Wouldn’t it be great to have all the benefits of a fitness club, right at home? Presses and weights and mats and benches take up a lot of space, and not every home has room to store this stuff, let alone use it. Some home gyms can be folded up and tucked out of the way, but many are stationary monstrosities. It’s important to know what you’re getting before you buy.

When shopping for home gyms, look for equipment that will help you realize your personal goals. Some equipment targets one or two specific areas of the body. Others, called complete home gyms, offer you the opportunity to perform a variety of exercises without having to reset the equipment.

There are many types of complete home gym systems, ranging from budget-wise department store systems to premium bow-flex styles. If a simple setup is all you require, do a little research and be sure it’s what you need to achieve results. There is no point in making the investment and lugging the equipment home if it’s not going to do the job for you.

Set realistic goals for yourself. Review your goals before you shop. You may be tempted to create your own home gym with several pieces of equipment. While this can be an option for serious trainers, you may find that you have more equipment than you will ever use. Home gym equipment is not cheap, so it’s possible to deflate your budget with just a few basic pieces. Determine your budget, and stick with it. Shop for the equipment you need at a price you can afford. Even if you start with a few basic barbells, a yoga ball, and a floor mat, it is possible to have an affordable home gym.

Finally, give careful consideration to the space you have available. Don’t bring home a bench press, sparring bag, treadmill, and spinning bike if your workout space will be confined to an 8×8 foot recreation room. Be realistic and buy equipment that can be folded and stored out of sight whenever possible.

Set your physical goals, determine your budget, measure your space, and then go shopping. Don’t just design a workout area. Plan a home gym that will work for you.