How to Design a Home Gym That You’ll Actually Use (2023)


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The Fix

As the pandemic rages on, the safest place to work out is at home. Here’s how to create a personal gym you’ll want to spend time in.

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How to Design a Home Gym That You’ll Actually Use (1)

(Video) Create a Home Gym You'll Actually Want to Use | Bryan Inc.

By Tim McKeough

A new year often comes with new resolutions, and for many, those resolutions center on physical fitness. Whether you want to work off all those holiday cookies or stretch your way into a healthier year, a home gym can make that more convenient — and safer, as the pandemic rages on.

A dedicated home gym isn’t a necessity, of course, but if you’re fortunate enough to have the space, it can be a real luxury — especially if it’s well designed. To make it a place where you’ll enjoy spending time, give it some thought and concentrate on the design, advised Sara Story, a New York-based interior designer and exercise enthusiast. “It should have a good atmosphere and good lighting,” she said, much like any other room in your home.

For tips on designing a hard-wearing gym that’s a joy to use, we asked designers how they approach workout spaces.


Choose the Room

Although it’s nice to have an expansive space for your gym, it doesn’t need to be a huge room. Nicole Hollis, an interior designer, turned a small, awkward room on the top floor of her San Francisco townhouse — roughly the size of a walk-in closet — into her home gym.

“We have this little room that’s too small to be a bedroom, so we set it up as our gym,” Ms. Hollis said. Rather than trying to de-emphasize the tight quarters, she played them up, painting the walls and floor in dark colors to create a sense of drama, a strategy that many designers use for powder rooms.


(Video) How to Design a Home Gym That You'll Actually Use

Basements are a popular place for home gyms because they often have leftover space, but for the fitness-obsessed, it’s perfectly acceptable to put a gym in a more prominent spot — like an unused guest room, or a home office.

Olga Hanono, an interior designer, recently completed a four-story home in Mexico City with a gym on the top level, which has glass doors and views over neighboring rooftops. “It’s not the deepest, most obscure corner of the home,” she said. “On the contrary, it’s a space filled with natural light.”

If possible, it’s best to put the gym near a bathroom, said Jimmy Crisp, the principal of Crisp Architects, in Millbrook, N.Y., because “chances are, you’re going to want to shower after you work out.” And if you’re going all out, consider installing spalike features like a steam shower or a sauna.


Take Stock of Your Equipment

There are many ways to work out, from free weights to elliptical machines, so knowing which equipment you’ll actually use is important. And if you want a gym that is as attractive as it is functional, you’re in luck: Finding good-looking equipment with a compact footprint is easier than it used to be.

“Now there’s a blending of luxury and technology in the gym, and that’s the best thing that could happen to us,” Ms. Hanono said. “It allows us to place not only useful, but also beautiful, objects in these places.”

Interactive fitness systems like Mirror, Tonal and Forme are as unobtrusive as a wall-mounted mirror or picture frame. Peloton has streamlined stationary bikes and treadmills. Wahoo and Tacx make stationary smart trainers that allow carbon-fiber racing bicycles to be used indoors. Ergatta and WaterRower make rowing machines that look almost as handsome as finely crafted rowing shells. And companies like Bala and Kenko are rethinking what weights should look like.


Develop a Plan

There’s more to designing a home gym than just piling equipment into an unused room — it requires creating a layout with good spatial flow.

(Video) How to Build Your Home Gym (Step by Step Guide to Planning a Home Gym)

“We really like to consider the program and how the client will use the space, including what types of cardio equipment they’ll be using,” said Heather Hilliard, an interior designer in San Francisco. For instance, she said, “if there’s a treadmill, you have to have space behind it, in case someone falls off. And you need space for navigating between machines.”

With electronic machines like treadmills and Peloton bikes, she added, it’s critical to have electrical outlets nearby, so you don’t have extension cords snaking across the room. When possible, Ms. Hilliard likes to add floor outlets directly below the machines.

It’s also important to leave space for floor exercises, Ms. Story said. “You don’t want to go into a gym where it’s just all machines,” she said, because it could feel claustrophobic. Leaving open space at the center of the room will make your gym feel less cramped, while also providing room for yoga, stretching and calisthenics.


Address the Floor and Walls

The flooring and walls in a gym should be durable and easy to clean.

