Since the very first MCO began in March 2020, it’s safe to say that most Malaysians have not been able to regularly visit the gym. Subject to closures and regular change of SOPs, gyms, and fitness centres have found it difficult to offer patrons a consistent workout schedule. And, with the FMCO being extended until 28 June 2021, we will probably not be using our gym membership again anytime soon.
With that being said, it makes sense to want to invest in a home gym instead. Of course, a DIY home gym is surely not going to be as impressive as a well-furnished gym with over tens and thousands of Ringgit’s worth of equipment. However, with a budget of just RM1,000 or less, you can actually put together quite a decent home gym setup! All you need are these eight essential gym items. Here’s how you do it:
First and foremost, you’ll want to buy a set of foam mats to cover your floor. Unless you enjoy having skid marks, cracks, or dents in the floor of your room, getting these soft floor tiles is an essential first step that many people overlook. These mats will probably also stop you from constantly hurting your feet while doing high-impact exercises like jumping jacks and burpees.
The ideal foam mat should be durable, shock and sound-absorbent, and waterproof. After all, you wouldn’t want the mat to soak up your sweat and become a breeding ground for bacteria, do you? These foam mats from Lazada are easy to install and also come in either black, grey, or blue so you can match the colour with your mini gym space!
Now that you have proper flooring, the next thing you’ll want to pick up is a good yoga mat. Contrary to the name, yoga mats aren’t just for yoga and stretching. They’re also useful for when you want to do some floor exercises like push-ups or crunches. You can also use them for light aerobics. Yes, the foam mat from earlier does that too, but a yoga mat is more versatile. So if you want to do your exercise on the balcony, for example, you can!
A good yoga mat should be thick enough to absorb any impact but also not so thick that you feel like you’re walking on a bouncy castle floor. 4mm mats are great for yoga and stretching but I recommend this 10mm yoga mat from Decathlon if you’re using it for aerobics. Most importantly, make sure that your yoga mat is non-slip to prevent any injury!
If you’re looking to work on strength training, then invest in an adjustable exercise bench. This will by far be your most expensive piece of equipment but it’s certainly worth it. Sure, you can always use a regular stool or make a bench using an ironing board and two boxes (I tried this and I do not recommend it), but having a good exercise bench which you can adjust to fit different types of exercises is way better.
You’ll want to find a chair that is comfortable, durable, and stable. You don’t want it to be rocking while you’re working out! Having an adjustable bench can also help you modify the height to suit your needs. Finally, look for a chair that offers ways to perform different exercises, like this one which can be used for arm, abdominal, and leg exercises. You can also check out this slightly cheaper and much simpler alternative.
Time to get to the good stuff! One of the most fundamental instruments in the gym are dumbbells. They’re crazy simple to use and don’t need any complicated setup. The problem with a home gym though is that you often don’t have a lot of space. So an entire rack of dumbbells isn’t really practical.
In that case, I recommend looking for dumbbells with adjustable weights. It’s not that difficult to find, especially online. This Apache dumbbell set comes with adjustable bumper plates up to 30KG, making it a pretty nifty addition. The non-slip grip also makes for comfortable sessions.
If you want a set of adjustable dumbbells for light toning, check out these lightweight yoga dumbbells that are specially designed for that very purpose. They also come in multiple colours! For a cheaper alternative, check these out instead. The only downside is that the latter is not adjustable.
Even though dumbbells are highly versatile pieces of equipment, there are still some exercises that they aren’t suitable for. Kettlebells are a great option if you’re trying to build your strength and for weighted cardio sessions. These extremely durable kettlebells can be swung to tone almost your entire body (when done correctly)! They are also quite easy to store thanks to their shape.
Another essential piece of equipment for your home gym is a barbell. Like the dumbbell set from earlier, for a home gym, it’s best to go for an adjustable barbell to save space. While it does not look like the sturdy steel barbells at the gym, trust me, it gets the job done just fine. The only downside is that there is often a weight limit. So you won’t be able to say that you benched 100KG using this. That being said, they are highly useful for workout sessions and an essential tool to help you reach your fitness goals!
Pull-ups are one of the most important exercises you can perform, especially if you want to tone your back. Sure, push-ups and overhead dumbbell presses can, to some extent, work out your shoulders and back, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned pull-up.
If you want to do this at home then add a pull-up bar to your home gym equipment. While sturdy pull-up bars like this one are great as they offer you to switch between different grips, even a simple, adjustable pull-up bar like this one can do the trick just fine. Just hang them on your door and you’re all set!
Finally, since we’re sticking to a RM1,000 budget, it’s clear we won’t be able to afford a treadmill. Plus, I think they’re a little overrated anyway! Instead, for an effective cardio workout, try investing in a good jump rope. The best jump rope is a weighted jump rope. It will be able to combine cardio with toning and strength exercises, allowing you to burn more calories in one session than just a regular jump rope.
However, if you really just want a good rope to help you release some stress, try this one with adjustable length by Decathlon.
Also read: 10 Common Myths About Weight Loss
Stay home, get fit
And there you have it: Eight essential gym equipment to help you start your own home gym! The best part is you can actually shop for all of the above items and assemble your mini iron paradise for just RM1,000 or less by shopping at online platforms like Lazada.
Speaking of which, check out their latest promos here for essential items to help you get through the remainder of the FMCO. Ah, the wonders of internet shopping! Last but not least, stay home everyone, stay safe, and get fit!