Setting up a home gym so you can workout in the comfort of your own house is a great idea. It can involve an entire room dedicated to workout gear or simply a small area where you can complete daily exercises. A home gym can include large machinery or consist of just a mat, some weights, and other exercise gear along with a screen of some sort to follow a routine.
But how do you get started? There are various categories of fitness and health products from which to choose to set up home gyms of all kinds, whether you want to focus on cardio, weight training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or a variety of other exercises. And there are lots of subscription-based services like Fitbit Premium and iFit that you can use with devices to enhance the experience and give you that push you need to reach your goals.
Whether you are looking to get fit, shed pounds, build muscle, de-stress, or just ensure you live an overall healthier lifestyle, getting the daily steps and exercise you need to maintain good health, a home gym is a smart investment.
Here’s a look at the kinds of equipment that will come in handy once you’re ready to set up a gym at home.
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Fitness equipment for a home gym
Fitness equipment can range from cardio machines like treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical machines, and rowing machines to strength training gear, boxing and martial arts equipment, yoga and pilates gear, and more.
Exercise bikes are pretty popular, especially ones that come with screens so you can follow along with live or on-demand workouts taking place virtually. A bike like the Nordictrack S10i Studio Cycle even comes with a one-year subscription to iFit, which provides one-on-one virtual workouts with a trainer. The service offers a choice of thousands of on-demand video workouts suited to everyone from beginners to professionals and spanning every type of training from yoga to HIIT. The bike also comes with 3 lb. dumbbells so you can work on your upper body at the same time as your legs and lower body. iFit also works with Proform bikes and other fitness equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, and more.
Don’t need something so elaborate? There’s also the Costway Magnetic Fly-wheel Stationary Cycle Exercise Bike that doesn’t have a screen but it does offer a nearly silent ride so you won’t wake the baby or disturb other family members if you decide to get a midnight or early morning work-out in while everyone is asleep. There are four grip positions on the handlebar so everyone can get a workout in and it does have a small LCD that displays your speed, time, distance, calorie burn, and heart rate.
If strength training is your goal, you can get larger equipment like home gyms that help you work out every part of your body from one versatile machine. Keep in mind that as with fitness equipment like an exercise bike, you will need to have the room to accommodate one of these. But it could easily be set up in a corner of a basement or even garage if you aren’t quite ready to convert your guest room to a home gym.
Sometimes, all you want to do is get those recommended 10,000 steps in, but maybe you aren’t keen on trudging through the snow to get it done during the winter. Or, you might have a baby at home and can’t leave the house, or only have time to do it during the late night hours. A walking pad is a great option. The Superfit 2 in 1 Ultra-Thin Folding Treadmill is perfect for those who don’t have a ton of room in the house. It folds up for storage and even comes with a Bluetooth speaker and a remote control. Fold it out, walk while you watch TV, read a book, or listen to a podcast, then fold it back up when you’re done. It can even be used as an under-desk treadmill – have a leisurely walk while making those important client phone calls! When you’re ready for a more intense workout, kick the speed up a notch and get some jogging or running in.
Fitness gear for a home gym
A great way to exercise at home is to follow exercises from a video or animation, either displayed on a screen in front of you or even a tiny smartwatch screen (more on both later). In many cases, these exercises require that you have some gear on hand in order to fully participate, or you can intensify a workout by complementing it with additional gear.
Some such items include weights and medicine balls, stability balls to help workout your core, and resistance bands. It might not look like there’s much to resistance bands but try one set of stretches with one around your arms or legs and you’ll quickly realize their benefits and how much you can do with them.
Whatever you get, it’s a smart idea to start with a pilates or yoga mat that can grip to the floor, especially if it’s hardwood or concrete, on which you can complete your exercises. There are exercise mats specifically designed to be placed under a treadmill, exercise bike, or other large machinery to protect your floor and keep it positioned properly. For working out, you’ll want a nice, non-slip and thick mat that you can comfortably get down on your hands and knees on and do everything from push-ups to sit-ups, and leg curls. If you have the room, go bigger, especially if you might work out with a friend or family member from time to time.
