Monthly Archives: February 2018

So You Want To Build A Home Gym

I walked into the commercial gym yesterday after a long day of work excited to begin my workout. After warming up I proceeded to the squat rack to start my resistance training workout. I unfortunately ran into a bit of a roadblock. I was planning on starting with some Back Squats but there was a young man in the power rack performing barbell biceps curls with horrible form (a definite no-no!).

I decided to go to Plan B and rearrange my workout only to find that the flat benches were all occupied as well. This trend continued and everywhere I turned the equipment I desired was being used. I was happy that so many people were working out but at the same time I was frustrated that my well-laid plans were spoiled. I learned a long time ago that it is wise to have a back-up plan in place for situations like this so I decided to head home and revert to Plan C, which was my home workout routine.

I have found that having the option to workout at home is essential for people with busy schedules, for others who do not like going to crowded gyms, or for people who need a contingency plan for just-in-case situations (that’s me!). Another reason to have a home gym is that warmer weather has finally arrived and you may be less likely to go to your commercial gym.

I have helped people design expensive, well-equipped home gyms and I have helped others design very cost-effective, space-saving workouts areas. My personal home gym consists of a Stability Ball, 5lb to 95lb Dumbbells, some Kettlebells, an adjustable Weighted Vest, Adjustable DB Handles, Elastic Bands, 2kg to 10kg Medicine Balls, Ankle Weights, an AB Roller, a variety of Exercise Videos, and a minimal amount of space!

Anyone can have a Home Gym and there are many reasons to have one. The following list of questions should help you design a Home Gym that will suit your needs, your space, and your budget!

Questions To Ask When Building Your Home Gym:

The First Step: Ask Yourself Why?

Why do you want a home gym? What will it give you that you do not already have? What is your empowering vision of your ideal physique or athletic accomplishment? What are your short and long term goals? Always begin with a vision of the end results in mind, as this will guide you in your efforts. If you have not developed a vision of what you want to accomplish at this point, then that is the first thing you need to do. Develop a plan of attack for building your body and building your home gym.

Without a plan you might end up disappointed with the lack of results and frustrated that you bought the wrong equipment. Ask yourself what kind of results you expect your home gym to deliver? Is your home gym going to supplement your commercial gym membership (as a contingency plan)? Will you be doing your cardiovascular exercise outside or inside on a machine? Will you be doing stretching, strength training, or both? Is your home gym going to be the only place that you work out? Think about these things when designing your home gym.

I. How much are you willing to spend ($$$$$$$)?

How much do you want to spend, plain and simple? If you are just starting out with an exercise program, you might consider starting small with a simple, yet very effective, pair of Dumbbells. You can perform a full-body workout with a pair of dumbbells, some bodyweight exercises, and with a little knowledgeable of proper exercise technique. If you want to do it inexpensively, hire a knowledgeable fitness professional to design an individualized exercise program that you can do with a pair of Dumbbells in the comfort of your home. I have listed a variety of items that you might consider adding to your home gym.

Equipment Considerations:

A. Cardiovascular Machine

If you insist on performing your cardiovascular exercise routine at home be prepared to spend some money! Be aware, a gym quality treadmill, stationary bike, rowing ergometer, or elliptical trainer is going to cost you. You can buy used or refurbished gym quality equipment for a discounted price and if I wanted a cardio machine for my home this is probably the route that I would take. If you are thinking, “I’ll just save a few hundred dollars and buy an inexpensive treadmill at the mall,” make sure you do some research and ensure that you will buy something that is going to last and that will fit y our needs. I know many people who have purchased flimsy treadmills and regretted it soon thereafter. There are quality treadmills out there you just have to know where to look. I would recommend talking to my friend Bob McKinnon at McKinnon Technical Services (603-644-7539) who knows gym equipment like the back of his hand. He can point you in the right direction if you want to!

B. A Multi-Purpose Home Gym Machine

There are numerous multi-purpose gyms on the market and some are better than others. Chances are, if you turn on your television late at night and flip through the channels, you will be exposed to clever marketing using beautifully sculpted fitness models promising results in six weeks or less if you purchase their machine! Guess what. You can get results without a two thousand dollar machine that will most likely be collecting dust in a year anyway! Why not begin your quest for improved fitness with a modest investment in a pair of Dumbbells? Why not purchase a $20 book on how to get into shape? How about meeting with someone who specializes in coaching people through the process of positive physical change such as fitness professional or Registered Dietician? Infomercials are notorious for clever marketing and they can be very compelling. Avoid impulsive buying and do some research first before purchasing an expensive multi-gym. I recommend consulting a qualified fitness professional about the usefulness of such a machine, interviewing people who have that machine, and possibly even test-driving one before you make this decision. I have to mention that every Spring and Fall I see countless multi-gyms sitting out on someone’s lawn as part of the annual yard sale. I wonder why that is?

