With the weather turning cold, I know that many of you are looking at your basement or garage and thinking how nice it would be to build a home gym - rather than trudge through the cold for your daily fitness routine. Let's take a look at how you can do things right!
There are lots of perks that come with having a gym in your house e.g. no competition for parking, no claustrophobia due to overcrowding, and no having to grind through unbearable music. You are also free to grunt as much and as loud as you want. It even makes economic sense when you compare it to the average cost of commercial gym membership.
Setting up just any type of home gym isn’t that difficult. However, there are home gyms, and then there are home gyms. If you want to build a great personal gym, one that’s bigger and better than the average, a place that’s exciting to train in, you’ll have to be more meticulous in your planning and adopt a longer term view. It will take cash, space and tons of dedication but the payoff will be worth your while. Here’s how to do it.
Create the Right Atmosphere
Before you even start to think about the equipment, visualize your ideal space and identify the best location in your home. After all, one of the advantages of a home gym is you have free reign to determine the sound, look and feel. For the average resident of suburbia, the garage would be a feasible option. If you have a two car garage, that’s already plenty of room to work with.
Regardless of the space you choose, you’ll likely need to paint the walls, put up posters, install speakers and, if you want the gym to look even larger than it is, fix mirrors on some walls. Design and tailor the gym in such a way that it instantly motivates and energizes you anytime you walk into it. Let it pique your subconscious and prime you for the hard work necessary for success.
By far the most important surface of any space you choose will be the flooring. The right floor will help protect your equipment and make it last longer. Great gym flooring also reduces the level of sound leaving the gym. Look for commercial grade foam flooring. It’s fairly affordable and will last for years.
Decide on a Realistic Budget
Building a home gym is just like building anything: it can cost very little or very much all depending on your budget. As always, cheap can be expensive. It would be imprudent to purchase cheap equipment that will either fall apart or fall into disuse soon after you buy it. If you want a great home gym, you must be prepared to spend on long-lasting good quality gear.
In fact, high quality brands such as the Atomicmass strength equipment are within the financial reach of a large segment of the population. A lot of home gym budgets go wrong because they focus on items that they’ll either never need or can do without. You could buy two seemingly distinct pieces of fitness equipment but whose role in a workout and impact on the body is effectively the same.
If you are already a member of a local gym, get in touch with one of the trainers for advice on what equipment is a must-have.
Focus on the Essential Equipment
The list of equipment that could go into a home gym is pretty extensive so we’ll only mention the most essential ones: barbell and plate set, bench, rack and kettlebells. The barbell and plate set is the single most important item for the gym. It forms the foundation of virtually all your workouts. Make sure you get an Olympic bar to ensure reliability, sturdiness and longevity. Get some professional, rubber coated, standard size bumper plates.
You’ll need a bench to make the most of the barbell set. Lower quality benches rip apart easily and disintegrate around the bolts. A good bench will have decline and incline functionality. The rack is likely to be the biggest and most expensive gear in your gym. You’ll have little choice but buy one if you really want to create a top-notch gym. It’s essential for safety and convenient for heavier shoulder, chest and leg workouts.
You can get both kettlebells and dumbbells but if you must choose, you should opt for heavy kettlebells (between 12 and 16 kilograms). Kettlebells are more versatile and provide hundreds of training variations.
Once you have your gym set up, it’s time to get down to the hard part: working out.