One of the biggest benefits of the at-home workout programs is they allow you to ditch your gym membership and, with it, its monthly fees, gross showers, and the time it takes to travel there.
That said, shoving your coffee table off to the side and dealing with your kids because your plyometrics workout caused them to miss their favorite Disney shows can get a little old quickly.
By creating a personal workout space in your house, you not only sidestep these issues, but you’ll be more motivated to do your daily workout. And that consistency—in both your diet and your fitness—will get you the results that you desire.
Especially for moms, like me, and others who have young children because it's hard for me to put in time at the gym. By creating a workout space that you love in your home is a really easy way for me to get in a workout without feeling guilty or being away from family.
Of course, you don’t need all this gear for every workout you do, but with a fully stocked gym, you’ll be ready to get sweaty with any workout that catches your fancy.
Pick a room
Ideally, you should set up your workout space in an area of your home that isn’t too high-traffic. This eliminates excuses.
However, the rooms in your home can and should be separated into multiple uses. When it comes to creating a high-energy space, you should aim for a balance between a space for entertaining family and friends and a place to work out and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Try to think of what else you would like to do there besides exercise.
For instance, if you set up your home gym in the den, your workout time may conflict with when others want to watch TV. While you can try to encourage whoever is in there to join you, it will make it easier on everyone by finding a space where you can do your workout when it’s most convenient for you.
That said, I understand that’s not always possible, so you may need to schedule your workouts when you’re least likely to be interrupted.
Here's a few things to think about when picking a room:
- Do you have enough space to move around? Most at-home workout programs won’t be using a treadmill or stationary bike. You’ll be moving around. Ideally, your workout area should be 15′ by 15′ so you can leap, jump, and lunge without running into the furniture.
- How high are the ceilings? Are they high enough so you can jump without hitting your head? When doing jumping jacks or plyometric workouts, you want to get results, not a hole in your ceiling and/or a trip to the emergency room.
- How sturdy are the objects in the room? When you jump, are you likely to knock anything over? This includes lamps, fragile knickknacks, vases . . . let’s not go on. Planning ahead will not only save your stuff but help your workout because you won’t be worried about what you might hit.
- Where can you put your equipment? Ideally, you want to pick somewhere where you can leave your equipment—weights, yoga mat, agility ladder, push-up bars, foam rollers, etc.—out so it’s easy to access. Alternatively, pick a room where you can store your equipment easily either against the wall or in a large trunk or chest.
- What’s underneath the room? If you live alone in a freestanding dwelling or you want to work out in the basement, don’t worry about this. Otherwise, be mindful of your downstairs neighbors or the others who live in your home and pick a room that isn’t located above their bedroom.
- Is it well-ventilated? When you’re working out, you want to be able to stay hydrated. You can accomplish this partially by drinking water during your workout, but also by making sure your workout space is well-ventilated. Open the windows and get a big box fan to keep you cool while you’re sweating up a storm.
Work With the Right Color Palette
When it comes to decorating your high-energy space, choosing the right colors is key. Blues, greens, yellows, and colors in the cooler color families are the best choice for a workout space. Try to avoid warmer tones and reds.
Another key to the color palette is to keep your space light and airy, with bursts of color to create that energy boost. Some people kind of get overly anxious or eager to put in lots of color, but you really don't need a whole bunch of color — just accents of it throughout the space.
Get good flooring
Having the proper flooring in your workout space can make the difference between sore knees and a happy, healthy you. If you’re going to be jumping or doing exercises that may cause you to slip, put down a few locking rubber mats with rug runners beneath them so that they don’t slide. The padding will make the surface softer to land on and you shouldn’t go flying.
If you are looking for a little extra padding for a jumping-intensive program, consider a plyometric mat. It’s thicker and denser than a yoga mat and will help save your joints.
If you plan to mostly be stretching and doing less-intense activities, you should be OK with just using a yoga mat for padding.
Invest in the right equipment
The equipment you need is entirely dependent on what kind of workout you’re doing. While it might be tempting to go absolutely gear crazy, you don’t need to break the bank to start a solid home gym. Begin with a few, necessary basics and build your collection as you go. In addition to the aforementioned flooring, here are a few vital pieces of equipment.
Inspiring tunes and images. To stay pumped through your entire workout, set up a music player in your workout space so you can listen to your favorite tunes. And, if you can transform one space in your home into a permanent home gym, consider hanging some inspiring photos—perhaps of the body you’re trying to achieve, places you want to travel to when you’re fit, or quotes that motivate you—on the walls.
Free weights or bands. When you’re working out, you’ll find that eating right and doing cardio workouts will help burn off the extra fat you’re carrying. But to create the muscle definition you desire, you’ll need strength training. Some strength training exercises—including push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches—use just your body weight, and those will help tone your muscles.
But to see serious results, you’ll need to use weights or bands for resistance. Especially if space is an issue, I recommend investing in a set of resistance bands or a set of adjustable weights such as Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells. Both are compact options and will allow you to increase the resistance as you get stronger. And if you’re traveling, bands are easy to throw in your bag so you can keep working out while on the road.
Pull-up/chin-up solutions. Want sexy biceps, shoulders, and back? Pull-ups and chin-ups will definitely help you get there. You can install a pull-up bar in any wall with the help of a stud finder, but if you’re looking for a less permanent solution, you can easily find a chin-up bar that can be easily mounted onto almost any door frame and removed when you’re not working out.
Of course, you don’t need to limit your collection to just this gear. Have a look at the program you’re interested in taking on next for a complete list of the toys you’ll get to play with.
Keep the Clutter to a Minimum
It's important to keep clutter contained when designing any space, but this is especially true when designing a space for working out. Storage in exercise rooms is critical because you don't want to have dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga mats, and whatever else you may need just scattered around the floor.
Clutter isn't just a tripping hazard, but keeping clutter to a minimum will help you feel focused on the function of the space.
When you're exercising, you don't want a lot of complications. You just want to get in there and you want to get out and do what you came to do.
Keep It Focused
Be cognizant of how you would like to feel in the space. This applies not just to the colors you choose but to the rest of the design and furniture in the space. Try only to have furniture and equipment that you're going to use in the room. Don't overload your room with lots of knick-knacks or items that don't have anything to do with the room's function.
When designing your exercise space, or any space in your home, it should be organic. Choose things that make sense for you in the space, what you're using it for, and what you think works well together. While you want to be aware of certain design elements to avoid and those that will work with the space, it's important not to overthink it.
By investing in the right equipment, selecting the best room, and paying attention to the surface you’re working out on, you can create the ultimate workout space that makes working out a pleasure, not a chore!