Don’t discount the need for a device to help soothe your aching muscles once your workout is done, especially for beginners or those who suffer from muscle pain. The EZ-X Premium Percussion Massage Gun has 20 speed levels and six massage heads, so you can use it to get some deep tissue therapy after a strenuous workout.
Smartwatches and activity trackers
A perfect companion device to a home gym is a smartwatch or fitness tracker you can wear around your wrist to keep track of workouts, heart rate, daily steps, and other information pertinent to your health and wellness.
The Fitbit Sense is the newest device from this leading smartwatch maker and it can track everything under the sun, from your daily steps to specific workouts, calories burned, and even detailed sleep patterns (an important but often forgotten part of your health) as well as stress management, blood oxygen variation, and even skin temperature. All of this data provides a holistic picture into your health and wellness.
Along with joining the community of Fitbit users to compare stats and even compete with friends and family on daily or weekly challenges, you can also tap into Fitbit Premium to get even more from the Sense and other compatible Fitbit devices. From the perspective of working out, this includes access to tons of guided workout sessions you can follow from an animated display on the watch face itself (there are some free ones as well) along with advanced analysis of your sleep score and other health metrics. It’s on for a free six-month trial after which it’s $13.49/mo.
Apple recently launched its Apple Fitness+ subscription-based service in Canada, which works with the latest Apple Watch models, including the new Apple Watch Series 6. With it, you can follow along with various studio-style workouts that intelligently communicate with the Watch to provide a personalized experience. You can also play music from Apple Music, in whatever genre you prefer, to get your juices flowing. The subscription, which costs $13/mo., can be shared with up to six family members, so everyone can use the home gym to do their own specially curated workouts. New Apple Watch Series 3 and above purchases will come with a three-month trial and existing owners can try it out for a month.
Truly wireless headphones
Speaking of music, no workout is complete without music to help get you into a groove. And if you’re working out at home and don’t want to disturb the rest of the family, a good pair of truly wireless headphones make sense. These are also handy when you want to take the workouts outdoors, whether it’s to go for a morning run or a lunch-time power walk.
You’ll want a pair that’s sports-friendly, like the Jabra Elite 65t in-ear passive noise cancelling truly wireless headphones that are both water- and dust-resistant so it won’t matter how much you sweat, and fit securely into each ear so they won’t fall out, no matter how rigorous your workout. There’s also the obvious advantage of not having to worry about wires getting tangled as you move your arms and legs about. These boast an impressive five-hour battery life and come with a charging case that ups that to 15, so you can easily go two weeks, working out an hour a day, without having to recharge. Plus, one-touch access to voice controls means you can skip music tracks or call up a favourite podcast while in the middle of sweating it out on the elliptical without having to stop or pause your workout.
If you don’t want to get rid of wires entirely, there are sports wireless headphones like the Bose SoundSport in-ear wireless headphones. They do have a small cord, but it sits neatly behind your neck so if you want to pop the earbuds out of your ears to reply to someone in the house or while taking a two-minute water break, the buds will neatly fall to your shoulders. They are designed specifically for wearing while working out (though there’s no reason you couldn’t wear them other times, too) with StayHear+ tips that stay in place, six-hour battery life, sweat- and weather-resistance, and an inline mic so you don’t have to skip a beat while working out if you want to skip tracks, raise or lower the volume, or answer an incoming call.
Small appliances for healthy cooking
Depending on how elaborate your home gym set-up is, you might have an area to plug in a small appliance nearby, like a juicer or blender, to refuel as needed with healthy juices, shakes, and snacks. Or, more realistically, you might just keep these small appliances in the kitchen and head upstairs or over to that room to get your pre- or post-workout drink or snack.
