Niche Publications

Senior Editor for Niche Publications of the Billings Gazette

In a Dec. 22, 2017, Men’s Health magazine article, Alisa Hrustic listed 10 New Year’s resolutions that men (and women) can actually fulfill.

The article’s main focus was rephrasing goals to be more realistic and within your control so they are more likely to be achieved.

Being fit and healthy is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and home fitness rooms are one way homeowners can take control of their health in 2018.

Exercise with ease

Billings’ B-Fit for Life Fitness Equipment owner Chip Crees thinks the community gym trend is waning. He credits this to three advantages home fitness rooms have over exercise-related businesses: time, convenience and control.

“The national average is two hours to two hours and 20 minutes to go to a club versus (exercising) 30 to 40 minutes in your home,” Crees said.

Those two hours do include exercise, but also finding a parking spot, checking in, changing clothes, cleaning equipment and waiting on others. And many can’t afford to take so much time away from other responsibilities.

As a single dad, Crees could only exercise between 9 and 10 p.m. once his kids were asleep. He didn’t have time to travel to a gym. His fitness room had a television so he could watch the evening news and Johnny Carson before he went to bed.

Crees says a “strategically-located” TV is an important component to a home fitness room because “your mind will be on that versus the workout and it’ll go fast.”

While technology is a welcome distraction for many fitness-focused folks, there are other distractions that impede progress, like insecurity. That’s why Mistie Mims, owner and wellness coach with MimsFit LLC in Billings, says home gyms are even more advantageous.

“Some people are self-conscious about going to the gym and not knowing what to do when they are there,” she said. “If people are self-motivated, they can get a great workout at home just like the gym in less time. Or, they have a trainer come in and motivate them and design their workout.”

In addition to the convenience of having a comfortable space to exercise and the time to do it, home fitness rooms can be custom-fit to a homeowner’s needs.

The basics

Crees says most home fitness rooms have three components: one cardio machine, one resistance machine and a second cardio machine that complements the first one.

Young adults are recommended to split their weekly exercise regime between cardio and resistance. But mature adults should increase cardio to two-thirds “because as we age, we want to spend more time in the cardio end of things and our body needs more time recuperating from resistance,” he said.

If a homeowner’s first choice in cardio equipment is a treadmill, which requires standing and is weight-bearing, Crees says the second complementary choice in cardio should be seated, non-weight-bearing and non-impact, like a stationary bicycle.

Fitness consultants like Crees look at the lifestyle, health and goals of interested home fitness gym equipment buyers to determine which machines help achieve the desired results.

“We don’t want people to have another defeat in their life,” he said. “Another bad investment, another piece of equipment that never gets used. And then the spouse says, ‘I told you you were never going to use it. It was a waste of money.’”

Custom machinery

While spinning (or indoor cycling) is a popular group fitness class in community gyms, the machines aren’t often comfortable. Crees says 60 to 65 percent of your body weight is pressing down on your pelvic region.

“Your body achieves only what your hiney can endure,” he said.

Spinner bikes focus solely on the lower body, but cardio striders involve the core and arms and have a broader seat with more back support.

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“That’s the most popular unit that we carry for the over-50 audience,” Crees said of the cardio strider. “And what that is, is that my feet can go back and forth instead of a 360-degree circle so I get to control my range of motion.”

“Overweight, arthritic, bursitis, neuropathy, diabetic, joint replacement—that equipment will accommodate all of those individuals,” he said.

Cardio equipment has a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years and the national average cost for treadmills and elliptical units are between $900 and $2,000. Crees says good-quality resistance units, which help develop and tone muscles like multi-gyms and functional trainers, will last your lifetime and cost between $1,500 and $3,000. But those statistics don’t apply to box store or online purchases.

“Ninety-seven percent of all people that purchase in the chain stores or the internet will not be consistently using their units after three weeks,” he said. “And the reason is that they are impulsive buyers. They have a desire, but they have no knowledge or discipline.”

Online purchasing prevents the consumer from trying out the product first, seeing if it fits in their home and is custom-fit to their health goals and limitations.

Fitting in fitness

Mims’ home fitness room has a treadmill, kickboxing bag, hand weights, a bench used for upper and lower body strength training, an ab roller and a stability ball. But she says that homeowners can make do with less, without equipment or a designated room.

“Some just have a little bit of space to do a workout, and a trainer coming into a home can design a program based on their needs, space, equipment or lack of equipment,” Mims said. “Today in the fitness world you can make a workout fit in any space even if you do not have any equipment.”

Homeowners can best utilize a smaller space for exercise by using bands, stability balls, kettlebells and using their own body weight with exercise, she said.

Crees doesn’t take home fitness room investments lightly.

“If you want to live longer with a better quality of life, then exercise is not optional, it’s a necessity,” Crees said. “But if you choose the wrong thing, you ain’t going to use it. If it’s not comfortable, if it’s not strategically located, your opportunity for success diminishes considerably.”

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