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HEALTH & FITNESS : Adding Weights to Home Can Lighten Your Wallet


The on-the-go, 41-year-old sales executive wanted home exercise equipment so that she could keep in top shape. She turned to personal trainer Lou Gaudio for help. With about $6,000, Gaudio and his client transformed a spare bedroom into a complete home gym that included weight equipment and a stationary bicycle as well as mirrors, lights and a video screen built into the wall.

The average home gym needn't require $6,000. "A few dumbbells and barbells are a good start. Later you can decide to buy more if you like," said Gaudio, 42, who has been a personal trainer for six years and last year opened a training studio in Dana Point.

Here's his prescription for a complete home gym:

* Start with a good dumbbell set, which should include weights from 2 1/2 to 20 pounds for women, 5 to 50 pounds for men. The women's weights will cost about $350, the men's twice that. A flat or inclined workout bench, at about $250, also will be needed.

* For more variety, buy a weight-resistance, two-station pulley unit, which costs about $1,600. It works to develop muscles by being pulled down from above the shoulders or up from foot level.

* For important cardiovascular workouts, try a Lifecycle, an electronic stationary bicycle popularized in health clubs in the early 1980s. It now comes as a home model for about $1,500. The cycle is "friendly" because you can simply hop on, start pedaling and watch a display that tells you the number of calories being burned and the intensity of your pedal motion. Electronic treadmills, the latest in-fashion home exercisers, are also nice to have, but can cost as much as $7,000.

While home gyms needn't cost a fortune, Gaudio warns against equipment that might appear to be a great buy but will produce marginal results and little motivation to work out.

"It doesn't matter what the equipment looks like. What matters is what kind of body it will produce," he said.

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