Ah, 2020. The year of doing everything at home - working, schooling, exercising, socializing...I live in New York, which has seemingly had the strictest regulations in place since March. When my gym shut down for almost seven months, I had to get creative at home. My living room became my gym for about an hour every day. In May, my fiance and I purchased a Peloton (read about that here). When my gym reopened September 1, masks were mandated to be worn at all times, and the group exercise class schedule was very limited, so I continued to do most of my workouts at home or outside. Fast forward to mid-November, and gyms were forced to close again. Realizing this is probably going to last a while, we decided to turn an area in our basement into a home gym. We already had some free weights, an old treadmill and elliptical, a punching bag, aerobic step, mats, medicine balls, and other miscellaneous accessories, scattered throughout the house. We moved our Peloton from our living room downstairs.
Having a dedicated space for fitness puts us into that mindset and makes it easier to get into the “zone.” When I was working out in my living room, there were a lot of distractions around, and honestly just getting started was difficult enough. It was a room I was already spending so much time in. Now, when I go into our gym, I know it’s only to workout.
Even after the pandemic, when gyms reopen, it will be nice to have the equipment and space to go to when motivation to drive to the gym is low, or time is tight. I’m not sure whether or not I will resume my gym membership, but if you decide to create a home gym, you could be saving a lot of money over time on your monthly membership fees and annual maintenance fees, gas driving to and from the gym, parking (if applicable), and of course time - time is money!
Also, no need to worry about germs, crowds, what you’re wearing/look like, or unwanted conversation.
Do you have a spare bedroom, garage, or basement?
If we had an attached garage, we probably would have set up our home gym there, as the ceilings in our basement aren’t very high. But, we don’t, so we made do with what we have. Pro: It’s always nice and cool in the basement so even in the middle of summer we won’t be hot working out there.
WHAT YOU NEED
Our first order of business was ordering flooring. We did some research and ultimately ordered 8mm Strong Rubber Tiles from American Flooring, Inc. You can enter your room dimensions and the website will tell you how many of each type of tile you need (corner, edge, center). The tiles arrived quickly and were heavy to carry downstairs, but we were excited to be able to get started putting this space together. It took me about an hour to put all of the tiles down and get them locked in. It did smell like rubber for a few days, but we had the windows open and it didn’t bother us much. The flooring made such a difference in making this space feel like a fitness space.
Once the floors were in, we set up our large equipment. Depending on your budget, I would recommend one good piece of cardio equipment - something you can use to warm up or get a full workout in. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to just hop on a machine and not have to come up with a whole exercise routine. We had inherited an elliptical and I had a treadmill I purchased from Walmart in college, plus our new Peloton, so we were more than set with the cardio equipment. Someday I’d love to get a rower. If you’re limited on space, a punching bag can be a great cardio workout. We have a Century Wavemaster punching bag and love it.
Strength Equipment & Accessories
We ordered an adjustable workout bench from and a dumbbell rack from Amazon, asked for a few accessories for Christmas, and I had to purchase a home TRX kit because I’m obsessed (that will probably be another post at a later time), but almost everything else were things we’ve acquired over time (many from Walmart)
After not having luck finding a large, affordable, quality mirror we ordered these mirror tiles from Amazon as a temporary option, but they are better than we thought so we are going to keep them!
What we have in our home gym:
TRX HOME2 System suspension training kit - https://store.trxtraining.com/products/trx-home-gym/
1, 3, 5, 10, 12.5, 15, 20 pound dumbbells
15 pound Body Bar
8, 15, 25 pound kettlebells
Resistance bands - We have several different kinds, but these are my favorite - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TZPVXMH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
6, 12 pound medicine balls
Aerobic weighted gloves
Weighted toning balls
Clip-on fan (I put it on the bike) - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085L71L9R/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Hooks to hang resistance bands
Wall-mounted smart TV - I use the Peloton app to do strength, stretching, pilates workouts, etc.
If you have a small space or a tight budget, these are the absolute must-haves:
Set(s) of dumbbells and/or kettlebell(s)
Start smart, decide what you’d like to add/what kind of workouts you will do in your space, and add from there.
These are "during" photos. We will be adding lighting, putting up a wall to separate this space from the storage area, adding electrical outlets, and shelving on the walls. Will post "after" photos once it's done!
Have you created a home gym space during quarantine? We’d love to see it!