Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our Home Gym

Every year, consumers spend an estimated $4 billion on home treadmills, stationary bikes, Stairmasters and other equipment that ends up gathering dust. A Consumer Reports survey last year found that nearly 40 percent of those who buy home exercise machines say they use them less than they expected.
When it comes to sticking with an exercise plan, having home equipment is not the most important factor. What matters more is “self-efficacy” — a deep-seated belief that we really do have the power to achieve our goals.

Recent studies have found simple ways to increase the likelihood that you will keep exercising. Working out with friends or family members, mastering an exercise (like the proper way to use gym equipment), and working with someone who motivates you, like a personal trainer, all build confidence and bolster the chances of sticking with it.

Phil and I were members for several years of a downtown gym that we loved. A recent change in ownership and management philosophy, combined with an extended facility renovation, forced us to seek other options.

Eventually we decided to add a few new pieces of equipment to our home gym and see if we could get a satisfying workout on our own.

As I have noted before, we use the CompuTrainers for our aerobic workouts (music stand is great for holding our interval workout cue sheets):

Mechanical stuff that makes the CompuTrainer work (like the high-tech explanation?)
Phil also uses rollers to improve his balance, pedal stroke and perform low intensity recovery workouts. Rollers scare the bejeebers out of me – I see them as a really neat way to break a collarbone.

So I avoid using them.

We use the rest of the equipment to supplement our balance, flexibility, core and strength training:

Cable machines are a type of weight machine that allow for a wide variety of movements and weight lifting exercises:

Cable weight machine

Bosu ball & adjustable barbells

Fitballs, medicine balls & balance discs

Adjustable step

We find we can do a wide variety of exercises with this equipment.

We miss the friends we made at our gym, and we sometimes would like a change of scenery, but we have everything we need at home to get a top-notch workout.

When all is said and done, having each other as built-in workout buddies is the primary reason a home gym works for us. If you don't have that sort of built-in motivator, spending money on a personal trainer might make more sense than buying home gym equipment, at least until you get your workout habit established.

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