Don’t want to be paying for an expensive gym membership? Don’t have time to commute to a public gym? Don’t like jogging and exercising outdoors? Or maybe you have already got bored of your friend’s training equipment and want to have your own?
Whatever the reason may be, the best solution is to build a small gym in your house. Don’t let any extra space at home go unused. If your attic is a space that is not being utilized, it will be perfect to convert it into your own home gym.
Building a home gym requires some thought, preparation, and knowledge of the subject. You want your home workouts to be not only good for health but also as pleasant as possible. That’s why you should approach it professionally. Only then will you organize the wasted attic space in a way that is aesthetically designed and safe for training.
Keep on reading to find out exactly how to build a home gym in your attic.
Technical Drawing of the Attic Gym
Preparing a good design of your gym is the first step to creating a space for exercise. The technical drawing is important because it takes into account the dimensions of large gym equipment comparing to the attic space. Only this way it is possible to arrange everything in the interior.
Thus, technical drawing needs to consider:
∘ gym area, defined in square feet (or square meters)
∘ height of the wall
∘ placement of exercise equipment. The drawing should include large-size equipment, a free-weight zone, and a relaxation zone. Each element should also include its dimensions as this is the only way you will avoid a cramped space and, (in the worst-case scenario) not being able to install some of the equipment you need
∘ materials that protect walls, floor, windows, and doors
∘ cost estimate of the project
Technical Requirements of the Home Gym
Obviously, the home gym will never be as spacious as the professional, public gym. But designed in a logical way, it will fit a lot of equipment.
In order to work out without any constraints, you must allocate space of at least 8 by 10 feet (2.5 by 3m). In addition, another 6.5 feet (2 square meters) will be useful for organizing a relaxation zone.
Exercise and Relaxation Zones
The gym should be divided into two areas. The first one is where you work out, and the other is where you relax.
In the exercise zone, place large and heavy equipment that you will not move after the workout, e.g. a paddle, bench, stationary bike, treadmill, and free weights.
The relaxation area should be a place where you can rest for a while, both between the series and after the workout. Allow some space for a bench, which should be stable, wide, and large enough so that you can lie on it comfortably.
You will also need a small table where you can keep your phone, watch, and a notepad to jot down your results. The small table will also be useful if, for example, you are going to bring a laptop to the gym to watch online exercise videos.
Additionally, a rail for hanging your towel is a must for every home gym.
Is It Safe to Build a Home Gym in the Attic?
Safety is the obvious concern with a home gym in the attic.
The attic floor must be strong enough to hold the weight of the heavy gym equipment.
According to the American Wood Council, habitable attic floors can hold 30 lbs. per square foot, and attic floors with limited storage can hold 10 lbs. per square foot. If your house is old, the numbers might be even lower. For more information regarding floor loads, please refer to the American Wood Council website.
The majority of floors in modern houses are capable of holding at least 1500 lbs. of weight.
However, don’t max out the capacity of your attic floor as the integrity of your house structure can be easily compromised. Doors and windows will become unstable and impossible to open or close. You may also find that the damage caused to the floor will become evident when you keep dropping heavy weights over and over again. The floor will weaken and bend, and punctures and cracks will become visible. This can be not only serious and dangerous but also very expensive to repair later on.
Avoid placing heavy equipment in the center of the room. Position the heaviest items against the walls as the floor is the strongest in those areas. All the equipment needs to be distributed across the floor as evenly as possible.
If you’re worried whether your weight lifting equipment can be safely installed in the attic, consult a professional structural engineer.
How to Soundproof a Home Gym?
While soundproofing your attic gym, you need to consider two factors. First of all, you need to ensure silence inside the gym room. It is equally important to isolate the gym noise from the rest of the house.
There are several solutions that even a beginner DIY enthusiast can use.
Effective sound insulation is definitely required for an attic area that you use for the gym. Decent noise suppression will help you focus on your workouts, and also reduce the noise that may disturb other household members.
Exercise mats are a good option to soundproof the gym floor. They will also absorb the vibrations from the cardio machines.
Cover the floor area with the exercise mats, laid out in the form of large puzzles. The mats will perfectly insulate the sounds coming from the gym but also the noise of heavy weights being put down. They also have anti-slip properties, which is why they will increase your safety.
It is much easier to soundproof the walls. The easiest way is to use special decorative elements that will not only decorate but above all, will suppress sounds.
That’s why upholstered panels can take care not only of soundproofing but also of the interior design. Upholstered panels are an interesting alternative to standard decorative solutions. Thanks to them, the interiors take on an original character. Their various shapes allow you to arrange patterns that will make the space in your home gym exciting and fun.
Also, as cork is a good acoustic insulator, you may use cork boards on the walls. The cork boards will absorb the sounds that are caused by impacts on the surface.
