Just Getting Started

Home Sweat Home: All About Home Gyms

Whatever your fitness goals, a home workout space can help make them a reality. You’ll eliminate commute time to the gym, avoid having to lug around a change of clothes, and have the luxury of working out when the time is right. When designing your home gym, keep these tips in mind.

Combine cardio and weights.

Try to include both cardio and strength elements. “If you’re training for a running race, obviously cardio is high on your priority list,” says Kevin McCarthy, MS, chief operative officer and senior coach with First Fitness, a health coaching company based in Salt Lake City. “But a set of weights is also going to help you train to survive the [race] with less risk of injury and a better finishing time.”

Figure dimensions.

Consider how much space you have to work with. Elliptical trainers usually take up less floor space than treadmills, but an elliptical may require a higher ceiling. Many treadmills can be folded for storage. Adjustable dumbbells can be another space saver, while resistance tubing can save your budget. Psst, interested in a folding treadmill? Check out this one if you’re starting out, and this one if you planning for heavy usage.

Be on the ball.

A stability ball adds a fun and functional element. “A ball is so versatile,” McCarthy says. “You can do core exercises, as well as upper and lower body movements, and it’s economical. If you have a moderate amount of space, it’s a good idea.”

Buy more floor.

Rubberized flooring provides cushion and helps prevent sweat from ruining carpet or hardwood floors. And if you live above someone, McCarthy points out, this also can help dampen floor vibrations. Check out your local fitness equipment retailer or home supply store for flooring that comes in interlocking pieces.

Get pumped.

To stay motivated, some of McCarthy’s clients place posters on the wall from races they’ve done, or inspirational quotes. Also, make a place to blast your tunes to play your favorite workout songs to get your blood pumping. “And lighting is important,” McCarthy says. “Some people are fine with a generic fluorescent light, while others prefer lamps that have a softer feel. You’d be surprised how much lighting really impacts people.”

Just get started.

It’s important to keep in mind that your home gym should be tailored to your lifestyle. It may evolve and change, much like you do. It doesn’t have to include a full set of weights, a treadmill and a squat rack right off the bat – or ever! The hardest part is getting started, but you’re more likely to convince yourself to work up a sweat if everything you need is right in front of you.