Home and Lifestyle

Hassle-free home gyms

Spare room setups eliminate excuses for not staying fit

McHenry County Magazine

What’s your excuse?

No time for the gym? Feel uncomfortable working out in front of other people? Annoyed with having to wait for machines to open up?

There are many people who join gyms in January, but – by Groundhog Day – the urge to be fit often gives way to the hassles of getting there and being there. If this sounds like you, the answer to your fitness ambivalence could be right in your own home. By transforming a spare room into a home gym, you can customize the space to fit your own needs. No worrying about other people’s sweat or having to adjust equipment for your size.

There are plenty of options for home gyms, from small and efficient choices to larger scale spaces that could rival local studios.

Patrick Durbin is the owner of and a trainer at Weightloss Transformation, a physical training and nutrition coaching company that provides in-home services for clients all over McHenry County.  He cautions people, who aren’t already in the habit of working out, about creating an at-home gym. 

“People turn a room into a home gym and it becomes the least used room in their house. It’s a room with good intentions,” he says.

Durbin prefers to use a space that’s 90 percent free space and 10 percent equipment. 

“Even when I travel to my clients’ homes, I bring a duffel bag and a step,” he says. “If you ever watch exercise DVDs these people aren’t operating with a lot of equipment.” 

Having quality equipment is nice for people who actually use it; however, Durbin says that it doesn’t cost a lot to be healthy.

If you do create a space for exercising at home, Durbin encourages having a TV and inspirational images and quotes on the walls. It needs to be a space to which you are drawn and one that motivates you to achieve your goals.

Matt Tyger is the district manager for Second Wind Exercise in Algonquin. 

He suggests making a room or dedicating an area to exercise after figuring out your fitness goals. 

The goals you have in mind “leads to what sort of equipment you put in there,” Tyger says. 

Having goals in mind for what you want to achieve helps the trainers at Second Wind guide clients toward the right equipment. The trainers take it a step further by setting up a training plan and showing clients how the equipment fits into that plan.

Essentially, Tyger narrowed the equipment needs of a home gym to two pieces. 

“My thing would be a cardio piece and a strength piece. You need one of each,” Tyger says, while also suggesting that a functional home gym should be fit with dumbbells, kettle bells and resistance bands. “I would also recommend High Intensity Interval Training. You can do that with any sort of cardio piece. There’s a program called Sprint 8 training that’s incorporated into a lot of our products. They have their own website. It’s one of the better ways to train for weight loss.” 

When it comes to the floor, Tyger says to have rubber matting to protect existing flooring. It’s easy to clean and doesn’t smell. 

Durbin says that having a yoga mat for some floor exercises can definitely suffice since rubber flooring can be expensive.

Another thing that you might not think of initially is a mirror. 

“Mirrors do a couple things: They help you with form and [they help] the room feel more open and appear bigger,” says Tyger.

It’s important to like the equipment you put in your home gym. If you don’t like it then you won’t use it, and it will serve to demoralize instead of energize you. Invest in creating a space that’s exciting and inspiring to you. Put your creativity, time and money into making it yours, and – before you know it – you’ll be on your way to achieving your fitness goals.

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