You want to work out, but you’re tired of going to the gym. Parking’s a nightmare, other gym patrons are talkative, and the monthly fee is killer. To help, we gathered 22 home gym facts to get you inspired to build a home gym.
There are many reasons to exercise from home. You might be worried that you don’t have the money or the space to do it right. Luckily, a home gym is surprisingly easy to construct. You just need a free corner, a small budget, and enough enthusiasm to keep yourself invested from start to finish.
Home Gym Facts
These 22 facts about home gyms will help you understand the benefits and challenges of owning a home gym.
You Don’t Need an Entire Spare Room
A gym at home can be any size that works for you. Some people install a treadmill in the corner of their living room, buy a few hand weights, and practice yoga on the carpet.
If you have space, go ahead and turn that guest room in the gym of your dreams. But if you’re living in a cramped apartment, you can still create a personal gym in a small space. Focus on the essential equipment, and use common areas for pushups and other exercises.
You Choose the Music and Entertainment
Music selection is the best part of a personal gym and the worst part of a commercial gym. At home, you decide what you listen to, when it comes on, and how loud the music gets. Never suffer through a bad pop song in the middle of your weight training again. Blast your favorite high-energy songs at high volume and leave the headphones behind.
You’ll also decide what goes on the gym TV – or if there’s a gym TV at all. Television is distracting and prevents your mind from resting. You won’t push yourself as hard, and you might even strain your neck looking at the screen. Save your television time for breaks and put all of your energy into your workout.
You’ll Save Money on that Unused Membership
80% of Americans who have a gym membership don’t even use it. Gym owners are counting on this to make a profit; they don’t even have room to host all of their members at one time. You’ll often find the public gym loud, crowded, and vaguely inhospitable; this is unavoidable and possibly intentional.
As a consumer, you’re spending an average of $40 a month on your gym membership. With that $480 a year, you could easily upgrade your personal gym with your dream piece of workout equipment.
You Can Skip the Commute
There are only so many hours in a day. If it takes you 20 minutes to drive to the gym, you’re spending 40 minutes in traffic that you could spend working out. Add in the time you spend in the locker room or waiting for the equipment to free up, and suddenly you’re wasting over an hour without making any gains.
A gym at home doesn’t have any of these problems. Roll out of bed and do a few reps before breakfast. Try a dedicated workout session when you get home from work. Add your commute time to your workout to double your daily routine. It’s your gym; spend as much time there as you want.
You Can Skip the Expensive Equipment
Technically, you don’t need any equipment to work out at home. Many exercise machines can be replaced with simple, natural exercises that might actually be better for you.
Try squats and lunges instead of leg presses and extensions. Pushups are a great replacement for chest presses. Side lunges will replace the hip abductor machine.
These workouts use more of the small muscles in your body. They also train you in movements that you’ll actually use in real life. Even if you have a favorite exercise machine, you should still occasionally incorporate natural workouts into your routine.
Good Workout Equipment Is in Your Budget
The single most useful piece of home gym equipment that you can buy is a flat bench. You’ll use it for weight lifting, stepping, squats, jumps, and countless other simple exercises. Find a stable bench that fits into your space and works for the exercises you plan on completing. If you’re not into strength training, an aerobic step tool might be a better choice.
After a bench, consider tools like jump ropes, kettlebells, exercise balls, and resistance bands. You can build a starter gym at home for less than $1,000. Start with the items that are essential to your favorite workouts. Upgrade your gym over time with the money you would have spent on a commercial gym membership.
You Can Buy Used Exercise Machines
Have you ever heard the terrifying tale of a brand-new treadmill abandoned in a basement? The previous owner may have never started working out or recently upgraded to a better piece of equipment. Either way, you can save that treadmill, elliptical, or chest press machine from a tragically unused fate.
Check your local online marketplace for great deals on workout equipment. Fitness stores also often deal in used exercise machines. Make sure you research the equipment before you buy it. Try the machine at a friend’s house or a commercial gym to see if it fits your workout needs.