Apart from soundproofing, the walls should be prepared accordingly. If you’re not using panels or boards on the walls, cover them with a layer of ordinary concrete to protect them from scratching. Now, you may paint the walls (and ceiling) in any color of paint you wish, according to your own taste. Remember that you should choose a water-resistant coating. Thanks to this, you can easily wash away any stains and dirt left on it.
How to Soundproof the Attic Floor?
A floor underlay that is used for floor panels can significantly reduce noise levels, e.g. of falling equipment. Soundproofing will also be provided by floor underlays made of polyurethane foam, or a layer of cork board flooring.
Indoor Air Quality in the Gym
You also need to think about proper ventilation and moisture management. Most gym equipment is made of metal, which is why the space for a home gym needs to be dry so that the equipment does not get damaged.
It is essential to ensure the right temperature and good air circulation while exercising in the attic. The attic space intended for the gym should be equipped with an efficient ventilation system. Installed air ducts and exhaust grilles are most important, especially if your attic doesn’t have a roof window. You need to ensure fresh air flow from somewhere if you’re not able to get it from opening a window.
In summer, the air conditioner will certainly be a great convenience. It will ensure a pleasant room temperature and proper air circulation.
An air conditioner in a home gym will not only prevent the spread of bacteria but also creates a good microclimate, which is important for intense training. The location of an air conditioner is extremely important. It should be located away from the place where you exercise. You can easily catch a cold if you inhale air directly from the appliance. A good spot is to hang it on the ceiling or a wall just below the ceiling, as far as possible from the exercise equipment. Alternatively, you can also get a standing portable air conditioner.
Home Gym Lighting
Lights in the attic gym are often an underestimated issue. But thanks to proper lighting, it is possible to perform exercises correctly. When lights are properly selected, it also strengthens your positive attitude to training and motivates you to make efforts.
The best solution is to install a set of halogen lamps on the entire surface of the ceiling. On the one hand, you will gain an efficient lighting system, and on the other, you will not have to worry about accidental damage or injury due to inadequate lighting.
How to Equip a Home Gym?
There is no one must-have piece of equipment that you should buy for your home gym. The equipment depends solely on your personal needs, requirements, and fitness level. Different workout machines are needed for people who primarily care about cardio training, and other machines, for those who want to increase their muscle mass and strength.
For example, home gym equipment that you can buy may include:
∘ a set of dumbbells and plates with different loads
∘ a deadlift bar
∘ a pull-up bar
∘ handles for pushups
∘ a bench
In addition, if you care about burning calories and becoming fit, think about:
∘ a stationary bike
∘ a treadmill
∘ a stepper
So if you are thinking about what to buy for a home gym, then start with this basic set. It will allow you to do most of the exercises.
What Else Is Needed in Your Home Gym?
Like in a professional gym, you can mount a large mirror on the wall to see if the exercises are done correctly.
It is also worth to secure the equipment and take care of your safety. Before setting up the equipment, you must first prepare a set of furniture pads, which are attached to the legs of the equipment. Not all exercise machines have special rubber pads that will protect the floor during use. You can attach wooden or rubber pads, which will additionally be non-slip to prevent dangerous moving of the workout machines.
You should not forget about the amenities. Although exercise is the most important, it’s worth enjoying your time when lifting weights. A proper sound system, e.g. mounted under the ceiling, will help as it doesn’t take up space for exercise equipment. Also, a mounted TV would be another argument for a suspended ceiling that camouflages all wiring.
To make your home gym motivate you to regularly take care of your fitness, arrange it the way you like it. You may paint the walls in energetic colors, such as intense yellow, orange, or red. These colors will surely tune you in with optimism and a desire to train.
The Cost of Building a Gym at Home
There’s no doubt that building a home gym is a big expense, but it is one-time only. The cost of equipping a home gym depends on the equipment type and class. You can effectively reduce the costs by choosing cheaper substitutes. But make sure they are of good quality, and meet health and safety standards.
Main Advantages of a Home Gym
Despite the initial cost involved, there are many advantages to having a gym in your house.
You do not have to worry about the crowds in a public gym and matching your training hours to its opening times. You can work out at any time of the day or night, as you like.
You don’t have to wait for the person using the equipment to finish their training. In the home gym, you have the comfort of having it entirely for yourself. You decide how much time you spend and when you start and finish your training.
If you like privacy and don’t like the company of others during training, that’s great news for you. Nobody will look at you, you have full privacy. All you need is music and an instructor on TV or a laptop.
To Sum Up,
A small home gym in the attic is a good alternative for busy people but who still do not want to give up their dreams of fitness and a great-looking body. Your own gym space eliminates the need to commute and share equipment with other gym members. The cost of buying everything your home gym needs (i.e. attic conversion and a set of equipment) will usually pay for itself within one year, as you won’t have to spend money on buying gym passes and commute.