For those of us who weren’t up on IKEA, the arrival of the uber-efficient Swedish furniture superstore in Colorado became a revelation.
Living in a shoebox was never so stylish or affordable.
A few years later, though, many people show the aftereffects of too many Swedish meatballs around their midsection and want to do something about it. Only problem is, the only exercise equipment IKEA offers lies in its showroom maze and there’s not much of a chance to break a sweat in there amid the hordes of bargain hunters. The store may someday add home gym equipment to its offerings, but it can’t be the type of machine to get results.
So to set up a home gym, look elsewhere. By keeping things at home there’s the chance to workout any time, the machine is always available and it saves us from seeing what can’t be unseen when a shameless old man decides to walk around the locker room naked.
The “footprint” a machine or exercise equipment makes is vital when it comes to making a home gym work, especially in tight spaces. Chad Harwick, who moved all the way from Chicago to become manager of Colorado Home Fitness in Southeast Denver, has the answers for homes of any size and a variety of budgets.
Harwick has more than 15 years in the fitness industry and was a certified personal trainer. He advises not to choose cardio at the expense of weight training or vice versa.
“The main thing is balanced fitness. A lot of people think they only need cardio or only strength, but they need both,” Harwick said. “Balanced fitness is the key. Sometimes people think the strength side is so much harder that they need a trainer.”
Depending on budget or available space, it’s easy to transform a home — or a small part of it — into an ideal place to workout.
First among Harwick’s suggestions, though it costs the most, is Precor’s Adaptive Motion Trainer. The AMT 835 with Open Stride has a price tag of $9,395 for a model that’s exactly what would be found in a 24-Hour Fitness or other health club, with a footprint of just 3 feet by 7 feet. The do-it-all machine adapts instantly to the stride length of each new user within seconds and allows users to walk, run, climb and lunge, as well as use several sets of movable handlebars for weight training, all with a console that tracks all the users’ vitals.
Less costly, but still providing a versatile workout, is the Mi6 Functional Trainer ($3,499) from HOIST. The new machine features fully enclosed weight stacks and a pulley system with columns that rotate 360 degrees in a package that can tuck nicely into a corner with its walk-through design, but could be optimized with a 7-by-7-foot space. The Mi6 includes a dock for an iPad or other tablet and HOIST offers its own downloadable app that Harwick lauds “it’s like having a trainer that comes with the gym.”
The Inspire FT2 Functional Trainer ($3,995) is similar to the Mi6, but also includes elements of a multi-purpose weight machine. A big seller from its 2012 debut, the FT2 has a built-in manual with illustrations of its capabilities to help mid-workout.
Harwick also touts a lateral trainer by Helix, which breaks away from the traditional front and back running machines offered in gyms for side-to-side training.
“Think of all the sports we play, especially skiing, hiking, tennis, biking and so many more, we move laterally all the time in all of those, but we don’t train the muscles the same way,” Harwick said. “With the Helix, you get a lateral trainer that only takes up half the space of a treadmill.”
Helix machines appeal to skiers because of how it works the inside and outside of the thighs, helping to extend stamina for longer days on the slopes. The H1000 ($2,459) could suffice, though the commercial model HLT3500 ($4,459) offers significant upgrades, including an internal generator.
Harwick is also a believer in vibration training, which is used extensively by the Denver Broncos and professional sports teams across the world.
Vibration training forces the body’s muscles to fire automatically to stabilize itself and forces lactic acid out of the muscles faster. The 3G Cardio AVT 6.0 Vibration Machine ($4,999) is heavy-duty, but takes up very little space.
For weight training alone, a set of Powerblocks dumbbells up to 90 pounds and a stand runs around $900.