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Healthy Homes: How to Set Up a Home Gym

This is how you can set up a home gym that you'll actually want to use.

It could be that gym membership costs are getting more and more expensive, and sometimes, you just want to work out straight from bed. Whatever your reasons may be, a home gym is perfect to help keep your fitness goals in check without the hassle of commute (and even brushing your teeth for when you go out in public) and the stress of working out with other people around.

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to setting up a home gym and the healthy home of your dreams:

Start with the space.

Bare minimum - have enough space for a full-sized yoga mat. Of course, if your routine involves more movement (and more equipment) and if you have the space for it, it may be better to reserve a room specifically for your home workouts. If you live in an okay-sized apartment, think about dedicating an unused corner or hallway for your morning workouts. A nice alternative to indoor spaces is a spot outdoors like a long balcony or a roomy patio.

Aside from the size of the space allotted, you must also think about the structure of where you'll work out. A HIIT workout with maximum jumps and runs requires you to have a solid and slip-resistant flooring. Impact-resistant walls are crucial for people with intense training regimes. And for all home gyms, you're going to need proper ventilation because it can get sweaty in there pretty quickly.

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Add the right equipment.

What I mean is, the right equipment for you. What are your go-to workouts and exercises? What equipment do you need to do said exercise?

If you're big on cardio, a treadmill or walking pad (there are space-efficient, foldable options!) might be your top picks for your home fitness center. A yoga mat is the perfect workout equipment for stretching and core exercises. If you're a fan of body-weight workouts, this is the only thing you'll need to get started with your routine.

If you're the type to follow routines through YouTube videos, then it might make sense to set up a TV or screen where you would have space to actually work out. And if you're a weightlifting junkie, invest in a handful of kettlebells, dumbbells, and other easy-to-store weights.

Of course there are those machines that you find in every gym, and you might enjoy using some of them like Pilates reformers and leg presses. If you're interested in bringing these equipment home, consider buying secondhand for a more economical take.

For essentially weightless equipment, stock up on resistance bands, proper jumping ropes, and yoga bricks. As long as you have ample storage in your home gym, you won't have to worry about these smaller items clogging up your space.

Think about functional storage.

Nothing discourages a person from working out more than a messy space. The answer to an unkempt home gym? Storage, storage, storage.

For those with limited budgets and virtually no floor space, try out a hanging organizer on an empty wall that can carry your bands and ropes. Under-bed storage is also ideal if you have a bunch of small, portable pieces like sliders and foldable yoga mats.

If you use a lot of weights at home, invest in a heavy-duty weight rack that you can push up the corner of your home gym set-up.

Home gym setup with black and gray exercise equipment and small gym items

Design the space with flow in mind.

How does your workout routine look like? Do you warm up by doing cardio on a walking pad or stretching and doing yoga? Do you like Pilates after an arm workout?

Convenience is key for a home gym to be aptly utilized and one of the core items to convenience and ease is the flow. Map step-by-step your home workout routine, and plan out your space by setting up the consecutive steps side-by-side. That way, you're not scrambling for a resistance band during barre because all you can see in fron of you are towels or knee cushions.

Add the "non-essentials."

A full-length mirror's a great addition to a home gym, but it's not super critical to the success of a workout routine. Exercise balls are tricky to store but they're great when it comes to home stretches. Aerobic steppers are a fun way to do low-impact exercises at home, and can even double as a step-stool for top cabinets. If you're a fan of arm day, pull-up bars are space-efficient and make for a great upper body workout.

Go ahead - use your home gym!

Now that you have your gym more or less set up, the real fun begins. Try out your new space, invite your workout buddy over, and enjoy doing your fitness routine at home. I'm sure you're ecstatic about the fact that you no longer have to wait for someone to finish using the dumbbells or exercise bike.

Woman exercising on a yoga mat at home

Don't be afraid to switch things up as you go.

One thing or two that you'll learn from using your home gym is how you want to reconfigure it to appropriately fit your fitness needs. You may realize that the sun shines too bright through your window and your hand weights are always warm when you use them, or figure out soon enough that the screen on your treadmill shows a really intense glare from where it's placed in the room during your morning workouts. It's okay to not have the set-up 100% figured out from the get go.

Your workout routine is also likely to change. In fact, if it doesn't then that probably means you're no longer challenging yourself and may not be. Don't be afraid to try out new workouts and repurpose the equipment you already have. If you really need to dispose of a machine you no longer use, then consider selling it online to fund your next fitness machine.