Workout Equipment Interview

Home gym
Build an affordable home gym.

LoveToKnow had the pleasure of interviewing fitness expert Jim Wendler, the Director of Sales for Elite Fitness Systems (EFS) about selecting the right workout equipment for a home gym. Wendler works closely with EFS clients to help them build home gyms that meet their specific fitness goals.

Fitness Expert Jim Wendler

Prior to joining Elite Fitness Systems, Jim Wendler worked as a strength and conditioning coach at the University of Kentucky for a number of different athletes, including the baseball and football team. An experienced athlete, Wendler played football at his alma mater, the University of Arizona. He is also an expert powerlifter.

About Elite Fitness Systems

Strength training expert Dave Tate founded Elite Fitness Systems in 1999 to provide fitness training guidance and quality workout equipment to athletes and the general public. Since that time, EFS has become leading expert in the strength and conditioning field. EFS and their team of fitness experts work both experienced and novice athletes to provide fitness advice and high quality equipment. EFS tailors training advice and equipment recommendations to each person's fitness level and future goals. The company is headquartered in London, Ohio.

Workout Equipment Interview with Jim Wendler

Planning a Home Gym

LoveToKnow (LTK): What are the benefits of a home gym?

Wendler: Convenient - You can train early in the morning, late at night or when you get home from work. Now you have no excuses!

Cost - The onetime cost of a home gym is much cheaper than gym dues, travel time and cost of travel to a public gym.

Atmosphere - With a home gym, you can create as relaxed or intense of an environment as you wish.

LTK: How can EFS help people build home gyms?

Wendler: There are three things I ask people when they want to build a home gym:

  1. What kind of space do you have?
  2. What is your budget?
  3. How do you train?

From these questions, I can usually get a good idea of what they want and what they don't need. I try to get them the best possible equipment for the money without sacrificing anything. Usually when people want to build a home gym, they are pretty serious and know what they want. It's just a matter of finding quality items.

LTK: How much space would a person need to put together a basic home gym?

Wendler: People usually put their home gyms in their basement or garage. I've done the most basic set up in a 12x12 area! This consisted of a training platform with squat stands and some weight plates. I've done entire finished basements too. Some rooms would look good in private, personal training centers. But in general, if you have a one car garage, we can get you what you need.

LTK: What kind of budget is necessary for a home gym?

Wendler: This depends on the equipment. If you choose to outfit your home gym with machines and cardio equipment, you will spend much more than free weights. Budgets can vary from under $1,000 to well over $10,000. If you are a very serious lifter or trainer, you can probably get everything for less than $3,000.

Selecting the Right Gym Equipment

LTK: What type of workout equipment is necessary to build an effective home gym?

Wendler: The necessary equipment is always going to depend on the user, his goals, space and budget. I like to steer people towards equipment that has multiple uses and will allow them to maximize their budget and space. For example, a power rack (aka power cage) can be customized with a removable bench press, chin up bar and dip station. With this piece of equipment, the exercises are endless and the entire body can be trained in minimal space. This is perfect for people that are really serious with weight training and want to build strength. Other people would do well with some adjustable dumbbells, an adjustable bench, a jump rope, some elastic bands or tubing and a stretching mat.

One of the key things about a home gym is educating the user on how to get an effective workout with minimal equipment. A simple lesson on how to perform free weight exercises safely will do a lot in helping the user maximize a minimum amount of space and equipment. The barbell and dumbbell allow for thousands of variations and take up much less space than any machine. Learn to lift these correctly and you can essentially have a home gym that is incredibly effective and cheap!

Jim Wendler of Elite Fitness Systems

I try to steer people away from machines. They are one trick pony's, incredibly expensive and take up a lot of space.

Ultimately, the equipment that someone purchases for a home gym has to be something that the user is comfortable with and will use.

LTK: How can people recognize quality equipment?

Wendler: The less moving parts, the better! Moving parts usually equal more maintenance. Not all the time, but it is a good rule of thumb. The best way to access strength equipment is to try it first and/or having a trusted party give a second opinion.

The Role of Fitness Goals

LTK: How do fitness goals affect the gym planning?

Wendler: If someone wants to improve cardio fitness, the cheapest way is to simply go outside! Not only will this save space, but save a lot of money. Jogging, walking and riding a bike outside are essentially free and can go a long way in improving your budget, health and space.

If one wants to improve your muscle strength and lower body fat, the best way is to perform resistance training. The cheapest and most effective way is to use free weights (barbells and dumbbells). Most people want to get leaner, look better and be in great health. So many people, no matter who they are, will perform the same kind of exercises, just with less weight and different sets and reps. Or at least variations of the same exercise. For example, a football player might perform a squat with a barbell on his back. Someone just looking to get leaner might perform a squat while holding a dumbbell in his hands. It's the same exercise but slightly different in accordance with their ultimate goal and experience level.

No matter what your fitness goal is, you must have some kind of cardio training, some kind of resistance (strength training) and some kind of flexibility (or mobility) work. You can perform the former and the latter with no equipment. The strength training usually requires something special.

Setting Up a Home Gym

LTK: What is the best way to set up a home gym for an effective workout?

Wendler: No matter what equipment you purchase it is really important that your home gym is a space of itself. When you enter the training room, that's all you should be focused on. This allows for quicker and more effective workouts.

For More Information about EFS Equipment

For more information on Elite Fitness Systems, please visit the official website. The EFS site allows customers to view and purchase workout equipment. Customers are also welcome to call 888-854-8806 and talk with Jim Wendler about building home gyms.


LoveToKnow thanks Jim Wendler for the interview.

Workout Equipment Interview