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Fitness

Building A Home Gym: The Basics

6 Mins read

Whether your goal is to lose weight, get fit or have a stronger body, building a home gym is one of the best ways to stick to your fitness goals. When you set up a gym at home, with the right equipment and fitness accessories, you’ll never again be able to use the excuse, “I couldn’t find time to work out today.” It’s so much easier to fit your workout into your tight schedule when you have a home gym.

When building a home gym, many people buy exercise equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, exercise balls, a yoga mat and more. Fitness accessories such as resistance bands are also great additions to a home gym.

Gym memberships have plummeted in the past year, largely due to the pandemic. Many people feel safe working out at home. Pandemic aside, however, there are many perks to building a home gym. 

There are significant benefits to building a home gym, from privacy and saving money to working out on your own schedule. Not to mention how safe and sanitary it will be compared to the public gyms. Although there are some upfront costs when it comes to building a home gym, it’s an investment that will ultimately save you money and time while keeping you safe.

Building a home gym can be done cheaply or more extravagantly. If you’re on a tight budget, note that some of the best workouts are calisthenics exercises that require zero equipment and only require your own body weight. However, there are also many pieces of equipment that will make your home gym that much better. If you’re interested in building a home gym, check out the below tips.

Step 1: Assess Your Space

Before you start performing burpees, dropping down for mountain climbers, doing squats or single-leg kettlebell deadlifts, you should first assess your home and find appropriate space. Many people use their living room as their home gym, especially if they need the TV for guided workout videos on YouTube. 

You don’t need a ton of space for a home gym. All you have to do is find a good amount of space where you have enough space to do your workouts. Building a home gym doesn’t require its own dedicated ‘gym’ room in your home, but if you have a spare room, it’s worth considering.  It doesn’t have to be a big room, but it should be big enough to lay out your yoga mat and perform exercises. 

If you happen to have a spare room or large space, this means you can invest in a heavy-lifting set with all the bells and whistles. However, don’t despair if you’re an apartment dweller. You can dedicate an unused corner of your living room or office for your sweat sessions. If your local climate permits, you can even use your balcony as a home gym, especially with an overhanging roof, to protect your equipment and provide shade. With a smaller space, you have to be mindful of the equipment you will buy, because you’ll have to factor in the space required to store exercise equipment.

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Step 2: Buy Equipment When Building a Home Gym

This is the fun part because you can shop around for exercise equipment. Remember, you don’t need tons of bulky equipment to get a good workout. You will find excellent workout equipment that is portable, affordable and small enough to fit your limited space. Check out the below items you can add to your home gym:

Cardio Equipment

If space is tight and you’ve got a limited budget, you can ditch the heavy-duty treadmills. There are many space-saving treadmills that you can fold. They’re not as bulky and cost significantly less. These affordable machines help you increase your heart rate while staying on budget. 

Another great space-saving piece of cardio equipment is a simple jump rope. It’s more affordable than a treadmill, and it can provide an equally good cardio workout. Use a weighted jump rope for an extra challenge. Alternatively, you can strap on weights to your ankles to make the jumping movement more challenging. 

Strength Equipment

Thankfully, you don’t need gigantic cable machines to strengthen your muscles. There are many types of equipment that are portable, small, and perfect for building a home gym. Below are some examples:

  • Kettlebells 
  • Adjustable dumbbells
  • Resistance bands 
  • Weighted medicine ball
  • TRX straps

All of these tools will give you the same muscle toning advantages without having to fret over where to store bulky items. You may also want to invest in balance discs instead of a gigantic stability ball. These cheap and small disks give you the same type of core workout without taking up too much space. 

Recovery Equipment

Never start your workout without stretching, and don’t end it without a cooldown stretch either. When building a home gym, it’s important to have recovery equipment such as foam rollers and acupressure yoga mats. 

You can use foam rollers to release tension in tight muscles after a workout, and foam rollers certainly help reduce muscle soreness from your workout. 

Rolling out your muscles with a foam roller will reduce muscle fatigue, minimize soreness, speed up the recovery period, and enhance overall performance. Your workout will never be complete without taking time to recover your muscles. Check out these health benefits of foam rolling to understand the importance of adding one to your home gym.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to break the bank and buy everything at once when building a home gym. You can start with the basics such as a yoga mat, foam roller, one kettlebell and a set of dumbbells. From there, you can gradually build up your equipment collection. You can save money by perusing eBay, used equipment on craigslist, or Facebook marketplace. Many people sell pre-loved items or swap out their equipment to upgrade to a new set. 

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Step 3: Figure Out a Storage Solution

When building a home gym, storage is the most important criterion. Without this, your home will look cluttered. Thankfully, you can find many storage containers in various shapes, sizes, and styles. Some pieces of designer furniture such as coffee tables often lift up and double as storage containers. However, you could even discreetly place your exercise equipment under your couch. This can readily accommodate your yoga mat, jump rope, dumbbells and resistance bands. 

Some people use a compact weight track that holds several sets of weights for adjustable dumbbells. Best of all, you can tuck this into a corner, ensuring it doesn’t mess up the design of your home. A simple shelving unit against a wall could also hold your kettlebells, medicine balls and other small home gym items.

Step 4: Create an Optimal Design

The space where you do your home workout can significantly impact your performance. After all, your environment can influence your frame of mind. As the famous adage says, a cluttered work area equates to a chaotic mind. Hence, setting up your fitness space and making it look good is not mere vanity but a necessity. 

Ensure you have plenty of light coming from the window or overhead bulbs. This helps you see your equipment and form with ease. Adding a mirror to our workout space helps because you can check your posture and form as you engage in each set. Besides, mirrors are well-known for providing an optical illusion and making a room appear larger than it actually is. This helps make your home gym feel less cramped. 

If you are one of the lucky ones who can convert an entire room into a home gym, you can cover the floor with rubber gym flooring to provide cushion and protection. This dulls the noise from below when you jump. It also protects you because it won’t become slippery when your sweat drips. 

Finally, take out distractions that may keep your attention from working out. Take out unnecessary items. Instead, you can put on motivational posters and quotes to inspire you to keep moving. Don’t forget to have a reliable boom box on standby for your workout music. You may also need a TV if you intend to stream and follow a training session on a platform such as YouTube. 

Step 5: Eliminate Excuses 

Last but most definitely not least, don’t make excuses for not finding time to do your workouts. Remind yourself that moving your body is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Many studies indicate that exercise can help you maintain a good weight, sleep better, and prevent the onset of illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It also has the power to improve your performance and overall quality of life. 

When it comes to your home gym, consistency matters. Try to make working out at home part of your daily routine. Like a normal gym membership, you can only see results if you use your home gym consistently. Consider taking a CircleDNA home DNA testing kit if you truly want to optimize your workout sessions. The CircleDNA results do not merely reveal your ancestry and health risks, but also contain fitness reports that reveal the optimal workout routine for you, based on your genetic strengths and weaknesses. 

Erica Gordon
149 posts

About author
Erica Gordon is the Managing Editor and Director of Content at Circle Magazine. Erica majored in Psychology at UBC and has since founded The Babe Report and followed her passion for writing and journalism, with a focus on health and travel writing.
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