Ask Angie’s List: How should I plan a home gym?


Home gyms have always been a popular option for getting fit without needing to share space at a fitness club. Unsurprisingly, given New Year’s resolutions, fitness experts say they get the most interest in home gyms around January, and this year in particular, they are likely to be quite popular. Here are some tips on establishing a home gym.

First, check your commitment. Make sure your home gym is something you’re actually going to use. It’s potentially a considerable outlay in time, money and space. An early step in planning should be to contact a professional fitness trainer. Video calling allows you to discuss your options without the need to go face-to-face. Pro advice is important because they can help you outline your goals, direct you to the most effective equipment for your purposes, and design a series of exercises to meet your needs.

Home gym planning

As you consider your home gym equipment needs, ask yourself these questions:

1. What are my exercise and fitness goals?

2. How much space do I have, and how much money can I spend?

3. How much time do I have to work out each day? What do I most enjoy?

4. Who will be using the equipment besides me?

5. Have I consulted with a medical professional about my specific needs or limitations?

6. Am I ready to make this commitment?

Since you’re probably not purchasing the kind of high-end gear the health clubs expect to last for years of continuous use, make your selections carefully. And whatever you purchase, keep up with regular maintenance. Anything with moving parts, whether a pulley-based weight machine or a treadmill, will eventually wear out. Lubrication and checking for wear and tear can add years of life to your equipment. Extended warranties are a good idea for fitness equipment.

In many cases, you don’t need expensive gear that takes up a lot of space. Old standbys like jump ropes, medicine balls and dumbbells are standbys for a reason; they let you accomplish a lot with minimal space and cost.

Don’t skip the infrastructure

Exercise equipment doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The electrical exercise machines are powerful appliances and should be treated as such. Most treadmills require a dedicated 20-amp circuit, for instance. You don’t want to put a treadmill into a carpeted room, as carpet fibers can get into the interior and mess up the works.

Pay special attention to your flooring. Wood flooring is a good all-purpose choice, but weight equipment can damage the floor over time. At the very least, place mats underneath your exercise equipment. Rubberized floors are the most preferable option for their traction and easy maintenance.

Don’t forget about lighting, either. A dark workout space does neither your regimen nor your mood any favors. Make sure any lighting arrangement works well with any natural light or TV placement you have.

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