January 18, 2021 4 min read
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the home gym has become essential for staying in shape and keeping ourselves from settling into sedentary lifestyles. However, this can be difficult if the space within your home is very limited. Explore these hacks for creating a home gym in a small space that is just as effective as any other gym.
The name of the game is simplicity. Since space is limited, we want to be as efficient as possible with our choices. The first part of the plan is to identify what your goals are and what exercises you need to achieve them. Your home gym doesn’t need to be a perfect all-around gym, it just needs to conform to your unique needs. Furthermore, because space is limited, you want to avoid cluttering the room with too much equipment so that you don’t feel cramped and claustrophobic while trying to exercise. Your workout won’t yield successful results if you’re pulling your punches to avoid whacking into other machines and equipment.
Once you have identified your goals and know what kind of exercises will accomplish them, then you can start to consider what machines to pick out—if you want any at all. Let's say, for example, your goal is weight loss. Cardio equipment like a treadmill would be a great machine to invest in because you can get a versatile aerobic workout with just this one machine. Another machine that offers a variety of exercises is a functional trainer. Though these can be on the larger side, it’s a great investment if you’re worried that doing the same routine will get too monotonous.
While you’ll only be able to fit one or two machines within a small space, there are plenty of accessories and tools you can use for an incredibly effective workout. These accessories are often very easy to store away, making them perfect for your needs. A good recommendation includes a rubber resistance band, as it’s simply a band of rubber that goes around your legs for added resistance. This adds an extra challenge to even the most mundane aerobic exercises and is helpful during your warmup to effectively stretch.
Another accessory equipment that’s easy to store away but versatile in its appliance is dumbbells. You can use these for the obvious benefits of strength training, but they also make good supplements to aerobic exercise by adding more resistance for a greater challenge. For example, take body-weight exercise. If you don’t feel like your own body weight is enough of a challenge, use dumbbells to add some extra weight. Truly, the greatest hack for creating a home gym in a small space is discovering which pieces of equipment that can be multi-functional.
As touched upon earlier, you want to avoid making your home gym feel claustrophobic despite being built in a small space. While you obviously can’t physically expand the space, there are some neat tricks to make small spaces feel bigger.
The first of these tricks is simple. Ample amounts of natural lighting will keep the room feeling spacious and energetic, and the sunlight will keep your mental state optimistic and motivated. The bigger the window, the better, as it’ll give you something nice to look at instead of a boring wall.
The next trick makes use of illusion to trick your eyes into seeing at least double the room size. Pan the walls of your home gym with full-length mirrors and your home gym will feel massive, even if it really isn’t. Furthermore, you’ll be able to monitor yourself as you work out so you can see any mistakes in your form. You’ll feel like you’re back in a professional public gym, which may be great for getting you in the right headspace for working out.
This goes back to natural lighting, but a great way to ensure your home gym feels nice and bright is by painting your walls white. White is a highly reflective color so the light entering the room will bounce back and help make even the smallest gym feel more spacious. This solution will be ideal if you are struggling to get enough natural light into the room. If combined with full-length mirrors, your tiny home gym will suddenly start feeling as big as a ballroom.
If you’re having trouble picking a spot to build your home gym, some ideal spots include garages, attics, or storerooms because they can be converted without interfering with the daily necessities of the rest of your home. Making use of these convertible spaces will also aid in creating a separation between your home life and working out, meaning you can psychologically shift between the two easier without either one bleeding into the other. That being said, you don’t have to sacrifice all of the original functionality for an effective home gym. Much like how multi-functional equipment is ideal, it’s great if you can make the space of your home gym multi-functional in an effort to maximize efficiency.
If you’re worried about too much clutter within your home gym space, you could choose to devote the home gym to any machines or large equipment you’ve invested in while taking more portable tools to another space within your home. For instance, you can easily sprawl out a yoga mat in your living room and perform stretches without worrying about not having enough space. Afterward, you can just store the yoga mat back into the home gym.
Remember that you don’t need all the expensive and fancy equipment to achieve a feeling of authenticity. Investing in easy-to-use, compact equipment is often more optimal to your needs than trying to fit in all the latest and greatest machines you see at the local gym.
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