The future is coming… to your home gym. Get ahead of the curve and start building a smart home gym. From wearables and apps to smart mirrors and interactive bikes, there are a lot of options. This guide dives into everything you need to get started to build the ultimate smart home gym.
Is a smart home gym not your thing? Get expert advice on building the perfect home gym to meet your needs.
What is a Smart Home Gym?
Smart gym technology is essentially taking the benefits of going to the gym, and using today’s ever-advancing technology to install that experience in your own home. Smart home gyms – or at least some aspects of them – are definitely the future of home fitness. The best part about them is that they are designed to make your life easier.
What do you like about going to the gym? Many people list things like: getting in a good workout, having a variety of exercise choices, various fitness class options, having a personal trainer there, and the social aspect of working out amongst other people.
What don’t you like about going to the gym? Most answers are along the lines of not always wanting to get all hot and sweaty in front of strangers, not wanting to be exposed to other people’s sweat and germs, and the overall hassle of getting to and from the gym with all your bulky or wet gear in tow.
Smart home gyms aim to amplify the good parts and reduce the bad parts of both home fitness and the gym experience, with all types of technological advances.
Benefits of Investing in a Smart Home Gym
Keep It Private
Let’s face it, crunches and burpees are hard, and it can be a little embarrassing to perform exercises like this in front of people you don’t know. Most people want to lay down and take a nap after a hardcore spinning class, not go into a locker room and shower or change, or even just drive all the way home. What a drag!
When you incorporate a major smart gym element into your home, you just get to avoid all that fuss. You can push yourself to a sweaty, red-faced frenzy without feeling exposed.
Always Having a Virtual Workout Partner
No need to schedule time a week in advance with your trainer, or be at the mercy of the gym’s hours of operations in order to break a sweat. Often times it would be ideal to just do your workout on your time, which is what all major programs offer. In just a moment or two, you can go from couch potato mode to jogging or cycling up a storm, or meeting with your personal trainer.
With a new smart system, you can plan your workout and live your life, instead of planning your life around what workouts your gym offers. It’s still an authentic workout experience but in a different way than you are accustomed to. We are in a new technological era, and it will be a new adjustment for a lot of things.
Back to Life Quicker
Another major gripe for gym-goers is the general commute. Owning a smart home gym system eliminates that once and for all. Not only is it always “open”, since your gym is at home, you can instantly go back to your life. Hop of the treadmill, bike, or yoga mat, and whip up a post-workout smoothie or jump into your own shower to rinse off.
The Downsides of Smart Gyms
Bandwidth and Data Costs and Restrictions
All this incredible digital wonderfulness comes with a few issues, and one of them could be your internet speed and price. You simply might not have enough bandwidth with your current set-up and will have to upgrade. Increases in data usage could incur fees you didn’t take into consideration. Check into what type of internet speed is recommended for your system and if you can accommodate it.
The Hermit Factor
Being social and having the ability to interact with other people are facts of life in today’s society, and they can even be quite enjoyable experiences! Some people need that extra push to get out of the door, and others simply just like to be out and about. With all the convenience of something like an interactive mirror, you are missing out on an actual human experience.
Little Examples of Smart Gym Technology
Some of the easiest ways to bring the “smart” into the fitness experience might be things you already have access to, or could fit into your budget. Things like:
There are virtually thousands of fitness apps available online, either for free or for purchase. Each has their own program, and it could be as simple as sets of timers and aerobic activities, to advanced and specific workouts and programs tailored to you. Apps offer all sorts of variety, such as yoga, aerobics, kickboxing, running and weight lifting, and often times there will be an app component to the smart fitness equipment. (An example would be wearing a FitBit and tracking your steps in the app). These apps can get very interactive, such as the Aaptiv audio based fitness workouts.
Items like the Apple Watch and the FitBit are popular and user-friendly wearable technology options on the market today, with many others available as well. Since these are generally worn near pulse points, they can track the wearer’s pulse and BP, as well as “steps”, sleeping patterns and more. What’s more is you can access all that data within their app or webpage and review your stats with up-to-the-minute numbers.
Bringing It Into Your House
However, many people already have or invest in their personal home gyms. They might have treadmills, exercise bikes, weights and more in a particular room or area of the house. Therefore, upgrading this system and getting a little more with the times is not out of the question! For many, bringing new technology into the house for the home gym is a fun and exciting prospect.
