I'M NOT DRIVING TO THE GYM
Do I really have to drive all the way to the gym just to exercise?
There are two types of people in the world. The people that exercise and the people that wish they exercised more. Nobodies day is more busy than yours. Making sure your family has what they need. Getting all your work done. Taking care of you house and all the chores. Our days are slammed with activities that make it hard to get away and exercise. When can you find the time to leave the house to visit a gym for an hour or so? Why not bring the gym to your house?
I am going to talk first about how to approach it if you’re already in your home and you don't want to add on. Then I’m going to discuss it from the angle of new construction or a renovation.
Close your eyes, unless you are driving, don’t do that. Visualize working out in your space. Ideally what would it look like? What would if feel like? How would it sound? How would you use your equipment?
Depending on the size and equipment you want you could be looking at anything from a corner of your bedroom to a larger room dedicated to your equipment. If you are just starting out and not sure if you will enjoy the time you spend in the gym, why not start with a mini gym?
Find a section of your house that you can start to dedicate to your equipment. One thing that I have found is that the easier equipment and things are to use in general, the more likely they are to be used. For example, If you have to set up a folded treadmill each time you want to use it, you will find excuses to avoid setting it up.
Do you have a spare bedroom or study that doesn’t get used. If you do I suggest organizing thing so that you can quickly get in and start going. You don’t have time to be setting up your gym each day. If it is really important to you, maybe you slide the bed over to one side of the room to allow for more area. If you only have guest occasionally why not set the room up for the everyday then adjust for guests when you need to.
In the past I had a murphy bed in one of my houses. I had a very small room that I wanted to use as an office, but could not dedicate the room entirely since that was my only guest room. I built in a Murphy bed that could flip up and out of the way. It was convenient, but very uncomfortable for guests.
What part of the house is your gym going to be? Will it be on the first floor? Basement? If you have listened to my past episode you will probably know what I would say about putting it in the basement. If you are going to be moving a lot and running on treadmill. You will need to consider the impact that has on your floors. If you can set up in a area with either concrete floors or elevated floor with short structural spans that would be better. Just know that when you are up there working out any room below is going to be loud.
Most activities don’t require a lot of ceiling height. Any 8’ ceiling would work, but If you plan on jumping rope you will need to plan for a lot more height than if you will be on the ground most of the time. I would suggest at least 9’ ceilings when jumping.
The problem I see with most home gyms is that they were an after thought. They are stuck down in the basement next to the water heater in the darkest most uninspiring location possible.
Who wants to be suffering down in a basement while pushing yourself to work harder. We want to have a space that inspires us. Lifts us up. A space that when we enter we get excited and ready to go. Make your gym uplifting and a lot of the excuses will be eliminated.
98% of the time it would be best to locate your home gym in the house. There are those locations where the climate is just perfect. If you are in one of those areas you might be able to locate your gym in your garage. Just imagine if you were in a location on a nice day and you were able to roll that door fully open enjoy the fresh air and cool breeze. But for those of us in Georgia and the south, it is way to hot for that for most of the year.
So how do we get that feeling of being outdoors while being indoors. Lighting and creating visual connection to the outdoors. Light your room up. More than normal. LED lighting can be a great way to light up the room. In a gym setting I would focus more on providing cooler light. It will be more energizing to have the cool (bluer) light than the more cozy warm lights you might want in your living room. Try to do some cool things with the lights. If you are going to greater levels you can install accent lighting around the soffits in the room. Install some spots that highlight equipment.
Don’t forget about the mirrors. Mirrors will reflect the light and expand the room. Depending on the time of day you typically workout natural lighting might be important. I prefer to workout in the morning. By the end of the day I am tired and its more difficult to get motivated. So early morning you might have a large window, but it might still be dark out. So you have that window to connect you to the outside but it is not used for lighting. I do still think it is important to have that window (providing light or not).
When it comes to flooring you are going to want a couple of things. You will want something that can absorb a weight and you will want something that is under your equipment. There are several ways to approach it. If you are going all out there are sports flooring companies that can provide a floor system.
