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The New Year is here and with it comes a new and fresh effort to start an exercise program to get healthy and fit!  This noble effort can sometimes be sabotaged by the fact that the nearest gym is just too far or your work schedule is too busy.  The best solution for this problem is to workout at home.

By: Hindy Cortright for The BioFit Center and Health and Fitness Magazine

There are many different ways to create a fitness routine at home. First you must take a look at how much space you have to create a small exercise area.  Depending on the amount of space you have you can determine the amount of equipment you will be able to get for you home gym.  Home gyms can range from simple to complex.  The most basic equipment I recommend for an effective home gym is:

A.      One Exercise Ball at least 55cm in diameter.

B.      Two or three resistance levels of exercise bands (they come color coded)

C.      One pair of 3 lb dumbells and one pair of 5 lb dumbells

D.     One exercise mat.

E.      One reebok step (if you do not have stairs in your home)

You can perform a number of workouts with these few items.  It is always good to begin each workout with a warm up. Look around your home to see if you have a bench or a set of stairs where you can warm up.  If you have a bench you can move around you could set it next to a wall and, while leaning on the wall, you can do “step ups” to warm up by doing15 repetitions with each leg. This should get you well on your way as a warm up.  If you have stairs you can climb or run up and down the stairs for 5 minutes to warm up.

There are many different routines you can perform with this equipment. You can consult with a professional trainer to get some ideas, but, as a rule of thumb your workout should always engage a few upper body and lower body movements in order to get a full body workout.

If you have more room to set up a home gym then you could add a treadmill or a stationary bike or an elliptical to the items I mentioned above.  It is highly recommended to have one cardio machine at home because this will always facilitate your ability to do cardio if you cannot make it to the gym.  There are many brands in the market but the top two brands are Life Fitness and Cybex.

One key issue you must be aware of if you decide to workout at home is that you need to keep your routine dynamic throughout the week.  If you do the same routine every day your body will get used to it and you will hit a plateau (stop losing weight or increasing your cardiovascular capacity).  Make a point of cross training during the week. This means, do something different every day. For example. If you do a resistance training routine on Monday, do high intensity cardio for 30 minutes plus a set of weight training exercises, on Tuesday, (workout muscles you did not exercise on Monday.) On Wednesday, go biking, on Thursday, do a workout from an exercise DVD, like kick boxing or Zumba and on Friday do interval cardio (high intensity for 5 minutes, low intensity for 2 minute cycles) for 30 minutes plus Abdominal exercises.

By changing your routine everyday you will keep the body guessing and it will not be able to get used to any one particular routine.

Working out at home or at the gym is in essence very similar. Working out is simply working out.  If you have the determination to do it, it’s easy to figure out ways to do it effectively.  There are many tools in the market  (like exercise DVD’s and fitness websites) to workout at home and it really depends on your personality what is best for you.  Some people need to have a trainer, some people need to have a scheduled commitment with a gym and some prefer to workout in an isolated environment.

Whatever works for you, remember that the key to becoming Fit is consistency therefore, whatever venue you pick, make sure it will help you to get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day.