Does the gym actually keep you from getting your workouts in? Even for the most fanatical fitness guys, the crowds, distance, and, in these lean times, the cost of belonging to the local gym can be enough to make a training session more stressful than cathartic. That's why we went to expert Chris Fisher, president of Out-Fit in Simi Valley, Calif., to find out exactly what you should keep in mind when creating your own personal workout space in your house.
1. Do discuss with a trainer and/or equipment expert your individual needs and goals, as well as the space you have available. If you only have a small room in the basement you have to be realistic about what you can fit into your home gym. You want your space to be inviting and comfortable, not cramped.
2. Don't buy super low-priced treadmills from discount stores, according to Fisher. The only good thing about them is the return policy. Remember, something like a treadmill has to take a pounding every single day — it pays to buy quality.
3. Do buy a treadmill with 1.5 continuous horsepower and a good suspension system. All the bells, whistles, and extra programs don't necessarily mean it's a good machine. There's a reason why you see so many low-quality machines for sale on Craigslist.
4. Do take the time to try out various types of equipment so you find what you enjoy using. If it's not fun, you won't use it for very long. Take advantage of trial periods at your local gyms. Go in for a day or two and use all the equipment. Be sure to take notes on the pieces of equipment that appeal to you.
5. Do hire a personal trainer to train you, at least in the beginning, and to set up a workout plan you know you can stick with. A pro will help you map out what works for you. Once they lay the foundation, the rest is up to you. This will also be your opportunity to pick their brain in terms of what equipment you should add to your personal gym.
6. Don't buy used equipment without thoroughly checking it out. If it dies shortly after you get it, you're stuck with an unwieldy and useless machine taking up valuable space. When you go to check out equipment bring along a friend who knows his way around a gym. Also, take advantage of consumer review sites to make sure you're getting the best quality equipment possible.