My experience has been to work out at gyms (YMCAs, college workout rooms, Nautilus clubs, fitness spas and garage set-ups) and for the last 20 years, at home.
Each place has unique values. Gyms are generally well-equipped and give us the energy created by working out among other like-minded people.
But gyms have a few disadvantages as well:
- We must drive there and drive back
- There are often wait times before we have access to certain equipment
- We generally must pay for a gym membership
- In snowy weather – like today – travel of any kind may be unwise or impossible
I have come to prefer home workouts, even though I still have a gym membership. It suits my needs to work out in the morning before I eat breakfast or otherwise start my day. No travel, not much time expended and I can dress as I like.
This is not to disparage going to gyms, only to present another viewpoint. The important thing is to exercise our bodies – at home or elsewhere. Those who have gym memberships often wisely keep a few pieces of equipment at home, as a secondary option.
For cardio, we can always simply go outside and take a walk, jog, run or bike ride.
Or we can also get a treadmill for our homes, as I did. I have had good luck with Nordic Track treadmills, as shown below. The Nordic Track allows me to raise my speed or elevation at any time and to keep track of my distance and even calories burned.
To get on my Nordic Track treadmill and play music on Spotify is so pleasing that it hardly feels like a chore. It also helps to look out my window and see several inches of snow on the ground, knowing that my cardio needs are being met indoors.
I have always felt that a treadmill or other cardio machine is very basic to a home gym. I have not been without one for a couple of decades.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is the best source for cardio equipment that I have found. Click on the link and then note the category Exercise and Wellness. Then see the option Cardio Machines & Equipment, You will see choices of Treadmills, Elliptical Machines, Exercise Bikes and other cardio products.
While you are within the Dick’s Sporting Goods website, you may want to check other categories for other needs. They have a huge inventory and they provide excellent delivery service and very fair pricing.
For resistance at home, we can always simply do push-ups. This is a highly effective and simple means to work our chest and triceps. Our shoulders and back also are somewhat engaged.
We will, however, soon feel a need for equipment to work other muscle groups or body parts, as well as to stress our chest and triceps in other ways.
I have found Amazon to be a great source for resistance tools (as well as just about anything else). You will get quick service and a wide variety of choices. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. The links below will take you to specific workout tools, but be sure to scroll around from the links for different items.
- Resistance band set
- Dumbbells by Nordic Track, select-a-weight. Adjustable from 10 to 55 pound increments
- Light dumbbell hand weights
- Push-up board by Power Press
- Crunch device – helps to protect our backs on floor exercises for the abdominals. See below. I use and recommend this!
Bullworker Fitness products. These are high quality isotonic and isometric exercise tools. They are spring-loaded and can be compressed or pulled with different levels of resistance. They can also be easily stored or transported. I have the Steel Bow and Bow Classic. The Steel Bow is illustrated below.
All of the Bullworker products come with a carrying case, a variety of springs and instructions. There is also a Facebook group for Q and A, as well as motivation and training. There is no charge to participate within the group.
There are many other home workout tools to consider, such as barbells, pull up bars and other types of resistance equipment or abdominal devices. You may easily review these by scrolling around from the above links to Dicks Sporting Goods, Amazon or Bullworker.
My approach to a home gym has been to stay away from barbells, squat racks, benches for heavy pressing and the like. My treadmill and an inversion table (for relief of sciatic pain and other back issues) are my only large pieces.
With larger home or garage space, the heavier items may be practical. But, with a little thought, it is quite easy to set up smaller and more portable items that may be used and then put away. These items can be very challenging for anyone – the resistance bands, dumbbells and Bullworkers.
My workout schedule is now to alternate workouts from day to day, with:
- Workout A – back, chest, biceps and triceps
- Workout B – neck, calves, abdominals and glutes
Each workout is followed by treadmill walking, raising the speed after each minute while listening to music. I don’t do squats or any quadriceps work because of arthritic knees. My full workouts are finished in 30 minutes.
The optimal workout is one that is specific to our individual needs and capabilities. There is no workout that applies to everyone. We differ in our levels of experience, strength and even energy. We may have development in some areas while lagging in others. We may be ectomorphs, mesomorphs or endomorphs. Supermodel Heidi Klum says we should embrace our body types and not worry about other people with different physiques. (This does not suggest that we shouldn’t become the best possible physical version of ourselves. Just look at Heidi).
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.