A home gym doesn’t have to house all that bulky equipment you see in commercial fitness centers! You just need to have a few staples to begin your workout. Here are the most basic of them all:
- Floor mat. A clean and soft floor mat is used for exercises that require you to sit or lie down. Floor mats can also cushion your heels and ankles from high impact movements like running or jumping jacks. For the best option around that offers firmness and just the right amount of cushioning, buy a rubber mat. There are cheap puzzle-type rubber mats that you can buy in your local department store for a few hundred pesos. Some toy stores even sell cartoon-printed rubber mats for less than a hundred!
- Dumbbells. Dumbbells are great for full body exercises that resist gravity such as squats, lunges, chest press, shoulder press, and bicep curls. Start with a pair of 3 lb dumbbells and increase as you advance in your fitness level. If you’re just starting out and you don’t want to spend money on new dumbbells, you can just make one! All you’ll need is a pair of 1.5-liter plastic bottles filled with water, which give you about 3 kilograms of hand weights to carry around. You can also try filling up the same water bottles with wet sand. This almost doubles up the weight of your makeshift dumbbells.
- Skipping rope. Skipping is one of the simplest, yet fastest burning cardio exercises that you can do in a confined space. Boxers use the skipping rope not just for cardio, but also to train their lower body for great footwork, agility, and endurance.
Instead of building a new room, note that any space not being used properly at home can be a gym. For example, that guestroom-turned-stockroom is better off as your new personal gym. Get all your unnecessary stuff out from there and start checking the dimensions of the room so you know which gym equipment can fit. To give you an idea of the space you’ll need, here are some estimates for some of the more popular fitness equipment used at home:
Treadmill - about 9 square meters
Stair climbers - about 3.5 square feet
Stationary bicycle - about 3 square meters
Skiing machine - at least 6 square meters
Rowing machine - about 7 square meters
Single-station equipment - a little over 9 square meters
Multi-station equipment - at least 15 square meters
Apart from this, make sure there’s also enough room so that you can move around while exercising. Allot provisions for doing floor exercises.
If possible, set your home gym in a room with a hard floor. Carpeted floors can easily be stained with oil from exercise machines and can accumulate sweat, which gets quite malodorous after some time.
Ensure that the ceiling of your home gym has at least an 8- to 12-inch allowance overhead when your arms are fully raised. This is important if your workout will include jumping or overhead pressing.
Ensure that the room where you will build your home gym is well ventilated. Open the windows of the room if there are any or plug in an electric fan for air circulation.
And lastly, visit a few gyms in your area so you can get some design ideas for your home gym.