7 tips for setting up a gym in your shed

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Do you dream of having your own home gym? No more wasted time travelling to and fro. No more waiting for the equipment you need. No more forking out for expensive annual memberships? 

Setting up a home gym is simpler than you might think. And if you create your gym inside a garden room or shed, you won’t need to lose a room or build an extension to do it.

Here are our top tips for creating your dream workout space at the bottom of your own garden:

  1. Choose the right building
  2. Protect the floor with heavy-duty floor tiles
  3. Insulate and ventilate your garden room
  4. Get connected to the mains
  5. Set up suitable storage
  6. Kit it out with your favourite gym equipment
  7. Keep it secure by locking it up

1. Choose the right building

Insulated garden room set up to look like home gym
An insulated garden room has heavy duty floors - perfect for workout equipment
Image: 4 x 3m DIY Insulated Garden Room from Waltons

The garden shed you use to store your lawnmower won’t be strong enough to cope with heavy gym equipment. Log cabins or Insulated Garden Rooms are much more suitable for home gyms – they’re designed to be more robust than traditional sheds and summerhouses. 

Remember, if you’re installing heavy gym equipment, you’ll need a solid concrete foundation. Otherwise, paving slabs may suffice.

A 5m x 4m space is ideal for most people, giving you plenty of room to stretch out your arms without touching the ceiling, and to lie flat on the floor for sit-ups and stretches. A 3x3m corner cabin will accommodate an exercise bike and some weights. But you’ll need a larger space for a Swiss ball, treadmill and rowing machine, for instance. The size you choose will ultimately depend on your budget and the equipment you want to accommodate.

2. Protect the floor

Two different coloured floor mats
Lay rubber floor tiles to protect and insulate
Image source: Shutterstock

Protect your shed floor from being dented by free weights with some heavy-duty rubber floor tiles. Lay them throughout to help with insulation. They’re easy to clean and will instantly give your home gym a professional feel.

3. Insulate and ventilate

Adding insulation to wooden garden building
Sheds will require extra insulation
Image: Waltons

For year-round use you’ll need both insulation and ventilation. Either invest in a ready-insulated garden room, or do it yourself, insulating the walls with rockwool or a similar, sturdy insulator. Make sure windows are double-glazed. Not only will this keep you warm in winter, but you’ll be able to turn up the stereo without annoying the neighbours.

You’ll also need ventilation, especially in the summer months. Being able to open windows is a minimum – even better would be having air vents (one to let out warm, moist air, and one to draw in cool air from outside) and an extractor fan too.

4. Get connected

Trench in garden with cabling
Run a cable from your house to your shed (get an electrician to do this!)
Image source: @ourhaxbyhome’s Waltons customer story

If you’re adding heaters, extractor fans, lighting, music and/or screens to your shed gym, you’ll need a power supply.

You can power your log cabin by running a cable from your home, but this MUST be done by a qualified electrician.

Alternatively, you could 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).

5. Find a storage solution

Home gym with plenty of storage
Clever storage will leave you more room to exercise
Image source: Shutterstock

A small space can quickly become cluttered. Keep the floor area free for your workout. Use hooks, shelves and storage units for storing weights, towels and water bottles. Re-purpose old bookcases, cabinets, or even old metal lockers for an authentic gym look.

6. Kit it out

Exercise equipment inside garden gym with yoga mats
Choose your kit wisely: think about movement, space, and fitness goals.
Image: 4 x 3m DIY Insulated Garden Room from Waltons

Here’s the fun part. You get to choose exactly what goes in your gym. First, gym equipment. Pick your favourite machine (or machines plural, depending on how much space you have). Select the free weights you know you need to achieve your goals, and get a crash or yoga mat for floor exercises.

Mirrors are important. A wall clock with a second hand will be handy for timing sets. And a music player is pretty much an essential for most people. If there’s space, you could even get a small fridge for ice-cold energy drinks at your fingertips.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on gym equipment – you can find many items second-hand on eBay, Facebook or Gumtree.

7. Lock it up

Yellow weatherproof padlock against wooden shed
Make sure your padlock has a weatherproof cover
Image: 49mm weatherproof padlock with hasp

Once you’ve created your home gym, you’ll need to keep your equipment safe and secure. Invest in a garden building that comes with lock-and-key doors and enjoy your space for many years to come. Otherwise, buy a strong weatherproof padlock to protect your equipment.

If you’ve set up a home gym using one of our buildings we’d love to hear from you. Share your pictures and tips with us on Facebook.

Lead image: 3 x 3m Insulated Garden Room with Side Shed from Waltons

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