As technology has evolved and we have gotten used to it, one side-effect has been the onset of a sedentary lifestyle.
Lack of physical activity has increasingly become a matter of concern as it brings with it a lot of lifestyle-related issues such as stress, diabetes, blood pressure, etc.
No matter how busy you are, it’s important to take out time and do some physical activity.
A great way of getting it done by taking regular walks or getting involved with some sport.
Another good way to get some activity done is to set up a home gym and use it regularly.
Regular exercise has many direct and indirect benefits and as small as 15-20 minutes a day can do wonders to your health and well-being.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
Regular exercise makes your heart stronger and your lungs fitter. It enables your heart to deliver more oxygen to the body with every heartbeat. It also enables the pulmonary system to increase the maximum amount of oxygen that the lungs can take in.
Exercise lowers blood pressure. It decreases the level of bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. These effects decrease the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and coronary artery diseases.
Diabetes, which is currently a major lifestyle disease in India, is less likely to occur in people who exercise regularly.
Regular exercise boosts the immune system and makes muscle strong. It stretches the muscles and joints which increases flexibility and helps prevent injury.
It also helps improve balance by strengthening the tissues around the joints. It strengthens the bones and helps prevent osteoporosis.
A study suggests that 30 mins of exercise 5 or more days in a week, helps in lowering depression and mental stress.
I hope I have been able to stress how important exercise is and all the benefits a few minutes of exercise every day can bring with it.
Now that we know the importance of exercising regularly, the next step is having the right place to train. A place that makes you comfortable and reaches your goals.
Home Gym Vs. Commercial Gym
If you’re looking for regular exercise, especially something that needs fitness equipment and machines, then you have two options – a commercial gym and a home gym.
Let’s go through the good and bad of both these kinds of gyms.
The Good and Bad of a Commercial Gym
Getting a gym membership ensures one has access to a variety of equipment. This, in turn, ensures one can do different types of exercises.
So if you like to be able to train with several machines and fitness equipment, opt for a commercial gym.
For example, there are three to four machines for cardio at any commercial gym. You can alternate between them day wise or as you wish. A drawback here worth mentioning is that most gyms during peak hours limit the time on cardio to 20-30 mins.
Another good thing about a commercial gym is that if one is a person who gets motivated by seeing people around them working out, then a commercial gym atmosphere is for them. Motivation can also come from seeing people in better fitness levels working out.
However, waiting on equipment can be difficult to adjust on. Since a large number of people will be there, one has to have patience and wait for their turn.
The third good aspect of the commercial gym is that one can easily ask for help from a trainer. One has the advantage of having a spotter, especially in weight training exercises. It ensures safety and reduces the chances of injury.
Also if one likes to socialize, commercial gym gives lots of opportunities as there are a lot of people one can interact with during breaks or rests. Friendships made with like-minded people and those trying to achieve the same goal of fitness can last for a long time.
And, if you don’t like socializing, a handy advice is to wear sports earphones/headphones. That way no one will disturb you.
Even though commercial gyms are packed with equipment, there is still a lot of space. On the downside, there is no privacy.
Be ready for stare’s and people watching. If one gets uncomfortable or embarrassed due to lack of privacy, then a commercial gym is not the right place for them.
Hygiene wise commercial gyms are a sore option. There is a high chance of catching infection since the same equipment is used by many people.
A study published in the journal of clinical sports medicine found 63% of gym exercise machines tested positive for the virus that causes notorious cold/flu. The number of germs found overall is staggering.
Sometimes even disinfectants are not enough to kill the contaminants.
The infection spreads by touching the contaminated surface (almost everywhere in the gym) and then by either touching your face or cracks through the skin. Always remember to shower and change clothes.
Each user sweats and leaves the equipment. It is a good idea to wipe the gym equipment with a personal towel before and after using the machine.
Another headache one does not have to bother with is maintenance in case the machine breaks down.
Since one is already paying for gym dues, it becomes the responsibility of the management to take care of machines.
Lastly joining a gym is a good idea if one is a beginner to get an idea of the basics. Learn, get the hang of exercises and then make your own home gym. However, there are equally good instruction CDs and programs online and on Tv which one can follow when working alone at home.
The Good and Bad of a Home Gym
Home Gym is a win-win situation especially if one has space and dedication.
It is basically a place where we can train without the issues of a commercial gym. It can be a room, garage or any place on your property.
The best part is self-designing according to our preferences and tastes. You can arrange equipment according to our preference, put up pictures on the wall according to your taste, and play the music you like.
You have complete freedom over timings, and the attire you want to wear. It is a great option for people who are busy and do not have much time in their day.
Even if you’re short on time, you can easily squeeze in a 15-20 minutes workout session at any time of the day (as per your convenience).
And you don’t have to worry about it being open or closed. It’s your home gym and you can use it anytime you want.
Also, You do not need to skip gym even if the weather is bad or if it’s a holiday. Having a home gym saves preparation time and travel time. So basically all our workout time is spent actually working out. This makes the home gym a quick and efficient workout space.
