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Poll: Home Gym vs. Fully Equipped Commercial Gym
Types of Home Gyms
Maybe it is a New Year’s resolution or advice from the doctor. Whatever the case or cause, building and designing home gyms is a trend that is on the rise, whether a room with a treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike or a fully outfitted gym with weights and a fleet of cardio equipment.
Home gyms offer many different benefits over a basic gym membership: location and ease of access are among the most popular. However, adding a gym to your home can also increase the home’s resale value.
Designing a home gym isn’t something you can just do on a whim, though. It takes careful planning and budgeting to determine what will suit your needs the best.
1. Planning Stages
One of the first choices you need to make is if you are going to convert an existing room into a home gym or build a gym as an addition to the home. The costs vary considerably and depending on the size and location you will need to factor in such things as foundations, permits, contractor costs, and materials.
A. What are the Uses?
The next step is to determine precisely how you will use the space. There are options for weight training, sports training, yoga or Pilates and any combination you can imagine. However, it is what you will use the home gym for that is essential.
If you want a combination space such as free weights and yoga, then you need to plan for an expansive floor plan. The type of equipment used will be what takes up most of the space. However, you need to factor in your movements and allow for ease of access.
B. How Often Will It Be Used?
It is easy to get excited about a home gym, and you just know that you will use it every day and twice on Friday. However, the reality is that you are most likely to use the home gym only a fraction of the time.
The home gym, unlike other rooms, has a single dedicated purpose: gym training. You won’t hang out in the room watching the big football game or eating dinner with guests here.
Knowing a realistic measure of when you will utilize the room will allow for your budget and floor plan to have more breathing room.
C. How Much Space to Use?
In a perfect world, size doesn’t matter. But then neither would budget or plans. Since we don’t live in an ideal world, we need to account for space. The square footage of the home gym will be the most significant factor in the total cost of the area.
Plan for your usage and activity in the room and adjust your budget accordingly. It is far easier to make changes on a blueprint during this planning stage than to decide you need more or less room after the fact.
Deciding on too many different aspects will only raise your fees and lead you to an unused space. Choosing too few will leave you wanting more and having to make expensive changes later on.
A typical home gym as an add-on will cost around $41,000 when built from scratch. That figure can be cut by about 50% if you are doing a demolition and remodel of an existing room.
You will need to factor in different aspects that will go towards the final cost. Flooring, for example, is a more significant expense. Because there won’t be any furniture such as dressers, beds or appliances, you can budget your room costs more efficiently. This is not to say you shouldn’t take precautions, but with the initial room design, you can add more to your budget where you need it most.
There are three major types of home gyms:
- Addition/remodel of a room built onto the home
- Studio with little to no equipment (used for yoga or pilates)
- Detached building.
A. Addition/Remodeled Room
By far the most common home gym is an addition to the home or the demolition and remodel of an existing room. These types will have interior access from the home itself.
If you are doing a demolition of an existing room, you should use a contractor to point out important features of the current structure, such as load bearing walls and where critical power wires are running.
The drawback to this type is the actual size capabilities. Converting a bedroom into a home gym, for example, means you are limited to the overall square footage of the original room. Planning every item ahead of time will help overcome this drawback.
If you aren’t into weight training, and just want a separate room for stretches, yoga or pilates, then you will probably want to look into creating a studio.
In general, studio home gyms take up very little square feet and have elaborate floors for comfort and usability. Storage in the room is also limited, a place to keep yoga mats, blocks, and rollers and a few extra towels. The costs can be kept down to a minimum with a studio.
C. Detached Building
On the high end of the expense side are detached, or stand alone, home gyms. These are separate buildings from the actual home and have their own entrance, power, and water.
A detached garage can be converted into a home gym, or you can have a new building fabricated from various materials such as steel, wood or brick.
The advantage to this type of home gym is that your imagination and budget are the only limiting factors. You can build a complete gym with a sauna, spa and even tanning beds. However, permits, construction and even approval from a homeowner’s association may be needed.
Be sure you check all codes, costs and time frames before settling for this type of home gym. Depending on your location the costs can easily exceed $100,000 when all is said and done.
When designing your home gym, there are a lot of features that you should consider. Aside from the equipment needed to perform your gym activities, you also need to think about the floor and floor coverings as well as furniture you may require.
