Home Experts: Local News
HOME SWEET HOME GYM
Create an inviting gym that you'll actually use
Story Updated: May 23, 2011
If working out in the comfort of your own warm house this winter sounds better than driving icy roads to the gym or waiting for your turn on the treadmill, then a home gym may be just the answer!
Proximity and convenience are obvious benefits. You can roll out of bed for a cup of coffee, straight into your gym. “Some people simply don’t have the time to get away from their homes for workouts,” says Ed Brandt, a certified personal trainer who has been working with clients for nine years in their Anchorage-area homes. “In particular, busy parents can really benefit from the cost savings and convenience of a home gym.”
Indeed, investing in your health is a time commitment as well as a financial one. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising 10-60 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week including strength training on 2-3 non-consecutive days. A home gym is the perfect solution when time is at a premium, and Brandt points out another problem it helps to solve: “Having a home gym can be a real advantage in the cold, dark winter months,” he explains. “Exercise can help increase your energy and improve your mood, but getting all bundled up, warming up your car and navigating in the dark can be a real detriment to going to the gym.”
When planning your home gym, Brandt says to weigh factors such as space, equipment and your budget. “I start with (a client’s) available space and budget, and advise them from there,” he says. “I have helped people outfit a good home gym for as little as $200 and helped another client spend around $3,500.”
No matter your budget, before designing a home gym you’ll need to identify your goals, says Mark Hollowell, director of Alaska Fitness Equipment. When consulting with a new client, Hollowell considers their habits and preferences. This will help to narrow the search for the best piece of equipment.” Whether you want to lose weight, train for a marathon, look and feel better, or rehabilitate after an illness or injury, Hollowell says, the best piece of equipment is “the piece you are going to use.”
Some homeowners may be reluctant to incorporate large, bulky metal machines into their home décor, but Hollowell encourages them to take another look at the modern equipment being manufactured specifically for in-home use. “There really have been some advances where some pieces of equipment look more like furniture than a big heavy piece of institutional equipment,” he explains.
Location, location, Location
The location of your gym within your home is an important consideration says general contractor Dave Doolen, owner of Jada Construction, “Ideally it would be located on a basement slab where structure wouldn’t be an issue.” However, if it’s an upper floor, Doolen recommends an initial structural analysis. “The pounding of machines or free weights could crack the drywall below if it were on a second floor,” Doolen cautions.
Flooring is definitely an important consideration – will you be using heavy weights that could damage hardwood? If your room is located upstairs, carpeting, rubber roll flooring or interlocking foam tiles are a wise choice to insulate the floors below from noisy machines or aerobic routines.
Just as you protect the rest of your house from work-out room noise, protect your work-out from what’s happening in the rest of the house. Brandt says the number one obstacle to working out at home is distraction: “Kids needing something, the phone ringing, the e-mail dinging. I advise clients whenever possible to have a dedicated space for their equipment. I also advise them to make ‘me time,’ and let everyone in the family know to not interrupt.”
To help motivate you to work out, make your home gym your personal oasis. Think about creating a stylish and inviting space that you’ll actually use – one that won’t end up as a collection of dusty machines used as clothes racks. Paint colors could be vibrant to impart energy, or mellow to induce relaxation.
Add inviting touches like favorite art on the walls, a stereo system or iPod dock to play your workout music, and have a stack of clean hand towels nearby for mopping sweaty brows and to keep equipment clean. A flat-screen television in the gym area is an excellent idea for working out to fitness DVDs or to keep your mind occupied while putting in time on the elliptical. And how about a mini-fridge to keep water or performance drinks ice cold, or to chill some towels for after the workout?
Create a room you’ll want to be in, Doolen encourages, “a room that talks to you – that says ‘Come on, use this room!’”