Home gym ensures complete privacy and no distractions. No one is waiting for using the equipment after you. If you don’t like socializing much then this is for you.
Also, if you have the home gym set up nicely, your entire family can use it.
However, some people find it extremely difficult to exercise at home. Since they are in their comfort zones, it makes them difficult to disconnect and focus on the workouts.
This problem can be solved however with willpower and dedication. Aiming for small goals and then celebrating tiny victories. The benefited at the end is one’s own health!
It is important therefore to have motivating factors that make one workout regularly and with dedication at home gym.
With a home gym, you are also saved from repulsive sweat marks of other gym users found on the equipment of commercial gym.
Since hygiene maintenance is the responsibility of the owner, you can effectively clean machines and there are no chances of pathogenic transfer of virus from other people.
However, if something breaks in your home gym, it’s your responsibility to get it fixed.
A typical home gym does not have much variety. However that can be fixed by improvisation (using the same equipment for different set of muscles, workout using different movements, using the super slow technique, changing rest intervals between reps, using different reps, doing breakdowns- a long set of constantly lowering weights without breaks).
The good news is doing basic exercise with free weights builds more muscles and strength than working only on machines would. So concentrate on free weights and it will compensate for the loss of variety of machines. Jogging outdoors can compensate for cardio equipment. You can also do body weight exercises like body weight circuit and use resistance bands in absence of cardio machines.
Lack of space can be an issue. One can simply adjust a few things here and there. The important thing being here is working out! Its benefits far supersede the space problem.
Keeping in mind all these points, one can make a good decision on what works best for him/herself.
In the long run, however, keeping in mind the cost of travel and membership, the quality home gym is a winner, durable and can last forever.
Also, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good home gym setup.
Bench, power rack, some free weights, and small fitness equipment are all that’s needed.
Setting Up a Home Gym in India
How you set up your home gym would depend on the budget you have.
In this article, I am going to cover how to set up a home with when you have a budget of:
- Less than INR 10,000
- Less than INR 20,000
- Less than INR 30,000
You can go higher also if you have the budget and can invest in fitness equipment that is more advanced and expensive.
Setting Up a Home Gym in less than INR 10,000
A good basic gym can be set in less than INR 10,000 with most of the essential fitness equipment.
This means that you can’t get a treadmill, exercise bike or an elliptical trainer, but you can get the smaller stuff is equally effective and cheaper.
Skipping Rope (INR 200)
For cardio, one can jog outdoors or can use a Skipping Rope to do a high-intensity workout.
A skipping rope is not expensive, needs a very little space and can be taken easily in case you’re traveling. It is a great workout option for strength and stamina.
You can get a good quality skipping rope for less than INR 200.
Adjustable Dumbbells (INR 2500)
Adjustable Dumbbells allows you to train with different weights. One set of adjustable dumbbells with different weight plates in enough to carry out a variety of weight training workouts.
It can be used individually or in pairs to increase strength and muscle size.
A typical dumbbell can start from INR 499 and go up to INR 2500 for a kit which has various weights.
Related: Best Adjustable Dumbells in India
Resistance Bands (INR 700)
Resistance Bands are used in strength training without the use of weights.
These are lightweight and can easily be carried anywhere when traveling.
Related: Best Resistance Bands in India
With a resistance band or resistance tube, you can do a lot of exercises and can work up different muscles. Weak muscles can also be rehabilitated with the help of resistance bands.
Resistance bands often come with different resistance levels and you want to do light to heavy intensity workouts with it.
Good quality resistance bands are available in the range of INR 500-1000.
Exercise Mats and Floor Protectors (500)
Exercise Mats and floor protectors are a must to have when planning for a home Gym.
The padding protects knees, elbows, and tailbone during floor workouts.
It keeps the floor and carpet clean by keeping sweat away from it. Exercises mats come in different shapes and sizes. There are yoga mats, pilates mat, fitness mats and foam mats with interlocking edges.
The padding helps protect the floor in case weights fall during free weights exercises.
They are essential for abdominal, core and flexible stretching.
You can find good exercise mats starting at INR 500. When buying one, it’s better to choose an 8mm mat for more padding and comfort.
Exercise Gloves (500)
While working out, gloves ensure better grip on equipment.
It protects the fingers against calluses and blisters. They help in avoiding friction between bar/rods and the skin. They are especially helpful if one sweats a lot.
Gloves which have a wrist wrap increases grip strength.
Avoid purchasing thick bulky gloves which can become an obstruction to picking up equipment.
They also help in to provide support and to rehabilitate in case of injuries of the hand and help in lifting, gripping.
However, since they are subject to wear and tear there is a need for constant replacement.
You can find a good pair of exercise glove in INR 300-500 range.
Ab Rollers (1000)
They are a great addition to the home gym. It’s lightweight and doesn’t cost a lot.
Ab rollers help you work on a set of your core and ab muscles. Each repetition of the ab roller exercise works on nearly 20 muscles. It helps in strengthening muscles and improves stamina.
