In the spirit of all things new-year-new-you, I’m serving some home gym transformation inspiration that will hopefully motivate you (and me, let’s be real) to continue to forge a healthy 2018.
(Okay, at least a healthy Q1 because we all know resolutions are made to be broken.)
Here’s my story: Once upon a time, when we bought our house, there was a bonus space beneath said house that was being used as a “fun” room. It had awards on the walls, a dart board in the corner, a pool table in the middle, and so on and so forth. It was also in pretty bad shape from all those years of “fun.” SO, we had something different in mind to refresh the space—A GYM.
That’s right… our very own exclusive area to put all things workout related and never have to pay a gym membership or talk to another associate at LA Fitness again! Nothing would stop me from setting this up as a fully stocked home gym and achieving emancipation from LA Fitness—NOTHING.
Except the size of the space… because, unfortunately, it wasn’t that big. But, again, NOTHING.
The “fun” room was carved out of the foundation of the house, and extended from the side of the concrete-and-sand plastered crawl space that homes our AC unit, systems pipes, and extra storage space. I guess this section of the crawl space was big enough to stand up in and use as an actual room, so they dry-walled it off and this is how the “fun” room was born.
The other tricky thing about the “fun” room was that its footprint was actually bigger than the amount of usable space on the floor. This was due to the house foundation wrapping around the perimeter of the room and being hidden by drywall pawning itself off as a built-in “bench.” The built-in “bench” was actually more of a nuisance for this fun room than anything. It was really tough to use the existing pool table due to the fact your pool stick would hit said bench every.single.time. you’d try to use it. Obviously, the lack of actual usable space would limit the new gym equipment and layout pretty significantly.
But we were up to the challenge.
SO, I set out to make the space feel as large as I could given the parameters upon us. Let’s start with a before shot, shall we?:
Again, don’t let the wide angle fool you. This room may be 200 square feet. And it was pretty nasty when we bought it, I’m not gonna lie. Safe to say, the previous owners had a few good times in here… maybe too good due to the condition of the walls, carpets and literally everything else.
Here are a few ways I maximized the layout of what would soon be our new non-LA Fitness-based affiliated gym:
Color Scheme: I knew from the start I wanted a high-contrast color scheme to punch it up. Gyms—especially home gyms—can often feel fairly dark due to the fact that they’re usually located in that creepy extra room or the basement or somewhere that’s more of an afterthought than anything else… and also gyms naturally have a lot of darker tones with mats, equipment, workout gear, and so forth.
So, I took advantage of the natural light that streams through these windows and painted the walls white to bounce that light all over the room, then anchored the room’s wraparound bench by painting its existing beadboard-facing a high-gloss black. The carpet is a standard commercial-grade carpet in a mid-range gray tone to transition the gradient from white to black, and to hide dirt and other trash we may trek in.
Small-space equipment: I tried to approach this just like laying out a living or bedroom, or any other room for that matter. I chose scale-specific gear and limited the investment to only items I thought would be best for full-body, all-around workouts. We chose a bench that can be inclined in both directions and used for a good arm, shoulder, chest, back, leg, or ab workout—there’s seriously nothing that can’t be done with a solid bench and some free weights.
The cardio-specific investments took a ton of research, but we settled with the Horizon Evolve folding elliptical and we love it! The extra space we get when it’s folded up allows us to do other exercises we may need floor space for, like walking lunges or yoga. We also chose a scale-specific dumbbell tree versus a horizontal rack, mini-fridge for water, and a bike trainer that works with the Zwift app for online interactive training rides. Laura got this for me on my birthday, so I can compete against all my bike peeps in MN during their snowy winters!
Lastly, we bought an extra Sonos speaker to use in here. It’s super great quality and, since it’s wireless, no major electical required to get your surround sounds gym jam on.
“Practical” wall art/storage: Ahhh, storage. We have four bikes and knew we wanted to utilize the back wall to showcase slash store a couple of our babies. So, along with the speed limit sign that is also Laura’s old college basketball number, we themed up the storage wall to make it feel like a cool, sculptural art install fit for a gym.
Oversized Mirror: Once one wall was taken for the bikes, we were left with two walls that could be fitted for mirrors (the fourth wall has two large windows and french doors so no true wall space). We went back and forth on installing full-sized mirrors, wondering if it was worth the cost and the impact. Ultimately, we added a mirror on one wall, and I. am. so. glad. we. did. It makes all the difference in light and makes this room feel TWICE its size. It feels so custom (because it is), but this was the best choice for making it feel like a real gym.
And that, my friends, is how we customized the “fun” room into… something even more fun! There are still items we’ll be adding as time goes on, specifically geared around increasing wall storage and hanging a TV. But, we love the space and how bright and big it feels. If you’re all new-year-new-you and ready to get your fit on, check out the links below in the “Shop This Post” section. Also, shout out to The Fit Atlanta team, who is bringing you all things health-inspired to your day-to-day. Follow them on Instagram to learn about their next group workout/meetup if you’re in the area!