If you want to get gym-fit, there are generally only two options. The first is to head to your local commercial gym and sign up for a membership. That will usually be expensive and will require you to comply with a lot of rules and regulations, not to mention the hassle of getting to the gym every day and the requirement to exercise in public, which not everyone enjoys.
The alternative is to design and build your own gym. That may seem daunting and expensive, but it need not be either. With planning and patience, it is possible to put together a gym that is perfectly suited to your needs, enabling you to exercise whenever you want, cutting out all the expense and hassle associated with signing up to a commercial gym.
The big advantage of designing your gym yourself is that you have a free hand. You can choose exactly how it looks, what it features and how it is arranged. So this is the time to let your imagination run wild. Think about what you would like your gym space to look like, visualise it and then work out how it can be done. Whether you want a brightly decorated space or a music system to play your favourite motivational tracks, it really is up to you.
One option worth considering is window shutters. Not only are these a far more attractive option for a gym than curtains, they enable you to have control of the level of light in your gym. They also have the additional benefits of providing complete privacy, and considerable noise reduction qualities, keeping your workout music private and the outside world less intrusive.
Weights and barbells
The most important piece of gym equipment, and the starting point for your personal gym is the barbell. These are easy to find, but make sure you choose an Olympic bar over a regular version, as the regular bars can rarely cope with anything over 200 pounds. Olympic bars are usually more than 7 foot, and can handle any weights you want to use. Combine the bar with a 300 pound set of weight plates and you have the foundations of a great home gym.
One piece of essential equipment to plan for when designing your home gym is the power rack. It is important to source this item early on and work out where it will fit into your gym, as it will take up a large amount of space. The power rack may be big, but it offers so many uses that you really can’t afford to be without it. One benefit of power racks is that they help to add an additional layer of safety as the pins can offer protection if you misjudge your lift. Power racks are also often bundled with handy accessories such as dip attachments or pull-up bars, giving you more fitness options. The power rack will be the most expensive part of your gym, so take your time in finding the right one.
Get a sturdy bench
Another important part of any gym is the bench. There are lots of exercises and routines that involve a lying position, so a sturdy bench is a must. Make sure when you’re shopping around that you focus on benches which can take the weight you will be using. Some standard benches can only cope with around 200 pounds, which may well not be enough, and serious gym enthusiasts will be more interested in benches that can handle up to 600 pounds.
There is a wide variety of dumbbells out there, in both Olympic and Standard size. For those on a budget, Standard might be the best option, and these can often be picked up relatively cheaply online or even from car boot sales. Of course, if money is no object, you can opt for a full dumbbell rack, of the type you’d see in a commercial gym, though this would be a luxury choice.
Your gym design need not include a platform, but it can be useful, as it protects your gym floor and your equipment from the hard pounding both will take during a heavy workout session, and it can also reduce the noise of those clanking weights hitting the floor. A high-quality platform may cost a few hundred pounds, but it is possible to make a reasonable version yourself, using plywood and a rubber sheet, and there are plenty of online resources that can help.
There’s no doubt that designing and putting together a home gym requires a lot of planning, a fair amount of hard work and some expense, but the results are worth it. With a home gym tailored to your needs, you can train whenever you want for as long as you want, and it is a great foundation for you to build the fitness plan or physical training program to suit your ambition.