In July of 2020, if one thing’s for certain, it’s that nothing is certain. With an election looming on the horizon amidst growing political unrest, and a worldwide pandemic wrecking the global economy, it’s only natural for many of us to feel anxious with worry over what’s in store for the second half of the year. You can’t even go to the gym to work out unless you had a home gym.
The good news is that exercise offers a natural way to relieve stress and tension—plus, working out helps you get fit and maintain optimal health at a time when peak immunity is incredibly important.
The not-so-good news is that many states across the U.S. are anticipating a second wave of shut-downs due to COVID-19. In many places, such as California, gyms are temporarily closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus, forcing people to find alternative ways to exercise. When they reopen, how soon you go back depends on how much risk you’re personally willing to take on by entering a crowded, sweaty, indoor environment—the exact type of setting experts at the CDC and WHO urge people to be extremely cautious of.
The solution? Build your own gym at home. It might take you a couple of weekends to pull off, but at least it’ll give you something to do. And if you’ve been bored at home while sheltering in place, then having a gym in your garage or backyard will conveniently allow you to fill downtime with a workout.
Not sure where to get started? We’re here to help with an ultimate guide to building a home gym.
1. Choose a location
Not everyone has the luxury of setting up a gym in a two-car garage, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. If you don’t have a spacious carport to set up a shop or a shaded outdoor area for gym equipment, you might have to get a little creative. Maybe you can turn your storage unit into a workout center, or convert the spare bedroom now that visitors will be traveling less frequently.
Things you’ll need to be mindful of include the sound of dropping weights and potentially damaging walls with scuff marks. You should put down tile pavers to absorb the shock of force and consider lining the walls with foam padding. Hanging a couple of mirrors in the area is helpful to monitor your form, just be sure that they’re reinforced to prevent them from falling and shattering when you drop a heavy plate.
If you’re low on space, you may need to improvise by hanging a pull-up bar in a kitchen doorway, stashing an ab roller beneath the couch, or tucking a yoga mat on your bed’s side. There’s plenty of household objects that you can use for gym equipment, from the backs of chairs to the ledge of a coffee table—again, use your creativity!
2. Get the right equipment
When it comes to gym equipment, it’s all about focusing on what you’ll get the most use out of first. Building a home gym is a slow and steady process; most people don’t go out and purchase everything all at once. Do you prefer isometric exercises over weightlifting? Which type of cardio do you like best? If you love catching some vitamin D wearing your trail running shoes, there’s no need to go break the bank with a Peloton bike.
Use these types of questions to guide your purchasing decisions. If you’re staying fit on a budget, you can find plenty of used equipment in great shape, sold at a fraction of the cost. Remember that you can always upgrade later on, so you don’t have to drop thousands of dollars on a brand-new barbell, squat rack, weight plates, and so forth.
3. Set yourself up for success
Finally, you should try to organize the area so that all of your equipment is neatly stored and easily accessible. You’ll be much less motivated to work out if the space feels more like a messy obstacle course than an at-home gym.
If possible, set up some partitions to keep you free of distraction and invest in noise-canceling headphones or a decent sound system to drown the kids’ sound inside or the gardener next door.
Check out our advice on how to build a home gym for more information, then get ready to get sweaty with your new setup.
Featured Photo by Li Sun from Pexels