Many people daydream about building a home gym in their house but never do it because they anticipate that it is a hugely expensive and difficult project. But that is actually not necessarily true!
The fitness industry has become huge in recent years, and there are so many different options, beyond the latest trend, infomercial-style equipment or major financial investment. Whatever your fitness goals, budget, or space restrictions are, there is something that meets your needs.
People exercise at home for a variety of reasons and there are many benefits to doing so. Just a few benefits to working out at home include:
- Privacy. Do you feel self-conscious exercising in front of others? You don’t have to worry about that in your own home.
- Scheduling. Maybe you need to get home right after work to care for children or spend time with your family. Or maybe you work long hours and aren’t able to make it to the gym due to a rough work schedule. Having a home gym means you can work out whenever you want, even in the middle of the night if that’s the best time for your schedule.
- Cost. Yes, purchasing home fitness equipment is a bit of a financial investment up front. However, when you add up how much you’ll spend on a gym membership, you’ll easily surpass that within a couple of years.
- Preference. Some people just don’t like the gym. Maybe they don’t like using the locker room or showers, or they feel uncomfortable making small talk with other gym-goers. Whatever the reason, working out at home is just more comfortable for many people.
- Saves time. Working out at home means you don’t have to worry about driving to and from the gym, finding parking, or waiting for equipment to become available. It’s much easier to get your work out accomplished in a much shorter time.
Before you start building your home gym, start by visualizing your space and thinking about your goals. Take a few minutes to look around the room and think about what your ideal space would look and sound like. Think about your fitness goals and what you’ll need to accomplish them.
If you plan on doing any redecorating work in the room, do it first. You should paint or replace flooring before you add in any equipment. It’s way easier to do it before, rather than moving the equipment around afterwards.
Taking a little bit of time to plan ahead, as well as thinking about your needs and wants, will help you design the space of your dreams.
Your Main Piece of Equipment
Once you have an idea about the space you want to create, think about your main piece of equipment. Usually, that’s a Stack machine, a Smith Machine, or a Power Tower.
Smith Machines contain a barbell placed in between steel bars and a guided rod to keep in place. This lets the bar move up and down within a fixed track, and doesn’t allow it to deviate from that track There are many benefits to using this type of equipment, including safety, versatility, and increased power and ballistics during your workout
Stack machines are great for anyone – both novice and experienced lifters alike. They contain a stack of weight plates, a pin, and a cable system to create the resistance needed when lifting the weight. Stack machines often have a variety of stations to allow you to target different muscle groups. They are often simple to use and very safe when used without a spotter, which makes them perfect for a home gym.
A power tower lets you use your body weight to perform some incredibly effective exercises. They usually have a small footprint and are great for small spaces. In addition, there are many ways to modify the exercises so that you can increase or decrease the intensity as needed.
After you’ve selected your main piece of weight training equipment, there are a few other things you’ll need to round out your home gym.
Regular cardio exercise is just as important as lifting weights, and you should have some way of getting in a cardio workout. While it is true that you can just go for a run or a walk outside, there are many excuses for missing that run as well. Bad weather, getting home late, lack of childcare can all keep even the most devoted runner from getting out and hitting the pavement at times.
There are a few different options for home cardio equipment:
Which one you select will depend on your needs and fitness goals. If you are a serious runner or cyclist, a treadmill or stationary bike, will be the best option. If, however, you suffer from joint pain, the low impact from an elliptical trainer may be a better fit.
Free weights are an important part of every weight training routine, and you should make sure that you have a good set of free weights to use as well. Purchasing hex dumbbells in a variety of sizes (or a few at a time) is a great investment for any home gym. If you have a small space, consider getting a weight stand to organize your weights so they aren’t lying around on the floor or taking up extra space.
Make sure that you have enough weight plates to use with your equipment. The two sizes are not interchangeable, so make sure that you are purchasing the correct size:
- Standard weight plates have a 1 inch diameter center hole and fits only on standard barbells or dumbbell handles.
- Olympic sized weight plate have a 2 inch diameter center hole and will only fit on Olympic sized bars or dumbbell handles.
Don’t forget all of the extra accessories that you’ll need once the main equipment for your gym has been purchased! This can include other fitness equipment to help shake up your current workout, like:
It can also mean getting things to make your space more comfortable, such as floor mats and storage racks to keep your stuff organized. A foam roller would be ideal to help with sore muscles and recovery. Don’t forget a notebook and pen to record your daily workouts, making it easy to track your progress as time goes by.
Next, it’s time to make space your own! Add mirrors, motivational posters, or images of athletes performing your sport. Don’t forget a music system or speakers, or even a television if you have space for it. Of course, if you prefer to exercise in silence, that’s okay too. If you are new to fitness, you can also consider adding posters with some common exercise demonstrations.
And finally, it’s time to enjoy your space and use it as intended! Make sure to get in there every day and have a great workout!