As someone who prefers the socializing aspect of working out as much as the physical and mental gains, I am not one to regularly use our home gym. My husband is a fitness fanatic, and it was his #1 request when we built our home, so we needed to come up with some creative home gym ideas.
After we built our home, I did find the home gym extremely useful on those freezing January mornings. You know the type of days when it is much easier to put on your sneakers and head to the basement instead of brushing the snow off your car as you’re all bundled up on your way to Antarctica just to peel off layers at the gym and sweat it out in a hot room with 30 other people... Yeah, on that kind of day, I would stay home and found the home gym to be fantastic! In addition to the cold mornings, I did use our gym frequently when my kids were little. I could sneak away for 1 hour while they were napping, and it was a much-needed reset and sense of calm in my otherwise chaotic and demanding day.
As my kids grew, I started using my home gym less and opting instead for group classes, and until this new reality of COVID-19, social distancing has become the new normal for us all from the closing of all of our fitness studios, gyms and recreational facilities. WOW, I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO GRATEFUL FOR THAT 12x12 ROOM IN OUR BASEMENT. It has provided our family with a space to stay active, healthy and strong. It has provided an outlet for our boys (although running circles around the kitchen island trying to pound each other has also been an exciting past time.) Full disclosure, it also serves as a home for their mini-stick and mini-hoops games.
Whether or not you have a designated “Gym” or simply use an unfinished basement, an extra bedroom or space in your living room, establishing a workout space is so helpful during these stressful times. It does not need to be fancy. It just needs to be a space where you can focus and get the job done!
What is a good size room for a home gym?
When we built our attached infill, we knew a designated workout room was essential in our list of needs. However, we needed to be creative, as we didn’t want to give up a square inch of our entertaining basement space. Our builder came up with the idea of extending our basement an extra 12 feet underneath the exterior main floor patio. We ended up with a foundation extension allowing us to have a “bonus” 12x12ft home gym and more basement square footage than all the other infills we had viewed.
TIP: It is essential to share with your Realtor® if you have something paramount to you and your family’s lifestyle when building or shopping for your home. It is always worth exploring ways to make it happen. Sometimes it is only a matter of thinking outside the box!!!
What equipment do I need for a home gym?
Flooring: wise choices are vinyl planks, cork or rubber.
Mirrors: It is helpful to have at least one floor to ceiling mirror to spot yourself
TV or shelf to safely place your computer: if you enjoy watching the morning news on the bike or want to follow along with a live-stream fitness class
Storage Shelf or Bins: check out Ikea for great options. It helps keep things neat and organized.
White Board or Chalk Board: Keeps you accountable and efficient without having to look at your phone after every set.
Yoga Mat, Swiss Ball, Dumbells, Bands: These are the basics. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on equipment to get a good workout. When in doubt, Burpies are the best exercise and require zero equipment - only willpower!
A bench, stairs or sturdy box: for jumping, squatting and working that booty!
Towel and disinfectant wipes: keep things clean and fresh
We know that the days ahead could feel long and making sure you get a good sweat on each day is going to help you with your mental game. So make the time each day to sweat, breathe and calm your mind. A home gym or a specific workout area in your home will be key for you to stay sain when you are spending time at home.