“Some form of resilient floor is always a good idea,” Mr. Crisp said. That often means interlocking rubber-tile or vinyl flooring, similar to the kind commercial gyms use, installed wall-to-wall or as a large area mat on top of other flooring.

Another option is to use cushioned mats that can be rolled out individually, in discrete workout zones, across a hard floor of wood, laminate or concrete, Ms. Hollis said. (Carpet is not ideal, because it’s difficult to clean.) She suggested “a couple of different types of mats — one for weights and one for yoga.” Individual mats can also be placed under equipment like stationary bikes, to dampen noise and catch drops of sweat.

For the walls, Ms. Hollis recommended paint with an eggshell sheen, as it’s easier to clean than a matte surface.

Or, you could cover the walls with a more durable material. Ms. Hilliard used plywood on the walls of one home gym she designed. Crisp Architects, working with Valerie Grant, an interior designer, created shiplap wainscoting using wood planks for another gym.

All of the designers interviewed for this story also suggested adding mirrors — either mirrored walls or large framed mirrors — to enlarge the sense of space and let you check your form as you work out.


(Video) How to Design a Workout Room or Home Gym | HGTV

Pay Attention to Lighting

You don’t have to blast your workout space with the kind of overhead light you’d find in a commercial gym. Installing layers of lighting with multiple fixtures — and using dimmers to control those fixtures — can create a more inviting atmosphere and allow light levels to be adjusted for various activities.

“We incorporate a mood light and ambient light for the experience,” Rush Jenkins, the chief executive of WRJ Design, in Jackson, Wyo., wrote in an email.

And because it’s a home gym, you can choose fixtures you’d never see in a commercial gym, like chandeliers, pendants and sconces. “Depending on the height of the gym space, the main lighting could be a beautiful chandelier, or it could be a subtle flush mount,” Mr. Jenkins noted.

It’s also important to consider where the fixtures are positioned in relation to the workout zones, he added: “You don’t want to be down on a mat during exercise and looking up directly into a bright light.”

To bring in relaxing, atmospheric light without installing new wiring, one option is a portable LED lantern, said Ms. Hollis, who uses an Uma Sound Lantern from Pablo, which doubles as a speaker. “It’s like a candle,” she said. “And it moves around with me.”


Finish It Off

Using furniture and accessories that make it easy to keep your gym clean and tidy — and complete your workout without interruptions — will help you stick with an exercise routine.

If you’ll have foam rollers, resistance bands or boxing gloves, think about where those items will live when you’re not using them, Ms. Hilliard said. Cabinetry and case goods are ideal, but even a group of baskets on the floor can help.

Adding a bench, stool or chair provides a place to catch your breath between exercises, as well as a spot to throw a towel. And if you like watching TV or listening to music while you work out, and you don’t plan to use a portable speaker or headphones, add audiovisual equipment to the room.

When space allows, Ms. Hilliard also likes to install a small station similar to a kitchenette. “Sometimes we do custom cabinets, where we have a water cooler or water bottles,” she said, as well as an area for clean towels and a hamper for used ones. “As much as we can give it the look and feel of a high-end gym, so people actually want to go and use it, the better.”

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.


How much does it cost to make a homemade gym? ›

The average home gym cost is around $2,000 and typically runs between $300 and $15,000, depending on your training goals and how complex you want the setup to be. A simple home gym setup can consist of a couple of sets of dumbbells and a workout mat, while a more sophisticated one can include an entire weight room.

How do I create my own gym contents? ›

Best Gym Social Media Post Ideas
  1. Teach your audience how to use new equipment. ...
  2. Show your trainer's chops with a short training video. ...
  3. Show the “fun” side of gyms. ...
  4. Give tips and address your audience's pain points. ...
  5. Create #relatable posts. ...
  6. Share a recipe. ...
  7. Before and after posts. ...
  8. Everyone loves a little comedy.
17 Mar 2022

Can I design my own workout plan? ›

Get a piece of paper, and write the days of the week along the side, then choose what you'll do each day: workout or rest. To begin, plan to workout five days per week and rest two days. For most people, this is more than adequate for getting good results.

Is it cheaper to build a gym at home? ›

As you can see, it's possible to build a quality, highly effective home gym for less than $1,000. And you can do it for even less if you buy the above equipment used. While $1,000 might still seem like a lot if you're looking at that nut altogether, compare that cost to paying for a membership at a commercial gym.