C. Barbells

If I had the room in my apartment, I would go out and buy a Barbell today! With a 45 lb. Olympic Barbell you can perform a wide variety of exercises in a variety of different ways. If you are an athlete, you have the space available, and you want to improve your sports performance, learning how to correctly perform the Olympic Weightlifting movements (Clean and Jerk, Snatch, and all the variations) can take your performance to the next level! To name a few, exercises such as Squats, Overhead Squats, Deadlifts, Bent over Rows, Bench Presses, Overhead Presses, and Upright Rows can be performed. I would recommend having an adjustable Power Rack and adjustable bench to augment the versatility of the barbell. Space and total cost are big factors when considering purchasing a barbell.

D. Dumbbells

If you want to save money and space, dumbbells are the way to go. You might consider two to three sets of dumbbells (they can be purchased at a sporting goods store for any where between $.35-$.75/pound (In Concord, NH, Check out Olympia Sports in the Mall, Sears, Target, Walmart, Northeast Fitness, or check out the newspapers for the least expensive way to go!). I prefer the metal dumbbells but there are also rubber coated and adjustable dumbbells available. “Power Blocks,” (perform a search on the internet to learn more about these) are adjustable dumbbells and are a great tool that take up a lot less space in your home gym, offers great versatility, and offers adjustable resistance to suit your needs. There are also other forms of adjustable dumbbells that consist of two handles, collars, and series of different size weight plates.

When selecting weights, it wise to start light and gradually purchase heavier dumbbells as you need them. I am able to perform wide variety of exercises with Dumbbells. If your goal is fat-loss, then a properly designed resistance training program that incorporates multi-joint Dumbbell exercises will help you achieve your goals more efficiently than many gym machines that “isolate” certain muscle groups. Remember, the more muscle groups that you incorporate, the more energy your body burns, and the better your results will be! Exercise technique is a factor but I’ll happily let you know that I have taught 90-year-old women and 11-year-old boys how to perform the most “difficult” Dumbbell exercises with pristine form.

E. Medicine Balls

Medicine Balls are a great tool depending upon your fitness goals and your current training level. For an athlete in search of sports performance enhancement, Medicine Balls are a great tool because they can be accelerated in a rapid fashion through many planes of motion. If general fitness is your goal, you can perform many traditional gym exercises with a Medicine Ball as well. Medicine balls come in all shapes, sizes, weights, and colors. Be sure that the ball you pick suits your needs. By the way, these are also great for outdoor workouts on a sunny day!

F. Benches and Stability Balls:

A bench can be a great tool that will allow you to perform more exercises during your home workout sessions. Some benches are adjustable and offer great versatility while others are just fixed benches. Space is a concern for many people and that makes the Stability Ball (a.k.a. Swiss Ball) a great alternative to a bench. With a Stability Ball you can perform inclined, seated, prone, supine, floor, and a number of lower body exercises. A knowledgeable fitness professional could teach you how to perform a full-body workout with a Stability Ball and a pair of dumbbells. There are a number of different ways to use it in order to maximize your home workout routines. Not only can it replace a more expensive exercise machine or bench, but it can also double as a chair, take up less space, and challenge your body’s balance in ways that a stable bench/machine cannot.

G. Resistance Bands/Tubes:

The cable pulley system at your local gym offers a number of exercises that can increase the variety of your workouts tremendously. An alternative to the cable pulley system for your home gym could be resistance bands or tubing that you can tie to a pillar in the basement of fix in a closed door. You can buy tubing that comes with handles already attached in some fitness catalogs or you could just tie a loop in one end to make your own makeshift handle. It is important to mention that elastic resistance training has many benefits and many inherent flaws. If you understand how to properly combine elastic resistance training with inertial (free weight training) you can maximize your results! A knowledgeable exercise professional can help you design your home gym to take advantage of these tools.

H. Exercise Videos:

There are many great exercise videos out there (and a lot more bad ones!). There are videos for Yoga, Step Aerobics, Tae-Bo, Pilates, Strength Training, Stability Ball Training, and every other imaginable fitness topic out there. Check out your local sporting goods store or Borders for a selection of exercise videos. The key is to find a couple videos that you enjoy and that give you the workout that you are looking for.

