How to create an affordable home gym

How to create an affordable home gym

Losing weight, getting fit and living a healthier lifestyle are the most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions and it’s easy to see why.

Few of us have too much time on our hands, and getting to a fitness center before, after or during work is just one more chore on what can seem an endless list. Add family obligations to the mix and time for personal fitness gets harder to find than the willpower not to finish that leftover holiday candy.

Bringing your fitness regime in-house, literally, can be the answer, and it’s likely easier and more affordable than you think.

Many fitness and wellness experts offer in-home services that can range from nutritional consultation, to in-home personal training, to installing and maintaining a home gym.

Paul Comstock III, owner of Fitness One in Greenfield, offers in-home installation and maintenance of fitness equipment.

“We can come in and put in flooring, mirrors and televisions…if you give us a blank space, we can make it into something (nice),” Comstock said. “I’ve had people with a walk-in closet or a little room where all they could fit into it was a treadmill and television. We can do (computer-aided design) drawings. We can (work with) any budget. It depends on how in-depth you want to go.”

When adding a home gym, it’s important homeowners consider their goals, how they plan to use the equipment and if the equipment can fit into the space for which it’s planned.

“I can get most anything into a home, but there are certain machines commercially graded that just aren’t designed to fit into a house,” Comstock said. “Have somebody come out just to make sure your ideas are going to work in the places you want. (Also) a lot of people can spend way more than they need or they don’t spend enough. You need to be aware of how you’re going to use it and be realistic about what you’re going to do on it. If you’re going to buy a treadmill to train for the mini-marathon, you have to spend a little more money.”

If you invest in exercise equipment, it’s important you have it inspected annually to ensure its safe, operates as it should and to help prolong its useful life. Treadmills, for example, require regular upkeep to operate their best. Comstock charges $110 for a typical maintenance visit, which also covers the cost of a follow-up visit, if necessary.

“As you use the treadmill, as with anything with moving parts, it’s eventually going to need maintenance, which is lubricating it; checking for wear and tear, like belt rollers; doing amp draws, calibrations; pulling covers off and vacuuming them out. There are just a lot of things that go into it. To do a full service on a treadmill the right way is going to take close to an hour. Once we’re done, we wipe it all down, explain what we’ve done and how to keep it going in between visits.”

Some people just can’t muster up the discipline to exercise even in the swankiest of home gyms. For those types, experts suggest a buddy system.

Mitch Schroder, owner of Better Bodies, Inc. – which offers in home personal training and has on-site locations in Indianapolis, Carmel and Zionsville -- offers discounts for couples or families interested in getting fit.

“You have somebody with you to keep you motivated,” Schroder said. “You don’t need to have the same fitness level when you start. You may have completely different goals and do completely different exercises, but you hold each other accountable.”

Anyone beginning a fitness program, should first talk to a primary care physician about potential risks or side effects. Schroder said it’s important that he also obtain a full assessment of his clients’ fitness levels to help them meet their long-term goals.

“We’ll find out their medical history, physical abilities, what they like and don’t like, and, based on their goals, we find a way to get them there,” Schroder said. “Maybe you feel overweight, are lethargic or just not very happy. We’re here to help you go from that point to a completely different place.”

Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2013.

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