There is a company called signature sports flooring that I have worked a lot with in the past. Another approach is to go to a places like tractor supply and pick up some horse stall mats. They are made of rubber and would work well under equipment. They are not going to provide as much support as the tiles from signature but it would be pretty good for setting down weights.
If you are looking for something a little simpler maybe you look into a padded exercise mat. These are really good for doing floor exercises.
The next thing i wanted to talk about is highly personal. Everyone has their own routine and system for exercising. This is my list of must have equipment if you are designing a complete home gym. This is not the list LA fitness would have. This is home gym.
The first would be dumbbells.
The second is a Stability Ball
The third would be Resistance Bands
The fourth is a Jump Rope
The fifth is a Step system
So most everything can be done using those 5 pieces of equipment. You can get started at a pretty reasonable cost and move up if you want to.
If you want to take it up a notch then the next best piece to get would be a sturdy treadmill. To work the Cardio.
This is one item that you definitely do not want to skimp on. Running on a solid treadmill will make a world of difference from running on one that is about to fall apart at any moment. This does not mean that you have to buy the very best or even brand new. Actually I would suggest that you browse craigslist or you neighbors for a used treadmill.
Used gym equipment usually comes at a huge discount over the new stuff. I just looked on craigslist and saw several that were under $200. that probably originally sold for over a grand. And if you get the good equipment it will usually last forever.
If you are into strength training you might want to look into a machine that allows you to use it in multiple ways. A total body machine that can do upper body and legs. Free Weights are also an option if you have a little more space and want the flexibility of free weights. I always feel that free weights are the best for creating smooth resistance.
Some of the machines have small quirks with the tension and they can sometimes just feel weird. If you are going to get into free weights and you will be alone you will want to make sure that you keep it safe and get something like the power rack. This keeps the weights from squashing you.
You can set it up for squats and then slide a bench under and adjust if for bench press or any other setup if you have an adjustable bench. If you can find a sturdy bench the more stable the better. That is a general rule with all this equipment. You don't want it wiggling around while your trying to use it.
Your not going to have the same problem of large gyms where they just smell, unless you leave your sweaty cloths or towels laying around the room. but you will need to make sure you have good ventilation to the room. A ceiling fan is also really nice to have on those hot days. If you do find that you have some moisture building up in the room, I would suggest that you get a dehumidifier and run that for a little while to help dry out the air. It really should not be a problem though.
Are you able to work out without music or something to listen to? The first method of doing this would be of course to just use your earbuds, but if you want to take it a step further then you can install a stereo in the space. Get some wall mounted speakers. Some small ones and really get some music in there. Nothing motivates better than music. Create a playlist that really gets you excited and going.
Are you worried about making too much noise with your music? If you are building or renovating your gym, you can look into products even gypsum board that help with acoustics. If you are in a situation where you will be running on a treadmill right over someones apartment or bedroom, it is not going to be good for the people downstairs. The impact noise of treadmill is seriously loud, so keep that in mind.
And of course I mentioned audio but you probably would like some television in there as well. Working out is a good time to catchup on tv without feeling like your wasting time.
You want to make sure you have access to water. Maybe a water cooler in the room. This will really help you stay hydrated and cut down on one more excuse or barrier by not having to find your water bottle and make a jug.
Its important to have patience. Build up over time as you discover how you want to utilize your home gym. Get into the rhythm of exercising at the same time every day. The hardest part is showing up. It’s been researched and it takes about 66 days of doing something for it to become a habit. So if you plan to be diligent for 2 months, this can become part of your daily routine in two months. So stick with it. And I admit that a lot of this I am speaking directly to myself. I really need to start to develop this habit myself and hope to make this commitment.
I would love to hear about some of the progress you are making with your exercise regiment and let me know some of the ideas you have done in your home gym to take it to the next level. The last thing I wanted to say is
“Get into it slowly and build up. It takes time and patience and with that time and patience it will eventually become habit. It might take you the two months or it might take you longer. Or maybe you already have the habit of being healthy. I applaud you and keep up the awesome work!”
I hope that you are having great success with the planning and construction of your home. If you want to get in touch with me please reach out to me on twitter or google plus.