There are a ton of reasons why people who want to get fit don’t go to the gym, from not having the time to go to not having enough spare cash to afford the sometimes crazy prices. But it’s not just about the negatives. There are also plenty of reasons why working out at home is preferred and sometimes even better. Yup, I'm talking about getting your sweat on while watching yet another mind-blowing Netflix show.
But, sometimes there's one big problem for those who want to workout at home: space.
Not everyone can afford to live in a big home where they can turn their second guest room into a private gym with wall-to-ceiling mirrors and state of the art equipment. In fact, those who want the excitement of living in a city have to live in a small apartment by default. It’s the trade-off we make.
The reason this is a problem is simple: unless you’re okay sleeping on a bench-press-bench, it’s a struggle fitting gym equipment into a small apartment.
But just because you don’t have a lot of space doesn’t mean you can’t workout at home. Nope. You just need to get a little creative. That’s all. You need to think outside the box a little, see your space from a new angle and spend time looking for the solutions that are already out there. Sure, you won’t have the gym-based benefit of having some handsome trainer helping you dig deeper, but you will be in the comfort of your own home and you'll be saving money!
Here are a heaped handful of hacks to make your home-gym hopes a reality - no matter how small your apartment may be:
It Starts With Storage
1. Vertical Storage
This is one of the biggest reasons why heads hit walls. It’s not having the space to put anything. Well, one of the best answers to this riddle is vertical storage, such as open shelves that will let you utilise wall space instead of floor space (which is good news because most of your workout will be done on the ground unless you are a blood descendant of Spiderman). I'm not saying this is the most comprehensive solution, especially given your weights and kettlebells won’t be able to go on a shelf. But your yoga mats and towels and protein shakes and television and sound system and all of that stuff will, and that’s half of the battle. Basically, you want to get as much clutter off the floor as possible.
2. Separate Storage
When your space isn’t blessed with, well, space, you need to absolutely nail your organisation and that is where storage bins and those cabinets with lots of nooks come in handy. You know, like those ones you find all over Ikea. The sort of storage options that keep everything neat and yet in plain sight too. You could have a cubby hole for your different workout DVDs, a place for your skipping ropes and resistance bands separate so they don’t do that earphone ting of getting all tangled and somewhere to put all your other little bits and pieces - towels, shoes, weights, water bottles, and so on.
Get The Equipment Right
1. Raise The Bar
One of the most awesome pieces of gym-equipment you can get is a pull-up bar. Not only does it use up less space, butit allows you to be so versatile with your working out. Hang it on a door frame and you can do overhand pull-ups, underhand pull-ups, ab exercises, core strengthening regimes and hit just about every muscle in your upper body and midsection. Pop your bar on the floor and you can use it for push-ups and crunches and all that stuff too. But that isn’t all. By hanging it perpetually on a door frame, you’ll a) get reminded to do some exercise and b) subtly tell people “yup, I workout”. It’s a winner.
2. Push It Real Good
When you live in a small apartment, you don’t need to get the measuring tape out to know you can’t fit a bench press anywhere. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a solid chest workout done. For that, all you need is some push-up grip-slash-handle thingys, especially the ones that can swivel. Not only can they fit in the smallest nooks, you can workout more parts of your shoulder, pecs and triceps burning by swivelling when you lower your body down. It’s a great piece of equipment to have.
3. On Yer Bike
It doesn’t matter how hard you get your abs, it’s going to be pretty disheartening if you can’t see them after all your work. The problem is cardio and, more specifically, the fact you haven’t got any space to perform any. My advice: get yourself a mini-exercise bike. You could be getting fit while doing your tax return, getting fit while watching Game of Thrones, or getting fit while sat in your favourite armchair while reading that book you never got around to starting last summer. These little beauties are totally convenient to use and even more convenient to put away. It’s everything you need and more. Of course, if you would prefer to use a mini-elliptical than a standard bike, then go ahead and get one of these instead. The world is your oyster.
4. Put The Kettle On
Kettlebells are a staple part of any and all gyms, big or small, professional or hobbyist. You can just squeeze so much out of them. Shoulders, core, arms, legs, back and so much more. What’s more, kettlebells don’t take up much space whatsoever, especially if you are creative about it. You see, while it’s simple to line a selection up against the wall to minimize their invasion on your floor space, you could just as easily use them as door stops. That way you’ll give these pieces of equipment a secondary purpose, once again telling your guests that “yup, I workout” if you like to shout about it. With that covered, you can get straight into your swings, squats and pulls without cluttering up your home more than you need to. Plus they're always there on hand to use, there's no excuses!
5. It’s A Roll Over
When you think of working out, you think lifting weights, putting in some miles and just generally getting your sweat on. But that’s only a chunk of what exercising is. Yes, it’s a big chunk, but it’s still just a chunk. The other thing you need to devote time to is stretching and recovering. This is an issue because, well, no one likes this part of the process. We know that it helps in the long run (especially the next day), but it’s just an extra thing, isn’t it? That’s why you need to grab yourself a foam roller. Not only is it lightweight and simple to store, it will help you get your stretching and all that done and dusted in no time at all.
6. Be A Baller
Instability may not be the best ingredient in life, but it can be one of the best things for your workout. That’s why you need to get a big, inflatable exercise ball. Sit on it while lifting your kettlebells, do your situps on it, put your feet up when doing push-ups - the options are more or less endless. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “but these balls are so big and bulky and space-eating.” And you’re right. But they can also be deflated and stored pretty simply because they’re super light. Yes, this is a hassle, but you could add the pumping it up part to your routine or, if that sounds rubbish, you could leave it inflated and add this as a seating option to help you with your posture whenever you’re not exercising but maybe should be exercising. It’s the gift that just keeps giving.
7. Big Wheels Keep on Turning
Ahhh, ab wheel. Big, glorious ab wheel. You really are a wonder - a solution for all small apartment worker-outers. Not only can these little pieces of equipment be stored under your bed or in the back-right corner of your wardrobe, an ab wheel is also amazing at giving you great, you guessed it, abs. Of course, you may be thinking, “but sit-ups are great for abs too, as are pull-ups with your legs out in front,” and you’d be spot on. But what the ab wheel does is break up that tedium. It makes ab workouts fun while working out every part of your abs and your arms too. It’s a winner.
Like I said at the start, home workouts are a little harder when you live in a small city apartment, but that doesn’t mean they are impossible. Nope. So, pop on your favourite Netflix series - or all of them - and then get your sweat on using the little tips above.