Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Break a Sweat, but Don’t Break the Bank: How to create a home gym on a budget

Having a home gym is a great way to workout and beat the cold temps. Chris Boucher, a well-known personal trainer offers his tips on how you can have a home gym. He suggest you can break a sweat without having to break the bank.

By Paul Fitzgerald, Special to the QMI Agency (Story Appears in The Toronto Sun and Daily Observer).

Weather experts have predicted that we are in for a long, cold winter.

And they are right.

Extreme cold temperatures, freezing rain, snow, and icy road conditions are a reality and yet a reminder that us enduring winter is just part of being Canadian.

And it’s no secret that there are lots of homeowners who tend to stay indoors in order to avoid the cold temps and dreary skies.

Watching sports games, movies, reading, texting, gaming, and surfing the internet all have become familiar past times in order to cure the winter woes.

But hunkering down inside is not necessarily a good thing, according to Chris Boucher, a personal trainer who encourages exercise and healthy living year round.

This is the time of year where more people are less active and this means that they may end up putting on unwanted weight which is bad on many levels.

The best thing any homeowner can do is set up a simple home gym that meets their budget and get into an exercise plan so that they can march into spring looking better and feeling good.

“At first glance setting up a home gym may seem daunting,” explains Boucher. “Many people think they don’t have the space or the money. But you would be amazed on what you can do with open spaces in your home and how you can have the right home gym that suits your budget.”

He adds, “Having a home gym is a great way to get physical activity during the winter months and it’s convenient.”

Before you start going out and buying equipment, Boucher suggests that homeowners first seek out ideal spaces in the home, such as the basement, the living room, a spare room, or even the garage.

“If you are just doing exercises or using an exercise mat, then you probably won’t need a lot of space,” says Boucher. “However, if you are going to put in larger equipment, then you will need to pick a bigger and more open area in the house.”

“It’s important that homeowners choose the right equipment that works best for their workout routines,” he adds.

There are many inexpensive tools for working out in your chosen space.

Exercise balls are great and they come in a variety of sizes. Sit-ups, push-ups, planks, and hamstring curls are just a handful of exercises you can use with this low cost tool.

Resistance bands are also effective in getting the right workout. With these you can do leg presses, chest presses, the one arm row, and even tricep extensions.

Another beneficial workout tool is hand-held weights, or dumbbells.  These are used to gain strength and for a home gym all you need are weights ranging between five to 15 pounds, and make for a great and easy workout. With these you can do a variety of exercises that improve and tone your upper body.

Exercise mats are now a big trend, and these are also fairly inexpensive. There are yoga mats and Pilates mats and these workouts are sound for strength, stamina and slimming.

BOSU balls are very effective for toning up the body and improving balance and agility.

And, various kinds of suspension straps can easily be place on a ceiling hook which offers many different kinds of challenging workouts.

Boucher indicates that there are all kinds of shelving units available that are affordable and can be neatly set up in your home gym and which is ideal for storing exercise tools.

“Get creative with your space,” says Boucher. “Your home gym is like a new room – almost like a small but yet important extension for your home.”

For those who are into cardiovascular workouts, skipping rope is another great and affordable investment. Skipping gets your heart moving, and helps with weight loss and improves muscles.

For the real workout fanatics, there is of course is training equipment like treadmills and even indoor bikes. These vary in prices, but go with the one that suits your needs and stick to your budget.

There are non-motorized treadmills and motorized treadmills.

“Before you buy, consider the weight and size of the treadmill, the space you have available for it, and the quality of the equipment,” suggests Boucher.

There are two main types of indoor exercise bikes: recumbent and upright.

When using a recumbent bike you sit in a lounged position with your legs out in front of you. An upright exercise bike is similar to the traditional outdoor bicycle. You can sit upright or stand up while biking and you have the choice of peddling at different speeds.

Those into aerobics will also find the exercise step boards handy, and these can also be used as an exercise bench for push-ups.  

“Having a home gym is a great home improvement project and I encourage all homeowners to have one,” says Boucher.

“A home gym is a great investment and when done your way shows others that you care about your living space and most importantly your health and well-being,” he adds.

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