Sunday, August 26, 2007

Essentials of a Personal Gym

Often, starting an exercise routine for the first time is just a matter of acquiring the right equipment for use at home.

Contrary to popular belief, a home gym doesn’t have to consist of a large, expensive multi-station weight machine and an equally pricey stationary cardio machine like a treadmill or elliptical trainer. In fact, you can get an equal – if not better – workout with inexpensive, portable equipment.

Start out with a well lit space big enough for you to lie down. Here's a short list of equipment you'll need:

  1. Exercise mattress: If your floor is not too hard, you can replace it with other types of mats.
  2. Free weights: You can find a starter set of dumbbells with 5, 8, and 10 lbs weights that come with their own, easy-to-store weight rack.
  3. A Good Exercise Book: None of this equipment will do you any good if you don’t know how to use them safely. Please make safety your priority and understand how your muscles work. An excellent book is: Strength Training Anatomy published by Human Kinetics [They're definitely an industry leader in the field of fitness]. This book has lots of exercise moves with different equipment, but you can generalise the moves and perform them without the machines. More importantly, the book has diagrams for all the muscles used for each exercise and lots of safety techniques.
  4. Music: If it helps motivate you. I've found music quite useful during work outs, but here in the UAE, many exercise classes do not use music at all. Besides, the best thing to do would be to replace music with remembrance of Allah (as suggested by Majid who's a CanFitPro Personal Trainer Specialist and a Nutrition and Wellness Specialist)
  5. There are other equipments you can add as you get comfortable and build a routine: stability ball, skipping rope, balance board and resistance tubes. All of these are quite effective and have innumerous benefits.

Some Tips:

  • Keep 2 bottles of water and a towel nearby.
  • Make sure you drink water every 10-15 min of work out.
  • If you're doing cardio, it's best to do them in your shoes to reduce the impact on your knees.
  • Also, keep a gap of 1-1.5 hours min before and after meals to exercise.
  • Please raise any health concerns you may have with your doctor before beginning a exercise program.

For my work outs at home, I just use:

  • water
  • a mattress
  • appropriate clothing
  • shoes
  • music
  • and of course, a timer

The next thing I would add would either be a skipping rope (but I fear knocking things over) or resistance tubes.

Beginners should note that because the use of free weights involves more complex body movements, the chances for injury are greater with free weights than with machines. It is therefore important to get instruction and supervision from a certified professional until you become familiar with how to use them.

Next: Of Shoes and Laces

2 comments:

Hafsa said...

I can forsee this post Next: Of Shoes and Laces

might look like this:

"remember to tie your shoe laces"

:D

Humairah Irfan said...

Actually, it's "remember to wear socks and shoes". The laces don't really matter.