Turning Your Basement into a Home Gym That Will Keep You Motivated

Building a home gym in your basement

Building a home gym has many wonderful advantages, and your newly remodeled basement is the perfect location. With the commute as simple as walking downstairs, you’ll be able to get a great workout and add hours to your day, all without even leaving your home.

You may have plans to remodel your basement and add a home gym, or maybe you simply have existing space you’d like to turn into a workout area. Either way, there are a few things you should take into consideration before starting.

Many people get so excited about having a home gym that their only focus is on the equipment they plan to purchase, not the details of the room itself. Although it’s true that a home gym needs equipment, it’s important to keep in mind that the first step should always be to plan the space that will soon become your workout haven. To do this we need to make sure that the room is physically ready and prepared. Taking the necessary time to plan, will help make your fitness journey as enjoyable and pain-free as possible.

Will Your Basement Be a Good Home Gym?

    • Space – How much space do you have to work with? If your basement is one large room, you have plenty of options and shouldn’t run into any issues. However, if your basement is divided into smaller rooms you should do some planning prior to beginning. Depending on how large you want your home gym, you may want to remove a few walls. Or there is always the option of dedicating rooms. You could dedicate one room to cardio and another room to weights and resistance training.
    • Ceiling – How high is your basement ceiling? Many basements have low ceilings which could hinder the use of some machines. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a cost effective option to fix this problem, but it’s a good idea to be mindful of the limitations. The excitement of purchasing and assembling your shiny new piece of equipment can quickly become a very frustrating and annoying waste of time when you realize that you won’t be able to use it because your ceiling is too low
    • Ventilation – Proper ventilation is often overlooked, however, it’s an important aspect to both your remodel and your home gym. If your basement isn’t already climate controlled, it should be if you intend to turn it into a gym. Fans can help keep the air circulating, and if your ceiling is high enough, you could install a ceiling fan. Without proper ventilation, your workouts won’t be pleasant, and if you’re not enjoying exercising in your new space, there’s a good chance your home gym will become a storage area and collect cobwebs!
    • Flooring – Concrete floors are common in basements, and they work great for home gyms. They are able to support heavy exercise equipment, as well as withstand the rigors of your workout. They also make a great floor for you to build upon. Interlocking rubber tiles are one flooring option, and they are easy to install and great for absorbing sound and impact
    • Walls – Something to consider is to use fabric covered finishing panels on your walls to help absorb the sound. There are many different types on the market. Some are designed as pictures or paintings to reduce not only the noise but also, to disguise its purpose. Keep in mind that basements are known for being damp environments, so it’s a good idea to choose something that is mildew resistant.
    • Lighting – Adequate lighting is not only important for safety but it also makes for a more enjoyable environment during workouts. Lighting may seem like a simple topic, but there are a number of options and things to consider.

Working out on a stability ball

Designing Your Basement as a Home Gym

Once you’ve resolved the fundamental issues regarding your workout space, you can begin designing the layout of your home gym. Make the room your own space. The look and feel of the room should motivate you. Your objective is to make your workout space a place where you will look forward to spending time. Here are some things to consider:

  • Television – If you plan to workout with streaming videos or DVD’s, a quality television is a must. In addition, many people enjoy watching TV while working out on a treadmill. Whatever your plans, a television can be a nice addition to your home gym.
  • Sound system – Quality speakers can really make a difference when you’re exercising. Whether you’re working out to DVD’s, watching TV, or simply listening to music, a quality sound system can help keep you motivated. Since you’ll be making the decisions on music selection, there’s no need to get tangled up in the cords of you headphones anymore!
  • Mirrors – This is a personal preference, but installing at least one full-length mirror can be helpful if you plan on lifting weights. Having a mirror in your gym will give you the ability to check your form and make any necessary corrections to help prevent an injury. Installing mirrors can also make your workout space seem larger and lighter.
  • Storage bins – It’s a good idea to plan for clutter. You’ll likely have some smaller items in your workout arsenals such as jump ropes, yoga mats, ab wheels, or foam rollers. If you have a place to put these things, you’ll be able to keep your home gym neat and tidy.
  • Extras – You may want to consider having a table to place your water bottle, or wall hooks to hang clothing and towels. A small fridge can keep your water cold and readily available. Also, having a shelf to store clean towels can be a nice addition. You can make your home gym as simple or as detailed as you like. What’s important is that you create a room that you enjoy and it becomes a place where you feel motivated to workout.

Basement Home Gym on Treadmill

Choosing Your Home Gym Equipment

Once you’ve finished all the necessary renovations, it’s time to fill your home gym with workout equipment. Here are a few of our best tips to outfit your new workout space:

    • Take your time – Your workout will evolve over time and it’s a good idea to build your exercise equipment gradually. You’ll be able to purchase higher quality equipment if you take your time, and you’ll enjoy expanding your gym with new pieces of equipment as you venture into new types of exercise. Think of your home gym as an evolving process, never fully complete, yet it meets your current workout needs.
    • Be Selective and look for bargains – Outfitting a new gym can be expensive, you can spend a lot of money on equipment. Decide what’s important for your workouts and make the investment. You can build around your core equipment. Also, there are plenty of opportunities to buy used equipment on Craig’s List, and it’s not uncommon to find equipment that is nearly new. Many manufacturers offer equipment that they have accepted as returns at deeply discounted prices, and big gyms often sell their current equipment to make room for new machines.
    • Be patient – The best time to buy lower-end workout equipment is around the middle of January. If you can wait, you’ll be able to get the best bang for your dollar!
    • Look for versatility – There are a number of great company’s that manufacture workout equipment that offers versatility. TRX gear can give you a great total body workout, it’s relatively inexpensive and takes up very little space. Bowflex offers excellent equipment as well and many of their machines offer a total body resistance workout.
    • Leave some open floor space – Equipment such as treadmills can take up a lot of floor space and they can be difficult to move. Leave some floor space for yoga, stretching, workout DVD’s, free weights, or any other type of workout that you may become interested in down the road.
    • Don’t forget the dumbbells – Dumbbells, kettlebells or some other type of handheld resistance equipment can be an important part of any home gym. It’s a common misconception that if you are trying to lose weight you only need cardio equipment. In reality, combining cardio with strength training is the most effective method to lose weight.
    • Stability ball – The stability ball is a great addition to your home gym! They are inexpensive and very versatile. You’ll be able to use the ball for your workout as well as flexibility. These balls are great for ab crunches and hamstring curls to name just a few.
    • Infrared sauna – Infrared saunas are seldom thought of for a home gym, but in truth, they are a great addition. There are so many wonderful health benefits that regular sauna use can provide, and they are not as expensive as you may think! Jumping into a sauna after a hard workout, will not only help you relax, but it will also assist your body with recovery!