Home Fitness Options on a Fixed Budget

By Mike Everette

Falling leaves, crisp air and that little shiver when your feet first hit the floor in the morning are sure signs that winter is on it’s way.  As the night comes more quickly and the frost gets more bite a lot of people begin to alter their fitness strategy as spending time outside or traveling to and from the gym becomes a little less appealing.

With these changes often come questions:  Isn’t home fitness equipment expensive?  Do I really have enough room to workout at home?

The answers to these questions are not difficult.  The key is establishing a budget for both money and space.  The facts are that home equipment is as expensive and expansive as you want it to be.   As we all are a little more price conscious these days lets focus on some options available for those with a tighter budget and allow you to mix and match where you please.


Option #1

Powerblock, the makers of the first “selectorized” dumbbell, have been making high quality products since 1993 and their focus has always been on value and space.  The FB90 bench/stand combo combined with a pair of Powerblock Sport 5.0 dumbbells makes up the most space friendly and budget savvy strength workout available.  The bench and dumbbell stand are one unit with the stand placed directly in front of the bench so that the bench can be folded up vertically for storage.  The placement of the stand also makes it easier to adjust the weight you are lifting and begin your workout as you simply pick up the dumbbells and rock back onto the bench.  The Sport 5.0 dumbbells range from 5# through 50# and can be expanded to 65# with the purchase of an additional set of handles.  Powerblock even has a workout video section online so you can learn how to perform all of the exercises you need to target specific muscle groups.   This system requires less than a 3’ X 3’ area when folded and only 29” X 71” in its usable position.  With a retail price of $648 it is easily the best value in strength training.

For a complete cardio and strength workout add the Schwinn Airdyne to your package and you will have perhaps the best workout in the smallest footprint available anywhere.  The Airdyne exercise bike has a proven record of over 3 decades of fantastic results in a compact, comprehensive, total body cardio workout.  At just 3’ X 5’ and $749, this machine is still one of the best values in the fitness industry today.

The Powerblock and Airdyne package will cost you less than $1500 and requires less space than a queen size bed while providing you all of the variety you need to keep you engaged in your workout throughout the foul weather months.


Option #2

If running is more your speed and you’re interested in a more rigorous core workout then you might want to consider the Powerblocks, substituting the bench for a Thera-ball, and a 2.0AT treadmill from AFG.  The 2.0AT ($1299) is a folding treadmill with a heavy steel frame that supports up to a 325# user while offering an adequately sized motor and belt to make the machine comfortable for walking or jogging.  With a great mix of program options including Heart Rate Control, 2 Custom programs, and hill and speed intervals almost any user can stay motivated.  Factor in the Lifetime Motor and 3 year parts warranty the 2.0AT will serve customers looking for a durable and affordable treadmill very well.

By substituting the Thera-ball for a bench you dramatically increase the intensity of your strength workout as your core muscles (think legs, abdominals, lower back, and hips) are much more active when sitting or laying on the ball to perform exercises for the arms, shoulders, chest and back.  You can also find the ball to be an excellent option to aid in stretching and flexibility training.

A package including the AFG 2.0AT treadmill, Powerblock Sport 5.0, and a Thera-ball will require less space than the average sleeper sofa and would sell for less than $1700.

Option #3

For the folks who are hardcore enough to walk, run, or ride outdoors no matter the temperature but who want to add some strength training to their regimen they should the AFG 2.0AS home gym.  The 2.0AS is a functional strength trainer that provides all of the convenience of a traditional weight stack and cable machine but with the versatility of a “free weight” movement.  By using cable motion handles the user can determine how they want their arms to move for all of the key upper body exercises for better fit and results.  Because the machine uses a single 150# weight stack, 75# for each arm, an exercise flip-chart for beginners, and  easy pop-pin adjustments the machine will accommodate a wide range of users.  At $1599 and just 4’ X 7’ this machine will provide a great all around workout in a very compact and versatile package.

So as winter draws near don’t feel like your only option is to stay inside and pile on your “polar bear suit” before hibernating this winter.  You have a variety of options from strength training for $650 to complete cardiovascular and strength packages at around $1700.   Your body will thank you when the weather breaks and it’s time hit the road, the trail or the gym again.

Mike Everette is the Purchasing Manager for Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling on Preston Hwy.  He has worked in the fitness, cycling, and outdoor sports industry for 17 years.  He can be reached at meverette@schellers.com or at 502-969-4100. 





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