Category Archives: Sport

What is on My DVR?

My husband and I do not agree on a lot of the same television shows. He likes to watch a lot of sports like skateboarding and running distance races that also have things like swimming and bike riding in the same race. He also loves modified and stock car races in addition to a lot of the Formula One races as well. I could care less about that active stuff, I like the reality shows here and there and I do only like about seven shows that are on. The ones that I do like have been on for many years. I do not like a lot of the new shows that are coming out, I think that they lack a light heartiness. I wanted to make sure that there was a few shows coming out this fall that I would give a try to reach out my interests but there was not a lot of things that I was interested in.

My husband and I always joke around that if we had to fill out a questionnaire about what we liked to do and what we were looking for in a partner for life that we would never have been matched up with one another. We are really the proof that there can be two totally different people with different interests and they can make things work if they are open to working on things together. No marriages are perfect and it could be really hard to make it work if two people are not in it to work things out. I am so glad that we made it through the hard times because now my marriage is stronger than ever, but we do have our moments and that is allowed because we both love one another until the very end.

What Makes Monaco F1’s Most Interesting Race?

Even those who aren’t fans of motorsport will have heard of the Monaco Grand Prix. This prestigious sporting event is every bit as popular with the drivers as it is with the fans; it’s the race they want to win just as much as their own home race.

Image Credit: ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Hamilton#/media/File:Hamilton_-_2016_Monaco_GP_02.jpg

It is also a notoriously difficult course that provides a challenge for even the most skilled drivers, which only adds to the appeal.

History

Since the first Monaco Grand Prix back in 1929, there have been few changes to the circuit. It has seen fewer updates than any other F1 tracks. The route retains all the twists and turns it’s famous for. Safety has been improved with the addition of crash barriers, but the course is only 160 metres longer than the original circuit. For the best view of the race, seek out hospitality from groups like the F1 Paddock Club Monaco.

Ayrton Senna has won the Monaco Grand Prix more times than anyone else at six times, one more than Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher.

Technical Driving

Racing through the streets of Monte Carlo is exciting to watch. It is extremely difficult to overtake another car in the race, partly because of the short straights, but it is not impossible and the prospect makes it even more exciting. The smallest error can be very costly.

Image Credit: ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Hamilton#/media/File:Max_Verstappen_overtaking_Lewis_Hamilton_2017_Malaysia_2.jpg

The number of tight corners means that drivers have to cope with a lot of gear changes. With a lap time of only 80 seconds, the driving skills and gear changes are nearly constant.

Party Town

The setting is spectacular, squeezed in between the Maritime Alps and the blue Mediterranean Sea, so whichever way you look, there is something stunning to look at. That might include celebrities and their yachts as much as mountains, and there is plenty of opportunity for hospitality.

For more information about the sport’s most famous race, visit the Monaco website and imagine yourself at the F1 Paddock Club Monaco. The benefit of being right in the heart of the city is that the bars and restaurants are all there, and there is little distance to travel back to your accommodation.

With its spectacular setting, the after-hours parties and the race’s history, it’s no wonder the event has such enduring appeal.

Playing your part in the team

Most of us will remember playing some sort of team sport during our Physical Education lessons as school whether this was netball and hockey or football and rugby, team sports are a part of the National Curriculum and so compulsory for children to learn. Alongside these team sports they will also undertake swimming classes, gymnastics and a variety of other track and field events. Sport is popular in the UK and many team sports are played by people on the weekend as a part of their social activities as well as those people who play the sports as a part of a team either in an amateur or a professional capacity.

Here are some of the most popular sporting activities that are played in the UK.

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  • Football is probably universally the most popular sport both to play and watch. There are numerous leagues from professional through to amateur and from standard sized teams to five a side clubs. Children can join their local teams with some having feeder clubs into the areas larger teams and even academy set ups. Players regularly train in both football skills and in strength and stamina training to enable them to be in peak athletic shape.

 

  • Rugby is just as popular as football and regularly draws in large crowds both at matches and spectators watching on the television. Similarly, to football children can join a local team and professional teams often have academy places available. Rugby players regularly take part in endurance and stamina training to enable them to improve their game and to help prevent injuries from happening by making sure they are in the best physical shape.

 

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  • Cricket is classed as England’s National Game and there are around 18 professional cricket clubs around the country. Some schools are taking the opportunity to teach cricket skills to the pupils from an early age in a bid to give them a range of all options of team sports to learn during PE lessons. Over recent years the number of people watching cricket matches has increased, meaning that popularity for the sport may also be on the rise.

