Free Weights Vs Bowflex | Club Membership Vs Home Gym | What's Right for You?
What’s right for you? That is the big question when you start to look at how you are going to either lose weight, build muscle, rehab an injury, or just improve yourself by toning and getting the benefit of regular exercise. Do I join a gym and start weight training? How about a home exercise gym? Do I need weight training equipment of my own? Do I have the discipline to go to the gym regularly, or to use my home exercise equipment on a daily basis? Do I prefer to run outdoors or get my cardio on a treadmill? Rowing machine? Elliptical? Which one is right? Which one is best? More importantly, which one is best for ME?
It is an endless debate in the weight training world as to which system gives a better chance of weight reduction, muscle mass builds, and muscle toning. Both systems of training have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice to use either really boils down to the objectives, discipline, budget, and physiology of you the individual.
The advantages of Free Weights are that they provide even resistance throughout the exercise; a 20lb dumbbell weighs 20lbs in the air or at rest, creating even resistance throughout the exercise motion. The disadvantages of free weights are that to accomplish a full range of exercises you really need a gym membership, as most home gamers do not have the space for the necessary bench work, squat frame, etc and even if you do it would be cost prohibitive.
Additionally in free weight training you should never exercise alone. You should for safety reasons always have a spotter when using free weights. A 20lob dumbbell dropped from a height of four or five feet can and will break the bones it’s dropped on. A 45lb barbell with even minimal weights added can crush your larynx, or break ribs if it slips out of your sweaty hands while you are alone. If you can schedule your exercise when a friend can go with you, or when club attendants are available then you’re good to go.
So if you are looking to build definition, get your body fat to say under 10%, or maximize your weightlifting potential, and you have a partner or have control of your time; then the gym is for you. I’ve included a link to my good hub friend Carolina Muscle, on more of the advantages to gym membership, I couldn’t have said it better myself so if you’re not sure about gym membership you might want to check out his article.
So what if you work long hours? Odd hours? What about you gals that are a bit self conscious and don’t want to be seen in workout clothes? What if you just want to tone your body and lose some of those extra winter pounds? Maybe you’d rather run in the park and don’t want a treadmill. But would use say a rowing machine on rainy days or when it’s snowing? Then home gym fitness equipment may well be your best choice. IF you determine that is the best for you than I would recommend one of the Bow Flex systems. Now there are some pros and cons to home fitness gyms.
Most Free Weight advocates will tell you that the biggest drawback to a variable resistance system is the fact that throughout the motion of the exercise, 20lbs is not always 20lbs. While the resistance rod or band is expanding it will start with less than the weight indicated and end with maybe a bit more. If you are looking for maximum muscle mass you probably don’t want one of these. But if you are looking to tone and lose weight from your home fitness equipment, then this can actually be an advantage. I have found that when most women set exercise goals it’s not about creating body shop definition, it’s about improving their curves, keeping the ‘chicken fat’ from under their chin or their triceps, not to mention cellulite reduction. Most don’t want definition lines they want a smooth skin appearance that is pleasing to the eye.
When they realize just how much work real six pack abs require; most guys come to the realization that they just want to fit into the same waist size they had five or ten years ago and are happy getting rid of the overhang and letting their belt buckle see some sunshine. They want that good feeling that comes with stronger arms and legs and the respect you get at work and the beach when you are less than 18% body fat. Not to mention the fact that when you are in a healthy monogamous relationship, and you work out together the nookie is better too.
If you find yourself in this category a home fitness gym like the Bowflex may well be for you. There are many different home gym systems out there and some are excellent and most are not. I prefer the Bowflex for a couple of reasons, first among them is the fact that it is the number one home fitness system on the market. Product support will be there for the life of the system. The power rods are lighter weight than plate loaded machines and on the two models I’ll mention here the footprint is relatively small when folded up and put away and no bigger than systems that offer the same flexibility in exercises when deployed. Additionally some of the systems are scalable. This is the primary difference between the two models highlighted here.
If you are a single female or hubby has no interest, or just a passing or occasional interest, I recommend the PR -1000. The 210 lbs of resistance with 30 or so exercises are more than adequate to meet the exercise needs and objectives of most females.
It includes a rowing machine capability that can sub for your walks or jogs through the neighborhood on the rainy days or when you just don’t feel like going out. It is also one of the low cost solutions in quality home gym fitness equipment. Its single drawback is that it is not scalable, 210 lbs of resistance is not very much for guys when they start doing leg presses but should be more than adequate for most medium to petite framed females.
For guys or couples I would recommend the BowFlex Blaze home fitness gym. It has a few more exercises and is scalable up to 410 lbs resistance. It also has a better lat configuration which is integral to the broad shoulder appearance that us guys like to project. It also has the rowing machine capability and can fold up as well when not in use. The cost is still less than a couples membership to that gym you may not have time to get to, making it the top dog in the home fitness equipment arena in my book.
Now some general advice no matter what you decide, weight training of either type (Free weight or resistance) is the most efficient weight loss methodology period. But if you combine it with thirty to forty minutes of good cardio three to five times a week, you will see significant results within 45-60 days. As you increase your muscle mass and density, your body will burn more fat faster than it was before.
Good nutrition will enhance your weight loss even more as your weight is and will always be determine by calories in vs calories expended. If you do your exercises and just limit your intake to what it was before you started, you will lose weight; if you reduce your calories by just 10% with your exercise program you will accelerate your weight loss significantly.
This is the point in the article that most would wish you good luck with your endeavor. I will not because when it comes to your body there is no luck to it really. Billy Banks a famous cardio and tae bo instructor ends every session with the phrase “You are where you are because you put yourself there.” It is true in life in general, and is a simple fact when it comes to your body and physic. So I’ll leave you with my phrase, “Work hard. Have fun. But above all Be Koo EL!”
- Answers about joining a gym
Commonly asked questions and answers about joining a gym.
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