Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Much Money to Spend on Gaining Muscle?

Question: Hi, I am looking to purchase a Bowflex home gym. The problem I'm having is that I can't decide which one to get. The prices vary from under $1000 up to $3000. I was wondering if you could help me figure out if I really need one that is $3000; if it's worth it or not. I'm 20 years old, and trying to build muscle and be in better shape. I don't want to spend more money than I need to. But, if it's worth it, I will spend more. Thank you so much.
-Ryan, MN

Answer: I'm glad to see that at the tender age of 20, you are taking an initiative to better your health. Not many 20 year olds consider spending $1000 on home exercise equipment. The typical young adult contemplates buying a new XBOX 360 or Playstation 3 when they have that kind of money laying around. So my hats off to you.

Let's think of the best opportunity for you to use upwards to $3000 (because you are contemplating purchasing the BEST Bowflex machine or the standard line, which is $1000. Both amount of substantial and I think you can go several routes.

Firstly, for $1000 you can purchase a local gym membership and have access to $500,000-worth of equipment. And I mean "commercial grade" equipment--ones that can take a beating and are built to handle heavy weights to add muscle to your frame.

If working out in a gym is not your thing, you can go with option number two:
Purchase the $1000 BowFlex instead of the more expensive model. Why? The $3000 model simply has a lower body unit that you can perform leg extensions and leg curls on. With some extra cash, you can purchase a set of adjustable dumbbells and perform a number of exercises to hit your lower-body including:
1.) DB Squats
2.) DB Split Squats
3.) DB Lunges (Front & Back)
4.) DB Step-ups
5.) Walking Lunges
6.) Standing DB Calf Raises
7.) DB Romanian Deadlifts
8.) 1-Leg DB Stiff Leg Deadlifts
9.) DB Lateral Squats
10.) DB Cross-over Lunges

Bowflex SelectTech 552 DumbbellsPhewww....! Alot of options there with a simple pair of adjustable dumbbells. And consider the abundance of exercises that can be performed for the upper-body. SO you can see, your options are wide open with a standard Bowflex and a pair of dumbbells.

Thirdly, you can ditch the entire BowFlex idea and use the $1000 to set up a home gym. First keep the adjustable dumbbells. Those will be a staple in your home gym program. The next thing to invest in will be an adjustable bench:

Best Fitness BFFID10 FID Bench
An adjustable bench will give you plenty of options to hit the upper-body including chest presses, overhead presses, and anything else you prefer to accomplish seated. The next thing you should invest in is a free standing chin-up bar:

Body Vision PT600 Power Tower
The chin up is the possibly the single best upper-body exercise one can perform. A decent one can perform pull-ups, chins, and possibly lower abdominal crunches. That's 3 exercises right there! Another opportunity that a standing chin up unit offers is the ability to anchor bands and tubing to perform a host of exercises including: wood-chops, standing chest press, standing horizontal rows, assisted chins, and many more. So, another item to add to your home gym arsenal would be bands:

SPRI ES502R Xertube Resistance Band with Door Attachment and Exercise Charts (Blue, Heavy)

Other tools you can purchase would include a stability ball, push-up bars, and plyo boxes.
As you can see, having a budget and a goal affords you many opportunities. You have to simply think outside of the box you actually created. Manufactures do a great job of marketing and to make you believe that their product is the ONLY solution to your problem. But the truth is, if you do some research, ask the right people, and keep your options open---you can do alot more for alot less and accomplish your goals!


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