Choosing strong horse racing tips

When it comes to putting your own money behind a horse racing tip, it can be difficult to find somewhere that provides a reliable bet to join in with. There’s now a lot of betting websites that provide help and assistance with hand-picking horse racing tips that are worth getting behind, and it’s extremely useful when considering how difficult it is to win horse bets in succession.

Finding a horse racing tips website that you can rely on for the recommended bets they’re producing can be difficult but there are ways of identifying the perfect website to put your trust in. One of the most popular free betting websites is TeamFA, who cover all sports in extensive detail, and also run a section of their website that’s devoted to the latest horse racing tips and the best bookmaker odds.

Horse bets with reasoning to back them up

It sounds easy to pick and choose a betting website before randomly staking money behind whatever they say, but it’s actually difficult to do this if they fail to produce a strong track record for the bets they’ve provided. While there are plenty of different websites to visit for new horse racing tips, tracking down one that is efficient with winning them consistently can be a tricky thing to come by.

Even if you take the time out to look at the website’s past results – seeing how often they win and how transparent they are with their record – you’ll be able to judge how safe your money is for yourself. You could even skip trusting any inexperienced betting website by producing your own horse racing tips, where all you need to do is look into the form and past results of horses you’re backing to see how strong their chances of winning are.

Back your horse bets with the best odds

After finding a bet that you like the look of, backing it as quickly as possible is crucial to securing the biggest price. This is true in a lot of ways and taking your time is only likely to see your chosen horse bet lower in terms of odds but rushing to place your bet could also see you miss out on potentially stronger odds elsewhere.

It’s not advised that you become obsessed with the odds and take hours to find the best price but even by taking a few minutes out of your time to compare the current odds on key bookmaker websites, it could benefit you if the bet lands.

Best Footballers Right Now

World Cup fever is peaking, and we can’t stop talking about football. Without further ado, here are some of the most famous faces from this year’s World Cup and the best talent on the planet right now:

  1. David De Gea

David De Gea is the best goalie in the world right (possibly soon to overshadowed by Jordan Pickford?) De Gea has shone at Manchester United, winning the Sir Matt Busby award three times since 2014. He boasts the highest number of clean sheets in the premier league and made a record 14 saves in one game against Arsenal.

  1. Eden Hazard

Hazard has been imperious whilst playing for Chelsea and helped the team to win the title in 2015. There can’t be many dream teams that wouldn’t include Eden Hazard in their starting line-up. He’s also pretty good at predicting things and as so far correctly predicted more than half of all the world cup draws.

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  1. Paul Pogba

Pogba has experienced some ups and downs, with many feeling he has not yet reached his full potential. However, he was still good enough to be the winner of the UEFA Europa League’s Best Player. He has excelled in an attacking role at Manchester United, becoming one of their most influential players.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Moments of sheer brilliance followed by lacklustre performances recently. His stats still look amazing though. It could be that we are so used to seeing Ronaldo score that it seems more obvious when he doesn’t. His stats given to any other player would be considered as downright excellent. However, when he’s not scoring he doesn’t seem that influential either, so if he wants to stay in this list he must work on overall game and not just the goal-scoring.

  1. Sergio Aguero

For many years, Aguero has been one of the top strikers in the premier league and with a record of 24 goals in 31 games, he remains a lethal Argentine for players to be wary of. He is doggedly consistent and has helped Manchester City to achieve a greater global presence than ever before.

  1. Kevin De Bruyne

This Belgian has also been making waves for Manchester City and is one of the best midfielders in the world right now. Along with David Silva and Sergio Aguero, Man City have become a major power in the sport. He is tied to the club until 2023. To move your own game to the next level, try Soccer Training Drill Videos from https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Soccer/drills.jsp

  1. Harry Kane

What can we say? This Englishman has a lethal precision when it comes to getting the ball in the back of the net. He scored more hattricks than Messi and Ronaldo in 2017 and is a strong contender for the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup. Will his success see him making a move from Tottenham?

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  1. Neymar

Neymar is brilliant and could have been considered the best in the world in the past, but the competition these days is fierce. He has played like a Brazilian God for Paris Saint Germain but having just crashed out of the 2018 World Cup with a less than amazing performance – nationally Neymar appeared to struggle.

1.Lionel Messi

He’s no spring chicken in footballing years but he still shows that gritty determination and no desire to slow down for Barca. He is an incredible goal scorer, there’s no doubt but it’s his growth and evolution from goal scorer to exquisite playmaker that earns him the spot of best footballer in the world.

