Though it may be an #unpopularopinion, depending on who you ask, I’m one of those weird people who values carving time to work out, especially if you have a frustrating work life. But the reality is that gym memberships are expensive (or, I should say, good gym memberships are expensive), and when you think about the kind of cost that could add to your monthly budget, it’s easier to just cut it out altogether. Maybe it’s bad for your health, you think, but it’s good for your wallet! Personally, for the past two years, I’ve blown $10 a month on a certain budget gym that I hardly ever went to. There were rows and rows of treadmills and ellipticals, but no room for weightlifting. What little room they gave was always packed with people. I never used it (which is consistent with their business model), and the gym laughed their way to the bank with my hard earned ten bucks.
I tend to work out more when I make it convenient for myself. I happen to enjoy going to a good gym with good equipment, and now realize I’m willing to spend the money on it. But there are other, cheaper options, such as the home gym.
While a garage with a bench press might come to mind, it’s actually fairly easy to build a home gym, can be quite cost-effective, and requires only a few, apartment-friendly additions:
Resistance bands are more budget friendly (and space friendly) than traditional hand-held weights. Bands are color coded by resistance, and with them you can perform almost any basic lifting exercise. They are completely adaptable to increased fitness levels, and you won’t have bulky, expensive hand weights taking up valuable space in your home. You can tuck them away in a drawer or hang them up on a wall hook. Easy peasy.
Meet your new best fitness friend. This is the one heavy piece of equipment that I recommend buying. If you have not used a kettlebell, it’s those those big, round weights with handles that you probably never even thought about picking up until you saw the light and realized they were a fitness powerhouse. The kettlebell swing is an almost perfect exercise. It’s great for your back and hips, especially if you’ve been sitting all day, and requires explosive movement so you burn calories just like an intense cardio session. (Just make sure to do some research into using them properly, so you’re not throwing your back out on the first day in your new home gym — more on that later.)
I once bought a yoga mat at a discount store, and it felt like I bought a yoga mat at a discount store. I could feel my tailbone being crushed against the wood floor, and the texture was like a wet tarp. Get a quality mat (it can be on sale or at a discount retailer, but it has to be a quality one to start with!), one that can wick away moisture and create a thicker barrier between you and the floor, so your back and knees have some support. Also, get a nice looking one. I enjoy being distracted by the pretty turquoise blue color as I’m trying to find my zen in Pigeon Pose.
An Internet Connection
Don’t spend your money on expensive workout DVDs that you’ll get sick of a month in, when you have a perfectly-capable internet connection. YouTube is a treasure trove of fitness and wellness videos that are completely free, and often have the same quality as professional workout videos. Check out Blogilates if you want to try pilates or Yoga with Adriene for yoga videos. The great thing about fitness channels on YouTube is that they are always changing, and the creator might have hundreds of videos in their archives. You will never get tired.
One Last Personal Training Session
There’s no point in buying any exercise equipment if you don’t know how to use them. Though they can be expensive, personal training sessions are important for learning and keeping proper form to avoid injury. When you request your session, make sure you tell the trainer exactly what you want to learn. For example, you can ask for a comprehensive workout with kettlebells, or ask him/her for a full body workout routine with resistance bands. They should be happy to help you out.
Now with that, good luck, and happy home workouts!
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