Does a home gym add value? ›

But keeping the house in a position to reach its maximum value, to a certain set of buyers, may be worthwhile. Hence, having your own gym will increase the perceived value of your home and speed up the process in selling a home. One of the many advantages of having a home gym is its convenience.

How do cheap gyms make money? ›

How To Make Money With A Gym. There are three primary ways that gyms make money: from membership fees, from selling classes and personal training packages, and from selling extra goods and services.

How big does a home gym need to be? ›

A good size for a home gym is about 150-250 square feet. This gives you enough room for both strength and cardio equipment. But you can build a home gym even if you don't have that much space available. You just have to be selective about which equipment you buy.

What makes a good home gym? ›

Essential equipment for a home gym

A yoga mat, for yoga, pilates and stretching. Resistance bands, for strength training and stretching. A kettlebell or two, for weight lifting and to add resistance to body weight workouts.

How much does it cost to build a backyard gym? ›

Cost to Build a Home Gym
Home Gym Cost
National average cost$13,500
Average range$3,500-$25,000
29 Sept 2021

Do home gyms build muscle? ›

While your home gym won't have all the equipment available at a health club, you can still build muscle mass by training at home. All you need is your own body weight and a few basic bits of equipment.

Is there an app that lets you create your own workout? ›

Workout Maker is the first and only fully customizable workout app. Whether you do weightlifting, physical therapy, calisthenics, cardio, yoga, stretching, personal training, CrossFit, or any other fitness, Workout Maker is perfect for you!

Is there an app to make your own fitness? ›

How to Create a Fitness App
  • Explore the Fitness Apps Market.
  • Choose the Fitness App Type You Need.
  • Define Fitness App Key Features.
  • Add More Features to Your Fitness App.
  • Pick the Monetization Model.
  • Fitness app development stages.
  • Supervise the Development Process.
3 Apr 2022

What should I buy first when building a home gym? ›

First Products to buy

A few examples of versatile products include a pair of dumbbells, a single kettlebell, pull-up bar, jump rope, bands, sandbag, etc. All of these options provide a nearly limitless amount of workout options in combination with traditional bodyweight workouts.

What are the 7 steps to creating a workout plan? ›

Starting Your Fitness Plan
  1. Step 1: Ease into it. ...
  2. Step 2: You don't have to do it all at once. ...
  3. Step 3: Start with something low impact. ...
  4. Step 4: Manage your expectations. ...
  5. Step 5: Schedule physical activity into your daily plan. ...
  6. Step 6: Track your progress. ...
  7. Step 7: Set a reasonable goal.
11 Nov 2017

How does Planet fitness design your own program work? ›

You'll meet with our certified trainer to discuss your fitness goals, medical background, and exercise history, and they'll create a customized program just for you. Or if you prefer, you can attend any of our scheduled training sessions. Sign up online, or simply go to the trainer's meeting area at the scheduled time.

What is a good 7 day workout schedule? ›

Weekly 7-Day Split Gym Workout Plan
  • Day 1: Chest.
  • Day 2: Back and core.
  • Day 3: Rest.
  • Day 4: Shoulders and traps.
  • Day 5: Legs.
  • Day 6: Arms.
  • Day 7: Rest.
21 Sept 2022

How much should I spend for a home gym? ›

Home Gym Costs

A home gym can cost as much or as little as you'd like, with the typical range being anywhere from $300 to $15,000. The average falls around $2,000. For $300, you can likely start with some basic weights, a yoga mat, and a set of resistance bands.

Is a home gym better than a gym? ›

Home gyms are more convenient than a gym membership because you can work out anytime you want right in your own home. In addition to that, it is a one time investment that will last you a lifetime, whereas gym memberships require monthly payments which can run pretty high for some gyms!

How much does it cost to fully equip a gym? ›

Gym equipment can be what differentiates you from other gyms and propels you to the top. However, this doesn't mean you should blow all of your budget on equipment. For a commercial gym, equipment costs can range between $300,000 and $500,000. For smaller gyms, costs tend to be around $100,000.

How long does a home gym last? ›

The Lifespan of Home Gym Equipment

With regular use, the average piece of fitness equipment should last between seven and twelve years. However, it may not last that long with excessive use and if it is not properly maintained. It may exceed its lifespan with regular maintenance and if used sparingly.

