One of the biggest challenges to getting in shape is sticking with the commitment to a regular routine. For some, designating space in their home is making it easier to stick with the commitment because they can work out when they want and customize their space to meet their own needs.

If a home gym is right for you, consider these ten questions before setting your plans in motion:

  1. What are my goals? This could be anything from toning up to slimming down, wanting to run a marathon or simply building up the stamina to comfortably walk a few miles. Identifying your goals in advance will help you decide which pieces of equipment you need.
  2. What injuries do I have? Many people suffer from knee, back and joint problems, and those can restrict which pieces of equipment you should buy. Talk to your doctor about possible restrictions before purchasing anything.
  3. What is my current level of fitness? If you haven’t worked out since high school, say so. Now is not the time to exaggerate your fitness level.
  4. How much space do I have? Dumbbells take up little more than a corner, but treadmills can require several feet of space.
  5. How much time do I have to work out each day? That will help determine which equipment to buy because some pieces work faster than others.
  6. What do I enjoy doing? Look for something that will be fun and challenging. That way, you’ll want to keep coming back to it over time.
  7. What have I used in the past that has worked? If you were in great shape in high school or college and really enjoyed your workouts, consider sticking with a similar routine.
  8. How much money am I going to spend? Most specialty fitness dealers offer financing and layaway. High-quality equipment will last longer, break less and be easier to use.
  9. How many people will be using the equipment? Maybe your spouse and kids want to join in; maybe it will just be you. Regardless, take each participant into consideration before deciding on equipment.
  10. Am I really ready to make this commitment? Fitness is a lifetime commitment. If you think you’re going to work out for three weeks and then quit, the financial and emotional investment just isn’t worth it.

If you think a home gym is just what you need, here are a few tips to help you consider the benefits and potential drawbacks.

Pros to having a home gym:

  • It’s convenient: You can exercise when it fits into your schedule.
  • It saves time: No driving to the gym, no parking, no waiting in line to use the equipment.
  • It’s private. You don’t have to worry or care about what others may think.
  • It’s customized: You can design your gym to your particular style and needs, from the equipment to the colors and music choices.
  • It can save you money: In the long run, you can actually save money as you’re not paying for gas or a gym membership.

Cons to having a home gym:

  • The variety is less: Unless you spend a lot of money, the availability of equipment is smaller in your home than in a fully-stocked health club.
  • Access is limited: You won’t have access to the latest equipment and advances in fitness technology.
  • You must self-motivate: You don’t have the social effect, the buzz and vibe of a gym to energize you. Unless you hire someone to come to your home, you won’t have a trainer around to push and motivate you.
  • Distractions are greater: It’s easier to be distracted by things at home, whether it’s a phone call or the laundry buzzer.