You Can Combine Equipment with a Multi-Gym
A multi-gym is a single piece of workout equipment that can handle multiple exercises. These gyms use fixed weights and are designed with safety in mind. Multi-gyms generally have a lower risk of injury than free weights; this is especially true if you don’t have anyone to spot you at home.
Make sure you set up your multi-gym correctly. Consider paying the delivery company to install the equipment; you don’t want a screw coming loose mid-workout.
Multi-gyms are great for circuit exercises. Complete the minimum number of reps for one body part, rest, and then switch to a different workout. This method creates a full-body workout and lets you keep going for longer.
Mirrors Improve Your Workout Space
Commercial gyms have one thing that most personal gyms don’t: a large, wall-length mirror.
Gym mirrors help you improve your form. Mirrors let you see exactly how you’re stretching, lifting, or moving. They also provide motivation; it’s a lot easier to keep going when you’re cheering yourself on.
Mount your mirror so that you can use it for most of your workouts. Large mirrors make your workout space look bigger than it is. Small mirrors can be used for interesting or useful angles. A ceiling mirror over your weight bench might vastly increase the quality and length of your reps.
Gym Flooring Keeps the Noise Down
A set of jumping jacks is enough to rattle any living room. If you live in an apartment or work out on the second floor, you need to do something about the noise.
Gym flooring options are easy to install and surprisingly inexpensive. A single rubber workout mat is enough to absorb most exercise-related impacts. Foam tiles can be layered to create a workout space in any shape or size that you need. You’ll make less noise, and your joints will feel a lot better in the long run.
If you have a larger space for your gym, try installing materials like vinyl or artificial turf. Prioritize sweat resistance, impact absorption, and noise reduction.
Small Machines Aren’t Always Worth It
If your gym is short on space, you might be tempted to opt for a smaller piece of equipment. Half racks, compact exercise machines, and other compact pieces of exercise equipment definitely look like space savers.
Don’t do it. A half rack isn’t designed for the same number of exercises. A full rack is larger, but it’s also significantly more stable and usually has more safety features. Compromising on your equipment can result in injuries at worst and ineffective workouts at best.
Choose equipment that is big enough for your workout. Only buy items that you have space for; if you want to upgrade your gym, look to upgrade your space, too.
You Need Space to Stretch
On the subject of space, make sure you leave yourself plenty of room to stretch before your workout. Don’t crowd your workout area with machines and tools until you can barely move. Warmups are important; they prevent injuries, burn more calories, and improve muscle control.
Leave yourself enough space for a comfortable yoga routine. You should be able to fully extend your arms and legs from the center of your warmup zone. For the best gym setup, leave enough space for two people to do yoga next to each other. It’s always better to work out with a buddy.
You Can Use Wall Mounts to Save Space
First, a note of warning: don’t mount heavy gym equipment on drywall. Only use walls that are capable of supporting the weight of you and the equipment at the same time.
With that in mind, your walls might be a great way to save space in a small gym. Folding wall-mounted racks can be pulled out for use and put away when you’re done. These racks are best used in garages or other sturdy areas. You can also use wall-mounted storage options to keep weights, yoga mats, and jump ropes off the floor.
If you live in a rented space, consult with your landlord before attempting any installations. They’ll be able to offer you both permission and advice.
You Need Extra Caution When Training Alone
Unless your roommate is also a fitness enthusiast, your personal gym doesn’t come with a spotter. Use common sense and stay safe while you exercise.
Let a housemate know when you’re going to work out and how long you’ll be in there. If you don’t come out of the garage, you want someone to notice.
Choose exercises that are within your limits. You can search for safer versions of any exercise online. If you’re dying to try something risky, visit a commercial gym; many gyms offer single-day passes.
Select equipment with safety in mind. Full-size racks usually have safety straps to catch a dropped weight. Exercise machines also have various safety features.