Disabled Sport Equipment in Gyms

Many of Britain’s gyms, leisure centers and swimming pools are “no-go zones” for disabled people and will struggle to cope with an expected surge in interest in fitness activities, following the Paralympic games in 2012.

Although most gyms provided disabled parking spaces, for example, many of the bays are not wide enough to enable a wheelchair to be unpacked from a car. Although a cursory attempt has been made at making the building accessible to disabled and wheelchair users, little thought has been put into an independent wheelchair user gaining access through heavy (non-automatic) doors – with internal doors also proving to be difficult to manoeuver through with ease.

Many gyms have made the minimum changes to adhere to the law – to provide basic access, but have not embraced the full spirit of the law which is to encourage, involve and promote fitness to anyone regardless of their ability.

A crowdsourced survey* of hundreds of gyms across the UK by charity volunteers suggests that many local facilities are partially inaccessible, difficult to navigate and expensive to join. Some did not have specialist disabled sport equipment and nearly half lacked staff trained in disability awareness.

The survey of 300 UK leisure facilities found that:

    • Nearly a third of gyms did not have an automatic door at the entrance to the gym, while some were fitted with heavy internal doors that were difficult to open. One survey reporter said he watched a wheelchair user forced to open such a door by pushing it with his head.

    • Although many gyms had lifts, just over one in five were not working properly. A common problem was that lifts were too small for larger wheelchairs and control buttons were set too high

    • In one case, it was reported that a lift leading to the gym area of a leisure centre did not appear to have been working for more than a year.

  • A quarter of swimming pools did not have hoists to support disabled people to get into the water, while 31% of gyms did not have any fitness equipment that was suitable for disabled people.

This situation is solvable and the Government has encouraged local authorities and gym owners to become accredited as IFI (Inclusive Fitness Initiative) and literally open their doors to all.

IFI is a national scheme whereby fitness suites are awarded grants to increase the range of equipment (such as disabled bikes) that they can offer that is ‘user-friendly’ to disabled people. Staff will receive disability equality training and the fitness instructors are further trained in working with disabled.

The legacy that was promised to inspire a generation must surely be questioned if a proportion of the population who may want to take up exercise in a gym can’t even get in the building!

There is the potential to involve many disabled people in sports. Offering the ability to participate in sports is not a favour due to disabled people, but a responsibility of all local councils. To provide disabled sport equipment, along with adequate staff training should be the aim for every major leisure centre in the country.

Can You Overdo Sports Supplements

Well, I think I’ve done really well. I joined this gym in January along with all the others who thought they’d piled it on over Christmas and its now May and I’m still here. The rest of the gym population has decreased greatly since then, but I’m one of the few who have stuck it out.

My strategy is ‘slowly but surely’. I’ve followed a sensible diet slightly increasing proteins to cope with the light weight training I’m doing and have kept the rest to low fat healthy eating. Gradually, I have seen a change that I’m happy with. I just want to get healthier, fitter and a little stronger, enough to cope with everyday life and the dreaded aging process.

Of course, there is plenty of advertising at the gym to push sports supplements but I wouldn’t call myself a sports person. Apparently, it’s protein and creatine that is needed to boost muscle strength but I prefer to get mine from food than from a sports supplement.

Going to the gym is also a good way of widening your social circle too. I have made several friends since I joined and we’re all making steady progress. However, one young (ish) man, I believe, has become obsessed with his own body.

I fit my gym timetable around my life. The gym IS his life. If I go at 6am, he’s there. If I go at 9pm, he’s there. Admittedly, he has made a great improvement in his physique but I do think he’s taking it a little too far.

At first, he was the same as the rest of us. Turning up in his comfy jogging bottoms and t shirt that did the job. As his strength, and ego, improved he went down to shorts and vest. Now he’s just stretching the bounds of decency with his Lycra attire!

This young man was doing well in his fitness regime. He took note of all the sports supplement advertising to help speed his way to his goal and after a time of testing it out on himself, he became a bit of a bore, talking about nothing else.

His posing in front of the mirror was just embarrassing! He was spending less time actually lifting the weights and more time admiring himself. The day he came up to me, flexed his arm muscles and pointed towards the coffee bar, offering me an after work out drink, well, I just felt embarrassed for him and declined his offer.

