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If you’ve recently decided you want to get into better shape and improve your health, you may have thought about joining a gym. For many people, gyms are a great option because they provide all the things you need for getting in shape – the weights, the cardio equipment, the music, and the personal trainers.
But you know what can be not-so-great about gyms? They aren’t always open when you want to work out. Or they are but the time you want to work out happens to be when everyone else wants to work out, too so you end up waiting for equipment, or slap-fighting another mom for the last spin bike. Maybe the gym you belong to is far enough away from your house that you have to muster quite a bit of motivation to get there on a regular basis.
If you find yourself in one of these scenarios, you might want to think about creating your own home gym space. Working out at home has a lot of advantages compared to going to a gym: no driving, no packing a bag, no worrying about how you look. Just slap on whatever you’re comfortable in and get to it!
This is great for people who work weird hours, parents who fit workouts in around nap time (oh hey – been there!), or just don’t want to deal with driving all the way to a gym for the same results they can get at home.
Maybe you really don’t like working out in front of other people? If you’re new to working out or you’re self-conscious about doing exercises with an audience, a home gym can be the perfect solution. If you’re weirded out by the idea of people watching you work out, then do it at home where you can grunt and groan and curse your heart out as you push out that last rep!
Aside from upgrading equipment as you get stronger, or adding items to vary your workouts, you can create a home gym on a pretty slim budget and save yourself those monthly gym fees!
Maybe the only thing that would make staying home even more rewarding would be making your exercise sessions extra effective.
Try these suggestions for creating and using a home gym that will help you to boost your fitness in less time!
Design an Effective Home Gym Area
1. Designate a workout space – Being able to set aside an entire room would be nice, but you can make any small area work. If you’re short on space, arrange a workout spot in one corner of your basement or a bedroom. You can put your equipment out of sight when you’re done. You’ll want to have enough room to move around without kicking over a lamp or punching furniture. You’ll want it to be out of the way of normal household traffic. A spare bedroom or basement is a good place because you won’t be tripping over your equipment or have to worry that the kids will get into it.
2. Clear away distractions – Make it easier to concentrate by storing work materials and toys elsewhere. Turn your phone off if you’re tempted to text.
3. Stock up on quality equipment – There’s plenty of gear that you can pick up even on a tight budget. Maybe you want a cheap treadmill or just some resistance bands and a yoga mat. I understand wanting to cheap out on equipment if your thought right now is “What if I set it up and don’t use it?”
I get it, you don’t want to spend a ton and then find it collecting dust in a couple of months because you just don’t get around to using it like you thought you would. But then you also don’t want to cheap out and have things break on you within your first few workouts.
I recommend going with mid-priced equipment. Start with mid-priced options and then upgrade in a few months if you find you’re getting a lot of use out of this space.
Basic items you’ll need to set up your home gym:
A Supportive Floor Mat
A good home workout is probably going to involve a lot of bodyweight exercises that will require you to get on the floor. A good mat protects your joints when you’re doing floor work. They’re not too cushiony – you don’t want to sink in when you’re doing push ups but you want there to be something soft between you and the floor.
Suggestion: (Amazon) Yogu Interlocking Puzzle Exercise Floor Mat, (Black – 6 Tiles)
A Set of Adjustable Dumbbells
Before you run out to buy a set of pink dumbbells, read this carefully – to build strength and drop fat, you need to be lifting weights. You need real resistance. If you want to do a fast, effective workout, you need to be lifting a weight that fatigues the muscle in 8 reps or less. So unless you are brand spanking new to lifting, you’re going to need a weight set that will challenge you AND grow with you. Before you run out and buy a set of individual weights, consider a set of adjustable weights. These are great because they save space AND money!
Suggestion: (Amazon) AmazonBasics 38-Pound Adjustable Weight Set with Case
While weights are great, I realize these aren’t the best option for everyone. Resistance bands can also be very effective in building muscle AND they’re great for travel! So if you’re on the road a lot and you find yourself somewhere without a gym – your hotel, the airport, wherever….you can toss a set of bands in your suitcase and still be able to stick to your workout program.
A Bosu or balance ball
As your fitness improves, you’ll need to progress your workouts. A balance or a Bosu ball is a great way to increase the difficulty of so many exercises without having to add more weight or increase the risk of injury. Working to maintain your balance during an exercise engages all those little stabilizer muscles and takes your workout up a notch! They’re also great for core workouts!
Suggestion: (Amazon) BOSU Balance and Stability Ball
Make the Workouts More Effective:
4. Focus on whole body movements – Compared to exercises that target single muscles, compound movements are more efficient. Spend more time doing push ups and squats instead of bicep curls.
5. Make your workout program comprehensive – Make sure to incorporate training that builds strength, endurance, and flexibility. Vary your workouts instead of sticking to just the exercises that you like.
6. Add interval training – Studies show that interval training increases your endurance faster, burns more calories in less time, and targets belly fat! To get started, alternate between short periods of high-intensity activities and longer intervals of less demanding movements for recovery.
Gradually make your workouts more challenging by increasing the intensity, pace, or resistance.
7. Find a buddy – When you workout with a friend, you can share feedback, encouragement, and laughs. Invite a neighbor or your spouse to join you.
8. Set goals – It’s common to reach a plateau after you’ve been working out for a while. If you want to stay motivated or get stronger, give yourself targets to strive for. You might decide to work out for at least 15 minutes every day or push yourself by adding a killer core workout to the schedule twice a week.
9. Track your progress – Once you establish goals, be sure to measure them. Keep a journal about your workouts and performance. Reward yourself when you reach a milestone.
10. Have fun – Remember to have a good time. If you love training with kettlebells or watching Netflix while you’re running on the treadmill, you’ll be more likely to stick to your workout program.
11. Use proper form. **Protect yourself from injuries by doing exercises properly** – Working out with improper form wastes your time and WORSE – sets you up for injury! If you’re a beginner, you may want to take a class or work with a trainer to receive the instructions you need.
12. Rest up – Giving your body adequate time to recover will also help you to stay safe and strong. If you have no signs of overtraining like fatigue or persistent muscle soreness, you may prefer an active rest session like going for a gentle walk on your off days.
13. Keep it Fresh – Nothing sucks the effectiveness out of workouts faster doing the same thing over and over again. Muscles adapt, exercises become less effective, and you’ll get bored. Want a new fitness program delivered to you every month with the structure and guidance of working with a trainer minus the price tag? Check out my Monthly Fitness Membership program!
***Talk with your doctor – Discuss any individual concerns with your physician. That’s especially important if you’re new to exercise or you’re trying to manage a chronic condition.
TL;DR – Enjoy the comforts of home while you maximize your workouts. A well-planned space and a balanced exercise program will help you to boost your fitness faster! Invest in some good quality equipment and find a quiet spot in your home where you can set up a mat and your laptop and you’re good to go! Oh and don’t forget to sign up for the Monthly Fitness Membership program to get a new, fat-burning workout program sent to you every month!
Pssst… Want my printable home workout program?
It’s all yours!
You’ll find it in my free resource library… get access here:
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.