What is most important for a home gym? ›

For most home gyms, you'll want a weight rack, a versatile barbell, a solid weight bench, and a set of weight plates at the minimum. Other pieces of equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, plyo boxes, and cardio machines can be essential too depending on how you like to work out.

Is it cheaper to go to the gym or buy your own equipment? ›

Buying gym equipment costs money, requires space and makes working out a solitary venture. Gym memberships cost money in monthly fees and other charges, requires added time and effort to get there and makes working out more of a social venture. Many experts favor a combination of membership and home equipment.

Do gym owners make a lot? ›

According to a report by ZipRecruiter, a Gym Owner in the USA can make anywhere from $17,000 to $187,500 per year depending on the above-mentioned factors. A good average would be $69,794 per year which makes $5,816 per month. These figures can also vary due to the area or state in which the gym is operating in.

What type of gym is the most profitable? ›

CrossFit Gyms

What month do gyms make the most money? ›

Gyms are making more money in January, so they're more likely to have members pay a lower monthly fee leading into the New Year when business is slow and have people commit by January 1.

Where do you start when building a home gym? ›

Start with the basics — resistance bands , and dumbbells. If you're looking to build muscle, consider adding a barbell, weight plates, and a bench. Incorporate equipment like kettlebells and jump rope in your high intensity interval training.

What is the best color for a workout room? ›

MC Design founder Megan Dufresne adds, “Clean white walls are the go-to for home gyms. White walls minimize distraction, allowing you to do what you came there to do, work!

Do home gyms actually work? ›

Great for Any Fitness Level

Home gyms are a convenience for people who want a full body workout in their own home. More advanced users will probably want to focus on weight-based home gyms. These gyms are great for building muscle over the entire body with 50-60 different exercise options.

What is a good size shed for a gym? ›

150 square feet is a good size for a home gym, but you can get by with smaller ones. 40 square feet is the very minimum size that you will need for a gym shed. This much room would only allow you to train without any equipment. 150+ square feet will give you room to add more equipment to the gym.

Do you need planning permission for an outdoor gym? ›

Like any type of garden building, a garden gym does not require planning permission as long as it meets specific requirements.

Can you use a shed as a gym? ›

There is a lot of weight on the floor and most sheds come with a wooden floor as standard. These floors will not be strong enough to support the gym equipment let alone the dropping of large weights onto the floor.

Can you get ripped from home gym? ›

With the right exercises and diet, three months can be enough time to get ripped at home. Focus on bodyweight training exercises that strengthen and tone muscles. Incorporate this workout routine at home, training for at least three days a week, and ideally, an hour a day.

Can you get ripped with home weights? ›

There's no overnight solution to get ripped, but with the right fitness plan, you can tighten and strengthen every muscle in your body using only dumbbells. The key to success is following a strict workout schedule and allowing your body to rest between workouts.

Is it better to use a machine or free weights? ›

Free weights help develop greater power, as compared to machines. Working out with free weights is a more efficient way to hit most fitness goals, including increasing strength and muscle size, changing body composition, and weight loss.

Can I create my own iFit workout? ›

But with iFit Coach, you can design your own custom workouts. To start building a custom treadmill workout, go to either the time-based or distance-based workout creation. Once you are there, you will see a template you can use to craft your workout which will look just like the Google Maps starting template.

How do I create a digital workout plan? ›

9 Steps for Creating an Effective Online Fitness Program
  1. Define Your Niche and USP. ...
  2. Develop an Effective Home Workout Program. ...
  3. Plan Your Content Structure. ...
  4. Consider How You Will Deliver the Program. ...
  5. Decide on Your Pricing Structure. ...
  6. Think About Your Technology Set-Up. ...
  7. Hold Members Accountable.
22 Sept 2020

Is JustFit app free? ›

Subscription Information : JustFit offers an auto-renewing subscription at $69.99/year to provide you with unlimited access to the VIP features.

What is the most successful fitness app? ›

Healthline's picks of the best fitness apps
  • Nike Training Club.
  • obé Fitness.
  • Peloton.
  • Fit Body.
  • Centr.
  • Le Sweat TV.
  • TRX Training Club.
  • Studio Bloom.

