Ask any fitness expert, and they’ll all agree: having a designated place to work out is key to developing a sustainable fitness routine. Anyone striving to work out regularly is going to have a tough time sticking to their workouts if it’s a constant challenge to determine where they’ll get their workout done for the day.
A dedicated workout spot could be a gym or boutique fitness studio, but it doesn’t have to be. And even if you have a gym membership, there will be days when you know it will be hard to make the trek there, when you just don’t feel like waiting for space to clear up in the weight room, or when you simply don’t want to be around other people.
Here’s the good news: You don’t need a gym membership to work out, and you don’t have to work out at a gym even if you do have a gym membership.
With minimal investment and just enough space at home, you can create a very simple home gym to ensure you always have a place to get a workout in, no matter what life throws at you in a given day to threaten your routine.
When choosing your home workout space, you’ll want room for your equipment to be out and accessible, as well as space for a mat (especially on hard floors), and room to move as each exercise deems necessary.
Some great options for an in-home gym or workout area are a spare bedroom, a basement (or at least a part of a basement), a section of the garage, or a portion of a living room — assuming you can claim the space for working out without disrupting anyone else living under the same roof.
Try to choose a space with minimal distractions. If you’re set up in the living room, but the rest of the family is trying to watch TV or play video games, you’re more likely to get pulled away from exercise. The same goes for having a TV or computer up in the same space. If you are easily distracted by the show on TV or the work chat happening on your computer, there’s a good chance you’ll lose the motivation to finish that workout.
If you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated workout space that’s always set up and ready for action, it’s also important that setting up the space can be done quickly and easily. Ideally, you should be able to walk into your workout space and start exercising within a minute or so; otherwise you’re bound to lose momentum as you collect and set up all your equipment from disparate parts of the house.
Ideally, you’ll also want this space to be temperature controlled as well, so that being too hot or too cold doesn’t make your workouts unbearable.
Once you have your space identified, you’ll want to audit what exercise equipment you already have and get any other essentials you think you’ll need to get started depending on the types of workouts you plan to do. If you aren’t sure where to get started with a workout regimen or want custom-tailored workouts, online trainer apps like Trainiac are an excellent option to get expert guidance and completely personalized workouts designed around your goals and available equipment.
Whether you’re brand new to exercise or just looking to have more flexibility for where you can work out, getting set up at home can be really simple and inexpensive. You can start at home using nothing but bodyweight, and evolve your home gym to include more equipment as your needs and abilities change.
While large exercise machines like treadmills, exercise bikes, or total gym systems can be nice, they’re often expensive, take up significant space, and aren’t essential if you’re just getting started. Assuming you have decent weather where you live, you could also go for a walk, run, or bike ride outside without needing special in-home machines. If you do have the space but still want to find a big machine on a budget, it’s always worth checking Craigslist, OfferUp, or Facebook marketplace for great deals before you buy brand new.
If you don’t have any equipment, here’s a simple $100 home gym setup to get you started.
If you’re looking to get started, without spending a ton, you can get a decent beginner home gym for about the same price as two months of an average gym membership (and it’s yours forever!). This setup will work for a wide range of dynamic exercises, especially if you’re willing to get creative.
With just those 5 things, your total investment is around $101, and you’ll be able to hammer out great workouts for a long time. Best of all, if you’re using Trainiac for one-on-one coaching and weekly workouts, just let your trainer know what you have and they’ll be able to program some awesome upper and lower body workouts, as well as plenty of cardio-driven exercises with this simple setup.
If you have a little more room in your budget and your workout space, you can add the below equipment to what we’ve recommended above — all for a total cost of about $250.
And voila! For 250 bucks, you’ve got a functional home gym that’ll last you for years. When you’re ready for more versatility, you can always add additional dumbbells, a basic barbell set, or perhaps a TRX suspension training system.
A few other things you might want in your home gym could include:
Once you have your workout space kitted with the workout gear you need, it’s time to put it to good use. If you’re currently a member of a gym or fitness center, it’s worth trying your typical gym workout at home to see what modifications need to be made.
If you’re seeing a personal trainer, ask for workouts to do at home between your in-person sessions, and make time to get them done. If you’re working with an online trainer through Trainiac, let them know you have new equipment you’d like programmed into the custom workouts they design for you.
If you’re having a hard time making regular exercise a priority and need a little nudge to get moving, give Trainiac a try for professional guidance, accountability, and ongoing encouragement to keep at it.
To keep your workout space inviting and primed for repetitive use, treat your workout space as sacred by keeping it clean and organized.
Make sure your space is free of clutter so you have space to exercise freely and without distractions from unnecessary stimuli that could derail your focus on your workout. This means picking up toys, laundry, mail or paperwork, shoes, and anything else that could be neatly tucked away on a shelf or otherwise out of the way. Nothing is worse than finally dedicating 30 minutes to working out, only to spend the majority of that time picking up the mess in your home fitness room.
Keeping it sacred also means making it inviting and comfortable. Try adding posters, different lighting, shelves, or even a mirror (which can make the space appear larger, and offers a way to keep an eye on your form) to make it a place you want to be. If the space isn’t inviting, you’ll subconsciously (or consciously) avoid going there. By making it an intentional space, you’ll likely see more consistent usage, feel more accomplished, and often feel an increased sense of mental focus throughout the rest of the day.