The Training Zone, Home Gyms
By Gina Dostler
We live in one of the most beautiful places in the United States. The climate is perfect, the scenery absolutely gorgeous, the ocean our jewel, shopping galore, yummy chef creations everywhere.
Yet we forget the most precious thing we have is our body and its health. Without a healthy body, we could not step out to enjoy the splash of the cold saltwater, or watch the incredible blue sky overlapped with the colors of a setting sun. So many of us make great efforts to wear the perfect clothes, or create the perfectly manicured lawns without second thoughts about dedicating time and effort to our health.
So I decided for this piece to focus on explaining how to create a simple, but incredibly effective home gym. I found Trevor Duncan very informative with a dedicated lifestyle to bringing health and fun to the home front.
Q: As a partner/trainer of The Training Zone, describe your background as a fitness trainer.
A: I have 15 years of working in the health and fitness industry. My background is in physical therapy and functional movement. I’ve been with The Training Zone for the last six years and thoroughly enjoy bringing health and fitness to people. I also do home fitness training and set up fitness spaces in the clients’ homes specific to their workout needs. Living in the 21st century life puts a tremendous toll on the body and keeping healthy should be the number one concern in our life.
Q: When I think of home gym, I think of heavy equipment, lots of space, and lots of money. What’s your take?
A: All unnecessary. Having big expensive equipment is more of a hindrance than anything. It’s more costly and doesn’t increase your health benefits over the simpler, basic methods. In fact, most of the newest fad equipments seen on TV or sold in fitness stores end up in garage sales. For a place to set up your fitness center, very little space is needed. Ideally all you’ll need is a 10’ x 10’ wide and 8’ high space to set up and go.
You don’t need that intensive, space consuming cardio machine. There are lots of other ways to pump up the heart rate. Your goal in establishing a home gym should be a place to work out and stay in shape. Just like your dentist requires you to brush and floss your teeth every day, working out your muscles at least every other day would be a great goal to keeping fit for life.
Q: Where’s the best place to set up my gym?
A: Space is very important, more so than the equipment. You want to feel comfortable, something that is designed for you and your workout. We want you to work out for the rest of your life (Yes! It’s absolutely good for you and believe it or not, can be fun.), so finding a place that suits you will bring the best results. The most common places are a spare room, a garage, the backyard, or a side of the house. The garage offers you a private space away from the household and the backyard can be scenic and inspiring with the surrounding landscape. What should never be done is setting up a place in the bedroom, the game room, living room or under your kid’s jungle gym. You want a place where it is your time with no distractions, a place to focus on your body.
Q: So then, what do I need to set up my home gym?
A: For the ground covering you should have a high quality, rubberized flooring if possible. For the equipment, here are the basics (depending on your strength and needs): a barbell and weight plates (the long bar with removable weights at each end), two sets of dumbbells (the handheld ones), a medicine ball (they are weighted), jump rope and a plyometrics box or bench. A nice-sized plastic container to store the stuff would keep things in order. Really, that’s it.
If you wanted to go the extra mile and spend the money, there is actually much more equipment you could stock your fitness space with such as kettle bells, a punching bag, dynamic stretching straps, resistance bands, a suspension bodyweight trainer, a stability ball, pull-up and pushup bars, training blocks, BOSU balance trainer and the list goes on.
Q: OK. So the setup up seems simple enough. Is it really more advantageous to have a place to work out at home than joining a gym?
A: Good question. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to both. I do believe it is a good thing to have a specific place that is designed for you to keep the body fit and your interest peaked. But let me discuss the disadvantage first to having a gym at home. The human being is a social creature for sure, just look at the popularity of Facebook. So going out to a gym is more appealing because of the group setting. Studies show the greatest success for workouts is with others.
But look at the attendance and dropout rate. Many of us have had this scenario happen: sign-up for a membership with a gym, gung-ho in the beginning, then sporadic and spotty attendance after a few months, then finally it’s just cancel the darn membership because you haven’t gone in 6 months. So, with a fitness place at home, take that monthly membership money and create your own specific place to keep in shape. If the group setting is appealing, get your neighbors to join in with your workouts. If they have their own home gym, you can switch places with each other to create more variety in your workouts. Your daily fitness program is only steps away, at any time of day you want to schedule for yourself.
Q: I like the idea of a home gym, but how do I keep motivated to even get to the next room to pickup those weights?
A: You’ve just hit the key to staying fit. You need the correct workout program created specifically for your own body. The design of your fitness plan is the most important feature of your home gym or any gym for that matter. It makes all the difference in the world in keeping your body fit and keeping you motivated for the rest of your life.
This is where my specialty comes into play. I have years of experience working with the body and noting the way it moves or where muscles are frozen or even atrophying. I can design a workout that enhances your fitness and gives you a fun and exciting workout, no matter what your age. I also can design a program that would target lowering your blood pressure, increasing bone and muscle mass, decreasing body fat, boosting your immune system, creating flexibility for greater mobility, and increasing your core strength for greater stability all from your home gym.
Q: What else might I need to keep me motivated and using my home gym?
A: Besides realizing the alternative to not keeping fit is the possibility of acquiring an illness, I’d say a kick-butt stereo with a rockin’ sound system. There is nothing like hearing your favorite music to get the enthusiasm going and working out your body. Basically the health advantages you get by utilizing a home gym to keep your body fit should be motivation enough, besides feeling better, getting a boost of happiness, looking great, moving more easily around places, more ooh-la-la in the bedroom, better fitting clothes, sounder sleep, and a better quality of life. As I see it, even though the world is getting more complicated to live in, keeping your home gym simple, yet fun will provide a lifetime of benefits to you and your family.