You’ve thought about it. The idea of a home gym has crossed your mind each New Year, when the resolution-minded masses swarm your sports club, turning your hour-long workout into a two-hour workout. Each time your gym blares out Bieber, or a runny-nose lifter fails to wipe down the equipment, you’ve dreamed about owning your own gym. So why not now? “The biggest benefit is convenience,” says Michigan-based trainer Joe Stankowski, author of The Ultimate Home Gym Guide (available on Kindle). “A home gym is never closed. Plus, you don’t have to deal with commercial gyms’ restrictions about what footwear you can don or whether you can grunt during exercises. With a home gym, you can work out in your underwear if you want to—because you get the final call.”
Before you invest in a home gym, however, there are two drawbacks to consider. “The downside to a home gym is you lose that social aspect you get from a commercial gym,” says Stankowski, who recommends logging on to online forums, or training with a friend or neighbor, to help you stay on track. Second, a home gym is never a one-and-done thing. Because your training always evolves, you’ll inevitably need to add equipment, so expense and maintenance are definitely issues. One thing that isn’t an issue, though, is space, and this guide will help you choose what you need to maximize what you’ve got.