If you want to take fitness into your own hands, start by creating a customized home gym. You not only can get a workout in on your schedule, but you also can save money over time in lieu of an expensive monthly membership. Making a personal gym is simple and fun when you determine what matters most to your workout. Are you looking to focus on muscle strength and definition or on cardio? Where is your workout space going to be? Here are some easy ways you can set up a home gym.
Planning the Space
Whether you're preparing to convert a basement, garage or spare room into a fitness area, you'll need to figure out what can fit in your prospective gym without being too cramped. Try to work with an area no less than 8' x 8' in dimension to allow for a few feet of room between machines and for your fitness collection to grow. No matter how much room you have to work with, it's better to start with a couple quality fitness machines and add pieces over time than to make your gym too congested from the start.
To maximize on space, you can simply include only the elements you need indoors if part of your workout can be completed outside. For example, if you live in a warm climate, you might consider including a strength training machine like a rower rather than a treadmill since you could easily go outside for a run most of the year.
When you establish your personal workout needs, look for equipment that targets those areas and diversifies daily routines. Try not to get stuck with a home gym that is one-dimensional by adding equipment that works out your whole body or at least major muscle groups. Consider starting with a strength-building machine like a power tower or a dumbbell and rack set, and pair with a cardio machine, such as an exercise cycle or spin bike. If space is at a premium, think about space-saving units like a folding treadmill or an all-in-one machine that combines strength and resistance training.
To round out your fitness collection, simple accessories like strength bands and yoga balls are great options for targeting smaller muscle groups and adding versatility to your routine. Consider including a portable ballet barre in your gym so you can switch to dance mode with ease when the mood strikes.
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Setting Up Your Home Gym
Create a comfortable area you'll be excited to exercise in with colorful walls, durable workout gear and fans or effective ventilation for cooling down. A bright, sunny space with natural light creates an uplifting environment that can help you stay enthusiastic while getting in shape. Let your personality decide the colors you incorporate into your design.
To create an inviting, conducive flow from the moment you set foot inside your space, think about how you normally start your workouts. If you typically begin by doing some stretching and light cardio, a warmup station featuring a yoga mat and jump rope will put you in the right frame of mind. From there, you could situate a Pilates' station that gets your heart beating while targeting strength building in major muscle groups. Consider how your workout evolves, and design your gym in a way that complements your individual workout style, allowing you to move from one station to the next with ease. Make sure you have room for a friend to join in on the activities if you want to include a workout buddy.
The layout is of utmost importance since you don't want to overcrowd the space or risk not using gear due to lack of room. Ensure that all equipment can be used without running into other stations, machines or walls in your home. You want to make sure there's at least 3 feet surrounding pieces like ellipticals, rowers and stair steppers. Remember to create an area completely free of machines for stretching, warmups and so forth.
Listening to music can elevate your mood and provide motivation for working out longer and harder so be sure to have a stereo system or MP3 player loaded with tracks to get you going. Give your room a larger look by hanging long dance mirrors along the walls.
Try adding a couple colorful houseplants to help you focus while adding lively accents to the design. Instead of hanging distracting TVs on the wall, look for artwork that helps to inspire you and stimulate your concentration.