Create an Atmosphere that Will Inspire Activity
No one wants to workout in a dungeon. Your surroundings drastically impact how motivated your feel, so keep your routine from sliding into drudgery by filling your gym space with lots of energizing decor. Specifically, infuse the room with plenty of light to give yourself that natural workout buzz. Sunlight from a nearby window works best, but if you’re installing your gym in a basement or windowless room, a set of recessed lights fitted with bright white bulbs will also do the trick.
Next, pick a jazzy color to set the tone for your space. Bright blues, electric pinks, eye-opening oranges—anything that gets the blood pumping and makes you feel alive. It’s hard to feel like slacking when you don’t want to leave the room!
Give Yourself Space for a Variety of Different Workouts
When building a home gym, it’s easy to pick a spot and start cramming it with workout equipment, but that’s not always the most effective way to design things. First of all, you’ll feel a lot less comfortable in the space if there’s tons of equipment and clutter filling up every available corner.
Secondly, you may not even need a ton of fancy gadgets to get you the best workout. A jump rope or selection of cardio circuits works your body just as effectively as a treadmill or exercise bike—and frees up space for stretching and strength training. Likewise, you can swap the free weights out for a selection of dumbbells, which can be incorporated into circuits, as well. You don’t need an Olympic-sized gym to get a good workout! In fact, a trainer will usually be happy to work with you in your new space and provide suggestions for exercises you can do without any equipment at all. Just one of the many perks of personal training!
Mirror Your Movements
Mirrors aren’t just for the image-obsessed. While you might feel a little funny installing one in your personal workout space, seeing your reflection everyday can really help you fine-tune your form and pick up on small imperfections in your posture that may be affecting overall performance. That’s a lot of feedback for a $20 investment!
And mirrors have added environmental benefits, as well. Any light in the room will be reflected back, doubling the brightness in the area. Likewise, mirrors create the illusion of space in cramped quarters, all of which will make your workout room more pleasant to be in—and you more motivated to hit the weights.
Protect Your Floors, Protect Your Joints
Unless you’ve dedicated your life to fitness, you probably aren’t too keen on sacrificing your floors to your workouts. Similarly, hard surfaces like wood and concrete can be tough on the body, as well. Flooring materials like these don’t absorb the impact when you jump, run, and move around—instead the energy travels back up through your feet and legs, making you more prone to injuries like shin splints and sprains.
If you want to go the whole nine yards, replace your existing subfloor with basket weave, which is typically made from softer wood like maple, and used in many gyms across the country. Not interested in tearing up your floors? I don’t blame you. Commercial-grade interlocking foam mats fit diminutive and dominating home gyms alike, while protecting your floors and your feet and muffling sound.
Look into Resistance Band Training
Resistance band training attachments get major points in home gyms for both their size and versatility. The bands are essentially long rubber tubes that are hooked through various straps and latches to create a fluid strength training workout that touches a wide range of muscle groups.
This method keeps your equipment compact since the hooks can be attached over a door, or held in place by your feet. When you’re done, you just fold up the bands, throw them in a basket or drawer, and move on. That’s a lot of workout without the bulky space requirement.
Add Storage Units to Keep Space Clear and Clutter-Free
Speaking of drawers, you’re probably going to need some of those in your gym, too. Open cubbies work well, particularly if they come with a few racks for your mats—it’s nice to be able to find the equipment you need quickly. If you can, go for a lifted shelving system that bolts into the wall. That way, you won’t have to dedicate any of your precious flooring space to storage.
If you typically work out using videos, a shelving unit that frames a wall-mounted television is best—that way you can store DVDs, props, and other paraphernalia nearby. Anything that gets you off the couch and into the gym is golden!
Jesse Silkoff is an avid runner and tennis player. He currently resides in Austin, TX where he works as the President and Co-Founder of FitnessTrainer, the leading online marketplace to find a local personal trainer that can help you achieve your health and wellness goals.