Ab rollers engage all core muscles. They help in strengthening the abs and strong abs protect the spine. Exercises with Ab rollers is also called anti-extension exercises.
Related: Best Ab Roller in India
These come in the range starting from Rupees 500-1500.
While Ab Rollers are not as lightweight, you can still carry these when you’re traveling. A combination of an Ab roller and a resistance band is good enough to give you a solid workout.
Gym ball / Stability Ball (INR 1000)
A gym ball is a great addition to the home gym and can be used instead of machine workout for a full body routine.
It activates core muscles and engages almost all muscles to counteract the instability of the ball.
You can easily buy a gym ball in the price range of INR 500 to 1200.
It can be used in place of the chair as well. You can do basic crunches, hip bridges, hamstring curls, planks, pikes etc.
They are a fun way to exercise for all family members. It also does not require extra space!
Adjustable bench (INR 2000)
An adjustable bench is an important piece of equipment and it’s a good idea to get it even for your home gym.
With an adjustable bench, you can do a lot of chest exercise and exercise where you need to sit and workout.
Good benches are those which can be made to lie flat, inclined or declined. Most weight and ab exercises would require the use of a bench in various modes. It will also allow hands to move freely.
A good bench provides support when lifting weights. Hyperextension which is quite difficult can be performed easily on gym benches. It helps to improve core stability, posture and strengthens the lower back muscles.
Since the body gains more stability while sitting, one can workout easily with dumbbells and weights. It can also be used as a step for step ups or as a platform for push-ups. It can be used for burpee, a basic cardiac exercise.
Benches are one of the more expensive items when trying to set up a home gym in a budget. You can find a good home gym bench in INR 2000-5000 range.
Also, this is not something you can carry with you when traveling. And make sure you have enough space in your home gym to place a bench. You also need to make sure there is enough space around it so you can freely move your hands when exercising on a bench.
Barbell rods with weights (INR 1500)
Barbell consists of a rod with weights attached at either end. If you already have adjustable dumbells, you don’t need to buy additional weights. You can use the same weights with a barbell rod.
A barbell rod ranges between 4 feet and 8 feet in length.
There is two type of bars- Olympic and Curled.
The weight of the bars are different and various kgs can be attached and removed on either end. An Olympic bar comes in the range of 1,700 rupees to 7,000 rupees
A good Curl bar cost starts from 1800 rupees. The cost of weight plates to be attached to the bar starts from 500– 1200 rupees and increases as weights of plates increase.
These are the basic equipment required for a home gym.
Setting Up a Home Gym in less than INR 20,000
If you have a budget of INR 20,000, you can get yourself a good exercise cycle or an elliptical trainer. This will help in getting your cardio workout done.
Note that these are bigger pieces of equipment and you would need some extra space to keep it.
Elliptical cross trainer (INR 10000)
An elliptical cross trainer is used for cardiovascular exercise.
This exercise mimics the movement pattern while walking, running, climbing stairs to provide a full body workout.
For changing type of workout, one only needs to change resistance and speed.
It is considered to be the safest equipment in the gym. It improves overall strength and can be used as a recovery exercise for resistance training.
You can find a decent elliptical trainer in under INR 10,000. The price can go up to 50k depending on the advanced features in it.
Related: Best Elliptical trainer in India
Exercise Cycle/Bike (INR 7000)
An Exercise bike is also one gym equipment that helps in the cardio workout. It’s also one of the safest gym equipment and can easily be used at home.
It gives the same effects as the treadmill and is especially effective for lower body workout. It provides a safe and effective cardiovascular exercise regime.
Because it gives a low impact on joints, it can be used by elderlies too.
Good exercise bikes start from the range of 7000 rupees.
Related: Best Exercise Cycles in India
Setting Up a Home Gym in INR 30,000 or more
If you have more budget and space in hour house, you can invest in some more gym equipment.
Motorized Treadmill (INR 15,000+)
While treadmill is very popular among gym folks and provides a great cardio workout, it does puts a lot of pressure on your knees.
It improves heart health and lowers blood pressure. It is quite easy to use and one can easily track progress. It has inbuilt programs which keep the session interesting. (incline speeds etc)
You can use a treadmill when you don’t want to go outside for it (maybe due to rain or heat or pollution).
Manual treadmills are cheaper starting from 9000 rupees and motorized treadmills start from 15000 rupees.
I would recommend you buy a motorized treadmill.
Related: Best Motorized Treadmill in India
One caution does not buy second-hand machines. You can hurt. Secondly, it is a good idea to buy AMC of the equipment. Servicing contract is another name for it.
It is a good idea to hire a personal trainer who can teach you for a while before exercising solo.
Remember start small.
Start with 3-4 equipment and increase gradually once savings are enough.
The body also needs slow but regular exercises to get used to workouts.
Gradually stamina will increase and muscles will get toned. This way the body will get ready for tougher workouts.
Hope you found this article helpful and it helped you in making the right decision when setting up a home gym.