A Place for Fitness: Transforming Any Room in Your Home Into a Home Gym

shirtless man working out with dumbell

Most people nowadays don’t have time for the gym. So, here are some helpful DIY ways to turn any room in your home into a home gym – even the attic or basement.

Set Aside Space

You’re going to want to plan out your home gym by setting aside space specifically for working out. If you don’t do this, then the gym will quickly become a “catch all” for a lot of different stuff. And, eventually, it’ll transform from a home gym into an oversized closet.

Planning out a home gym isn’t hard, however. You just need to write down the kinds of things you’d like to see in the gym, from equipment to flooring options and lighting.

Most people already have a good idea about the type of exercise they want to do. So, for example, if you love doing aerobics, you’ll want to build up the room to accommodate that. That usually means putting in flooring that will absorb shock and soundproofing the walls.

You will also want non-skid surfaces and room for exercise equipment.

If you’re more of a strength training person, you’ll want a place set aside for your squat rack and free weights. Most squat racks and power cages need to be bolted or otherwise secured to the floor and wall. Some are free-standing, but these are generally not as safe.

You may also need to build a sub-floor for lifting. Most weightlifting areas in professional gyms use this setup because it allows for some “give” in the floor to protect the bar from bending if you drop it.

If you want to build a hybrid gym, with both aerobic and weightlifting equipment, then you will need to designate half of the room to aerobics and half to weightlifting.

Get The Right Flooring

Getting good gym flooring isn’t hard, but you have to have an idea in your head of what you want to accomplish. Most gym floors are rubber or composite material that is odor resistant, stain resistant, and easy to clean. They also tend to be non-skid surfaces, which will minimize the risk of slipping and falling when you get sweaty.

Gym flooring also tends to be sound deadening so that you don’t disturb others in the house or your neighbors.

Get The Right Equipment

There are so many different types of exercise machines on the market that it can be confusing to know which ones are the best buys.

But, if you’re just starting out, there are a few pieces of equipment most people should probably invest in. The first is a good rowing machine.

Rowing machines, like the Concept2 Rower simulate rowing fairly well. And, they’re one of the best workouts you can get. They get your heart going, and they also work out your legs, building endurance.

For weightlifting, the best options are typically a power rack or a squat rack. Companies, like Rogue Fitness make some of the best equipment in the industry, and they are reasonably priced for the quality.

Other bits of equipment include an inflatable ball for balance training, grip devices to strengthen your grip, wrist-rollers to strengthen your wrists, and a stretching station and heavy-duty (50+lb to 100lb) bands for mobility work.

You may also want to invest in some lacrosse balls, a foam roller, and a few other similar tools for self-myofascial release work post-workout.

Get Good Lighting

Good lighting is imperative. While overhead lighting seems intuitive, you actually want a mix of different types of lighting, with diffused lighting taking preference over directional lighting. You will also want “daylight” brightness (5000K+ bulbs). This type of lighting tends to be rather harsh if used in directional lighting systems but, when used in non-directional and diffused lighting, they are some of the best options for a nice, bright, workout.

Install An Air Circulation System

An air circulation system keeps air moving throughout your entire home. But, make sure that the system is piped into your workout room, and that you have a dedicated air conditioning system, or at least extra ventilation, in here as well.

You’ll likely work up a sweat, and increase your body temperature dramatically. You’ll want a way to cool down quickly. Cold air is more dense than warm air, and so you can get more oxygen into your system when the air is cooler.

This will translate to better workouts over time, especially aerobic workouts.

Add Mirrors

If you like checking your form in the mirror, make sure you get a few and arrange them along the wall. And, when you’re done, you can do a few flexes to reassure yourself that the gain is definitely worth the pain.

Jeff Powell has helped build and outfit hundreds of gyms across Canada. Notable clients include the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Canadian Armed Forces and professional UFC fighters. Over the years many gym owners have relied on his knowledge and experience renovating or building gyms from the ground up.