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When you want to work out, but you don’t relish the thought of driving to the gym, a home gym may answer your prayers. The good news? You don’t need to have a huge house or a ton of fancy equipment to make one.
Setting up a home gym may entail an initial investment, however, if you’d pay $35 or more for a membership, you’ll recoup the value within less than two years in most cases. And popping some tags can score you major deals on equipment, too (how many people do you know who currently use their home elliptical trainer as a clothing rack?). Here are ten tips for creating a home gym so awesome, you’ll enjoy working out.
1. Incorporate a Gym into Another Room
No spare bedroom, attic or basement space available? If you rent a tiny apartment, consider adding your home gym to another room of your house. For example, parents with young children can make part of the kiddos playroom into a workout space so they can keep an eye on the littles while doing a little bit of exercise.
Few want a treadmill in their bedroom, but if you have a great room, you can work out while you watch TV with the family. If you have a home office, turn a corner of it into a miniature yoga studio and om out for a few minutes when things get hectic.
2. Make Use of a Small Space
Think about how much space you typically need to move in a regular fitness class. You don’t need much more space than that for a home gym. Invest in a wall rack to hang exercise bands in various resistances. Add a yoga mat, an inflatable balance ball (which can double as an extra chair) and a jump rope. Now all you need is a 6′ by 5′ space around you!
3. Refurbish Your Garage
Garages make perfect gym locations, as outlets for fans and lights exist and the refrigerator might only be a few steps away if you have one out there. Install a dumbbell rack along one side of your garage, and put a weight bench and rack of barbell weights on the other. Men often gravitate toward the rugged appeal of this type of gym, so let your hubby make his man cave with the caveat you can use it, too, at least to work out.
4. Consider Comfortable Flooring Options
Performing high impact moves like burpees and split lunges on a concrete or tile floor can have you visiting the orthopedist for knee and ankle injuries by age 40. Knee and ankle injuries are some of the slowest healing injuries you can sustain as far as time it takes you to get back in the gym, so take steps to prevent these problems upfront in your home gym. Lay out a thick carpet and some yoga mats at least, or consider investing in rubber gym matting for more cushioning.
5. Install Mirrors to Watch Your Form
Work out with a trainer even once, and they’ll drill form into your head. But how can you tell if you’re performing moves correctly if you can’t see yourself?
Invest in at least one mirror where you can make sure your knees stay aligned with your ankles while lunging and your elbows aren’t chicken winging out when doing overhead triceps extensions. You need not spend much, but a wall of mirrors does make smaller spaces appear larger.
6. Hit Swap Sites and Yard Sales
Many people invest in pricey equipment only to let it collect dust. Let their lethargy transform into your bargain by visiting online sites like Craigslist and going yard sale shopping on the weekend. You can often find high-quality equipment for pennies on the dollar this way.
7. Make Your She Shed a Gym
Do you have a shed in your yard? Why not make it double as your workout space or yoga studio? You don’t need to remove your day bed or your wine fridge. All you need is a space to move, maybe a diffuser and some flowers and gentle music to stretch or sweat it out as you like.
8. Motivate Yourself with Posters of Athletes
If you’re a tennis fan, hang framed posters of your fave Serena Williams pics to motivate you to work hard. More into baseball or soccer? Whatever sports or athletic figures inspire you, decorate your gym with their images. Or hang posters containing quotes which pump you up. There’s a reason so many fitness facilities hang motivational posters on their walls, after all!
9. Invest in a TV or Speakers (or Both)
Any workout grows dull when you’re focused on how many more minutes you have on the recumbent bike, so make sure your home gym has ample entertainment. Invest in a small TV if your gym lacks one in the room or a nice set of speakers where you can dock your iPhone.
If you’re one of the lucky few who can read while doing cardio exercises, outfit your gym with magazines and journals you’ve wanted to read. Those whose eyes cannot focus while they’re in motion can listen to audio books while they sweat.
10. Consider a Fitness Streaming Service
Ideally, you have worked out with a trainer in the past or have taken group fitness classes with others often enough that you have a sense of good form. But even seasoned fitness experts need to learn new tricks regularly — it’s one of the reasons professional trainers need to renew their certification through taking continuing education classes every one to three years.
You can download specialty apps such as Yoga.com, or you can opt for apps like DailyBurn which offer a variety of class formats to try. Pricing generally runs less than $20 per month with many apps costing approximately $5. This is far less than you’d pay for one session with a personal trainer.
Could a Home Gym Help You Get in the Best Shape Ever?
Whether driving to the gym makes you want to curl up on your couch or if you simply cannot abide sweating with others, a home gym can help you reach new levels of fitness. You need not spend a lot of cash to get into the best shape of your life in the privacy of your own home.