I couldn’t believe that my turning down his offer could have such an impact on his self esteem as to bring about such a dramatic change in him over the next few weeks. And I was right. He went from being a self obsessed ego maniac to a very moody, quite aggressive man that nobody wanted to get in the way of.

After several members of the gym had experienced some unpleasant run ins with him and complained to the staff about his hostile behaviour, he was taken to one side to discover what the problem was.

It turns out after starting on a fitness programme and healthy eating plan like the rest of us, things were going well for him. He took note of the advertising campaigns in the gym and had, for some time been consuming sports supplements. He believed that if he exceeded the recommended dosage he would increase his muscles even quicker but it didn’t work.

Sports supplements are designed to work with your body in a healthy way, giving you that little extra boost in addition to a good diet and sensible workout.

Because this young man had become obsessed, he wasn’t happy with the limits his body had set and wanted to continually push the boundaries. He did this by foolishly buying steroids and using them to unnaturally enhance his physique.

When the gym management learnt of his actions, he was strongly advised to visit his doctor for a check up. Without the all clear from a doctor the gym were unwilling to let him continue membership because they believed he was at risk of serious damage to himself.

A Rewiew of the Bowflex Sport Home Gym

If there’s one lasting name when it comes to home gyms, it’s probably Bowflex. With a wide range of products made specifically for home workout enthusiasts, anyone wanting to get into better shape should consider a Bowflex Sport home gym. These pieces of home workout equipment are known for their quality, versatility, and performance.

The Bowflex Sport home gym is a versatile machine that covers virtually every muscle group of the body. Because you’re not working with free weights you don’t need to worry about injuring yourself or having a spotter with you. The power rods make it easy to adjust your weight resistance, but without the danger of a stack of heavy weights.

The Bowflex Sport home gym does take up quite a bit of room; the footprint of it is larger than what most people expect. Not only do you need room for the rod tower, bench, and leg extension, not to mention the room the rods need when they bend while you’re using it. You definitely need the room for this machine, but if you can set aside a room or area of the basement, you’re going to get a workout with the Bowflex Sport home gym that rivals what you’ll get at any gym.

You can get a total body workout in about 20 minutes with the Bowflex Sport home gym if you use it right. It offers 50 different exercises and up to 210 pounds of power rod resistance. You can build your back and shoulders with the lat tower, your glutes, hamstrings, and quads with the lower pulley/squat station, and all the muscles of your legs with the included leg extension/curl station. There’s virtually no part of your body that can’t be worked with the Bowflex Sport home gym.

The power rod technology of the Bowflex Sport home gym is actually preferred by many fitness enthusiasts as opposed to free weights or stacks. They are smoother and easier to use, something that’s important for protection from injury. When you’re working out and your equipment is smoother this also means that you’re working your muscles much more efficiently, getting a better workout overall.

The power rods are connected to a pulley system with cables. As you pull on the workout bars or handles the power rods flex. It feels slightly different that lifting free weights but it will give you the same results. You would think that the rods would break after repeatedly flexing them but I have never heard of it happening. Bowflex is so sure of there patented power rods that the company offers a No Time Limit warranty for the rods and if they should ever wear out they will replace them for free.

Another beautiful feature of using the Bowflex Sport home gym is that you don’t need to worry about the weather, long lines, or a lack of privacy when you want to work out. If it’s pouring rain or snowing outside, you don’t need to worry about getting to the gym. You also can switch quickly and easily between workout routines without letting others in line get to the machine, and without worrying about others looking at you while you work out. So for anyone looking to get back into shape or to improve their exercise routine, the Bowflex Sport home gym should be at the top of one’s list.

Sports Drinks Vs Water

Lucozade, Powerade, Gatorade…

In the 21st century – advertisements for energy drinks are everywhere. You can no longer switch on the television or flick open a magazine without seeing an advert for these glorified potions. It seems that these drinks are taking over the fitness world, and you only have to wander down to your local gym to see just how popular they are.

So what actually are these so called “sports drinks”, and what do they proclaim to do?

A sports drink is a beverage designed to increase energy levels, replace electrolytes and and keep you hydrated. So let’s look at how they claim to do this:

Increase Energy Levels

Sports Drinks are full of sugar – A 500ml bottle of Lucozade energy contains 21 teaspoons of sugar! To put that into perspective, a can of coke contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. When these sports drinks are consumed, our body converts all the sugar into glucose which is released into our blood stream. This glucose provides our bodies with energy – which is what gives us that “alert” feeling.

