Whether it was your New Year’s resolution or you just want to get healthy once and for all, it might be time to hit the gym. But with so many work and family commitments, getting yourself to the gym might feel like an obstacle course in and of itself. That’s when having a gym in your house can make all the difference between having fitness goals—and achieving them. If you’ve decided that this is the year to get fit and fabulous, here’s how to make a home gym that will actually make you want to work out.
“A home gym is a great investment that will continue to pay off for years to come,” says Nicolle Harwood-Nash, a gym trainer and fitness instructor. “It will make it easier to stick to your training routine, give you peace and quiet during your workout and make going to the gym easy.” So get on your workout gear, because it’s time to break a sweat (and not the bank) as you learn how to make a home gym.
Assess Your Space
Before buying any kind of equipment, you need to figure out where your home gym will be. Because the last thing you want to do is get an amazing treadmill…and not have enough room to walk on it. “If you have an empty room or a garage, it could become your new fitness sanctuary,” says Harwood-Nash. “Even a small 10’x10’ room is enough for the essentials.” But don’t stress if you don’t have an entire space to dedicate to fitness. “If you can get some floor space and if you have a ceiling or doors, you can still get a great workout in,” says Harwood-Nash.
Run The Numbers
Although you can achieve a great level of fitness just by exercising, you’re going to need some equipment in order to have a real impact. So look at your budget to determine what you really need—and what you don’t. “A properly equipped home gym is not going to be cheap,” says Harwood-Nash. “You can buy used equipment on Craigslist (or similar sites) that are sometimes just a few months old, for a third off or half the price. Also, since a lot of gym gear, like racks, benches, barbells, plates, and dumbbells are made to last forever, you can buy it a few years old at a fraction of the price and still get something you can use for years.”
If you thought that you had to buy all your equipment immediately in order to get the best workout, think again. You can always add on equipment as time goes by, or look for gear that can do double duty. “Getting rings allows you to not only do both pull-ups and rows on them, but you can also do dips, support holds, muscle-ups and a whole array of advanced bodyweight gymnastics exercises that always have another, harder variation in store,” says Harwood-Nash. “And they’ll leave your upper body looking like that of a Greek god.”
Switch It Up
Let’s face it: even the most fantastic machine can get monotonous over time. That’s why you should look for things —such as dumbbells— that can make your workout routine less, um, routine. “Adjustable dumbbells are the most effective, versatile piece of equipment you can have in your home gym,” says Jamie Hickey, a certified Personal Trainer/nutritionist and founder of Truism Fitness. “These will allow you to have an entire weight set at your finger tips, that will take up an extremely small footprint while giving you dozens of workout options.”
If you’re thinking about how to make a home gym, you definitely don’t have to outfit it with the latest and greatest equipment. Just like your workout routine, you should start small and build up. Then, over time, you’ll see the home gym (and the results) that you really want.