Work (Out) From Home

You don’t need a big space to have your own home gym, Inside gives you six must-knows to turn just 100 square feet into your private exercise alcove

Issue: Oct 2014

With a little planning and sound advice, home gyms need not take up a chunk of your space
With a little planning and sound advice, home gyms need not take up a chunk of your space

No time to visit a gym? No desire to sweat it out with the masses? No discipline? Having your own workout equipment at home might just solve all this. And you won’t need a lot of space either. All you need is just 100 square feet.

In case you are wondering how big that it, take 10 steps of medium stride to your left and another 10 in front. Then imagine a square that would fill the space you have carved out. That is how big 100 square feet is. Not much, admittedly. But, with imagination and sound advice, it is enough to create your own exercise alcove.

1. Seek Out Forgotten Spaces

Turning your balcony into a gym gives you a space with plenty of natural light, fresh air, and a great view
Turning your balcony into a gym gives you a space with plenty of natural light, fresh air, and a great view

100 square feet may not be much, but in space-strapped Singapore, finding a nook that size may not be that easy. So, think creatively. Balconies are often neglected areas. They have the added advantage of offering fresh air and a view. Spaces under the stairs might work, too. Alternatively, you can incorporate your gym into your living room (which gives you easy access to your home entertainment unit).

Whatever your decision, the space you select needs be clear of clutter that you can knock into or knock down. It has to have ample natural light because well-lit places help motivation. You will also want to be near electrical points for your equipment and entertainment while you work out.

2. Have a Master Plan

Once you have sussed out your space, design your layout. If you are thinking of getting exercise machines, know that most machines require at least 54 square feet of space or about half the area you have. So, pick wisely. If you can’t make up your mind, an elliptical trainer that incorporates a stepper, treadmill, and moving handle bars for upper body action might offer you variety.

If you are serious about your gym (and can convince your family), you might want to replace your sofa with an exercise machine. That way, whenever you sit down to watch your favourite show, you will have no excuse not to exercise.

3. Ensure a Firm Foundation

Make sure the floor of your gym is hardy enough to take the stress and strain from your exercise equipment and routine
Make sure the floor of your gym is hardy enough to take the stress and strain from your exercise equipment and routine

Your exercise surface should be hardy, slip-proof, and easy to clean because exercise equipment and weights are heavy. Vinyl tiles or wood flooring like parquet are good options. If re-doing your floors is not workable, cover your work area with foam tiles. They protect your existing flooring and provide a shock-absorbent area to work out on.

Go for wider planks (for wood flooring) and larger tiles. These make the area look bigger. Though light colours do open up a room, you can still have darker floors if you combine them with light-coloured trims that match the walls.

4. Stock Up on Compact Essentials

A wellness ball is great for strengthening core muscles and makes an interesting addition to the living room
A wellness ball is great for strengthening core muscles and makes an interesting addition to the living room

With a small gym, you need to think about getting compact exercise equipment. This is especially true if you choose to have an exercise machine which will already take up half your space.

A fitness ball is a fun way to sit while strengthening your core muscles. You can also use it for stretches and toning your muscles. If you are strapped for space, get rid of your sofa or side chair and replace them with your exercise ball instead.

Foam rollers help to ease and soothe tight and aching muscles and are compact additions to the home gym
Foam rollers help to ease and soothe tight and aching muscles and are compact additions to the home gym

Foam rollers are increasingly popular. They are used to apply pressure to soothe aching muscles. Skipping ropes provide high intensity cardio workouts. If you want to strengthen your body, you might want to add a set of resistance bands to your collection. If your floor is not already padded, an exercise or Yoga mat is useful to for high impact or floor-based workouts. They can be easily put away when you are done so your limited exercise space will not be cluttered.

5. Store It All Within Reach

Seat cum storage, ottomans are great places to store your smaller exercise equipment in the living room
Seat cum storage, ottomans are great places to store your smaller exercise equipment in the living room

If your home gym is in the living room, multi-purpose furniture can help you keep exercise equipment out of sight and save space. Storage ottomans can be used to store your skipping rope, foam rollers, dumbbells, and extra towels. Coffee tables with storage spaces is an alternative.

If you don’t want to invest in new furniture, large storage bins or baskets is something else you can consider. This will open up your home gym and make the 100 square feet look bigger.

6. Create Visual Cheats

Sometimes, it is all about perception. You can make your space look larger with colours. Go for cool colours (a rule thumb: cool colours recede, warm colours advance) like blues,greens, and greys.

Another way colour can help in your small home gym is to give you something to look at especially if you have no space for a television set. Blue, apart from being a cool colour, reminds people of the limitlessness of the sky; and green recalls the restorative power of nature. You can even stencil motivational sayings on your wall or hang inspirational quotes to push you as you exercise.

Walls can also provide storage space. Install hooks to hang your exercise mat, resistance bands, and skipping rope. They keep everything neatly tucked away and provide a visual minder for you to exercise.

Creating your gym at home need not be a complicated nor costly project and it certainly does not call for a lot of space. So, take a walk around your home, pick a place for your new home gym, and get started. We promise you will enjoy working out from home.

Shop with us:

Picket & Rail
2 Jurong East St 21
IMM Building
#03-24/26
Singapore 609601
Tel: (65) 6565 7132
www.picketandrail.com
Howards Storage World
1 Vista Exchange Green
The Star Vista
#B1-29
Singapore 138617
Tel: (65) 6694 3971
www.hsw.com.sg
Howards Storage World
68 Orchard Rd
Plaza Singapura
#04-43
Singapore 238839
Tel: (65) 6238 8048
www.hsw.com.sg
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