Getting in shape can be complicated, but creating a workout area in your home doesn’t have to be. You don’t need a lot of equipment or space to create a mini home gym to meet your fitness goals.
When organizing expert Lela Burris, owner of the blog Organized-ish, wanted to create a mini gym in her home, she converted her sunroom into a customized fitness area. The sunroom is small, but it’s still big enough to exercise and store fitness gear. “A workout area at home doesn’t have to be a full room,” she explains. “All you need is space to move your arms and legs freely without obstruction.”
A big plus to having a home gym is that it can remove some of the barriers you may face in terms of your fitness goals. YouTuber and Shoestring Martha blogger Kori Adkins notes that proximity to her home gym makes all the difference. “Because it’s right outside my back door, most of the excuses go out the window. It’s a pleasure to spend time in that space, which makes working out more of a joy than a burden.”
If you’re thinking about creating your own mini gym at home, follow this guide to get started.
Plan it out
When Burris created her gym, she first measured and tried out the space to confirm that the room would fit her needs. “The best way to test a space is to mimic your normal routine,” she says. “If you can move comfortably and nothing is in your way, you know that it can be converted into your own mini home gym.”
She wanted to put some larger items in the room, such as an elliptical trainer and a rowing machine, but made sure they would fit before proceeding. She also added storage by hanging a sturdy steel pegboard on one wall. “I can store all my smaller equipment, yoga mats, gloves, and cleaning supplies on there without taking up any floor space,” she says. You might want to add some design elements to your space too. Burris painted her walls pink to relax and inspire her.
Bulky exercise equipment, such as a treadmill or a stationary bike, can provide a good workout but aren’t a necessity. For example, much of the workout gear that YouTuber and personal trainer Mya Sensei owns is small and can be stored anywhere. Plus, much of it is used. “Buy secondhand,” she suggests. “People have equipment they don’t use that collects dust.”
Smaller items you can stock your workout space with include:
- Dumbbells: These can help you tone your muscles and improve bone density. Burris recommends the Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells, which are compact and can adjust from five pounds to ninety pounds. You can also start with a set or two of inexpensive dumbbells, and get additional sets as your needs change.
- Exercise or yoga mat: Place a mat on the floor to make cleaning up after a workout easy and provide cushion and traction for your workouts.
- Jump rope: Raise your heart rate and build muscle endurance with this inexpensive and versatile piece of equipment.
- Resistance bands: Stretch and strengthen your muscles with this lightweight and elastic gear.
- Stability balls: Strengthen your core or use incorporate into a Pilates or yoga practice.
- Weighted medicine balls: Throw and catch these weighted spheres to improve your muscle strength.
If you prefer to use larger exercise equipment, such as an elliptical machine or a treadmill, there are ways to fit them in a small space. For instance, Sarah Birch, a professor who lives in the Bronx, New York, recently bought a used Concept2 Indoor Rower online. “I wanted a rowing machine that I could store in my small city apartment,” she says. The rower is slim, doesn’t take up much room, and cost a lot less than a new one. You can also get equipment with space-saving features, such as treadmills and stationary bicycles, that can be folded up when not in use.
Think outside the box
Don’t worry if you can’t set aside an entire room for your exercise space. You can squeeze a fitness area into a corner of a room, in a garage, or even outdoors if the space is suitable for your fitness needs. For instance, Adkins converted her covered patio in Phoenix, Arizona, into a mini gym by rolling out rubber flooring, enclosing the patio with DIY wood-slat walls and a barn door, and adding equipment, including weights, a weight bench, and a treadmill.
With just a few square feet and some gear, you can improve your fitness in the mini home gym of your dreams.