Shop wisely and plan a routine that you can handle solo. The best exercises don’t risk injuries.
You Can Hire a Personal Trainer to Visit Your Home Gym
You can work out solo, but you shouldn’t try to do everything on your own. A personal trainer can inspect the safety of your setup and offer valuable advice.
Schedule a visit with a personal trainer at least once a season. They will adjust your form and help you come up with a few fresh routines. Ask them to visit your personal gym at least once; you need someone to tell you if you’re using your equipment correctly.
Cleanliness Is Still Important
Commercial gyms usually ask you to wipe the equipment down after you use it. This makes a lot of sense in a public environment; you don’t want someone else’s sweat on the bench.
When you’re at home, it can be tempting to drop the barbell and go straight for a shower. Unfortunately, sweat buildup can still damage equipment, attract bacteria, and generally degrade your beautiful gym.
Wipe your weights down after every use. Invest in an air purifier if you’re working out in an enclosed space. Set up a monthly cleaning routine to make sure none of your equipment has been neglected.
You Get to Choose Your Own Athletic Chalk
Weightlifters use athletic chalk to improve their grip. Chalk choice can be a contentious subject; some commercial gyms ban dry chalk because of the mess it causes. Others have a communal chalk bucket that may or may not be a health hazard.
When you exercise from home, it’s your gym and your rules. Pick your favorite athletic chalk, and proudly put powdery handprints on all of your home gym equipment. As long as you wipe down your weights and vacuum every so often, you can use whatever chalk you like.
Gym Decorations Matter
If your workout routine is a daily habit, you’ll be spending a lot of time in your gym. Choose wall paint, lighting, and decorations that create a pleasant and energetic atmosphere.
Go for a cool, bright light that keeps you active. Paint the room a warm color for energy or a cool color for focus. Hang posters and motivational items on the walls. This is your space; have a little fun with it.
In fact, Amazon has a ton of options for home gym decoration. From vinyl wall decals to canvas art that spans multiple boards, there are endless choices to personalize your gym.
Temperature and Airflow Will Improve Your Workout
An air conditioner, a fan, and an open window will instantly improve your workout space. Focus on good ventilation and temperature control to keep yourself comfortable. Your sweat should come from your workout, not from your environment.
The ideal gym temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees. You can adjust this temperature to your preferences; it’s your gym.
You Can Provide Your Own Snacks and Water
Many commercial gyms feature a juice bar, vending machine, and water fountain. Your gym is probably close to the kitchen, but you can still have a convenient setup in your workout space.
Start with a water cooler so that you don’t have to keep refilling your water bottle. Next, consider whether you need workout fuel. Short workouts don’t require any snacks, but longer workouts can benefit from a piece of fruit or a cup of yogurt. You might also want some protein bars on hand for post-workout recovery. A miniature fridge will let you store juice, fruit, and other essentials right where you need them.
You Can Provide Luxuries
This is your gym, so think about the items that would make you the most comfortable. A stack of towels is an obvious answer. You’re going to need one after your workout, so buy a few with nice textures. Keep them clean, folded, and stored next to your weight bench.
Other luxuries might include nice speakers, the world’s squishiest yoga mat, or a fancy wall clock to keep track of your routine. Have fun; no one will judge you in your private setup.
You Can Invite a Friend
When you’re satisfied that you have the finest personal gym in existence, invite someone to share it with you. Family members, fellow fitness enthusiasts, and even romantic partners might love to join your workout.
Even if you think you’ll never have a workout buddy, design your gym with a little extra space. Things change. Your best friend might ask you to teach him to lift; when that happens, you need room to spot him.
These 22 facts should inspire you to start or improve your home gym. Remember, you don’t need to go overboard when building your gym at home. Focus on the core items like a good flat bench or multi-gym, then build around your needs. Don’t forget about the cardio aspects, and ensure that the floor below your equipment is strong enough to carry the load.