Thinking about installing a home gym? Here's what you should know

Even though we’ve had some brief breaks here and there, we’re coming up to a year since the nation first went into lockdown.

The ever-changing Covid restrictions have meant that, among other things, most people who habitually exercise have had to come up with totally new routines.

So it may come as little surprise that’s owner, Mark Reynolds, has noticed more people wanting their own personal workout space since the pandemic began.

After all, not only are we unable to go to the gym, but plenty of people are finding themselves with a bit of spare cash since no one is going anywhere.

If you’re thinking about adding a home gym to your property, Mark has a few things he says you should keep in mind.

In terms of pricing, he says you can expect to spend approximately £2,500-£5,000 for a ‘basic custom-designed setup’, comprised of one cardio machine, dumbbells, an adjustable bench and new flooring.

Custom-designed ‘luxury’ home gyms, with all the mod cons like a couple cardio machines, a squat rack, free weights, a cable machine, an adjustable bench, combat fitness equipment, a feature wall, custom flooring, audio/visual equipment and air conditioning will cost you something in the vicinity of £30,000.

If you can fit a home gym into your budget, you first need to consider the space available to you.

Mark says: ‘We can adapt any space in our clients’ flat/house, it may just restrict some equipment.

‘For those with low ceilings and limited space, we would probably have to look at smaller/adaptable apparatus, as some strength training and cardio equipment can be 2.2m and over.

‘Those looking for a fully functioning cardio and strength gym, we would ideally need space with at least 2.4m ceiling heights.

‘Aside from that, we can be extremely clever with space. One piece of equipment we would suggest for those with limited space is a “fitness wall”.

‘This can incorporate hooks/bars to attach resistance bands, to attach a TRX or other suspension training apparatus, as well as varying “built-in” equipment like cable pulleys, battle rope pulleys or medicine ball rebounders amongst many others.

‘Another great option is to have a wall mounted folding squat rack for compound power exercises with an Olympic bar and weight plates for squats and other strength exercise patterns.

‘A fitness wall can also support an angled sit up bench/beams that can also provide support for total body stretches utilising the varying bar heights.

‘Some of the most elaborate requests we have had is for an indoor climbing wall and high-end projects requesting disappearing equipment that retreats into a wall recess when out of use.’

After you’ve got your space needs nailed down, you’ll then have to decide what you want to do with your flooring.

‘Ideally,’ says Mark, ‘we would recommend a padded/rubber floor to absorb noise and keep equipment stable.

‘One thing we have to take into account in built-up areas, such as London, is that your neighbours are usually only a thin floor or wall away, and so we must insulate and soundproof as much as we can.

‘The typical rubber composite flooring option can be installed quite easily as long as your under floor is level.’

Choosing the right equipment in your gym is among the most important part of the process.

Mark says that, no matter what your current routine is, he always recommends his clients choose as wide a variety of pieces as possible, as this will ensure you’ll have the best chance of achieving your fitness goals.

He says: ‘With the increase in home gyms, I sometimes find that my clients can become quite fixated on one piece of equipment or one approach (e.g. the bikes, treadmill, or just dumbbells).

‘The technology nowadays and vast range of apparatus available is mesmerising.

‘From the aforementioned fitness wall, which forms part of a huge smorgasbord of functional fitness training apparatus, cardio machines that just work your arms or legs to total body options that can monitor your live metabolic rate, a wide variety of resistance training options from free weight benches and racks, to cable machines and isolation weight stack machines, alongside a vast array of body work options like massage guns and foam rollers, holistic options like pilates reformers and yoga visualisation projectors and other meditation aids – the options are virtually limitless if you have the motivation to really finesse your project.’ 

Mark would also recommend a wall-mounted Smart TV so that you can tune into your online classes with ease.

Mirrors and lighting might just sound like something only those with a bigger budget would want to think about, but Mark says these elements are ‘key to putting the finishing touches to any professional gym space.

‘Mirrors can create the illusion of space, whilst ensuring you keep your form and perform your exercises correctly by being able to see yourself.

‘It is key to have the correct lighting too, so that you can create the right vibe and atmosphere.

‘We would recommend installing a dimmer light or smart bulbs, so that when practicing yoga, Pilates or stretching, you can lower the light and colour to create a relaxed and immersive feeling, whereas when doing high intensity workouts, cardio and strength, a brighter light and colour can boost motivation and endurance.

‘Where possible we will also recommend you create a gym where there is access to natural light, either floor to ceiling wrap around windows, skylights or bay windows.’ 

And finally, don’t forget to take ventilation into account, lest you risk your home gym getting that unpleasant musky gym smell we know all too well.

‘One of the most important factors is ensuring there is a steady flow of fresh air/air-conditioned air, not only to keep you at an optimal temperature whilst working out, but to ventilate your space too ensuring a safe and effective workout environment,’ says Mark.

‘A lack of free flowing air can over time cause a musty “gym” smell – not ideal!

‘Keep the air circulating with either an air condition unit, or open windows and fans – and keep your space and equipment clean and well maintained too.’

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