Life in lockdown: How to have a home gym without breaking the bank

·4-min read

Lockdown has pulled the UK into a fitness frenzy, with the likes of Joe Wicks leading the charge.

But many people are left feeling unmotivated when they realise that the cheapest home gym set-up will set them back hundreds of pounds.

Vicky Marks, a fitness expert and personal trainer for 17 years, has explained how to make a home gym without breaking the bank.

– Do not dive in wallet first

“The advice I give is to keep it really simple. I think when people think ‘I want to work out at home’, they kind of get away with themselves and think of a traditional gym and think they have to replicate that at home, but actually, I have got women that are training in tiny rooms or flats with only one kettlebell,” Vicky said.

She added: “If there is a spare room and you can deck that out as your home gym, I would say put some inspirational pictures up, put even some affirmation prints up, like ‘you can do it’ in your favourite colours, just so you are more drawn to use that room.

“Keep it clean. When you are training in a nice environment, and a nice space, you are more inclined to want to be in there.”

A general view of gym equipment
Vicky advises buying just one piece of kit such as a kettlebell (Tim Goode/PA)

– If you are on a budget, one piece of equipment will do

Vicky suggests starting small and affordable before trying to deck out a whole room.

She said: “I always say to everyone, just buy one thing, and I always advise that it is a kettlebell because I just think you can do so much with that one bit of kit.

“Another really good tip is to have a real delve on Facebook and the selling sites because there are a huge amount of people that are selling off the stuff that perhaps they bought in the first lockdown and don’t want anymore.”

– Use household objects instead of splashing out

There are plenty of alternatives to gym equipment within plain sight at home, according to Vicky.

She said: “Getting a rucksack, putting some tins of beans in there, some bags of pasta, or some towels, is actually a really great way of changing your weights around.

“You can swing a rucksack, you can do kettlebell swings, you can put the rucksack on your back and do some amazing squats and some lunges, so actually a rucksack filled up with stuff is a great option for somebody that has no budget.”

– Use your garden or the front of your house

Making the most of the space around you is a cost-effective way to keep fit while keeping to the rules of lockdown.

Vicky said: “When the weather is OK, and it really is perking up now, training in the garden is amazing because you are killing two birds with one stone, you are getting that fresh air.

“If there is a space concern, a lot of my clients hide their equipment behind the sofas, so that they have got them tucked away, and this is where a kettlebell or a single dumbbell is really helpful because it is very storable and doesn’t take too much space up in your house.”

– A living room is as good a space as any

Vicky said: “Use what you have in that space, so maybe do tricep dips off the side of the sofa, or squats as they take up very little space, and bodyweight stuff is also so beneficial: there is a lot you can do with your own body, a lot you can do with your sofa and coffee table!”

“I have used my pouffe so much in my one-to-one clients on Zoom, because you can use it to do step-ups, you can do tricep dips and push-ups or press up off it, you can do Bulgarian split squats off it, the pouffe has an array of uses.”

– Remember how important exercise is

Exercise is just as good for the mind as it is for the body, according to Vicky.

She said: “Exercise is obviously fantastic for your body, and it is aesthetically going to make you feel good about yourself, but I think the most important part is keeping ourselves mentally sane and our mental health right now.

“Moving our bodies is just a fundamental part of being a human being, and I think we could very easily feel like it is going to hinder our life because it takes up more time, but then when we actually start doing exercise we realise that it makes us more efficient in life and makes us happier human beings.”

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