Make Room for Fitness!

Perhaps the biggest outcry heard during lockdown was when gyms and fitness centers were announced closed. To a lot of people, these are considered essential, not just for the obvious physical benefits, but for mental health management.

Fortunately, fitness does not have to stop with these closures. With careful planning, a little creativity and the savings from not paying membership fees, you can start building your own gym, right at the comfort of your own (sweat) home.

Home gym showing garage pull up door, fitness equipment, wood accent wall with led tv, rubber floor

Image via Houzz


The space needed for your home gym will depend on how much room you have and the workouts you want to accomplish. To start, find one that would have comfortably fit a yoga mat to give you room to do stretching and core exercises.

Next, identify possible spaces that will fit your routine. The ideal choice would be somewhere in the ground floor to account for the weight of gym equipment, and the amount of noise that will be involved. If you have the climate for it, a back porch or covered patio will be good options. If in cooler temperatures like most of us in Canada, indoors would most likely be your best bet.

Your choices are:

  • a spare bedroom

  • a vacant garage

  • a basement

  • an unused corner of your living room or bedroom


The biggest investment will go to buying key equipment pieces that are meant to be multifunctional. Think of the initial expense of purchasing equipment as repurposing the monthly membership fees that you won’t have to pay anymore. Choose quality over quantity; select essential pieces that you will get the most use of and will last for a long time.

Whether using it as a primary exercise spot or as supplement to running, here are some essential pieces for your home gym:


Beginners can start with small but essential items like a few dumbbells, kettlebells in a variety of weight and sizes, stability balls / discs and resistance bands. These are small, but effective items for strength exercises, and can give you the same muscle toning without taking up space.

If you do have the space and want more variety and intensity, invest in a barbell, Olympic weight plates, a squat rack with a pull-up bar and flat bench press.

Woman lifting weight in a home gym or fitness center with grey bricks wall background

Image via Garage Gym Power


For cardio enthusiasts, your options are treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike, depending on the space you have. An even amazing alternative, however, is the simple jump rope! If you have the ceiling or an outdoor space for it, the jump rope provides a cost efficient way to warm up and increase your stamina and endurance.


    No matter what type of workout you do, recovery is very important and thus, every home gym should have foam rollers. These come in a variety of sizes, are inexpensive yet very versatile! Regular use of foam rollers can help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, speed up recovery, and enhance overall muscular performance.

Don’t forget to cover the floor with rubber gym flooring, which are slip, weight and sweat resistant, and will give you more cushion during workout. A carpeted floor may work, but may be hard to clean and maintain in the long run.

Start with a few, small key pieces and then gradually build up from there - you don’t have to buy everything all at once!

Women exercising, gym equipment, wood floor, yoga mat, weights equipment


For your home gym, it is important to create a clutter free and open space. To help achieve that it is important to have good lighting, mirrors and storage solutions.

Setting up your home gym in a space with natural light streaming in would be most ideal, but if not, make sure to put up overhead lighting. A well-lit space creates a refreshing ambience, making you feel alert and energized.

Home gym with wood slats accent wall and wood slats ceiling, wood plank flooring, gym equipment, weights, big glass frameless window and glass door

Image via Cantifix

Also, as with any proper gym, mirrors are a must. Aside from being useful in monitoring your form during exercises, these will help to open up a space and make the room seem larger than it is.

In terms of storage, the bigger equipment will have to just stay put as they are of course, but for the smaller items, get a storage container, or a hanging organizer for an empty wall. A mass storage shelf will help keep the heavier items such as weighted plates and kettlebells organized and out of the way.

Finally, add some finishing touches. Never underestimate the power of a well-decorated room. Add a pop of color by choosing dumbbells or yoga mat in fun, neon shades, or put up a statement piece of art! Having a motivational poster on your walls won’t hurt either.

Home gym with fitness equipment, ceiling fan, mirror, clock, black brick wall and wooden floor planks

Image via Love Property


Lucky for us, we live in a world where everything is online! Whatever it is you need, from cross training, a dance workout, to yoga or Pilates, you have the option to stream it for free or download it for a small fee. If you don’t have a spare television or monitor, simply prop up your laptop or tablet, or even your mobile phone and you are good to go.

If you must and as needed, you also have the option to do a virtual session with your trainer via Zoom.

zoom fitness training with woman doing online training, group of people doing online fitness training

Image via TM3


Building a home gym is certainly doable and has the added bonus of being customizable to the specific workout that you actually do. Equip your space with the right gear, decorate it nicely, and you’ll enjoy it as much or maybe more than your usual gym!

Also, it inadvertently comes with extra benefits - no more waiting on a machine to be available, no extra commute, no paying extra dollar for protein bars or energy drinks because you can simply walk to your pantry or fridge, where you can stock them up in bulk!

The only thing left to do is to make sure you use your home gym regularly, and use it well. You literally don’t have to break a sweat to get there, so it is easy to build a routine and commit to it. Even better, share it with anyone you want! Exercising alone may get boring at times, so invite a cohort over if you live alone, or ask someone in your household to join your work(out) from home.

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