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The Best Home Gyms 1 Islington

Designed for: Someone who's new to fitness and a bit overweight, so he’d like to lose a few pounds. He also wants to improve his cardiovascular fitness. He’s keen to exercise regularly, but is quite short on time.

Pleasure Gardens
020 76070123
278 Caledonian Road
London

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Fitness First Plc
0870 8980662
361-363 City Road
London

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Gainsborough Health & Fitness
020 77395959
1 Poole Street
London

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Slim Jims
020 72479982
1 Finsbury Avenue
London

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Academy Health & Fitness Centre
020 77295789
16 Hoxton Square
London

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Esporta Health & Fitness Clubs Plc
020 72888200
27 Essex Road
London

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Bikram Yoga City
020 73366330
6-8 Vestry Street
London

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Curzons The Gym
020 74954011
Albany Street
London

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Titan Fitness & Body Building Centre
020 89851287
164-170 Mare Street
London

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Gymbox Health Club
020 74001919
100 High Holborn
London

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The Best Home Gyms 1

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Designed for: Someone who's new to fitness and a bit overweight, so he’d like to lose a few pounds. He also wants to improve his cardiovascular fitness. He’s keen to exercise regularly, but is quite short on time.

Designed by: Total Fit. Visit totalfit.co.uk or call 01622 664851.
‘We’ve focused on how someone could have a workout as a beginner, but still progress,’ says Total Fit’s managing director Lisa Sprosen. ‘Even though the budget is small, you can still have a lot of variety.’ Expensive cardio machines are the first thing to be cut, but that doesn’t mean neglecting that side of your workouts. ‘If you want to run, you’re better off buying a pair of trainers and running outside, so you can devote more of your budget to strength training equipment,’ Sprosen says. ‘At home, you can use the step, hurdles, skipping rope and speed ladder to do cardio work.’

With a limited budget, the key is to perform variations of basic exercises to make them tougher. ‘Someone can practice doing press-ups, for example, and when they get good at them they can move on to performing them on a Bosu ball, which makes the exercise more challenging.’

Then there’s the overall design: even when you’re working on a budget, you want to have a pleasant space to work out in. ‘I’ve included a matted area for free weights and a wooden area for cardio, stretching and gym ball work.’ You might also want to leave a bit of extra space so you can add a cardio machine when you have the cash. The first cardio machine to add, says Sprosen, is a rowing machine. ‘The cheapest good one is about £600. It’s good for a full-body warm-up and high-intensity exercise.

Of course, even the best gym’s no good if you don’t know how to exercise properly, and Total Fit takes that into account. ‘We have a personal training service,’ says Sprosen. ‘Once someone’s had a gym put in, we’ll have a personal trainer come in and do an induction for them, and give them a six-week programme to follow.’

1 Physical Speed Hurdles 5x12in, £58

‘We take our clients outside on the hurdles, but you could use them indoors as well. They’ll add a bit of variety to your cardio workout and get you moving in a more functional and sporty way.’ physicalcompany.co.uk

2 Bosu Balance Trainer, £80
‘This is really good for all the muscle groups and a good posture. You can do bodyweight or dumb-bell moves on it for added instability, or even do squats on it with a barbell. The idea of this gym is to start people off and then give them more challenging options.’ physicalcompany.co.uk

3 York Sportline Chin/Dip Station, £150
‘Chin-up and dip bars are fantastic. This one is quite pricy, but it’s worth it because it doesn't have to be secured to the wall.’ amazon.co.uk

4 Marcy Olympic Plate Tree, £175
‘In a corporate gym you want a weight tree for safety. In this case you want one for safety and to keep things tidy.’ fitnessoptions.co.uk

5 Marcy Bench with preacher curl, £179
‘We chose the Marcy bench because of the budget. You can get good benches that cost anywhere between £300 and £2,000, but this one is stable enough.’ fitnessoptions.co.uk

6 Marcy Barbell and Dumb-bell kit, £119
‘We didn’t go for a pyramid stack of fixed-weight dumb-bells because you can mix and match Olympic plates.’ fitnessoptions.co.uk

7 Marcy E-Z Curl Bar and Collars, £30
‘These add to your free-weight options because they challenge your muscles in a different way to a barbell, and they’re fairly cheap.’ dolphinfitness.co.uk

8 8kg and 10kg Medicine Balls, £125 (for both)
‘Use these for abdominal work. They’re quite heavy, but if you only have a 2kg ball you’ll adapt to it in a couple of months. If you want a lighter weight for a Russian twist, for example, you can use a small weight plate and work up to using a medicine ball.’ fitnessoptions.co.uk

9 Fitness Mad Pro Swiss Ball, £20

‘Can be used for stability work and to add variations to the other exercises.’ fitnessoptions.co.uk

10 Physical Stretch Mats, £25

‘Not the most exciting bit of kit, but stretching is important if you want to avoid injury and lift more weight.’ gymcompany.co.uk

11 Physical Speed Rope, £6

‘A basic bit of cardio kit, but it’s really useful because it gets your heart rate up and tests your coordination.’ physicalcompany.co.uk

12 Physical Agility Ladder, £36
‘This is also good for stability, and you can tailor your workouts for sport-specific fitness. It helps train the fast-twitch muscle fibres to improve speed and reaction time.’ physicalcompany.co.uk

13 Physical Original Step, £50

‘I put this in there for cardio work. Despite the lack of machines, we’ve still managed to include quite a bit of cardio kit in this gym.’ physicalcompany.co.uk

Total cost: £1,053


The best home gyms 1

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