Ridhi Kale November 14, 2010
Your weekends are a blur of bingeing, a very chiselled Hrithik Roshan is the guest villain in your recurring nightmares and your significant other (like everyone else) looks slimmer as soon as she stands next to you. But still, exercise and you refuse to be friends. Your boss calls you in early, you have official or family dinners to attend in the evenings, traffic keeps you on the road for hours, the gym timings don't suit you: you have your reasons! But worry not. If that's what's stopping you from embarking on that muchneeded exercise regime, the solution is at hand. All you need is a home gym. You don't need to go anywhere; the temperature is under your control; and, best of all, you can use it whenever you want.
Personal gyms can range from basic spaces, such as a spare bedroom, to extravagant zones fitted with the best equipment that money can buy. From treadmills with LCD screens to state-of-the-art cross trainers and all manner of weight training gear, it's easy now to get health club quality machines at home.
But do remember, a gym is more than just an accumulation of equipment- it must be the product of a wellconceived design that's as functional as it is motivating. "To begin with, figure out the number of people who will use the space at the same time," advises Aparna Kaushik, architect and director of Delhi-based Design Forum. "Each extra user adds to the cost," she says. Your routine dictates the design and layout. If you are a serious practitioner of aerobics or yoga, for instance, you need to set aside extra leg room for that.
The type and number of equipment, too, require careful planning. "To judge the space required for dumbbells, stretch your arms and see if you hit any thing. Then, take a step back without bumping into anything. Next, move into a push-up position to get an idea of the approximate length required," says Vesna Pericevic Jacob, fitness consultant and director of Delhi's Vesna's Wellness Clinic. A treadmill requires at least 3-5 ft space behind it.
Even the smallest multi-station gym requires at least 2-3 ft of space around it. As Kaushik explains, free weights require 20 to 50 sq ft space; treadmills need 30 sq ft; and a multi-station gym requires 50 to 200 sq ft. A rectangular area is best for a gym, as odd-shaped rooms result in a lot of wasted space. While choosing the equipment, buy the best quality and have it installed by professionals. Heavy equipment falling apart while you exercise can cause you grievous harm. To help you plan the best layout for you, we've divided gyms into three categories. Have a look.
Basic gym: The minimum size of dedicated gym space, says Kaushik, should be 10 ft by 15 ft. This is enough for two people to use simultaneously. "A vibrant and active layout is a must, whatever the gym's size," she adds. It's a good idea to put bright colours on the walls, wooden panelling to make the space feel warm in the midst of all the metal, and mirror cladding to check your posture. Avoid vitrified tiles or marble as they are hard and can cause injury in the event of a fall. Laminated flooring is a better option. Make sure the room has as many windows as possible as they bring in fresh air and natural light. A basic gym requires a treadmill, an exercise cycle, weights and a yoga mat (if space permits).
Mid level gym: "An area of 20 ft by 20 ft or even 20 ft by 15 ft works well for three to four persons," says Kaushik. Vinyl, which provides extra cushioning, is also a good choice for the flooring. Good air conditioning provisions such as ductable splits, especially in summers, makes working out easier. A mid-level gym can also be equipped with entertainment options like a music system and television. Also, go for dehumidifiers and a small fridge for drinks. The equipment that you will need is a treadmill, a cross-trainer, an abs bench, weights and a yoga mat.
High end gym: "A high-end gym can be as small as 500 sq ft or as big as 2,000 sq ft," says Kaushik. Also, it can be as luxurious and whimsical as you would like. Clad the walls with beveled mirror panels and use rubberised vinyl for the floor as it has good insulation and cushioning properties. If the gym overlooks a pool or a green lawn,consider using toughened glass walls. You can cool the space through ductable splits and equipment that pulls in fresh air mechanically. Neaten the layout and place the equipment along the walls, leaving the centre empty. Since most high-end gym owners have a personal trainer coming in, ensure that there's enough room for both of you to move freely. Even the smallest multi-station gym, to be used properly, requires at least two to three feet of space around it, cautions Jacob. Opt for treadmills fitted with a touch-screen TV with iPod compatibility, a multi-gym, a hightech cross trainer, a chest and leg press and an abdominal crunch. You can also demarcate a section for weights, yoga, pillates or aerobics.