Shaping Up at Home

Men laying new hardwood flooring

With our hectic Atlanta lifestyles, making trips to the gym may become less of a priority, despite our best intentions. Why make exercising harder than it has to be? Even if you are a member of a fitness center, consider creating your own home gym. Having your own personal gym will provide you with a convenient and time-efficient way to improve your health, reshape your body and lose those unwanted pounds. And the best part about your own gym is that you can sweat in the privacy of your own home.

The right space

The first thing to do is decide where in the house you have room to create a home gym. When determining available space, measure the room or area, and dont forget to note ceiling height. Also, make sure there is space for each piece of equipment to be used comfortably.

We do recommend that you dedicate an area or an entire room to a home gym, says Bob Lachniet, sales manager of Fitness Gallery, the fourth-largest specialty fitness retailer in the United States. While many home gyms are housed in basements, an extra upstairs bedroom also can be adapted into a sufficient space.

Try to think about your family or perhaps your downstairs neighbors when choosing the room. What kinds of noise will you be making, and during what hours do you plan to use your gym? Even if you live in an apartment, there are ways to provide some sound proofing for those who live below you.


The next step will be flooring, and this is where the sound absorption comes in. The flooring in your home gym is essential to protecting not only your equipment, but also the floor underneath. Today, there are numerous types of fitness-center quality flooring and mats available in small enough sizes to outfit a home gym. In fact, you can purchase flooring from the same companies professional gyms go to for their products.

Some of the flooring choices are even removable, so when you move, your entire home gymnot just your treadmillcan go with you. Depending on the product you select, you can either glue it or loosely lay it down. Also, the more permanent gym flooring products are easy to install and dont need to fit your exact room measurements. When you reach a wall, you can simply cut the flooring with a utility knife. An added bonusthese floors are very easy to maintain.

Johnsonite, sold by Johnson Wholesale Floors Inc, makes a gym flooring product out of recycled rubber (ground tires). Called Replay multi-functional and sports flooring, the product is 3/4-inch thick to absorb shock and noise.

Its going to absorb a lot of the noise and support weight, says Peggy Gooby at Johnson Wholesale Floors Inc. Although Johnson sells to commercial customers, the company works with individuals, too. More of these floors are going towards residential [gyms] as far as I can see, says Gooby.

Johnson sells a second Johnsonite product called Triumph, which is also 3/4-inch thick and comes in interlocking 24-by-24-inch squares. Since its interlocking, this particular flooring is one that can be moved to your next house. According to Johnsonite, the flooring endures, among other things, constant foot traffic, sports activities and static abuse from sporting equipment.

You can easily find additional companies with various types of gym flooring on the Internet. For example, MEGATUFF rolled rubber flooring claims an excellent acoustic rating for its floor protection. It is useful in weight rooms, cardio areas and fitness areas, and will withstand even the frequent dropping of free weights. Other companies offer a wider variety of thicknesses and styles of flooring that can be chosen based on expected foot traffic, location and equipment.

Therefore, it is helpful to know what types of workouts youll be doing in your home gym before deciding on flooring. For housing equipment, any of the previously mentioned flooring will be beneficial, but for more specific kinds of activities, other options are available. For example, practitioners of martial arts and kickboxing can find selections like the dojo tiles from MegaFitness that come in 40-by-40-inch tiles, have a 7/8-inch thickness, reduce vibration and noise, and can be cut to size if necessary.

If you are planning to do aerobics in your gym, look for products like MEGATUFF aerobic tile, which was designed for aerobic studios, but can fit nicely into any home. While they come in 12-by-12-inch tiles, they can be customized to any size and help to reduce vibration and noise.

Since all of the flooring options are simple to size to any space, they could just as easily be sized to a part of a room, allowing for multiple types of flooring. Consider a home gym with half the area covered in rubber flooring and containing cardio equipment and weights, with the other half in hardwood, a perfect surface for doing yoga.

When you do select rubber flooring for your home gym, you wont have to sacrifice style. Most companies offer flooring in a wide range of color optionsfrom black with color flecks to solid colors. Much of the flooring is available in interlocking tiles, and also can be mixed and matched to create a truly unique look. Some flooring can even be ordered with a weathered surface texture.

The extras
Once youve chosen flooring, your gym still might not be ready for equipment installation. How about adding a few special touches? To keep you cool, include either ceiling or portable floor fans. Mirrors can aid with both form and motivation. A mounted television also might help keep you motivated and is a must for yoga and other instructional videos. Some people might prefer music to television, so a stereo system could be the way to get through tough cardiovascular exercise.

Design options

Of course, flooring is not the only place to get expressive in a home gymthe walls offer another opportunity.

A good color for a gym would be taupe or beige because those colors make the skin look good, said Sharron Patch, ASID, interior designer at Harack/Patch & Associates Inc. Then you can add an accent wall of any vibrant color to get you excited. She also recommends having a window in the room or area wherever possible to give the feeling of fresh air and the great outdoors. While she has remodeled basements to include gyms for others, Patch also has created her own home gym. At her house, she adorned the walls with sports memorabiliasigned jerseys, golf balls, medals and trophies she and her husband have won. These objects help inspire her as she excercises. Another idea would be to include pictures of athletes. Anything that puts you in the mood to be active is a good idea, said Patch.

A home gym case study
When Marietta residents Randy and Sandy Hackler moved from a house with a gym in the basement to a new home, they decided to create a good-sized gym by using two of their upstairs bedrooms. They have not regretted their decision in the three years since they completed the project.

We sacrificed two of our bedrooms for the gym, says Randy Hackler. The thing about it is, you just go upstairs. Thats the whole reasonconvenience. He also mentions the little bonus workout he gets while climbing the stairs to get to the gym.

The Hacklers knocked down a wall separating the two bedrooms, so before installing their gym, they had a contractor inspect the structural integrity of the house to check the framework of that area. Randy Hackler removed the wall himself, then hired professionals to do the electric work and drywall. He added both can and florescent lighting. The front of the Hacklers gym is glass looking down to a vaulted sunroom, so when they are not using natural light, the can lighting provides a nice effect while the florescent is ideal for viewing movement during exercise.

The couple chose industrial carpet with thick padding for the flooring since they do not use the room for aerobics. They mirrored two of the side walls from floor to ceiling and hung a television. Even though their gym involved a somewhat extensive remodel, the entire process took only about three weeks. The result is a 24-foot-by-12-foot home gym with cardio machines, strength-training equipment and a tanning bed.

So, now you have no excuse not to get motivated this year. Whether you have a small area, a room, a basement or would consider doing a broader transformation like the Hacklers, a gym is easy to build into your home. It also will provide you with unsurpassed convenience and hopefully incomparable healthbenefits.

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