Intro to Gym and Fitness at Home Guide

Gym & Fitness at Home

Aside from the obvious health benefits of becoming active, developing a home gym allows people to target and build up specific muscle groups without paying a monthly membership for a commercial gym. Sure, some people prefer the thrill, perks, and motivation of going to a commercial gym which is completely fine. But for those crappy weather days it's nice to have a backup plan. 

I've put close to 60+ hours of research into gym equipment for a variety of budget levels and continue learning more and more about how consumers value different machines and equipment. From this research I've found that people who want to start a home gym are often faced with one core decision:

  • Do I get one, multi-workout system?
  • or do I get the gym fundamentals?

A multi-workout system offers the compactness of having a variety of (50-150+) possible workouts that hit most major muscle groups. Examples of multi-workout systems can be resistance based, such as the Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym, or free-weight based, such as the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage. These are more expensive by nature but reduce the clutter of free weights, plates, bars, etc.

The gym fundamentals I've found users most often seek include bars/barbells, workout benches, free weights, plates, resistance bands, and various standalone equipment to work in combination with bars and plates (ie; squat racks). Opting for the fundamentals removes any restrictions that a multi-workout system might have, specifically limited range of motion for some core workouts.

Of course, it's entirely up to you which you prefer and many people decide to get both the fundamentals and a multi-workout system. In fact, you can actually acquire an entry level multi-workout system AND gym fundamentals for less than an apple laptop. And for people who aren't ready to go 100% right out of the gate, it's very affordable (around $80) to get enough of the fundamentals to perform hundreds of core workouts. The nice thing about gym equipment is that you can simply upgrade or acquire new equipment as your body and needs change. Good dumbbells, bars, and plates last decades with decent care. 

For indoor cardiovascular workouts, I've researched the current (2016) market for the following machines:

These machines help diversify home gyms without getting in the way of workouts and allow users to reach high levels of intensity by using incremental resistance.

The Big 3 (Obvious) Home Gym Usage Tips

  1. Always stretch
  2. Drink water
  3. If you can't lift it - or shake/bend/contort your body to complete a lift - just don't. Reduce your weight and work incrementally up to your goal.

Obvious but easily forgotten. Being at home means you can feel comfortable performing all the goofy stretches and poses that make your body and muscles warmed up and ready to go.

Food, Nutrition, Diets

There are millions of resources on the internet that all seem to contradict each other when it comes to fitness diets and nutrition. After slamming my head against dozens of them I concluded the following step by step plan to meeting your fitness goal:

  • decide on a measurable goal, such as "I want to lose 15 pounds in 1 month" or "I want to gain 5 pounds of muscle in 45 days"
  • make a list of the fitness foods you don't mind eating for each food group (this varies, especially if you are vegetarian, vegan, etc.)
  • try to get an accurate calorie count for each meal
  • acquire a scale and notepad, and record weight + calorie intake daily
  • adjust diet (adding or removing calories) to meet your goal

While steak, eggs, and whey protein supplements are most common for body builders, there are simply too many options and goals to give you a simple answer. So the above plan is my attempt at giving you a flexible way to create your own diet to meet your own fitness goal.

Please Note: This guide will routinely be updated. Additional topics that are planned to be added include:

  • beginner safety tips
  • diets / meal plans
  • workout regiments
  • core muscle groups
  • stretching
  • yoga
  • additional machines (ab machines currently being researched)
  • [if you have ideas/questions for this guide or a guide you'd like to see, feel free to contact me]