For some people, the gym makes their workout possible. Because you just have to get there and then once you’re there, you have to workout. You can’t avoid it. And they have all sorts of resources, like personal training, classes, and group fitness that can be so motivational.
But for others, it’s just not possible to get away. Maybe there’s not a gym close by. Maybe you have kids and can’t leave the house. Maybe a gym membership isn’t in your budget. But for whatever reason, you need a space to workout in your home. What can you do? Carve out exercise space in your house.
First, you need to decide what kind of equipment you need. What you need will depend on what you want to do. I run for cardio, which means that I just have a few hand weights, a 35-pound plate, a medicine ball, and a yoga ball. Although we did have a rowing machine in the living room all winter when it was too cold or icy to run.
- Claim a closet – The floor of a pantry or coat closet is a great place to keep your gear. You can buy a plastic bin or use a laundry basket to throw it all in and make it easy to pull out and get to everything. You may also have a closet that makes it easy and accessible for you.
- Use a corner – If you want to keep your stuff out and ready, the corner of a room that you use for other things, like a living or dining room, may be just fine. I love storage furniture for this, or you can even buy an old steamer trunk from a garage sale and use it as a coffee or end table. Then all your stuff is right there. You can even buy or make a folding screen that is decorative and keeps your stuff out of view.
- Repurpose a space that’s not in use – It may feel fancy to have a formal dining room, living room, or guest bedroom, but if you aren’t using it for that purpose, it’s a waste. You can keep your equipment in there and just put it away during the holidays or on occasions when it’s being used for its original purpose.
One big question you’ll need to deal with is, “Am I OK with having workout equipment visible all the time?” This question is huge because if you have big equipment, putting it in the living room makes it easy for you, but you may hate the look of it. On the other hand, seeing it every day may be motivational, too. Right now, we have our rowing machine off the side in the living room. That way, we can drag it to face the TV and make the workout go by a little faster.
If you don’t have space for any of these options, check out the many routines you can do that use body weight for resistance. Apps like Fitstar and SWORKIT take you through bootcamp-style fitness routines that don’t involve any equipment at all, and you can adjust the focus of these workouts from strength to endurance to cardio.
Whatever set up you come up with, make it easy on yourself. Your workout gear should be easily accessible so that you’re not creating a barrier to fitness. Even the smallest inconvenience can translate to skipping a session, so make it easy so you’ll stick with it.
Erin Burt is a freelance writer, half marathoner, and an Ambassador for Ragnar Adirondacks.