Getting in shape is just about the most common New Years Resolution you're going to find. Everybody wants to get in shape around the Holidays and use the best types of exercise equipment. Maybe it's the food. For eleven months out of the year, we could really care less, but then Christmans and Thanksgiving high calorie dinners roll around and hit us with mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, buttery, creamy casseroles and the ridiculous beverage that is eggnog: Milk and eggs in a glass.
That's when we look in the mirror and say "Geez, maybe I should do something about those ten extra pounds/toning up/building muscle/whatever it is that I'm blaming on Aunt May's Pecan Pie this time."
Fitness is really an all-year-round thing, though. People who go at it in January and then promptly give up are going to have the same experience every Thanksgiving. They're coasting along, enjoying themselves, feeling okay about everything, and then the holiday season hits and they're back to square one.
One month out of the year may sound like a lot of working out, but it's really not. It's got to be an all-year-round habit, and the right exercise equipment can help you to stay enthused no matter what time of year it is.
Read about the best exercise equipment below and then take a look at our FREE workouts for the best ways to lose those after holiday pounds! Not all exercise equipment is right for everyone, so we're going to be looking into a wide range of products, what they do and who they're for, and help you determine which one is right for you.
Average Price Range: $10-$15 (Low End) or $100+ (High End)
Every home gym needs some dumbbells. This is one of a few pieces of equipment that you're going to want to have on hand no matter what your personal fitness goals happen to be. You will probably want a variety of dumbbells or a set of adjustable hand weights so that you always have the right weight for the workout.
In general, you want heavier weights and fewer reps if you want to add bulk, and lighter weights with more rep if you want to trim the fat or get toned. Longer, low stress exercise is always best if you want to burn fat compared to really pushing yourself to build muscle.
When shopping for dumbbells, find a pair that feels good to you and use those for general high-rep workouts such as aerobics, toning exercises and so on, and then find a pair that you can just barely lift for adding bulk. For now maybe you'll only manage ten reps of those, but give it a week and you'll be doing twenty or thirty in a row without even realizing it.
Average Price Range: $5-$15
If you want a lightweight exercise or you want to add resistance to your routine, an resistance band is a versatile and useful part of a home gym. These bands provide some resistance to crunches, arm lifts, leg lifts and even push ups.
Basically, you just take one end of the band and attach it to one part of your body or the room, then take the other and attach it to the part of your body you're going to be pushing or pulling with. Easy.
By adding resistance to any workout, an resistance band can be included without having to change your routine at all. Strap it to your feet and hands and pull with your shoulders or wrap it around something that's bolted down and hold it while doing sit ups.
The resistance you get from the band can make any workout more effective. There are many resistance band workouts that can really help you get in shape!
Average Price Range: $100-$500 (Low End) or $1,000+ (High End)
If you want to add bulk, you're going to need a weight bench. A simple, padded wood and metal weight bench will suffice, although an adjustable bench with a lot of extra bells and whistles can be fun to use, as well. The exercises you can do with a weight bench would take forever to list, but we can list a few of the basics, at least.
These alone will get you ripped in no time if you follow them faithfully, and they're just the tip of the iceberg. If you're trying to add bulk, a weight bench is pretty much a starting point for any good home gym if you really want to get ripped.
Average Price Range: $6-$60
An fitness ball, if you've never used one before, look like something you'd see in a yoga class, but in fact, it is what you use if you really want to give yourself a workout and push it to the limit. Like the resistance band, the fitness ball turns a light workout into a real fitness challenge.
Look for a ball that's the right size. You want to be able to sit down on it and have your hips at a level just slightly above your knees. Too small and it will be impossible to keep your balance on. Too big and you won't get the best workout from it.
To get the most from your ball, try laying on it while doing crunches and sit ups to make it a full body exercise, or incorporate it into your weight lifting routine for added challenge. You can also sit on it while watching television or working at your desk so that you can burn fat and tighten your abs and legs without even having to take time out of your day.
Average Price Range: $200-$1,500 (Treadmill/Stationary Bikes) $500-$1,500 (Incline/Rowing Machines)
The great thing about running, climbing, rowing and biking machines is that you can just zone out on them. Get in front of the TV and see if any channel is running a marathon of one of your favorite shows. Some people can go for hours, but even just running for fifteen to thirty minutes at a time is a good start.
You'll be surprised how easy it is to just keep going at a low resistance on these machines, and having one in your home is a lot of fun. Even if you ask yourself "Why don't I just run outside?" Well, the low-impact nature of these machines is a great bonus, and so is being indoors watching television instead of running around outside while the neighbors stare and dogs bark at you.
Running in the privacy of your own home with your stereo system and the television in the same room with you is worth the investment into a decent running, biking, climbing or rowing machine. Once you have your machine, take a look at our FREE Running Workoout Plan!
Average Price Range: $500-$2,000
Those home gym machines you see advertised on late night television may be paying B grade martial arts stars to help them advertise, but whether or not those guys actually use them in real life or just say so for an easy paycheck, many of these home gym machines really do the trick.
The falsehood is that all you need to do is own a home gym in order to get in shape. Sorry to break it to you, but you actually have to use it. Having it hanging around your garage as some sort of visual reminder isn't really enough to burn fat and build muscle, but if you actually use it, you'll find that these machines are versatile, challenging and most of all, a lot of fun.
Like the motion machines and fitness ball, these are devices that you can plant in front of the television and just zone out, getting in shape by doing passive exercises for hours on end. If you need a workout, start our Home Workout Plan and get in shape!
Before making any purchasing decisions, you really need to figure out what your fitness goals are. Any of these devices listed above can help you with just about any fitness goal, but each one plays to its own strengths and weaknesses. An incline machine is great for burning fat and doing aerobics, but you'll need some weights to add real bulk, for instance.
We can't all afford a personal trainer to tell us what we need, but if you have any friends who are seriously into fitness, you may want to ask them for a little advice. They should be happy to help you figure out exactly what you need based on your goals and even help you out.
They'll be happy to have a workout partner, and so will you, as the best workout equipment is really just a gym buddy who knows what they're doing, can push you to do your best and can provide you with the encouragement, the challenge and the advice that you need to really get in shape.