How should I set up my home gym?
Whether you create a home gym with existing equipment or embark on a remodeling project costing thousands, Indianapolis fitness experts say that personal workout spaces offer convenience and an ideal escape from fitness center fees, wait times to use your favorite equipment and other people’s sticky sweat.
“You can eliminate nearly all the excuses that get in the way of working out, such as traffic, weather or just not wanting to engage with people at the gym,” says Chris Lutz, president of highly rated Bob Block Fitness Equipment in Indianapolis.
Whether your home gym consists of a single corner for barbells or a fully tricked-out basement room, make your space somewhere you want to work out. “You want a welcoming spot that’s not overly cluttered,” Lutz says.
Think about the surface
“Stay way from carpet, because it absorbs sweat and dust and can damage your treadmill,” says Tom Klassen, owner of highly rated Treadmill and Other Machine Services in Indianapolis. “Basement floors are great because they have nice, solid footing. If your floor is tile or wood, you want to protect it with rubber mats. And you should protect your floor with heavy rubber mats if you’re going to do free weight stuff.”
Plan around your space limitations
“You want to think about how much space in your home to dedicate to it,” Lutz says. “The height of the ceiling, where the plugs are and so forth. Most of the equipment works on a regular outlet and pulls amperage similar to a refrigerator or TV.”
Klassen adds that treadmills need more amperage and some manufacturers require them to be plugged into a dedicated circuit, which an electrician should install. He suggests checking manufacturer’s requirements when purchasing fitness equipment.
Start with the basics
“If you’re short on space or money, you can do quite a bit with just the basics,” Klassen says. “Pilates balls, some basic free weights, any exercise that uses your body as a weight. You can work your core in amazing ways with a yoga mat and a ball. You can assemble a good home gym like that for a few hundred dollars.” For those with space challenges, treadmills and ellipticals come in smaller sizes, though they may not be as comfortable to use, Klassen says.
Try before you buy
Every piece of equipment is different, and you should make sure what you’re buying will comfortably fit your body type and preferences. “Stores will be happy to let you try stuff out,” Klassen says. “Even if you’re buying it off Craigslist, use it for at least a few minutes and see if it’s something you can understand and like the layout of.” If you plan to purchase equipment online, he also recommends finding a store with the same piece of equipment and giving it a test run.
Buy what you need
Treadmills, ellipticals and bikes can be loaded with options, but Klassen and Lutz advise you to focus on your specific needs rather than bells and whistles you may never use. “You need to buy something that is a tool that will serve your needs,” Lutz says. “Look at it as an investment in your health.”
Klassen says treadmills range in cost from $400 to $4,000.
Add amenities to your space
Among the advantages of a home gym: You get to pick the music, TV channels and conditions you prefer, so decide what will make your space more inviting. “You want to be able to walk into that area and have it be your own space where you can get something done,” Lutz says. “Make it warm and rich and clean to give yourself a chance for success.”