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Work out in the comfort of home

FOR all but those who like the sweaty equipment and tortured grunts that characterise the communal fitness centre, the home gym is the ultimate luxury. Rolling out of bed for a cup of coffee, straight into your gym kit and onto the machines has got to be heaven on a stick from the point of view of comfort, convenience and time-saving.

But how do you make an elegant home gym that serves all your needs and won’t end up as a collection of sorry, dusty machines used as clothes horses?

Jon Denoris, personal trainer to the rich and famous (www.jondenoris.com) offers a few pointers. “First, understand your goals. Are you training for a marathon? If so, you need to focus on equipment that works your upper body, which is the key to the staying strong throughout. If you’re primarily interested in muscle-building, for example. you’ll need other machines.”

EQUAL PARTS
Then you need to decide on your budget. You can spend anything from £400 to £40,000 on a home gym. If you’re cost-cutting, it might be a good idea to ask a personal trainer to recommend must-have bits and pieces as there is an enormous amount to choose from. Also, remember that a good gym caters to equal parts cardio, weights and flexibility. Don’t go all out on cardio machines and neglect stretching mats, or go for all weights and no treadmill.

Then there’s achieving your goals in the best way. “These days, exercise is moving towards ‘functional fitness’, where the exercise replicates everyday moving patterns, such as lifting, squatting and lunging, rather than the machines that work only a single body part,” says Denoris. If you buy just one machine, Denoris says it should be the bespoke cable crossover machine from www.gymcompany.co.uk, which allows you to set it in any combination to work whatever patterns of muscle you want. But at over £3,000, it is pricey. Another must-have that costs only £40 is the Jungle Gym from www. thestrengthcompany.co.uk – a portable rope with handles that can be hung anywhere, and takes up minimal space and allows full-body exercise.

As for tips on buying: don’t be dazzled by fancy consoles on cardio machines. “Nine out of 10 people don’t use all those features,” says Denoris. “You end up paying a lot more for it.” Make sure the machines run smoothly and quietly – the latter is particularly important for a home gym. Finally, don’t believe claims that seem too good to be true – infomercials are particularly notorious for promising the impossible. “Always see something before you buy,” says Denoris.

Technogym Run Personal Treadmill
The industry’s most beautiful runner, made from glass and aluminum.
Price £7,508
www.technogym.com

Lifeline USA Jungle Gym
Portable body workout.
Price £40
www.thestrengthcompany.com

Technogym Wellness Rack
Super-sleek weight rack with silver and clear disks weighing 2kg and 0.5kg plus two handles.
Price £446
www.technogym.com

Technogym Kinesis Personal Vision
Built into a wall, this structure allows over 200 resistance-based exercises using a system of grips, cables and weight stacks.
Price £5,372
www.technogym.com

Swiss Ball
Classic flexibility tool.
Price £48.50
www.escapefitness.com

Matrix Cable Crossover Machine
A less expensive, equally good version of the Technogym Kinesis.
Price £2,856
www.gymcompany.co.uk