This week in the Organized Life Series, we will be looking at our exercise area. Depending on your circumstances, that area may consist of a Wii controller in your family room all the way up to a full basement gym. Even if you’re an official gym rat, you should consider having an exercise area in your home. We all know there are some days that you just don’t feel like going to the gym and keeping some equipment at home minimizes your excuses for not working out.
We’re going to consider several options at different budget ranges. If you’re a broke college kid, what should you have? What do you need to build a minimal full-body gym? What touches can you add to make the room feel nicer? We’ll cover all of that and more this week as we organize the exercise area.
Let’s be realistic. Although it’s nice to have all the fun and shiny equipment to help motivate you, you really don’t need anything to get in shape. You can walk and run outside. You can do squats, sit-ups, and push-ups. You can watch free aerobic videos online or on Netflix. You can do yoga. You really don’t have to spend any money to get and stay in shape. If you need to add weight to your exercise, you can hold books and bags of things. You can use water bottles and canned food. If you’re looking for some good videos and exercise routines, I strongly recommend checking out Spark People.
You do online videos and your workout space is the floor in front of your TV. You have very little space and want to keep it clean and neat. But you want a more strenuous workout. For under $50 you can get a nice yoga mat to cushion your body, a set of resistance bands and maybe a yoga block or two. Again, I recommend finding good exercises on Spark People.
What if you hate aerobics? Treadmills are an excellent way to get cardiovascular exercise in any weather. When it’s too cold/wet/hot/icy to go outside and walk or run, treadmills fit the bill. On the low end, you can get a manual treadmill for less than $200. These treadmills are quiet, lightweight, and easy to fold and move. They’re great for storing in a closet or under the bed and pulling out to use them in your living space. They don’t, however, have a motor. That means you can’t push buttons and speed it up or down. It moves by your feet pushing it.
If you’re looking for a decent motorized treadmill but don’t want to spend a lot of money, consider buying used. Often, people get fired up about exercising in January and buy a new treadmill only to realize it’s gathering dust in a corner. You can get a decent lightly-used treadmill on Craigslist or in your local classifieds.
If you’re serious about your treadmill use, you may want to invest into a better machine. For example, I owned my previous treadmill for over 12 years. About 2 years ago the incline died. Recently, the motor started going out. I needed to replace it and wanted a good-quality machine with nice features like a face fan, good cushioning, etc. Look at this article if you would like to learn a little more about how to shop for something like a treadmill. If you’re curious, after all of my research I purchased the Smooth Fitness 5.65 Folding Treadmill. After tax and a promotional discount, I paid $762.35.
If you are serious about your treadmill use, you will need a few extras. If your treadmill is set up in your family room or bedroom, you probably have a TV setup to entertain you while you work out. Work your way through a TV series on DVD or DVR some HGTV or a soap opera. If you’re treadmill is in a dedicated space, you may need to purchase a TV and a media player. I say media player, because I recommend the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 Integrated Wi-Fi 3D Blu-ray DVD Player. It costs a little over $100. I own 2 of these. It plays Blu-rays and DVDs. It connects wirelessly to your home network and has apps for Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon streaming. You can also listen to Pandora on it. And of course, it’s DLNA certified. (See my article on How To Watch Your Digital Video Collection On Your TV Using DLNA.)
Depending on the surface of the floor where you are placing your treadmill, you may need to get a treadmill mat. Treadmill mats will protect your wood or laminate floors from denting or scratching.
To amp up your workout a little, you might want to consider some free weights or wrist weights.
Maybe you’re pretty serious about getting in shape and are willing to throw down a lot of money for the P-90X system. What are the basics that you’ll need to do it?
You will need these 7 items that will cost you approximately $250:
- Yoga blocks – $10 each
- Yoga mat – $10
- Dumbbells – 5lb pair $20, 10lb pair $20, 15lb pair $50, 20lb pair $60, and so on. Plan to get 3 weights at minimum.
- Pull-up/push-up bar – $25
- Push-up handles – $15
- Gloves – $15
- Chair – $10
Full Home Gym
Maybe you’re serious about your workouts and have invested in a full home gym.
You have to decide what you would have in your perfect home gym, but the image above is a good example:
- Mirrored wall
- Big-screen TV
- Exercise bike
- Rowing machine
- Home Gym machine
- Free Weights & medicine balls
- Weight Bench
- Yoga/Pilates balls, steps, bands, and blocks
The sky is really the limit, but to outfit a gym like you see above, expect to pay as much as $10,000.
This is my home gym. It is set up in one of the extra bedrooms in my house. I have a personal trainer come to my house once a week. I walk several times a week (when I’m being good) and I do a little light weight training twice a week (when I’m being VERY good).
Here’s what I recommend:
- Paint – If you have a dedicate workout room, paint it a bright, energizing color
- 2 Yoga mats – This is nice when you work out with a friend
- Fan – A directional fan keeps you cool whether you’re walking on the treadmill or doing squats
- Dedicated workout shoes – Keep a pair of shoes in your home gym so that they always stay clean.
- Free weights – If you work out with a friend, it’s good to have 2 sets
- Inclining weight bench
- Exercise Balls – These area great replacement for a weight bench. They can be used for chest presses, flyes, situps, wall sits, leg rolls and more. Check out Spark People for more exercises.
- TV and media – An inexpensive but good quality TV and a Blu-ray/DVD media player can keep you from getting bored while working out.
- Resistance Bands – these are great to get variety in your workout.
- Yoga Blocks
- Wii (not shown) – You can use a Wii or other interactive video game to get a little fun and change in your workout.
- Step (not shown) – This is good to keep with the Wii.
- Towels – Put some rolled towels in a cute basket for a nice but useful display. This will discourage you from using that same bacteria-filled towel for weeks. Get white ones you can bleach!
- Papers – a nice 3-drawer plastic bin is great for holding exercise printouts and workout plans.
- Posters – Get some motivational posters, spray-glue them onto foam board and hang them on your walls
Since I didn’t buy everything in my room at once, I’ll estimate. But the bottom line is that if you wanted a room like this it would cost just under $2,000.
You can spend as much or as little as you like on your exercise area. You can use equipment in your living room or have a dedicated space. But the ultimate goal is to find a space that is convenient for you with tools that help you accomplish your goals. It’s good to make it as fun and interesting as you can, because although we hate to exercise, we love the benefits afterwards.