Weight training at home is a great option for men and women who want to lose fat, build muscle and get back in shape after 50. However, there are questions that you should answer before you buy equipment.
Your personal bottom line is that you want to get the best return on your investment as possible. This is not just your money, but also your time and the prospect of reaching your goals.
Lets start with your goals. Lets say you are motivated to get back in shape, want to lose belly fat, and build muscle. The first thing you should consider is what do you realistically have to do to accomplish those goals?
Can you get into great condition training at home? YES !!!! Absolutely. You just must match up your goals with what equipment can actually deliver the results you want.
An Impulse Purchase: The Fitness Miracle machine
There it is on your tv screen (or Hulu). A machine that promises to give you the svelte powerful body of the 20-something model and her ripped boyfriend. Words like miracle and breakthrough are flying around. No price is ever mentionedbut if you will be getting miracle results then price should be no objectright?
Not so fast. If something looks too good to be true than it IS too good to be true. In the case of most miracle gadgets they promise you a new BMW and give you a 20-year-old junker.
Unfortunately, too many people get fixated on equipment before they have a clear idea of what they will have to do to burn fat, build muscle and build strength. They see an ad showing models with perfect bodies exercising on some exotic workout device, that does everything you would ever want.
In real life the models probably never used that device (except in the ad). They were either born with the look they have or have a much more demanding workout program than they could ever get from the gadget being advertised.
In short, the audience is being sold the idea that near miraculous results can be achieved with a piece of equipment that probably cant provide enough of a challenge to produce results anything close to what is portrayed in the advertising.
When people impulse buy an expensive exercise machine and soon find that the only weight they lose is in their bank account and the machine they bought takes up a lot of space.
It is obvious that the best equipment in the world is useless if you dont use it. However, several studies show that when people buy exercise equipment on impulse, the chances of it being used more than a couple of times is very small.
The muscle miracle machine may sound like a great idea, but buyer beware!
Calculate your Own Personal Return on Investment
Your decisions about what to buy (or not buy) should be based on a calculation of your own Return On Investment (ROI) in getting fit. That is your investment of money, time and effort.
Here are some basic questions that you can answer that will help you outfit your own gym for training at home and get a good ROI.
First: Your goals should drive any purchase you make. If you want to lose fat, build muscle and develop your overall fitness, whatever you buy should help you make progress toward all objectives.
For example, treadmills wont build much muscle. They will help build endurance. They can help you lose some body fat (no guarantee).
Weight machines can help you build some muscle. However, the training impact diminishes the longer you do the few exercises that you can do on the machine.
If you train diligently, there is a good chance you will outgrow some machines in a few months. This happens when your body is no longer challenged by what you can do on the machine.
The main reasons for this are that the only movements you can do on weight machines are the ones it is designed to do. For one thing, you dont have to control the weight in space. You only work one little groove. The machine does the work of stabilizing the weight for you. This eliminates a lot of the valuable training effect you are seeking.
On the other hand, free weights require that you control all the movement in each exercise. There is no limitation on range of motion that you can do with free weights. In short, you can also do a vast number of exercise movements with free weights
IMHO free weights are by far the most versatile and relatively inexpensive equipment you can buy. Even if you are not concerned about price, you get vastly more ROI from free weights than any other resistance training devices.
Weights are not just for building muscle. You can also use light weights and high repetitions to get quality aerobic training. Free weights are extremely versatile.
Where will you do workouts?
This leads to the second question you should ask yourself: Where will you put your equipment both when you are working out and when you are not working out?
If you have a three-car garage and can keep your workout toys in one of the car bays, then space and storage is probably not an issue. If you live in an apartment in New York City, then the space issue becomes very important.
Each situation is a little different. Be clear about where your equipment will be housed.
It is important that if you want to do weight training at home, you think through your options carefully. You want to get results, not spend money on useless equipment, or stuff that ends up in a yard sale.
Do research to see what equipment you need to get the results you want
Weight training at home can be a great way to build muscle, reduce fat, and amp endurance. But, to get great results you will have to do progressively more demanding workouts.
You have lots of options on equipment, so I suggest that you look at typical weight training workouts you would do at home and use that as a basis for buying equipment.
I suggest that an excellent way to do your own research is to read my book Get Back in Shape After 50.This book lays out weight training routines, aerobic training and nutrition approaches that you can use to get into great condition when you are over 50.
If you are more advanced, check out my international best selling book Powerlifting Over 50.
Reading these books is an inexpensive way for you to be clear about the workouts you would want to do and then acquire equipment to do that training. After all, this gym is going to be designed for you and your specific goals.
To help you even more, I have included an appendix in Get Back In Shape After 50 on setting up a home gym. This has both descriptions of equipment and pictures of different items from elementary weights to advanced gear like squat cages and bench press racks.
Weight training is absolutely the fountain of youth for anyone. This is especially true if you are anywhere over 50.
Lift Big, Richard Schuller