Tips For Setting Up An At-Home Gym on a Budget

Wellness

Exercising during these times can be quite difficult. Due to the COVID-19 virus, many gyms and parks were closed because of social distancing mandates and/or attempts to help "flatten the curve." While many places across the world are opening up as the phases progress, gyms are some of the last places to open. This is because of the combination of exerting sweat and droplets with a warm and moist environment - the perfect place to catch an illness. Now, many people are trying and hoping to create their own version of the gym inside their very homes! After doing some research to make MY own at-home gym, here are some tips and tricks I am following to help me lead an active lifestyle in my very home!

Find Your Own Space

Before you can do anything, you need to make sure you have an area of your house or apartment that can be dedicated to exercising. While not necessary, it can be really beneficial to have an area of your home where you can completely focus on becoming more active. For example, if you have all of your equipment in your bedroom, all you may be able to focus on is sleeping and relaxation. While that is all fun and important to becoming a healthier version of you, it may not be the best plan for trying to be more active!

Discover Your Workout Goals

Like most things, it is always good to go into a project with a goal of something you can achieve. It gives you something for you to work towards! For some people, especially people just starting out, a broad and non-specific goal might be best for you like "I want to be stronger" or "I want to run more." This helps reach the initial vague goal quicker and may even encourage you to make different, more specific ones like "I want to be able to lift x amount of weight." Some of my goals are being able to lift 75 lbs, run/walk a mile in ten minutes, and simply just working out more often than not!

Start Small - Then Get Bigger

A mistake I often make while exercising is I go to very extreme lengths. I spend more money than I should, exercise all the time, and I never give my body time to rest. And like anything, going from not being active at all to a gym rat can do a number on your body. But if you start small and succeed with that, it can encourage you to continue and come up with even bigger plans, longer workout times, or even more intricate equipment. So in the meantime, take baby steps into becoming a more active you!

Come Up With Your Workout Plans

Before you go into a workout, it will be a lot easier to go into it with a plan of what you want to do or what you want to accomplish for the day. Maybe one day you'll focus on your core or your biceps or your legs! When I am focusing on strength training, I go into the workout with an idea of the type of exercises (weights, bands, etc.) and the # of reps I am planning on doing. This not only helps keep me on track in general, but I feel much more focused when I have a checklist to follow.*

*This is not to be said that the plan cannot change while you are exercising - you know your body and what you can do in the moment!

Utilize Things You Already Have at Home

When setting up almost anything, many people become very excited about creating a new area of their home. They start online shopping, thrift shopping...honestly, just shopping in general! But what many do not know is that you can find many gym equipment replacements right in your very home! For example, instead of a 10 lb. weight, you can use a 10 lb. bag of rice (and then cook it for dinner that night!) Or instead of buying a treadmill, you can go for a walk or a run around your neighborhood (if that is permittable.) While there is nothing wrong with buying equipment, you can save a lot of money by utilizing just the simplest things in your surroundings!

Save Up for Quality Equipment

While I recommend trying to find some things to use around the house, it can be very exciting to buy new stuff to use! Buying and setting up your new treadmill or weight rack can be very fun and may even inspire you to start using it right away! It gives you the atmosphere of a gym right in your own house. But make sure your equipment is worth the money! Although deals and savings may excite, be wary of faulty equipment that can be sold. While the cheap elliptical may be fun for a couple of weeks, a more expensive one can serve you and your home gym for many years to come!

Personalize it to You

Make sure your gym feels like a place where you can truly be yourself! Like with any place, it feels more comfortable if you add your own personal pizzazz to it. Maybe that means adding some inspirational posters to keep you motivated! Or painting walls (if they are available) your favorite color! Or even just arranging your furniture in a way that relaxes you. For example, my workout zone has decorated posters of my family's favorite college football team - it gets me pumped! Now...what is that for you?

With things settling into a new normal of coronavirus standards around the world, many people are still wary of going to the grocery stores, let alone the gym (myself included.) We have had to completely transform the way we live our lives. But! There are still so many ways to be active, even in our own homes. Good luck on your new home renovation to help boost your active lifestyle!

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Reagan Blackburn

Reagan Blackburn is a rising sophomore at East Carolina University studying communication and theatre arts. In her free time, she likes to volunteer, read, write, act, sing, and hang out with the people she loves. Above all, she is an advocate towards dissolving stigmas around mental health and overall hopes to promote girl love.


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