A device like the Breville Juice Fountain Cold Centrifugal Juicer is a great way to make sure you’re getting your daily servings of those all-important fruits and vegetables. Using cold spin technology and with no heat transfer that could impact the vitamins and minerals you get from produce, pop in a selection of your favourites and you’ll get delicious fresh juice. You can make a batch ahead using the 2-litre Seal and Store Juice jug then just keep it in the fridge to pour a glass after every workout. If you don’t need such a big machine and jug, you can alternatively opt for a machine like the Breville Juice Fountain Plus Centrifugal Juicer that comes with a 1L juice pitcher.
If nutritious smoothies after a good workout or for breakfast in the morning are more your thing, consider a blender. Vitamix is a leading brand when it comes to smoothies and the Vitamix A3500 1.9L 1500-watt Stand Blender is the perfect option for making everything from healthy smoothies to blending homemade healthy dips to eat with your vegetable snacks or homemade and filling healthy soups. It even has a Pulse feature that can chop ingredients like nuts and knead dough. And with Variable Speed, you can do everything from get silky smooth smoothies to chunky homemade salsa. If you don’t need something so elaborate, consider an alternative like the Vitamix E310 Explorian or the Blendtech Total Blender, which has 10 manual speeds, pre-programmed settings, and a powerful enough motor to blend frozen fruit and ice.
One of the latest trends in home cooking is air fryers, which allow you to indulge in the fried foods you love in a much healthier way, using little to no oil.
The Insignia Air Fryer has a 5L capacity so you can make delicious homemade French fries or fried chicken for the whole family without all of the guilt. And because it has a non-stick coating, it’s easy to clean. With the alarm reminder, you can set and forget, complete your workout, then come back to dinner or a snack that isn’t overcooked. The smaller 4.8L version comes finished in sleek silver if that matches better to your kitchen. Or, consider the Insignia Air Fryer Oven that has a massive 9.46L capacity for feeding you and your workout buddies. In addition to air frying, you can also use it to grill, bake, and roast, all leveraging the high-speed circulating hot air. With three racks, you can also cook multiple dishes at once.
Smart home gear for a home gym
How do smart home devices fit into your home gym? A great one to consider would be an air purifier, which can keep the area clean of germs, viruses, and bacteria, and smelling fresh despite your sweaty workout.
The JS Flo 2.0 has a HEPA filter and works to both purify the air and eliminate odours. Ideal for small-to-medium-sized rooms, like a home gym area, the newest version works with a mobile app so you can remotely turn it on or off and create automatic schedules that kick in right after your weekly workouts.
For a larger area, there are devices like the VOCOlinc PureFlow Smart Air Purifier, which also has a HEPA filter and can be controlled remotely from a smartphone or even voice commands. You can also adjust settings and monitor the air quality from the app.
If you want to rock out to tunes in a dedicated room, you can also go the route of using a smart speaker instead of truly wireless headphones. With a smart speaker like the Google Nest Hub Smart Display, you can not only work out to your favourite playlist, all controlled by voice, but also leverage the screen to watch YouTube workout videos, video call a friend to do a workout together, or just stream an episode of a television series to help the time pass while you complete 30 minutes of light cardio.
Alternatively, if you’re really serious about working out or set up your home gym in a room that already has a TV or will also double as a den or activity room, like your basement, you can cast your workouts from a mobile device to a smart TV. You might be fine with a smaller TV, like the 43″ Samsung 4K UHD LED Tizen Smart TV, which you can use to play workouts, or watch TV or music videos while getting your daily exercise in. Ideally, you’d mount it at eye level so you can watch with ease. Before you know it, that hour of running on the treadmill will be done!
Take The Next Step
A home gym doesn’t have to mean redoing an entire room of your home with tons of exercise equipment. It can be a simple bike at the side of your den or living room, or even a mat and some weights you can tuck away in the corner or closet when you’re not using it, then take out when you’re ready to get in shape.
It can also include items you keep elsewhere, like small appliances to make healthy post-workout drinks and snacks, a smartwatch worn around your wrist, and headphones you can use when you’re not working out as well.
It’s a great time to re-think your health and wellness and do something to get more fit or just reach those daily walking and active minute goals.
Ready to start setting up your own home gym? Check out lots of health and fitness gear at Best Buy Online.