If you’re thinking of dedicating more space and money into a more permanent space inside your home, you have many options:
An Interactive Mirror
Essentially, this is a large ipad for your wall, but the possibilities are endless. One of the main options in the marketplace is by a company called, simply, Mirror. These are $1,495 full-length mirrors that are actually LCD screens ready to project workouts, yoga or your own personal trainer.
You could sign up for various types of classes or disciplines.
For example, you could join an on-demand fitness group so that aerobic classes like HIIT or Tabata were always available virtually. Or you could subscribe to a tailor-made fitness overhaul program and be assigned an actual personal trainer. The camera and monitors on your end can broadcast your progress and stats so that your program can be geared towards your fitness goals.
For a full view of Interactive Smart Mirrors, check out the Ultimate Guide to Home Gym Smart Mirrors.
The Peloton Bike or Tread
When the Peloton Bike first came onto the scene, people’s minds exploded! Since cycling classes had been all the rage for the previous decade, being able to take that class experience and plop it into your living room was a revolutionary idea. The bike’s smart touchscreen leads the cyclist through a virtual class and tracks all your vitals — and there are countless options for classes!
The Tread is the company’s newest offering and strives to re-invent treadmill technology. With a smart touchscreen, hundreds of workouts, and an intuitive touch control knob, the Peloton Tread is pure finesse. It will also cost you roughly $4,295 with a $39 monthly class fee.
If you have an issue with your Peloton Bike, check the guide to fixing Peloton Bike errors. There are also some awesome poor man’s Pelton bike alternatives.
FightCamp/Boxing at Home
FightCamp is the main provider of home boxing technology, but there are many more on the way. It comes with a boxing bag, smart boxing gloves, and guided workout classes. The sensors in the gloves gauge how hard and how frequently you are hitting. The base equipment is around $440, the full equipment package is $1,219, and the monthly class membership fee is $39.
A far-infrared sauna is not like the saunas of old and is packed with incredible technology. From music therapy and heating schedules… to the core far and near infrared options, this is a must have for those who struggle with detoxing. Read about the full pros and cons of a far-infrared sauna to learn more.
What is Your Workout Style?
One of the final things you should take into consideration is your overall workout style. What personally motivates you to work out? Do you enjoy the social aspects of fitness, the act of fitness itself, or a combination of the two?
Some people are simply more motivated by the group mentality and the other people at the gym or workout studio (think yoga, cycling or pilates, for example). Are you able to drive yourself hard enough to get an effective workout if no one is technically watching?
Then again, others are their own best motivators and are very comfortable in a solo setting. Let us not forget that with smart home gyms, there are often physiological measurers as well, such as blood pressure and heart rate monitors. That way, no matter what, you will be held accountable for your efforts during each and every workout.
Smart Home Gym Construction Considerations
Armed with the information above, you should have a sense of what smart home gym products are best for you. Now comes the fun part, actually constructing your smart gym. Here are some main points to consider:
- Measure out your space and ensure you have enough room around your desired equipment. It can be safety hazard to trip over items in your gym
- Don’t forget about the accessories such as a bench, exercise mats, dumbbell and kettlebell racks, and storage
- Check your floors and ensure it can handle the load of the equipment and not damage the floors. If possible, its best to have it on ground level or a basement
- Protect your floors with the right treadmill or bike accessories
- Ensure you have adequate networking bandwidth as this can kill your experience. This may require a hard line to the room with a Wifi extender
- Make sure the walls are properly studded and can maintain the weight of smart mirrors or any regular mirrors you may need
- Safety is critical, especially if working out alone, so make sure to get checked by a doctor and have a phone nearby in case you need to call for help. Also evaluate the fall detection in an Apple Watch
- Don’t let the room get musty and make you sick, invest in a home gym air purifier
If the above steps are feeling overwhelming, consider focusing on setting up a basic home gym for hassle free daily fitness. A smart gym, if not used, is not very “smart” after all…
While creating your own smart home gym can feel overwhelming, start small by evaluating the technology you already have. You may have apps you could install that provide virtual training such as Aaptiv. If you are ready to step up, start with a core piece of equipment like a Smart Mirror or Peloton Bike. Be aware that these will require a bit of space so make sure to allow for plenty of room around the equipment. If you don’t, its a safety risk and can also lead to feeling cramped in the space.