I would bet that most people reading this signed up for a gym membership at some point in their lives. I can still remember the first time that I got roped into joining a gym. I was still in high school, paying $20/month for five years after putting down a $100 down payment. I think I used that membership for about two months before I got tired of traveling to the gym.
In today’s money, that is almost $4,000 that I wasted on a gym membership that I used for two months.
Unless you are a hardcore bodybuilder, quite frankly, you can create your own home gym for pretty much the same amount as that 5-year membership and have your equipment all to yourself. More importantly, you can have the exact equipment you need rather than a bunch of gear that you will never touch.
Creating Your Gym
I am a cyclist, so the most expensive piece of equipment in my home gym is my Peloton. After that, I have some stretch bands, ab rollers, and light weights… all for about $3,500, and it is all mine.
Your gym can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. Regardless, there are some common factors in how you should put the room together to maximize the space and ensure the room actually gets used.
Choose Your Space
First and foremost, you are going to have to pick the room in the home so you can start to work on the floor plan. There is no sense in dedicating a huge space to the project if you do not need it. For instance, in my case, my home gym made use of an extra walk-in closet that I had that was not being used. It had more than enough space for the equipment that I needed.
That will probably not work for most people, so look through your space (a lot of people are using the basement or garage these days) and map it out.
My one recommendation here is, if possible, to have the room near a bathroom so you are not dripping sweat around the entire house after a good workout.
Choose Your Equipment
Once you have your space, you can start to map out your equipment. There are some amazing all-in-one machines these days, such as Tonal, that can be hung on a wall and eliminate the need for a bunch of benches and free weights. If you are challenged for space, this could be a great investment.
Again, only buy the equipment you need and will use. Do not buy something to impress your friends if you are not going to use it.
Keep in mind, when you are developing your floor plan, you must take into consideration if you need additional space. For instance, if you are using a treadmill, you will need space in front and behind the machine. You may also need outlets nearby to plug them in. For cardio, yoga, and the like, you are going to need floor space.
I would recommend putting your equipment around the room’s perimeter and leaving the center open to serve as your stretching area and for floor exercises. It will also give the appearance of the room having more space.
Floors and Walls
For a home gym, you are going to want to use rubber tile or something similar. This will help soundproof the room, as well as creating a protective barrier over the regular flooring to protect it against sweat and the equipment.
For the walls, I would suggest some mirrors and a TV. The mirrors are great to check your form and the TV can keep you occupied when you are knocking out a 20-mile ride or a 5-mile run.
As far as lighting goes, you do not need to create the feel of your old gym with bright overhead lighting. I actually prefer to workout in lower lights, but this is a preference thing. Mind where the lights are placed relative to your equipment. For instance, if you have a yoga area or sit-up bar, you do not want to be face-to-face with a bright light every time you look up.
Something you will want to replicate from the gym is a water cooler and towels. You may also want to place some laundry baskets around the room so you have a place to throw your dirty, sweaty towels. There should also be a cabinet with cleaning supplies to wipe down the machines after they are used. Yes, it is your gym, but that does not mean it should smell like an old pair of shoes when you walk in there the next day.
Give it your personal touch because remember, you WANT to go in there and work out, not dread heading into that room.