I. Other Fun Tools:

If you walk into a sporting goods store or open a fitness equipment catalog you will see a variety of toys that can supposedly enhance your workouts and deliver unbelievable results. Buyer beware! No one piece of equipment can solve all of your home gym needs and you must consider how this piece of equipment will fit into your complete program. Watch out for gimmicks and miracle exercise machines. Ask a fitness professional their opinion before you buy and you may save yourself some money! Do a little research before purchasing equipment for your home or you may run the risk of buying an expensive coat rack!

II. How much square footage do you have?

Simply put, how much space do you have available? Do you have enough room for an adjustable bench or a mutli-purpose exercise machine? Is the area well ventilated? How much ceiling height do you have? Are your floors solid? Do you have neighbors that might not appreciate you jumping up and down? Will you have room for all of the equipment you want to get? Thinking about these issues in advance will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Finally, determine what else your home gym is used for? Will your home gym also be used for family gatherings, a playroom for the kids, an office, a gathering area to watch the Final Four, or strictly as a home gym? These are some other aspects to consider when designing your home gym.

III. Do you know your way around the gym?

Are you a beginner, an intermediate, an expert, or an advanced exerciser? A beginner might start out with an exercise tape, a Stability ball, and a couple of 5 pound dumbbells where as a more advanced exerciser might have a Barbell, Olympic Bench, a Stability Ball, an Adjustable Step, a Selectorized Weight Machine, a Power Rack, and a variety of Dumbbells. Have you been properly trained in the use of Free Weights or do you feel more comfortable using a machine? What kind of equipment does your plan of attack call for? The answers to these questions will help you better choose a home gym that works for you.

Saving Money When Playing Sports

Do you like playing sports? Do your natural inclinations lead you to athletic activities? Do you often visit the gym for a quick work out? Or is the gym an integral part of your daily routine? Playing sports or going to the gym can cost a lot of money in the long run. Who doesn’t want to be saving money when playing sports or at the gym?

Many sports buffs often find that continuous participation in their sport of choice can rack up quite a bill. Some sports don’t require you to spend a fortune on training equipment if you’re not a professional athlete or hoping to be one. Take basketball for instance. A ball, decent shoes and a hoop are all you need to play basketball. If you prefer swimming, you only really need a swimsuit and the pool. However, some sports, by their very nature, can cost a lot of money. Think of the more high maintenance sports like skydiving or F1 racing.

The spiraling costs can drive athletes to look for good online deals to support their sport of choice. From training equipment to competitive gear, athletes always want to have the best of what they can afford. Professional athletes have it better as they are supported by their sponsor, usually corporate entities.

If keeping fit is a part of your lifestyle, you might find yourself making daily trips to the gym. A gym can be as expensive or as affordable as you want it to be. While gym membership can cost you, know that there are a few tips and tricks to help you lower the costs of that membership.

Most gyms have a quota to meet every month. So when looking for a membership, go at the end of the month when gyms are scrambling to make their quotas. And once you sign up, bring your own bottle of water to your workout sessions. You can save a lot of money by bringing your own water bottle. The sweatier you get, the thirstier you will be.

Another way to save is to keep the gym gear to the basics. You’re not there to look good, you’re there to sweat. You can sweat as well in basic gym clothes as designer ones. As long as you’re wearing comfortable clothing, you should be good to go.

Many people sign up for a gym membership only to not go. This is a complete waste of your money. If you sign up for a membership, go to the gym. That way, your money won’t be going down the drain and you will be losing weight, keeping fit and staying healthy.

As mentioned earlier, a huge cost of sports is related to the cost of equipment. Why not purchase used equipment that is still in excellent condition? If you’re just starting out a sport, this may be a good way to find out if the sport is for you. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on sporting equipment only to find that you don’t really like the sport anyway. Another way for you to save money is to buy equipment using sports and outdoors coupon codes. You can enjoy your equipment better knowing that you were able to acquire them at fantastic prices. The money you save can be applied to more equipment or can go towards your savings account or can be spending money.

Sports Flooring Matters

Like shoes, the surfaces below our feet greatly affect the level of comfort or discomfort we may experience while moving across them. Similarly, choosing quality flooring is just as important as choosing comfortable shoes-particularly if the area is used for sports and high-traffic activities.

