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7 tips for building the perfect home gym

Working out at home is a great way to get fit. Make sure you have all the tools you need with these tips.

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If your New Year's resolution for 2019 is to get in shape, working out at home is a great way to get started. But before you run out to buy weights, a yoga mat and a treadmill, take some time consider what kinds of exercises you want to do, plus how much space and what kinds of equipment you need to accomplish them.

Ready to create your own home gym? Here are tips to get started.

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1. Find the right workouts for your space

I once lived in a tiny studio apartment where doing yoga meant pushing the couch into the bedroom area every single time. Suffice to say, my main workout was running around my neighborhood.

When space is limited, the key is to pick workouts that don't need a lot of space. Classic exercises, like push ups, sit ups, squats and lunges, don't require a ton of room and still produce results. For cardio at home, try jump roping. It's great for getting your blood pumping and also doesn't need much space.

Another option is to pick up some space-saving workout equipment, like a TRX system or a door-mounted pull up bar.

2. Start small

I know it's tempting to buy a Peloton treadmill or Bowflex, but put the credit card down and start with the basics.

Instead, pick up simple yet multipurpose equipment. To get your home gym started, look at getting:

  • A yoga mat, for yoga, pilates and stretching
  • Resistance bands, for strength training and stretching
  • A kettlebell or two, for weight lifting and to add resistance to body weight workouts

You can often score a good deal on those items by hitting up an off-price department store such as Marshall's, Ross or TJ Maxx (aka TK Maxx in the UK and Australia). Of course, you should tailor your list of gear to whichever workout you'll be doing. The important thing is that you don't need to waste money on tons of equipment up front.

Kettlebells on gymnasium floor, close-up

Kettlebells are great for many different exercises.

RUSS ROHDE/Getty Images

3. Avoid exercise gimmicks

Those cheesy exercise tools from infomercials (I see you, Shake Weight) are totally not worth getting. All of these products make lofty claims and promise super-fast results.

The reality is that all you need for an effective workout is your own body, so there's no need for superfluous equipment.

4. Give it a home

If you stash away your exercise equipment in the closet or under your bed, how likely are you to dig it out each time to work out? Even if you are short on space, find a dedicated space for your gear where you can see it -- doing that will encourage you to use it.

Stock this area with towels, water bottles, a Bluetooth speaker and anything else you use during your workouts.

5. Get a mirror

There's a reason gyms have mirrors everywhere. Watching yourself exercise helps you correct your form so you are working out correctly and doing what you can to minimize injury. Especially when you're working out on your own and don't have someone correcting your form.

While it's no substitute for a personal trainer, a full-size mirror in your exercise area can help you exercise right.

6. Invest in advanced equipment...

If you've already been working out at home and are ready to add more equipment to your home gym, start by learning about the latest fitness tech. We've reviewed the hottest products out there -- Peloton Tread ($4,295 at Peloton), Peloton Bike ($2,245 at Peloton), Mirror and ClassPass Live -- to see what's worth the price.

7. ...But save money too

Maybe you don't want a smart treadmill, but you need a workout bench and a barbell.

A great place to find exercise equipment, and save a few dollars, is Craigslist. You can find listing after listing for treadmills, dumbbells, barbells, exercise bikes, benches, pull up bars and much more -- though the selection will vary based on where you live of course.