Everyone from Chuck Norris to Oprah has sold or endorsed fitness equipment on late night television or through Internet ads. Abdominal belts that shock your abs into shape, or cables that will get you as buff as the California governor are available at your will. Some of the equipment advertised is decent, but most are overpriced an ineffective. Stick with simple and buy what’s cheap. With the proper technique and dedicated level of commitment, you will achieve your fitness goals. Stick with the following four pieces of equipment you must have and you can’t go wrong.
A resistance band is a rubber tube with handles attached to the ends of it. You can put the band in many different positions to perform multiple exercises. Furthermore, you can change the resistance of the band with different techniques. A resistance band is best for beginners, but should still be in the arsenal of experienced weightlifters because resistance bands are great to use when performing high rep exercises. An additional characteristic is that the band is portable and can be taken to work, or packed in your suitcase when you go on vacation. Finally, resistance bands are inexpensive, most will cost less than $25.
A floor mat is also an inexpensive piece of equipment that can supplement your workout program. If you have a comfortable floor mat, you will be more likely to do floor exercises, such as Push Ups, Pilates Crunches and the Superman. Furthermore, you prevent irritation to your back from rubbing on carpet or hard floor. Floor mats are also inexpensive and should cost no more than $25.
As you progress through your training, you will need to purchase a few pairs of dumbbells at varying weights. Resistance bands are great, but there are a few limitations in movement that you will not experience when using a pair of dumbbells. Decide which exercises you would like to perform with dumbbells and purchase the appropriate weight for that exercise. Feel free to try them out in the store! Dumbbells run between $0.50-1.00 per pound, which is much less than the price of seafood! Practice the proper techniques to avoid injury.
The last piece of equipment that you should absolutely have is a pedometer. You should wear it everyday like you would a watch. You will never know how many steps you walk per day without a pedometer, just like you will not be able to tell time without a clock. If you simply walk 10,000 steps per day, and do-nothing else, you will lose one pound per week. Can’t beat that! A decent pedometer will cost around $20, but they can cost as much as $75 depending on the quality and features.
Now you have the perfect home gym for less than $100 dollars!
Jacques Courseault, M.D.
Of Note: if you can afford an at home treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike, I would recommend one. Over time, buying one for your home is still cheaper than a gym membership.