Sports flooring varies greatly and has many benefits for both the protection of a facility’s floors and the people that visit and make use of the facility. Rubber flooring such as gym mats and rubber flooring tiles is a good choice for areas that sustain high amounts of stress like locker rooms and ice rinks. Installing rubber floor tiles will protect surfaces from sharp and potentially damaging athletic footwear and equipment.

The installation of gym mats in weight rooms, health clubs and locker rooms should not be overlooked either. Not only will sports flooring protect a facility’s surfaces, it will also absorb shock and sound. In a room full of heavy and noisy weights and equipment, rubber gym mats will make a huge difference. Additionally, adequate sports flooring in fitness and athletic buildings will reduce the amount of sports-related injuries and will minimize joint stress.

Home sports flooring should also be considered for personal exercise areas and children’s play areas. There are many economical and easy to install options available that will more than make up for the costs. Rubber flooring can also be used in pro shops, large gymnasiums or auditoriums, and commercial spaces. Many rubber flooring tiles and gym mats are aesthetically appealing as well as highly utilitarian.

When choosing sports flooring, there are several factors to consider. First you must decide whether you need gym mats for isolated areas or wall-to-wall rubber flooring. For home gym flooring, purchasing smaller gym mats for weight areas may be sufficient to cover only the high-stress areas. However, if your personal fitness area is in a basement, installing rubber flooring is a great way to prevent moisture and avoid cold surfaces. For commercial and public athletic facilities, the installation of complete sports flooring is recommended. Rubber flooring will portray a professional look and will facilitate the cleaning and maintenance of a large surface.

Rubber tiles that do not require adhesive is the easiest type of sports flooring to install. Tiles with interlocking edges are best in order to avoid gaps, and materials include both virgin-based rubber and recycled rubber. Advancements in polymer technologies have resulted in recycled rubber products that perform just as well as virgin-based rubber products. Depending on the use, varying thicknesses are available for different levels of sound and shock absorbency.

The alternative to rubber tiles, rolled rubber flooring, is also offered in a variety of thicknesses and colors and is typically less expensive. One downside to this option, however, is that glue or some kind of adhesive is usually necessary for installation.

Sports Health Fitness

One of the major options to keep fit will be involving into sports activities. From sports activities we probably mean that physical activities that is performed for recreation or entertainment, satisfaction and competition. In fact, in sports activities alone one can get himself be used up to the maximum extent involving his muscles, joints and the cardiovascular system. Besides it also enhances other physical skills the stamina and energy levels.

When you perform a sport activity you are likely ward off the fats from your body and have a slim and toned body. Inside a sports activity, you will come through strict and rigid health program that can help you to cope with the challenges in the field but is also equally applicable to the ones daily life as well. It is also necessary that an individual must respect his health needs and work hard to fulfill the same. Here are some of the tips that will be handy in reviving the energy levels and the health while performing one of the sports activities:

1. Drink lots of water. Water is most essential for the proper functioning of the body and without you can not last for a day or so. Excessive dehydration that is losing lots of water from your body as a result of perspiration can make you ill and in worst conditions you can even lose your life. So it is strongly recommended for those involving into some of the strenuous sports activities to drink a lot of water.

With some of the sports, one might require other health or sports drink as well in order to replace the lot amount of fluid from the body. A sport drink will mean to provide you with two of the important components like the carbohydrate and the electrolytes which are especially lost during a strength sports activity. As without a carbohydrate you can not proceed with other activities it is necessary that you get an energy supplement like the carbohydrate.

2. More veggies! It is often recommended by the experts to take more vegetables and the fruit products when you are involved in a sport activity. From these foods you can supply necessary vitamins and the minerals to your body as a result of which the body becomes stronger to cope with various kinds of challenging demands of the activity.

3. Calcium intake. A sport activity also requires that you take a balanced intake of calcium in your diet. Calcium is needed for healthy bones. As from the sports activity you are more likely to get stressed on the bones and the tendons so, to make them stronger and healthier, calcium intake is inevitable. These eventually prevent fractures and help you out of the bone disease like the “osteoporosis”. The calcium rich foods are the tofu, sardines, and dairy products. They are also found in an ample amount in the vitamins and the minerals supplement.

4. Warm exercises are always important before any kind of strenuous activities. Never forget to perform warm ups before jumping into the sports arenas or the field or else you will end up with muscular strains and the serious injuries. Thus, we see that sports activities cal alone prove to be ideal to make you healthy and strong so that you can stand against any challenging situation in life.