Fitness with Achal
Since that idea is out of the question for most of us, what other things can we get that would save us space and money and, at the same time, give us the maximum benefit of training at home? Before I go into the details of the pros and cons of different equipment, exercises and brands, it’s important to know why you need it all. Time is the mother of all inventions...from smartphones to DNA testing, we are surrounded by machines and all of them are trying to achieve one thing, and that is to save time! With our busy lives and hectic schedules, the most common excuse you hear from people is “I don’t have time to exercise.” So what can we do to make sure that we are not bound by that excuse? Make your home your gym. Yes, my friends, it’s as simple as it sounds. The hard part is to figure out what equipment to get and what routine(s) to follow.
In this article I will give you my input on which equipment to buy so that you can get a great all-in-one workout at home. But you might ask why you need any equipment. Why can’t you buy an exercise DVD like “Bollywood Bootcamp” or just run outside? Well, of course you can do that, but if I were to tell you that from now on you will only eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday and nothing else, how boring would that be? Always remember that our body consistently needs muscle confusion and muscle shock in order to keep getting better and noticing changes. Plus, being consistent is the key in achieving your dream body. Running outside is great but your routine can be compromised due to bad weather or cold temperatures so having an “in-home” option is always good to stay consistent.
Of all the home gym equipments there is only one that stands out in terms of being versatile and consistent, and that is the treadmill.
Here are some key factors that I kept in mind when purchasing my treadmill:1. COST: How much can I save while still getting the best-rated product in the market?
2. SPACE: Where would I place my treadmill?
3. SIZE: How big/small of a treadmill do I need for my home gym?
4. FEATURES: Complicated or simple? What are some key features?
5. BRAND: Which brands are rated best for home equipment?
With all these things in mind I started my research. I will walk you through each step so that you can make an intelligent decision about your treadmill:
COSTWe all love to save money but I have a different approach. I like to save money on things that I know I will be using the least but something that I will be using three or four times a week, I want to make sure that I get a quality product that will last for years, and since I will be running on it, my knees should thank me after the run – not curse me! The average price of a decent, long lasting treadmill is around $1,000 to $3,000. I would highly recommend that you keep an eye out for a ‘gently used’ high-end treadmill, as it would help keep the cost down.
SPACEThis factor varies from person-to-person. If you live in an apartment, you need to look for a folding treadmill. If you live in a house that has extra room, you can get away with a regular-sized treadmill. Folding treadmills are a little cost-effective but, at the same time, most of them are built with lightweight material which I personally don’t like because those shake when in use. If you can get away with a non-folding one then great but if space is an issue then look for a folding treadmill is made by brands like Lifetime, True or Precor.
SIZEHow big of a treadmill do you need? OK, so if you weigh more than 400 pounds, you need to go commercial, but anything below that would require these specs. A regular treadmill will be approx 75 inches to 85 inches in length and approx 30 inches to 38 inches in width. Also, most of the home-use treadmills weigh between 225 to 400 pounds and support up to 400 pounds of body weight.
FEATURESThis is one of the most interesting points while deciding on a treadmill. There are countless features and innovations to choose from, which can make your decision more confusing. Here are some must-have features in a home-based treadmill. They are listed in order of importance:
1. Heart Rate Monitor
2. Speed & Incline
3. iPod Integration
4. Wireless Heart Rate Monitor
Heart Rate Monitor. When I started to learn about fitness I realized that it’s all about the heart rate. How your body responds at what rate or when your body switches from muscle to fat for energy – it all depends upon your heart rate. I feel lost on the treadmill if I don’t know what my heart rate is. So having a heart rate monitor in a treadmill is a must-have for me.
Speed & Incline. I have seen some treadmills in the market that do not offer incline and I am totally against them. You need your treadmill to offer incline so that you can do different types of programs and keep the principle of “shock and confuse” in check during your workouts. If you are a runner then you need to pay attention to the motor capacity and horsepower etc., but most home-style treadmills offers 10 to 12 miles per hour (mph) speed which is good enough for most of us.
iPod Integration. This has become the second most important accessory after a bottle of water. While working out and especially during home workouts, you definitely need good music to get you going.
Wireless Heart Rate Monitor. This is a wonderful type of technology. It displays your HR on the panel when you wear a wireless chest strap. It’s very handy while doing interval training, as you would want your hands to be free when you are running but you still want to know your HR.
TREADMILL BRANDSNow comes the most important section – you now have all the information, you did your homework, but the biggest question you still have is which brand to pick. This is where my experience can be beneficial to you. Over the years of spending countless hours working out at different gyms I have been able to summarize the brands that are best in the home-gym industry:
1. Lifetime Fitness (best – it’s the Apple of gym equipment)
2. Precor (very good)
3. True (good)
4. Landice (good but expensive)
The list above can help you start your research to compare prices, features etc., but keeping cost and features in mind, I would recommend that you stick with the brands mentioned above.
The reason why I picked treadmills as the home gym equipment is because it’s very versatile. Anyone at any age can use a treadmill and can change their routine based on their body type and goals. The biggest plus is that you can blast music or watch TV in the privacy of your home while you are working out! Now you have the information to get you started on the purchase of your gym equipment so don’t wait any longer and start planning the most important addition to your beautiful home today!
BY ACHAL DUA / PUBLISHED IN THE HEALTH & WELLNESS ISSUE, SUMMER 2012
Achal Dua is a certified personal trainer and CEO of Bollywood Abs Inc. in the Washington, DC, metro area. He specializes in rapid weight loss, endurance and athletic training. An avid blogger, Achal has been featured in Vogue magazine and has regularly appeared on Zee TV, Jus Punjabi and Humdesi Radio. www.bollywoodabs.com