If you were a frequent gym-goer, you may be feeling deflated since there’s no indication that gyms in South Africa will reopen anytime soon. Don’t fret – with a little creativity and planning, you can set up a budget-friendly home gym.
And working out at home has more perks than you would think:
- You get to beat the traffic. Goodbye, road rage.
- There are no gym fees.
- You can work out anytime, anywhere.
- You can get sweaty privately.
- You never have to wait for a machine or other equipment.
- You never have to pack a bag.
- You can listen to your music without earphones!
Now that you know the benefits, here are five steps to setting up and using a home gym.
Step1: Find a comfortable space
First things first, choose a spot in your home to set up your home gym. The space should have enough room for a yoga mat so that you can move around comfortably. If you’re going to be using equipment, factor in some space for that too. If you have a spacious home, an outdoor space like a back porch or patio is perfect for warmer days. And if you have a spare bedroom or empty garage, you can work out indoors during winter. If you live in a smaller space such as an apartment, dedicate an unused corner of the lounge or use your bedroom for your workouts.
Step 2: Gather your equipment
It’s not necessary to spend lots of money on home gym equipment, but if you can afford a few items, some that may be useful include:
- An exercise or yoga mat
- Resistance bands
- A kettlebell
- A stability ball
- A medicine ball
- A skipping rope
To be even more cost-effective, you can do body-weight training instead, or you can purchase second-hand items on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace if they are still in good condition. Or, you can improvise and create your own weights: use sandbags, bottles filled with water or tinned goods in place of a kettlebell or dumbbells.
Step 3: Design your space
Once you have your equipment, it’s important to set it up properly so you can exercise comfortably. You should ensure that you have:
- Plenty of light so you can keep an eye on proper form for your exercises. It can be either natural light streaming in through a window or overhead light bulbs.
- A mirror. This will help you to be your own instructor, as you can watch your form during exercises and make adjustments.
- Gym flooring. Invest in a cushioned mat or yoga mat so you can comfortably do floor exercises, for instance core exercises.
- No distractions. Clear your space of clutter that can distract from your workout.
Step 4: Create a storage plan
Storing your equipment properly is especially important if you can’t have a dedicated workout space. Depending on the amount of equipment and space you have, consider using a storage container, a dedicated room or a shelf.
Step 5: Create and stick to a plan
Just like a real gym, you will reap the benefits if you visit your home gym regularly. It’s recommended that you work out for at least 150 minutes per week, which is at least 30 minutes per day, five times a week. Choose time and days to do your workouts and set alerts on your phone’s calendar. Decide on your exercises beforehand, too. For some inspiration, check out apps such as Daily Workout for YouTube channels like Team Body Project for easy beginner workouts that require little to no equipment.
Lastly, have fun! The best part about a home gym is that the pressure is far less, as you don’t have to witness what everyone else is doing. Find your own pace, but have clear goals set out before you get started.