Why go to the gym when you can go to the shed?
Have you ever dreamed of having your own home gym? A gym that you might actually use, if you didn’t have to travel miles and pay a fortune to share with sweaty strangers?
A home gym might seem an expensive luxury in these austere times. But it’s cheaper than you think, and will save you money in the long run. No more forking out for that overpriced gym membership! And you don’t need to lose a room or build an extension: convert a garden building instead. Here are our top tips for creating your dream space.
1. Set some goals
Fitness regimes are easier to stick to if you decide on some specific goals you want to achieve. Do you want to lose weight and/or tone up? How much weight do you want to lose, and by when? Do you want to build up your core strength muscles, tone up for the beach or focus on endurance to prepare for a marathon?
Setting some goals will help you decide what you want to use your gym for, and what sort of building, space and equipment you’ll need.
2. Choose the right building
That garden shed you keep the lawnmower in won’t be strong enough to cope with heavy gym equipment. Log cabins are much more suitable for home gyms: they are more robust and durable than traditional sheds and summerhouses.
Remember that if you’re installing heavy gym equipment, you may need a solid concrete slab for a foundation. If you’re not using loads of heavy exercise gear, then paving slabs may well be enough to seat your home gym on.
You’ll need at least enough space to stretch out your arms without touching the ceiling, and to lie flat on the floor for sit-ups. 5m x 4m is ideal for most people - but it depends on your budget and what equipment you want to accommodate. An exercise bike and a few weights will take up less room than a Swiss ball, a treadmill and a rowing machine.
3. Protect the floor
If you’re using free weights it’s likely that you’ll drop them quite regularly. Protect your shed floor with some heavy duty rubber floor tiles. Put these in your weights area as a minimum, but why not cover the entire floor? It will help with insulation, and they look great. You can get them in a range of colours, and they’ll help your shed to really look like a gym!
4. Insulate and ventilate
For year-round use you’ll need both insulation and ventilation. Either invest in a ready-insulated garden room, or do it yourself. Insulate the walls with rockwool or a similar, sturdy insulator, and make sure windows are double-glazed. Not only will you stay warm in winter, you’ll be able to listen to music without annoying the neighbours!
You’ll also need ventilation, especially in the summer. At the very least you’ll want to be able to open the windows - but think about air vents and an extractor fan too. You’ll need two vents: one to let out warm, moist air, and one to draw in cool air from outside.
5. Get connected
If you’re adding heaters and extractor fans to your shed gym you’ll need a power supply. You may want lighting for late-night workouts, music to motivate you, and even a television to watch exercise DVDs.
You can power your log cabin by running a cable from your home, but this MUST be done by a qualified electrician. You’ll also need to notify your local building control office, and comply with building regulations. Or, go eco-friendly and power your gym by adding solar panels to the roof (you’ll probably still want to connect to your mains supply as back-up).
6. Find a storage solution
A small space quickly becomes cluttered - you don’t want to be tripping over weights, towels and water bottles. Keep as much floor space free as possible for your workout. That means hanging things on the walls: use hooks, shelves and storage units. Repurpose old bookcases, cabinets - or even old metal lockers, for that authentic gym look.
7. Kit it out
Start with the essentials. You’ll also need a wall clock with a second hand, so you can time warm-up stretches and exercise bike sprints. Add mirrors, yoga mats and a set of scales to monitor your progress (if weight loss/gain is one of your goals). Pictures or posters will brighten up the walls - perhaps some illustrating correct posture for exercises.
Then bring in the large exercise equipment you’ve decided upon, such as weights, rowing machine or treadmill. You don’t need to spend a fortune on gym equipment - you can find many items second-hand on eBay or Gumtree. Finally, add the electronics: TV, radio, CD or mp3 player, a fan heater - maybe even a small fridge. Then it’s time to get physical!
If you have set up your own home gym using one of our buildings we would love to hear from you. Share your pictures and tips with us on Facebook - we always like to hear from you.