General Contractors converted this space into a home gym.
Itís great to work out at the gym ó if you can make the time
for it and access the equipment you want while youíre there. In
fact, time constraints and packed health clubs are both primary
reasons why more people are choosing to install a fitness room at
home. With a home gym, you can accomplish your workout with no driving
and no standing in line, whenever you want.
The key to a home gym or fitness room is to use it. And, if youíre
going to commit a space in your home, youíre more likely to use if
you make it inviting and motivating. Like other rooms in your home,
your fitness room should welcome you.
The goal is to meet your workout needs, but not feel like youíre
crammed into a tiny space.
"Not long ago, I designed a home gym and spa for a client in
what was formerly a guest bedroom and bathroom, about 10-by-12 feet in
size," says Adam Schwai, an architect and designer with B&E
General Contractors in Glendale.
To make the room appear larger, reflect light and allow the
homeowner to check his form while exercising, Schwai installed large
mirrors on two of the walls. "We put in rubber snap-lock
flooring, which is a nonslip surface," he says. "We hung a
pull-up bar and also a punching bag from the ceiling."
A small cedar-lined sauna room was added along with a tiled steam
room. "We opened up the powder room and put in tile. The steam
room is really a steam shower, large enough for two people,"
Of course, your budget will dictate the kind of room and equipment
you choose. The question of what type of equipment to buy is very
"person-specific," according to Ben Quist, a physical
therapist and co-owner of Form & Fitness Personal Training Studio
in Mequon and Form & Fitness Health Club in Grafton. "If you
have health concerns that affect exercise, you should consult your
physician to make sure the equipment youíre thinking of buying will
not affect you negatively," he says. "If you are new to
exercise or relatively inexperienced, hiring a fitness professional to
outline and develop your fitness goals and make recommendations will
likely save you a lot of money on equipment purchases that are
unnecessary and put the focus on items that will help you reach your
goal, at a cost-effective price."
Select the best home gym equipment you can afford, says Matt
Barber, personal trainer for the downtown Milwaukee YMCA and the
Delaware House in Bay View. "Some basic items include a mat for
floor exercises, a yoga ball for balance and crunches and some
different size resistance bands will enable you to do a variety of
exercises. You donít necessarily have to spend a lot of money,"
Quist agrees. "Nonmachine strength training equipment costs
less, doesnít require as much space as machines and is just as
effective or more so to achieve most strength training goals."
Barber also recommends an adjustable dumbbell set for strength
training. "You buy a bar and weights and you can take the weights
off and on, depending on your needs," he says. For a good
cardiovascular workout, he suggests buying a treadmill or a stationary
bike, but only if you are really going to use them. "Iíve seen
too many of them become clothes hangers," he says.
To avoid spending a lot of money up front only to discover you arenít
using a piece of equipment as often as you thought you would, Quist
suggests looking into purchasing refurbished equipment. "The
upside of this is a much reduced cost for the same product," he
says. The downside is you probably donít have as much of a warranty.
Form and Function
If youíre looking for a more sophisticated piece of exercise
equipment that will suit your needs such as a "multi-gym,"
consider something like the Torque F5, suggests Dan Berlinski,
co-owner of Northern Fitness in Glendale. "You want something
that will give you a full body workout. The Torque F5 is this kind of
equipment, and it closes up into a cabinet that only takes up 4 square
feet of floor space," he says.
The Torque F5 is just one type of multi-gym; there are others in
various price ranges, such as the Bowflex. Like anything else, you get
what you pay for, and it pays to investigate what youíre buying,
Berlinski says. "When you think about a home gym, it might be the
single piece of equipment that you buy, so try to get the biggest bang
for your buck."
Arranging the Space
Before you even bring exercise equipment into your workout room, it
makes sense to visualize where it will be placed. Some designers
suggest placing the tallest and largest pieces of equipment along the
walls with smaller pieces in the middle, as most health clubs do.
In order to determine whether you have sufficient space for all of
the possible equipment you might want to include in your home gym,
consider the approximate space designations for various pieces of
equipment. You can do that by creating a floor plan ó or having your
designer or remodeler do it for you. "You will need sufficient
space for cardio, resistance and specialty equipment, including a
space for floor exercises and stretching," Barber says. Home
design software programs can help with design, as well. Check out
www.smartdraw.com or www.plan3d.com
for some options.
To make your home gym more attractive, consider hanging some prints
or posters on the wall. The right artwork can even be motivational
to you as you work out. And, if you have the space available, you
may also want to use part of the room for relaxation. Consider
placing a sofa or a couple of chairs in the room so it can be more