There’s really an abundance of choices out there for people who want to get into shape at home, but which is the wisest choice if you are going to invest in a piece of equipment?
Read on and I’ll tell you, in my opinion of course.
People ask me quite often about various fitness products available on the internet or advertised on TV. I think if you buy ANY piece of equipment and use it regularly, you’re likely to get some kind of result compared to not doing any exercise at all. The question is, will you use it regularly, and will it deliver the results promised in the commercials?
You’ll find if you really pay attention to most of those ads on the TV, they say “if you use the (product name) system, you will get this result”. What they’re hinting at with the use of the word “system” is that it’s not just a matter of doing the 9 minutes a day or whatever amount of exercise they talk about, there will also be a diet plan that goes along with it. In many cases I’d suggest that it’s really the diet plan that is going to produce the results, more so than the exercise equipment – especially for people who have unhealthy eating habits and consume too many calories. Of course there’s your next question, will you stick to the diet? Well, we don’t even know what’s IN the diet at this stage, so that’s a tough question to answer. In any case, search the internet and I’m sure you’ll find no shortage of reduced calorie diets available for free.
Back to actually doing the exercise regularly though; you have to ask yourself if it’s something you’re going to get very bored with very quickly. A lot of the items I see on the TV (especially anything with the word “Ab” in the name) only seem to do one thing, and most of us are going to get bored of doing the exact same thing every day. Apart from needing to keep things interesting to stay motivated, without some variety your body will get used to the exercise and will stop responding – commonly referred to as a plateaux. Regardless of whatever claims they make in the advert, if you want full body results you need a full body workout, with a variety of forms of exercise.
A lot of this stuff is super expensive as well! For some people that’s part of the appeal, as it provides a bit of leverage – if you spend all that money, you HAVE TO use it, right? I wonder how often it actually works out that way.
I’m going to leave treadmills, cross trainers, rowing and stair machines out of the equation because although they’re genuinely useful pieces of equipment, they’re typically very expensive and really just allowing you to do indoors what you could do for free outdoors. Although some people do have them in their homes, I’ll consider them more like gym equipment than home workout equipment, due to the space they take up and the amount they cost.
So having told you what I don’t recommend in home exercise equipment, here’s what I do recommend! These are perhaps the most versatile options, and they also happen to be some of the most affordable.
Fit Ball or Stability Ball
An obvious choice, isn’t it? Although there’s probably a lot of people who’ve bought these and then just packed them away somewhere, if you actually use your Fit Ball it can be a very useful piece of equipment. We all know you can do crunches on the fit ball, but they can also be positioned between your back and a wall while doing bodyweight squats or lunges to help maintain correct form. In this manner the Fit Ball can be used as a postural aid in a variety of exercises, in addition to those exercises more commonly associated with this piece of equipment.
I mentioned on the blog recently that I’d bought a set of resistance bands online and was really impressed with them. These are really so inexpensive and so very versatile that they are now my #1 recommendation for home exercise gear. There are more expensive varieties advertised on the TV but in my opinion the cheaper ones I bought are fine for a good full body workout at home.
The resistance bands can be anchored to a door or other fixture, and simulate the expensive cable equipment found in gyms and Personal Training studios. Where the more expensive varieties on the TV have an advantage is that they will come with some suggested workout programs, including DVD instructions and suggested diets. This may be incentive enough to invest in the more expensive versions, however I would expect you could also find some work out programs for free on the internet that you can use with your resistance bands at home.
You can check out my Online Personal Training pages for information about my home work out programs using low cost equipment such as resistance bands and exercise balls. Together with a good meal plan, this is the most inexpensive way to achieve your fitness goal.