Home, Sweet Home Gym

Home, Sweet Home GymWhether you’re on a lean budget or you’re a heavyweight spender, there’s no place like home for a great workoutBy Kendra Anderson

Going to the gym is intimidating, inconvenient, expensive — blah, blah, blah. Pam Herman, director of Blue Water Fitness in Niceville, has heard every excuse in the book.

Even during these fall months, the humidity and heat can make most Floridians want to postpone a jog through the neighborhood. And a gym can be intimidating for beginners who are not familiar with the equipment.

Working out at home is a viable option for those who want to save time and long-term expense. And the convenience of a home fitness routine means you don’t have to fight anyone for the treadmill or fret over someone else’s germs on your exercise mat.

Herman suggests three options for making an ideal workout space in your home with size-conscious fitness equipment and easy-access resources ranging from $50 to $5,000. It doesn’t take a lot of items to obtain the full gym experience, she says.

Check out YouTube.com for free demonstrations and exercises. Or use fitness apps on your smartphone. For example, iFitness for iPhones and iPods is a $1.99 personal trainer app that provides video instructions, photos and tips. It also tracks your fitness progress as you log your custom workout plans and routines.

If your budget is $50


Resistance bands: These stretchy bands are effective tools for shaping and sculpting. Get a set of light- and medium-resistance bands for toned muscles in no time.

Exercise ball: This bouncy ball alone will give you a great workout by forcing you to use many muscles at once to balance while doing crunches and chest presses. It’s great for wall squats too.

Dumbbells: These simple free weights are versatile, allowing you to work every major muscle group to strengthen and tone. A 5- to 8-pound dumbbell set is a good start for most people.

If your budget is $1,000


Adjustable dumbbells: With just the click of a button, these quick-change dumbbells can be adjusted from 3 to 130 pounds for each hand, depending on the brand and model. This compact set is a great space-saver and an effective tool for beginners and serious body builders alike. Pictured here are Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells, which can be adjusted to weigh from 5 to 52 pounds, for $549.

Multi-purpose bench: This bench can lie flat, or on an incline or decline, to enhance chest presses, one-armed rows, tricep kick-backs and shoulder raises when used with the adjustable dumbbells.

If your budget is $5,000


Elliptical trainer: The motion on the elliptical is similar to jogging, with less impact on the joints. And it works the upper and lower body at the same time if you choose to use the handrails. A spin bike is another good option for cardio.

Weight-lifting machine: This all-in-one machine is a great space-saver that gives you a full-body workout. Most include a lateral pull-down bar, a chest press and a leg curl, along with a chest-high cable for a variety of core conditioning exercises. It adjusts easily to encourage proper form and reduce injury, and attachments can be added as needed.