Many people (myself included) have a love-hate relationship with exercise.
They love the way it makes them feel and look. They hate doing it.
You know you should do it. It keeps you healthy, fit, trim, sane. But it's just such a pain to go sweat and huff and puff your way through a workout.
That's one reason the vast majority of people who make New Year's resolutions to stick to a fitness program end up quitting after the first few weeks.
Developing good habits is hard, and sticking to a fitness habit is one of the most difficult because it requires an extended period of time to make it worthwhile.
Because it's so hard to develop a regular fitness habit, I've tried to choose workouts that are convenient and relatively fun. I've discovered the hard (and costly) way that joining a gym doesn't work for me. It just takes too much time and effort to drive to a gym every day.
I enjoy running, hiking, and biking, and I do these things often. But sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate, and right now I have plantar fasciitis which prevents me from running.
As a result, I've started thinking about getting some home gym equipment so I'll never have an excuse to avoid exercise. I've been doing some research on various equipment that I wanted to share with you.
Here's a list of the best home gym equipment you might consider for your workout routine:
For A Full-Body Workout
I love this piece of equipment because it is small, portable, relatively inexpensive, and gives you one of the most complete full-body workouts you can find. It was developed by a Navy Seal, but don't be intimidated — it's perfect for anyone at any fitness level.
With this one piece of equipment alone, you can get over 150 different workouts. It's super easy to set up, and you can use it indoors or outside. You can also take it with you when you travel. It comes with a training video and instructions on how to use it.
One of the best full-body workouts on the market is a rowing machine. You’ll burn up to 50 percent more calories than an elliptical and strengthen nearly all the muscles from your shoulders to calves. Rowing is also great for your core strength.
It's a great exercise for all body types and fitness levels. It's a low impact cardiovascular option that's easy on the joints and connective tissue. It works 9 major muscle groups including quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulders, triceps, back and biceps.
This machine is the bestselling rower in the world for a reason. It will last a lifetime, and it's used by Olympic-level athletes to train. It's not the cheapest option, but it's a fraction of the cost of a home-gym set or gym membership.
If you aren't sure that rowing will be your cup of tea, and you don't want to invest too much money to find out, another good rowing machine for under $500 is the Stamina Air Rower. This is an air-resistance rower with adjustable resistance determined by the user, so you can adjust your workouts on the fly.
For A Great Cardio Workout
Biking is a great low-impact cardio workout, and if you can't get outside to ride a bike, a stationary bike is a great option. Pedaling a bike involves the major leg muscles and can burn 500-1,000 calories per hour, making it one of the highest calorie burners of all exercise machines.
There are so many types of stationary bikes — recumbent, upright, dual action. They can range in price from under $100 to over $1000.
In my research, I found one bike that was reasonably priced (under $200), easy to fold up and store, and it received thousands of 4 and 5 star reviews. In fact, it's the #1 bestselling bike on Amazon.
I love the compact design and that it can fold up for storage rather than it sitting out like a huge piece of mechanical furniture.
The good old treadmill remains an excellent cardio workout. If your joints can handle it, running on a treadmill can burn 600-1,200 calories per hour, and walking on it burns 150-400 calories per hour, depending on your speed and incline.
NordicTrack remains one of the best treadmills on the market, and the C990 has some cool features like a 7-Inch web-enabled touchscreen, an integrated fan, a bigger motor case for less vibration, adjustable incline and intensity, 32 preloaded workouts, and a wide tread belt for a quieter workout. It folds up for more floor space when you're not using it.
Learn more about the NordicTrack C 990 Treadmill here.
For an option under $500, check out the Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmillwhich doesn't have quite as many features but still provides a great cardio workout.
One of my favorite ways to get a cardio workout is on an elliptical machine. You don't burn quite as many calories as you do on a bike or treadmill (running), but I enjoy the workout more and don't mind staying on it a few more minutes to burn the extra calories.
Ellipticals are also great for strengthening your legs and toning your butt. They are much less jarring on your joints than running or jumping. If you get a machine with moving handles, you'll also get a great upper body workout.
Ellipticals can range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, and of course the more you pay, the more bells and whistles you'll get. I looked for the best middle of the road ellipticals and found the Horizon EX-59 is a good one for under $700.
It has several workout programs, including weight loss and interval programs, as well as some nice console features like a built-in fan and reading rack. It also comes with a built-in audio port and speakers for listening to music while you exercise. I particularly like the warranty on this machine: a lifetime frame warranty and one-year warranties on the electronics, parts, and labor.
If you want an elliptical under $500, check out the Proform Hybrid Trainer Fitness Tracker. It's lacking some console and entertainment features, and it doesn't have the best warranty.
However, it does have the ability to double as a recumbent bike which is great for those who enjoy varying their workouts. It comes with a few basic workout programs, such as interval and heart rate programs, along with the manual mode.
For A Really Fun Workout
I've written before about the benefits of rebounding and how much I love this exercise. This is such an easy, fun exercise it almost doesn't feel like exercise at all.
It's not only a great workout, but also it increase lymphatic circulation and clears your system of toxins.
Needak has a great reputation for the solid construction of their rebounders and the fact that they offer a lifetime warranty. This is the perfect rebounder for those who exercise daily on their rebounder trampoline and who might do some high impact exercises.
A stabilizing bar comes with the rebounder, and is great for beginners, seniors, or those who need something to hang onto when exercising. The rebounder can support weight up to 300 pounds. It is one of the more expensive rebounders, but has the quality construction to justify the price.
If you're not sure whether you'll enjoy rebounding, start with an inexpensive one like Stamina 36 inch Folding Trampoline. It isn't as sturdy as the Needak and has less bounce because it has elastic bands rather than metal springs. For for under $50, it's a great place to start.
Zumba combines Latin and international music with a great workout system and muscle engaging routines. The choreography is fun and easy to follow and includes merengue, salsa, reggaeton, calypso, cumbia, hip-hop, and belly dance.
The seven-disc DVD collection features seven total-body workouts and each routine utilizes varying levels of intensity including a 20-minute “Rush” workout, a 45-minute “Activate” workout, the “Ripped” toning program and more. If you like to dance and listen to great music, this is the perfect workout for you.
Other Useful Equipment
Dumbbells are essential, versatile pieces of exercise equipment for every home gym. These adjustable weights by Bowflex are convenient and smartly packaged. They combine 15 sets of weights into one, using a unique dial system
With the turn of the dial, you can adjust the weight from 5 to 52.5 pounds. For those starting a new workout regiment, this is a great feature that allows you to vary your workouts and continue to challenge yourself as you get stronger.
No workout is complete until you've done your ab work. The Ab Carver Pro uses a carbon steel spring to turbo-charge your abdominal and arm workouts. With over 3000 top-notch reviews, this little piece of equipment really does the trick.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, portable way to get your cardio workout quickly, a jump rope is a solid investment. Ten minutes of continuous jumping is the equivalent of about 30 minutes of running.
This jump rope includes a workout ebook, and it the length of the rope can be adjusted for your height. They offer better than money back guarantee. If there is any issue with your product, they'll send you a new one and give you a full refund.
If you're a reluctant exerciser, please don't use it as an excuse to avoid fitness altogether. You can make it convenient and fun by choosing the right equipment for your lifestyle.
Even a few minutes a day of cardio and strength training is better than sitting on the couch and feeling guilty. Take charge of your healthy and fitness and get moving.