The problem is – glucose is a very short lived energy source and has detrimental effects on the body. When we drink sports drinks, our bodies have to produce large amounts of insulin to help our cells absorb the glucose from our blood stream. Any excess glucose is then converted to fat in our livers and deposited into our cells. Insulin also inhibits the breakdown of fat within our bodies. Both these factors encourage the accumulation of fat, and are counter productive when you consider the reason people are at the gym!

The counter argument to this is that the sports drinks provide you with the energy you require to perform an intense workout – which provides benefits that far exceed the negative impacts of the sports drink. Well I say that is a terrible argument, and here’s why..

The average person that visits the gym performs moderate intensity exercise for around 30 minutes. Let’s imagine their chosen exercise is running – in which case they will burn around 250-400 calories in their session. Now let’s imagine they consume a 500ml bottle of Lucozade Sport, which contains 140 calories. That is around half the total calories that they are burning by being at the gym, just from consuming an energy drink. So for every 10 minutes they run, they are only burning 5 minutes worth of calories…

What makes matters worse is the sugar in the sports drink – which is bad for two reasons.

1. As explained earlier – consuming sugar causes a surge in insulin levels, which promotes the accumulation of fat within our bodies.

2. When glucose is readily available in our bloodstream, our cells will use this as their primary source of energy. As a result, the energy we require to perform exercise will come from the glucose in our blood. If we didn’t drink the sports drink then our cells would not have access to that glucose – which means they would have to get energy from breaking down our fat.

As you can see – sports drinks are a counter-productive method for someone who want’s to lose fat. However, those in support of sports drinks will still argue that they provide you with the energy that you require to perform exercise. However again, that is a flawed argument..

The average gym visitor has access to more than enough energy to perform 30 minutes of exercise. They are likely to have glucose in their bloodstream from their meals that day, and if they run out of glucose, they can breakdown fat reserves to power their bodies. The only time when sports drinks are beneficial is for ultra endurance athletes – the kind that are performing intense exercise for hours on end. But even then, there are far better sources of energy – what’s wrong with a good old banana? Not only is this far better for your body than sports drinks, but it is broken down far slower so provides sustained energy over a long period of time – as opposed to a short spike that is supplied by glucose. In short – sports drinks are just as bad for us as sweets, and there are far better ways to provide our bodies with the energy required for exercise.

Replacing Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals that can be found in blood and cells, and help to regulate bodily fluids. The most well known of these are Sodium and Chloride.

During exercise – the body’s electrolyte balance can begin to shift – and as the body loses electrolytes through sweat, the imbalance can result in symptoms such as muscle cramps, fatigue and nausea. Sports drinks capitalise on this by promising that they can replace the electrolytes in our bodies and prevent these symptoms Whilst there may be an element of truth in this – it is irrelevant to the average gym visitor. Our bodies lose electrolytes relatively slowly, so unless you are exercising for over an hour, your body will be able to address its electrolyte imbalance without the need for sports drinks.

Hydration

The final promise of the “sports drinks” is that they keep you hydrated. Keeping hydrated is an important part of any exercise routine, as the body loses water far quicker than it loses electrolytes. A lack of water can lead to dehydration which results in fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness and poor concentration.

However – do you want to know the best way to keep your body hydrated? WATER

There is absolutely no better way to hydrate your body than to drink water – and plenty of it. What’s more – it’s free, contains no calories and has a multitude of benefits to your body.

The other trouble will sports drinks is that they encourage you to drink before you feel thirsty. They claim the reason for this is that once you feel thirsty – it is too late – and dehydration has already kicked in. This is absolute nonsense, and there is simply no scientific research to back up this claim. Our bodies are extremely complex machines that have evolved over thousands of years. Considering water is the single most important element for our survival, I’m sure our bodies have developed the ability to warn us when we need to drink (before we get dehydrated). And how does it do that? It’s called being thirsty!

The fact of the matter is, we do not need to drink water until we feel thirsty, as this is our bodies way of letting us know we need to drink. The danger of drinking before we feel thirsty is that it can result in over hydration – which is very dangerous. People very rarely die of dehydration, but it is very common for people to die of over hydration.

So there you have it..

Sports Drinks are completely unnecessary for the average gym visitor:

– They contain a massive amount of sugar.
– They are rich in calories
– They promote fat accumulation in your body.
– They are a short term energy source.
– They are useless in regards to replacing electrolytes unless exercising for 1 hour+
– They are an expensive form of hydration – water is free and more effective.

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.