Not everyone feels comfortable in a gym. Given what’s happened with COVID over the past two years, people are more concerned than ever about hygiene. Add to that the sweaty gym bros, the (mostly) terrible music, the inconvenience and the cost, and you may start to wonder if there’s an easier way.
Setting up your own home gym is a great way to get your workout without the inconvenience and general grossness of hanging out at your local gym. But before you start shopping for treadmills and weights, it’s worth considering what you will need to set up your own home gym.
What will you use it for?
Before you start to set up your exercise space, it’s important to first think about what you want to use your home gym for. Is your focus weight training? Cardio and weight loss? Strength and flexibility? Are you looking to create a home yoga/pilates space?
Working out what kind of exercise you want to do will help you determine not only what equipment you need, but the type and amount of space you will need. Which brings us to…
Finding the right space
Once you’ve worked out what you want the exercise area for, you need to find an appropriate space to set up your gym. In an ideal world, you’ll have a spare room, garage or basement space you can turn into a dedicated exercise area. But not everyone is that lucky.
You may be limited to exercising in a shared space, in which case you will need to think about equipment storage.
When considering space, you also need to think about some of the practical aspects. For example, Gym flooring is very important to consider. Hard and slippery floors could be impractical and dangerous. You don’t want to be dropping weights on timber or tiled floors that are easily damaged and you want to make sure the floor isn’t slippery, to prevent accidents. It may be worth investing in high quality rubber mats to protect your floor and create a good work out space.
You should also make some detailed measurements of the available space to ensure that any equipment you purchase will fit into the space.
When buying equipment, it’s important to focus on only what you need for your chosen workouts. Exercise equipment can be expensive, so decide on your fitness priorities and get the appropriate equipment. Don’t get distracted by all the shiny workout equipment in the shops. You could end up paying for stuff you never use or cluttering your workout space to the point where you can’t practically use it.
If cardio is your focus, there are plenty of options. If you have the space and budget, a treadmill, cross-trainer, exercise bike or rowing machine will all provide a great workout. If you’re pressed for space or cash, a weighted skipping rope will deliver a great cardio workout at a fraction of the cost.
If weight training is your thing, you will need to look into products like dumbbells, kettlebells and bench weight sets. If you’re pressed for space, don’t underestimate the power of bodyweight exercises. With a little smart training, you can get a full weight workout with nothing more than your own bodyweight and a few resistance bands.
It’s worth thinking about recovery as well. This may require things like yoga mats, resistance bands and foam exercise rollers.
What about storage?
Depending on the type of equipment you buy for your home gym, it’s vital that you create a workable storage plan. Leaving weights, exercise balls or rollers just lying around on the floor can create serious safety risks. The last thing you want to do is step on something and injure yourself while working out.
Think about plastic storage containers for items like yoga mats, jump ropes, resistance bands, rollers and other small and lightweight items. Wall racks and hooks can also be useful for lightweight items like exercise balls and rollers and mats.
For heavier equipment like weights, you may need to invest in a weight rack or some heavy duty floor shelving. Remember to be careful when planning your weight storage and only use storage solutions that will be able to handle that type of weight.
Creating an atmosphere
Creating a home gym atmosphere that will inspire you to work out is important if you want to keep your fitness goals on track. Amosphere can mean different things to different people. However, a couple crucial elements of any home gym atmosphere are ventilation and climate control. Ensure adequate air flow could simply mean having windows that open or you may need to install some wall or ceiling fans.
It’s also important to consider the temperature. Working out when it’s too hot or too cold can be bad for your health. An uncomfortable workout space can also make it difficult to get motivated for a workout. Ensure you have adequate heating or cooling as necessary. Remember that if you set up your workout space in a shed or garage, it may not have adequate insulation, making it difficult to properly heat or cool.
You may also wish to install a wall mirror. Gym mirrors are about more than just checking out your flex. They can be useful for keeping an eye on your form and posture, which can be important for the quality of your workout, as well as for preventing injury. Mirrors can also help with the flow of natural light and make the space seem bigger.
Finally, a little gym entertainment is an integral part of not just the atmosphere but also the practical element of your home gym. Some people like to pump tunes while working out while others prefer to watch TV. A little entertainment can make working out easier and more enjoyable so figure out what you like and invest in a good entertainment system.
If you prefer guided workouts or Zoom classes, then equipping your space with a webcam, screen and speaker system can also be important for the practicality of your exercise.
However you like to work out, equipping your home gym with everything you need will help you to get the exercise you need from the comfort of your own home.