This post is inspired by my friend Tyler who runs a ridiculously busy schedule, and wants to be able to fit some solid training into his schedule of working, going to school, playing guitar, and otherwise being a boss. Here we go:
I LOVE the gym. I’m all for getting after it in the weight room; get under a bar, use dumbbells, cables, and other things that are too heavy and expensive to put in your house. That’s why you go to the gym, right? While I’m all about religiously
exorcising exercising, I understand that most people aren’t going to a gym on a regular basis. About half of Americans exercise 3 times a week, only 15% of Americans currently have a gym membership, and a whopping 90% of people with health club memberships stop going regularly within 90 days of joining. There’s a noticeable gap between people who exercise regularly (50%) and people who frequent a gym, (<15%). Based on The CDC’s most recent trend data on obesity, I think it’s safe to say that we need more people exercising on a regular basis. While I’m throwing some numbers at you, think about this:
On average, people who are considered obese pay $1,429 (42 percent) more in health care costs than normal-weight individuals. Source
You can either pay these health care costs and react to poor health, or you can pay for a trainer or coach, gym membership, and exercise equipment, and try to prevent poor health. Mike Boyle touched on this in a recent blog post, and said, “Proactive spending not only will prolong life, it will increase it’s quality.”
In all honesty, you’ll see the best results by working at a facility that tailors a program specifically to your needs, or working with a coach that can develop individualized exercise plans. That being said, there’s nothing stopping you from taking matters into your own hands, and doing it on your own. If you’d like to exercise but don’t want to become a gym rat, here are several items that you can use at home that offer a superb exercise-to-investment ratio: You’ll be able to get a LOT done with the equipment. Just remember:
It’s not going to be a surprise to regular readers that my first recommendation is a suspension trainer. Suspension trainers allow for a lot of variety in your training, and you can easily modify exercises to make them more appropriate for your needs. My preferred model is the TRX Suspension Trainer, but there are also an assortment of other systems (Blast Straps, Jungle Gym, Rings) that work just as well. You can check out this promo video from Fitness Anywhere to see the TRX in action. Remember though, that they’re selling it as a stand-alone product. As good as this gym-in-a-bag is, it’s certainly not idea for some exercises.
In addition to the TRX, I’m also a huge fan of the ValSlides. I’ve talked about them before, and I appreciate that a ‘simple’ plastic and foam oval can make ‘simple’ body weight exercises pretty brutal. ValSlides offer the same near-infinitate modifcation options of the ValSlides. If you’re in a tight space and tight on funds, the ValSlides will offer some deceptively difficult exercises for you to use as part of a training program.
So far the TRX and ValSlides have been winners because they’re so versatile. That trend will continue with The Ultimate Sandbag, which provides a modern take on an ‘old school’ fitness staple. The contents of the sand bag (sand, duh.) moves around while you use it, and this movement can make a lighter load feel like a ton of bricks. Or sand. Check out this video below:
This next recommendation might catch you by surprise, considering it’s straight from an infomercial. Before you decide to tie me up with a Superband, let me explain why. Exercise bands are great for training, but you typically see one or two at a time, and it’s difficult to find anchor points in your home. The Weider X-Factor offers a four-corner set up that allows you to play around with angles and a variety of resistance levels. I’m recommending this over options like stand-alone exercise bands and the TRX Rip Trainer because I think it offers slightly more versatility over other at-home resistance band systems. Plus, if you can put it on your door, you can play with it every time you leave the room; no excuses.
As my final at-home recommendation, I’ll throw in the Iron Gym pull-up bar, which you can simply hang in your door frame and go to town with a variety of chin-up grips. Like all marketers, they also recommend other exercises for it, but if you pick up anything else on this list, you’ll see better results. Hang this one on your door frame and have fun pulling.
I wouldn’t expect someone to purchase all of these pieces of equipment to use at home. In fact, dedication and creativity are more important than all of these combined. Even if you were to buy a TRX, ValSlides, SandBag, X-Factor, and Iron Gym, that’s less than half of the average additional cost of obesity. To me, the decision is a no-brainer.
Between your local fitness facility and this home exercise equipment, you’re actually saving money by investing in your health. With that said, just going or owning equipment doesn’t take care of the important aspects of program design and exercise selection. If you have any questions about the equipment let me know, and stay tuned for exercise recommendations and tips this week.