Woman in maroon sports tank top sitting and leaning her right arm on a blue exercise ball with exercise equipment around her.

Nothing’s more convenient than a gym in your own home. By carefully planning out the type of workout you want, you can easily save money and space to get fit at home.

Far-reaching fitness goals can quickly expand your budget, so make sure you’re actually going to use the equipment you purchase in your home gym.

Start small: aerobic, anaerobic and resistance training equipment requires little space and money. Larger machines can offer a more complete workout, and can also help inspire you to maintain your routine.

Creating a Home Gym 101

Creating a Home Gym 101

1

Determine your fitness goals

Before you even think about shopping for exercise equipment or knocking down walls to make space in your home, take some time to think through your fitness goals. Are you looking to lose weight or build muscle mass? Will you focus on cardio, strength training, or a bit of both?

You should also identify exercise activities you realistically see yourself doing on a regular basis. If necessary, consult your doctor and a fitness professional for advice.

Through this process, you will develop a personal fitness plan that will guide you in choosing the equipment that’s right for you.

2

Determine your space needs

Do you really need a dedicated room for working out at home? If you can narrow down your exercises to use lighter and portable equipment, your home workouts can be done in the living room by pushing the coffee table to the side and putting down a yoga mat.

Be critical about the amount of space you have. There’s no point buying home exercise machines that don’t meet your space allowance. Always consider the amount of headroom and functional space required to avoid putting kettle bells through your walls.

Woman in sports bra and black leggings doing pushups on an exercise mat in her living room

3

Consider privacy

One of the benefits of going to a fitness centre is you can avoid the distractions of kids, work and household upkeep, and focus on your exercise routine. To get the most from your home gym, you’ll need to put strategies in place to ensure you can work out free from interruption.

Consider picking a room that’s out of the way and has a door you can close. You could also install a television and music system, even if it’s just a portable boombox, to help block out conversations and noises coming from elsewhere in the house.

But don’t forget to think about the other people in your home as you crank your favourite workout music. If necessary, you could use wireless headphones or add soundproofing to minimize the audio leakage.

4

Pick a location you like

Pick a room that will be inviting and motivating so that you look forward to your workouts. Basements may be the most obvious place for home workouts, but if you don’t like the lighting, smell, dampness or whatever the turnoff, your commitment to regular workouts could suffer.

Make sure there’s enough space for equipment storage as well. Living rooms are typically spacious enough if you move furniture around temporarily. Bedrooms can work well as a permanent location, though space may limit your exercise options.

5

Install exercise mirrors

Some exercises are enhanced by mirrors, which help you maintain proper posture and perform movements correctly.

But mirrors and gym equipment don’t always play nice together. In particular, if you’re installing mirrors in a home gym with free weights, you need to be extra cautious. A good rule of thumb is to keep mirrors at least 10 feet away from your workout area.

6

Add equipment

Once you’ve established your personal fitness plan, you can start thinking about the exercise equipment you’ll need. If you’re interested in losing weight and improving you cardio fitness, you could consider low-tech options such as jumping ropes or hula hoops. If space and budget allow, you can add a motorized exercise machine or two, such as a treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical trainer or rower.

For strength training, your options range from exercise bands and free weights (dumbells and
barbells) to fancy multi-station home gyms. To work your core, consider stability balls, balance boards or Pilates kits.

Upwards shot of woman pedaling on a grey and black stationary bike

7

Balance your workouts

It’s a good idea to have a mix of cardiovascular and strength training in your workouts. Your primary goal may be to increase your heart rate and burn fat, but you’ll still benefit from toning and strengthening your muscles.

Conversely, you might be on a mission to pump up your guns, but enhancing your cardio fitness will also do you a lot of good.

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