Monday, February 13, 2012

Home Gym Set-up

When I tell people that I work-out from home, I usually get quizzical expressions and questions like whether I jog around my home and whether I do yoga with an exercise ball. Jogging around my home is.... okay a valid question. But "yoga" or "exercise ball" makes me giggle.

A big resounding "NO" to yoga and exercise balls, and as much as I prefer jogging outdoors, my body must remain cool and dry because of my eczema.

It was because of my eczema that we bought an Otto treadmill 9 years ago. Having a treadmill allowed me to walk and run with the aircon and fan blasting on my baby powdered body so that it would not perspire and heat up too much.

Although it is quite old, it has been working fine and I have only had to change its circuit board four years ago when it burnt out. It is huge but stable, and I can perch my laptop on it to watch movies while running or to do work while walking.

When I want a cardio-ish full body workout, I use my Concept2 Indoor Rower (first picture with the lovely model being my 9-year-old niece). I saved up for months to buy it, and it definitely is the best indoor rower in the market.

Cardio alone does not get one get into good shape. Everyone needs some muscle, especially as they age (something I will talk about in another post), and anyways, weightlifting is something I quite enjoy. As such, I bought a simple weight set from Rankin Sports & Music Supplier for home use. It consists:
- 1 long barbell rod
- 2 short dumbell rods
- 6 spinlock collars
- 2 x 10kg plates
- 4 x 5kg plates
- 4 x 2.5kg plates
- 4 x 1.5kg plates

Additionally, as the plates are metal and not rubberised, I had to buy interlocking foam mats from Toys 'R' Us to protect the floor tiles. If you blow up the picture, you might even make out the Transformer robots on the foam mats ;)

Would have loved a power cage, an olympic barbell, bumper plates and a bench, but they are too expensive and we do not have enough space in the house. You can roughly see from the picture above even that I am lifting weights in between two beds, one of them pushed back for more space.

(And if you are wondering whether and how I do bench presses, what I do are unilateral dumbbell presses lying flat on the floor. It is too dangerous to use the barbell because there is no rack and there are no safeties. In contrast, with the dumbbell,  I can use one hand to lift and the other to spot. A bodybuilder acquaintance once criticised that my floor presses were like half squats and useless because the arms do not go beyond parallel... obviously he has not read Dave Tate and does not know what he is talking about. Additionally, even box squats have their use.)

Two great compound exercises that I just could not leave out were pullups and dips. And to make matters worse, I had gotten addicted to playing around with the gymnastic rings that I acquired in 2007. So, the last pieces of equipment in my collection are a freestanding pullup bar by Trapeze Rigging and a pair of Elite Rings (now superseded by the EXF Rings ).
At this point, some people's eyes might be popping out of their head, wondering why I do not just go to a gym. Well, there are many reasons. 

First, as I exercise almost everyday, I need a gym that is both close to my workplace and close to home so that I can go before / during / after work and during weekends. It would probably result in having memberships to two gyms, which means increased costs. 

Second, even though gyms are usually air-conditioned, I still find them a little hot especially when there are many people. Nothing beats having a fan blowing at your body. 

Third, the thought of having to change and travel to the gym usually leads people to procrastinate and end up not going to the gym. It is sometimes the same with me, and having a home gym means no excuses! 

Fourth, when I get stressed or upset, I do not have travel all the way to a gym to let off some stress. I just need to go to the next room or downstairs. 

Fifth, I researched the internet for a few days on the cost of various gym membership as well as the rower, weights and pullup bar. Calculations showed that the pieces of equipment for a home gym would break even as against a gym membership in about 1.5 years. The equipment should be able to last at least 5 years, and as such a home gym was a much cheaper route to take.

So there ya have it. And besides the power cage, olympic equipment and bench, if I had the money I would also buy a Schwinn Airdyne, battling ropes, a sled, a sandbag, an agility ladder, a slackline, some medicine balls, parallettes, a sledgehammer and a big 'ol tire :)


  1. I love this! Next up, a squat rack and you can take on the world! Keep up the workouts and paleo on your blog/Facebook/instagram, we are few and far between in SG and have to keep spreading the love!