What app do personal trainers use for clients? ›

TrueCoach is a personal training software that allows you to connect with clients, effortlessly track and measure your client's data, and allows you to self-brand video and exercise demos. It has over 5,000 coaches that use the app, which serves over 100,000 users.

How much would it cost to create a fitness app? ›

A fitness app usually costs $15,000 to build. However, the total cost can be as low as $5,000 or as high as $25,000. A fitness app with a low number of features (also known as a "minimum viable product", or MVP) will be more affordable than an app that includes all intended functionality.

How much does it cost to build a basic gym? ›

It can cost you anywhere from $8,000 for a studio to $50,000 for a large gym with all the equipment you could need. While investing in gym equipment make sure you look out for the best quality equipment so that you do not have to keep maintaining it.

What should a basic gym have? ›

A basic set-up, including essentials such as a bench, some dumbbells, and resistance bands, can still provide a great workout.

How do you structure a gym class? ›

  1. #1 – Plan a Proper Warm-Up and Cool-Down. ...
  2. #2 – Choose the Right Equipment. ...
  3. #3 – Pick Appropriate Exercises. ...
  4. #4 – Be Ready With Modifications and Amplifications. ...
  5. #5 – Prepare Cues That Are Complete and Easy to Understand. ...
  6. #6 – Remind Participants to Listen to Their Bodies. ...
  7. #7 – Remember That You Are a Coach, Not a Participant.
5 Feb 2021

What is the best business structure for a gym? ›

Limited Liability Company or LLC

As the most common type of business entity, an LLC is fast, simple and inexpensive to set up and maintain. It protects your personal finances and assets and is a great way to start your personal training or gym business.

What are the 4 steps in designing fitness program? ›

4 Steps to Your Perfect Exercise Plan
  • Step 1: Talk with your doctor. This is the most important step to creating an exercise plan. ...
  • Step 2: Choose your favorite aerobic activities. Aerobic activities work out your heart and lungs. ...
  • Step 3: Choose your favorite strengthening activities. ...
  • Step 4: Schedule it out.
11 Apr 2018

What are the four 4 phases of fitness program design? ›

The phases of your exercise session should include warmup, conditioning and cooldown. Some people prefer to add stretching as a fourth phase, separating it from the warmup or cooldown phases. Each of the phases plays an important role in helping you reach your fitness goals while maintaining your health and safety.

How many square feet should a gym be? ›

The space required for a commercial gym with little to no equipment is 850 to 1,000 square feet. The space required for a commercial gym with a large membership and lots of equipment is 3,000 to 8,000 square feet.

Which layout is used in fitness gym? ›

What kind of layout is used in a physical fitness center? Process layout—similar equipment or functions are grouped together, such as rowing machines in one area, and weight machines in another. The exercise enthusiasts move through the fitness center, following an established sequence of operations.

What are the 5 basic workout outline? ›

"Human evolution led to five basic movements, which encompass nearly all of our everyday motions." Meaning your workout needs just five exercises, one from each of these categories: push (pressing away from you), pull (tugging toward you), hip-hinge (bending from the middle), squat (flexing at the knee), and plank ( ...

What percentage of gym businesses fail? ›

According to the IHRSA, 81 percent of health and fitness studios fail within their first year. A gym is still a business and must be treated as such if it is to succeed. The surest way to set your new gym up for failure is to open it before you know what you're doing.

Do gym owners make money? ›

ZipRecruiter, an American jobs marketplace, reports that as of June 2022, the average annual pay for a gym owner in the United States is $69,472 a year.

What is the first thing to be considered in designing a fitness program? ›

Designing your fitness program

Consider your goals. Are you starting a fitness program to lose weight or for some other reason? Think about your likes and dislikes. Choose activities you will enjoy.

What are the 3 phases of a good workout? ›

There are three phases of exercise: power, strength and endurance. Gallagher recommends sticking with each phase for four to six weeks. Power is explosive movements in the four to six reps range. Strength is heavyweight and about eight to 10 repetitions.

What are the 3 parts of a fitness plan? ›

The three components to a well-balanced exercise routine include aerobics, strength training, and flexibility training.

What are the 4 S's of fitness? ›

Pilates is a functional form of fitness that aims to enhance mobility by integrating and working the four S's: Strength, Stamina, Stretch and Stability.

What are the 4 main fitness concepts? ›

Research has shown that it's important to get all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each one has different benefits.


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