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Weekly Diet News Digest

by John McGran, Columnist

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You don't have to spend thousands of dollars to build your home gym. But a short-term investment in a few basic pieces of exercise equipment will pay dividends in the long run.

The top 9 things you need are simple and relatively inexpensive, but they'll get the job done right.

Home gym equipment1. Dumbbell Set
If you are serious about burning fat and gaining muscle then you must have a quality dumbbell set. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn at rest. Dumbbell sets are extremely versatile and one of the best investments you can make.

2. Barbell Set
Along with your dumbbells, you'll want to have a barbell set so you can lift heavier weights and give your body something different to work with. A good starting point: a bar and weights that, all together, equal 300 pounds.

3. An Aerobic Step
A step can be used for cardio activities, such as step aerobics, and also do double-duty as a weight bench. Get enough risers with it and you can change your step to become an incline, decline or flat bench, adding new dimension to your weight training.

4. Stability Ball
Exercise balls improve your balance and core strength. Use yours for an abdominal workout, or use it as a weight bench to really challenge the old stabilizer muscles while you bench press. Use it for push ups, back extensions, or lower-body exercises.

5. Weight Lifting Gloves
One side effect of lifting weights is that your hands can get a little rough from calluses. To protect your hands, you'll want a solid pair of weight lifting gloves. Look for gloves made of fabric that allows sweat to evaporate.

6. Adjustable Weight Bench
Not into step aerobics? Get a weight bench instead of a step. You'll need it for chest and back exercises, and you can even use it for a quick ab workout or some tricep dips. It's best to get an adjustable bench so you can do incline and decline exercises.

7. Resistance Bands and Tubes
Resistance bands are great because you can get a full body workout no matter where you go. They're small enough to fit in your suitcase and versatile enough to use in any hotel room. Another bonus: they provide a different type of resistance than free weights.

8. Adjustable Ankle Weights
For working the stability muscles of the lower body (like the inner and outer thighs), invest in a quality pair of ankle weights for moves like standing leg lifts or leg extensions. Ankle weights can help add a little intensity to many exercises.

9. Exercise Mat
To round out your new home gym, you'll need an exercise mat. You can use your mat for ab workouts, toning exercises, yoga, Pilates or whatever your heart desires. If you don't have carpet, make sure you choose a no-slip mat.

Do YOU have a home gym? If so - do you own these pieces of equipment? Any we left out? Share below!

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