If you're finding it hard to get out of the house to get to the gym, then bring the gym to your house. With the rising cost of gym membership fees and the increased number of patrons leaving you limited access to the machines you want to use, the benefits of working out at home keep stacking up. And there are many ways to transform a spare room, basement, garage or even backyard into a home gym that's specifically customized to meet your needs and goals. And these days, it's not just about investing in one elliptical you throw in the corner of your laundry room. Today's home gyms are all-out room transformations based on your favorite exercises or fitness workout. If you're not sure where to start, check out our top 10 ways to decorate your home gym.
Not Your Ordinary Playground
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. So why not get your kids into a good exercise routine when they're young? You can certainly do that by designing a home gym with their needs in mind. Paint the walls with bright primary colors and hang images of their favorite cartoon characters -- think SpongeBob SquarePants lifting weights. Add fun equipment like an indoor jungle gym and a flat-screen TV with gaming system where they can play workout video games. You could also paint a hop-scotch pattern or other "sidewalk chalk" creations on the floor, and incorporate other outdoor activities like jump rope or a stationary bike to get their cardio pumping. With a fun design theme and the option to workout together as a family, you may even see better workout results.
Gymnastics at Home
Got the gymnastics bug? If so, consider designing your home gym around this popular sport. First, it's important to invest in the proper flooring. Although the pros make it look easy, gymnastics can be dangerous, so a padded floor is a necessity. Next, you'll need to select the right equipment based on your favorite exercises. The equipment can be expensive and bulky, so you'll probably be able to select just a few pieces. Rings are fun and don't require much room, and they're great for building upper body and core strength, and a low beam is ideal for working on your balance and muscle tone. For finishing touches, paint the walls royal blue (inspired by the traditional tumbling mat) and add accents of gold to bring out your winning spirit. And don't forget to hang some pictures of your favorite gymnasts for extra motivation.
Keep It Simple With Free Weights
Many argue there's no better training than simply using free weights. If you agree, build a simple gym with a set of weights and some mirrors. Although metal weights will stand the test of time, we suggest investing in a set of rubber- or plastic-coated weights. They may not last as long, but if you drop one, they're less likely to damage your floors. They're also easier to grip, which is perfect for beginners. This gym design is simple and only requires about 50 feet (15.24 meters) of space, but to get the most out of it, focus on the details. Add a wall of full-length mirrors so you can properly check your form, and paint the walls a color that's bright and motivates you. And don't forget a great sound system and a mini fridge to keep all of your water and protein bars at arm's length.
Climbing into Shape
In-home climbing walls are the latest rage in over-the-top home gyms. If your gym has the space, dedicate an entire custom wall to climbing. Or for a climbing experience that can last as long as you can, add a Treadwall M4. It's a treadmill version of a climbing wall that can fit into virtually any space. To keep that adventurous spirit alive in every workout, decorate your gym with the outdoors in mind. Paint the space with forest greens and earth tones, and add photos of mountains you've summited or want to climb.
Dance Your Butt Off
For a toe-tapping, fun way to get into shape, create an in-home dance studio with hardwood floors, walls of mirrors and a dance bar. Next, add a great stereo and sound system, as well as some special touches such as artwork and paint colors that inspire you. If you're a fan of ballet, consider transforming the entire room into a scene from one of your favorite performances, such as Swan Lake. Or, if you're more of the belly dancing type, you can dress the space up in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fabrics, pillows and lanterns.
Float Like a Butterfly
Take a tip from celebrities like Mark Wahlberg and Mario Lopez and turn your home gym into a boxer's dream. You probably don't have the space or budget to install a regulation-size ring like Mark Wahlberg's, but if sparring or kickboxing are your passions, give your gym a boxing makeover. Add a couple punching bags, a piece of cardio equipment like an elliptical or a treadmill, and a set of free weights or a cable pulley system. Hang some photos of your favorite boxers or vintage boxing images to inspire you, and paint the walls colors reminiscent of boxing robes -- think royal blues, golden yellows and crimson reds. Accents of chrome and leather will give your gym a rugged feel. And don't be afraid to blast the theme song to Rocky whenever necessary.
The Great Outdoors
Your home gym should be designed around what inspires you. For a true nature buff, an outdoor gym could the perfect indulgence. If this is the case, try setting up your gym on a covered balcony, screened-in porch or right in the backyard. Keep in mind your exercise routine could be interrupted by inclement weather, but on sunny days, there won't be any other place you'll want to be. If your backyard is the setting, you'll need to create a structure to protect the equipment from the elements. Add an outdoor sound system and flat screen TV for yoga and other exercise videos. Finish off your design with a ceiling fan, bench, lanterns or lights, and plants to give the illusion of a room.
Pilates in Peace
Pilates is a beneficial, low-impact workout based on core strength and stretching. Even powerhouse exercisers see the benefits of Pilates, and use it to break up their intense workout schedules. While you can do Pilates exercises on regular gym equipment, for ideal results, it's best to use Pilates-specific equipment, and there are many different in-home systems on the market you could try. As far as the decor goes, create a peaceful space using bamboo, flowering plants and pale blues and greens. Add a few floor lamps for a welcoming glow, some energizing workout music and you're set.
Your Own Personal Spa
Getting into shape shouldn't be another stress to add to your heavy load. Treat yourself to a healthy lifestyle by creating a spa-like escape as your home gym. Give your mind and your wallet a break by creating a simple space with cool, calming colors. We think a soft blue will create the perfect glow, and lights should be on dimmers to create a serene mood. Add some candles and aromatherapy to help you indulge all of your senses, and bamboo and other plants for a comforting, homey feel. A warm space heater is also a nice touch to help soothe and relax your muscles after an invigorating session of yoga or Pilates.
It seems like a new workout craze begins every year. The latest is CrossFit, an exercise routine based on a combination of alternating weight and cardio training exercises performed at high intensity. Dedicating your home gym's design to this extreme workout program is simple. Make sure you select a space with ample room to switch quickly between activities. If you can't afford the space and money for a treadmill, a simple jump rope will do for cardio. A good floor is key, as well; choose a material with good traction that can be easily cleaned. Keep the energy level in the room high with bright colors like blue or orange, and with motivational images or inspirational quotes spray painted on the walls. Finish the space with a mini refrigerator for necessary refreshments and a killer sound system to pump up your intense workout.
Milk paint is the super inexpensive and easy to both make and use. HowStuffWorks looks at this trendy paint alternative.
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