might be one that doesn’t come to mind right away when thinking about a home gym. Nevertheless, it can prove to be very useful, and relatively inexpensive.
Without a weight bench, you can’t perform any type of chest presses – chest presses are a pretty integral part of a full-body workout routine; not being able to do them would make your home gym automatically pale in comparison to a gym-gym.
Once you have a bench, not only can you do chest presses (both with barbells and dumbbells) but you can also perform bench dips, which are a good intermediate-level exercise to train those stabilizer muscles, getting you strong enough to perform full-on dips.
#3 – The Pull-up Bar
Bodyweight training, in my humble opinion, should be integrated into every good workout routine. Bodyweight training, which is also referred to as Calisthenics, encompasses pushups, sit-ups, planks, chin-ups, and pullups.
These exercises follow natural bodily movements and engage a variety of muscle groups, instead of one at a time. The result is a more useable strength.
For under $100, you can get a solid free-standing pullup bar that will allow you to do dips, incline pushups, chin-ups, pullups, and ab-twists and knee-raises. It is a seriously worthwhile investment, and can (and should) make up a large part of your routines.
#4 – Barbell and Plates
If you just stick to those first three things, your home gym will be pretty complete. These last two tips are more-so the icing on the cake.
A barbell is a great addition to a gym. They grant you the chance to take traditional dumbbell exercises and give them a slight twist, making them a little more inclusive.
For example, you can do barbell bicep curls, barbell shoulder raises, barbell shoulder presses, barbell triceps extensions, and of course, the barbell chest press.
The difference between using dumbbells and using barbells is slight; with dumbbells, each arm is individually engaged, with barbells, the cohesive unit of both of your arms is engaged at the same time, allowing your arms to strengthen without favoring one side more than the other.
And, if you have a barbell, you’ll need some plates and a rack to go with it. These things can quickly become expensive, but it is an expense that is worthwhile – you don’t want to be using a cheap rack, bar, or plates, if only for your own safety.
#5 – Cardio
Just like you shouldn’t skip leg day, you also shouldn’t forget to incorporate cardio into your workout routines.
There are a bunch of ways you can complete your home gym in this area; treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, jump rope, etc. etc.
And while these options do range greatly in price and the amount of space required, it is not a bad idea to pursue at least one of them, so long as your budget allows.
The decision to build your home gym is a big one, but not in any way a bad one. It just requires a bit of time and money at the beginning.
But, once it’s all set up, you’ll be ready to workout easier than ever before, for as long as you want.