Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: You’ve just left work for the day. It’s rounding 8 pm You’re wiped out and starving, because all you ate for lunch today was a yogurt at your desk at 2 pm. You know your DVR is recording Parks and Rec, but you’d do anything to get home ASAP and just watch it. And… you haven’t worked out since the weekend. You’re feeling sluggish and angry with yourself because of that. Whatever shall you do?
SCENARIO A: You are a member at a gym. You would drive right over there if not for the über-starvation and the fact that you left your gym clothes and sneakers at home. It was a scattered morning! Your alarm didn’t go off! The dog peed on the floor! You didn’t have time for that nonsense. But at this moment, you feel pressured to justify that $500/year membership. I mean, you should at least go sometimes. And hey, maybe they’ll have Parks and Rec playing on one of those little TVs by the treadmills! Maybe. Though at this rate, you probably won’t get there till 10 pm.
SCENARIO B: Last year, you paid $300 for a fabulous little stationary bike that sits in the corner of your living room. One-time charge, no hidden fees. And there he sits: a reliable steed, ready to serve all your exercise-related needs. You get home, you grab a little sustenance, then you strap on your sneakers and hop on the bike. You spin for exactly one half hour as you watch Parks and Rec. And you’re done by 9 pm, ready to do everything else the evening requires of you.
Last year, I opted for Scenario B. If you’re the self-motivating type (or the type who likes to sing “Titanium” at the top of your lungs while you sweat and would prefer not to be judged), you might want to save the yearly gym membership fee and buy a machine of your very own. I’d been toying with the idea of purchasing a Soul Cycle membership, but upon seeing the hefty price tag ($3,500 for a 50 Class Series! What?!), I quickly decided I’d emulate the Soulsperience in my own home.
I turn off all the overhead lights. I get a few candles burning. I bump my carefully crafted Spotify playlist, the one that rhythmically mimics the life cycle of a proper spinning session: intense jams for those high-resistance climbs and zippy, excitable life-is-awesome tracks for the fast sprints. Sometimes I’ll do themed playlists. Yes, I have done a Disney spinning night. And a 90s Alt-Rock night. (Sans the flannel shirt. Not a fun garment for perspiring.)
Point being: All of these choices can be under your control if you do your gymming at home! It’s liberating. You will never arrive at your spinning or yoga class to find that it’s Britney-themed night, when all you wanted to do was chill to some Radiohead and Bjork and sweat away your existential rage.
Here are some fantastic options for at-home exercise machines, all under $500. Some of them require assembly (mine did). But it was no worse than putting together an Ikea dresser. Well worth it!
- Elliptical from The Sports Authority
- Upright Stationary Bike from Amazon (this is the one that I bought!)
- Treadmill from The Sport Chalet
- Recumbent Bike from Amazon
Another tip: check out Craigslist. Plenty of people are moving and probably want to sell their old exercise equipment! Only drawback is that you might purchase something sans warranty. But if that’s the case, you might be able to haggle on the price.
Photo by Liz Kerin