Whether you are designing a full blow strengthening gym or a simple yoga studio, your equipment is the largest factor.
You may be sports training and will require a good mounting location for a heavy bag or speed bag. You will also need a sturdy frame or beam for the chin-up bar.
When it comes to weights, you have a lot of options. Free weights are usually the least expensive but will require the most space. You will need benches and racks to hold the weights as well as the room to place the equipment while still being able to move around.
If you opt for cable weight machines, a general all-in-one option may be the best bet. Centrally located in the room will give you access to all of the machines abilities and free up much-needed floor space.
Another important factor will be the flooring. You will need a durable floor that lasts a long time. Most notable options are going to be a hardwood floor or a concrete floor with a floor covering such as shock absorbing padding.
You should plan and design your flooring with mistakes in mind. You may never drop a weight or a bar, but you need a floor that can withstand the abuse if you do. Because a lot of strength training routines use barbells and dumbbells, you may not always be able to place them on the floor between reps gently.
In general, a flooring with a well-padded surface will cost between $1200 and $3000. Aside from your equipment, it is the one area you shouldn’t skimp on in your budget.
While your home gym won’t need the same furnishings as a master bedroom or a kitchen, there are some aspects of furniture that need to be examined, especially if the room is stand alone or detached.
You can scratch a bed off your budget list, obviously, but you may want to take a second look at a dresser or chest of drawers. Having the ability to store towels, workout clothing and other essentials might be important to you. Keeping the room tidy and looking it’s best, a small dresser will allow you to keep your clean items off the floor.
You should consider a nice hamper as well. When you finished using the home gym, you don’t want to take your sweaty clothes with you through the rest of the house.
Towel racks, like equipment racks, should be utilized to keep the space clutter free and have everything you need within arm’s reach.
On the functional side, you may even decide to install a sink and a refrigerator. Keeping your supplements, pre-and post-workout drinks ready and cool will only help to motivate you to use the home gym frequently.
Lighting is crucial in a home gym. Either for the early bird routines or the late-night routines, lights will be significant. You may also design a conversion where there are no windows, like a garage.
Overhead lights tend to work the best, with track lighting another popular option. You want to think about ceiling height when deciding on lighting. If you will be doing a lot of cardio work with a jump rope, for instance, having low hanging overhead lights might not be the best option.
Floor lamps aren’t efficient, depending on the size of your home gym, and it is just one more thing on the floor or in your way. You can opt for recessed overhead lighting if ceiling height is a factor, though, and give the entire room the light it needs.
Windows are another option as well. Natural light coming in through large pane windows will give the room great eye-appeal. You shouldn’t rely on natural light as a sole option though.
6. Air Control
Air control should be another option you invest your time and budget in. Because of the nature of a home gym, it won’t always be fresh. You don’t want your room or the adjacent home to end up smelling like a high school locker room.
Having windows on opposite sides of the room to allow for cross-circulation is a good option. You can also invest in ceiling fans to help move the old, stale air out and bring fresh air in.
Heating and air conditioning units, either as a part of the home system or stand alone for the home gym will allow you to have the warmth in the winter and the cool in the summer so you can stay productive year-round.
All in all, gyms tend to be pretty bland. A single color throughout that matches the equipment makes for a droll display. In a home gym, however, you are free to use any color or theme style you like.
Bright, bold colors are a favorite here. You don’t need to worry about using muted colors to give an atmosphere of comfort and coziness. The opposite is true here. You want to feel energized and excited when you enter your home gym.
Pick a color that is bright and bold to give you a mental boost when you start your workouts. You can even pick from popular colors such as red and blue or even green to get an idea of what will make you feel your best in your home gym.
8. Special Considerations
The final factor in designing your home gym will be treatment and maintenance of the room. Because of its nature, the room will incur more wear and tear than most other places in your home.
You need to allow room in your budget for things like flooring replacement, equipment repairs and if you have sinks and appliances, you should plan on regular maintenance for them as well.
In the end, the overall design is up to you based on how you will use the room, how often and the size you have to play around with. Take your time in designing the room, and you will end up with a home gym you are proud of.
You can view our galleries to get inspiration ideas for all the features we talked about.