Everyone knows the basics of a home gym setup: a mat, weights, and maybe a bench. The thing is, there are so many other things that can improve the workout experience that you may not have considered.

First, you have to think about what kind of environment you want to create. This goes hand in hand with what kind of workout you like to do and how you will do it. If you want to create an environment for a yoga class, your space will look different from someone doing a strength workout. If you follow a video on your phone or TV, your room will look different from someone who prefers working out without video to follow.

Creating a space where you feel comfortable and motivated to workout is vital. If you do not want to be there, then you will never want to work out. To help improve this comfort level, try adding a lamp if you do not have natural light, or changing the room’s decor to something cleaner. You can also put up motivational quotes or use a mirror to watch your form while working out. If you need the option to watch your workout, adding a TV or phone stand will be helpful in many respects. By having the screen in a proper place, your form won’t be impacted by trying to see the screen.

Blonde woman with a towel around her neck sitting on a machine doing upper body workoutsTypical things you will want in your at-home gym set up include weights, resistance bands, and a mat. Things you may not think of—but wish you did—include a water bottle, gym towels, and a heart rate monitor. By having a water bottle in your home gym, you will not have to leave your space to go to the kitchen to get water, helping you be more efficient in your workout. Gym towels are also something to consider for your home gym since you do not want your home to get full of sweat. If you use the heart rate monitor on your gym’s cardio machines, you should invest in one for your house as well. By using a heart rate monitor, you can ensure that you are working hard enough to see the gains you want to see.

Making your space practical is also going to help motivate you to work out. Try adding a fan to help circulate air and keep you cool. It’s well known that music helps with motivation—especially for working out—so consider a portable speaker or another sound system that can fill the room with your music and boost your productivity. This can also make you feel like you are back working out in a studio.

Gurunanda round wooden oil diffuserIf your space is for yoga, you will need a mat, yoga blocks, a strap, and maybe a blanket. These main pieces of equipment are well known, but there are also less common items that can be beneficial, such as oil diffusers. These will diffuse different scents to enhance your practice. Many studios diffuse oils in the air to help you relax and get into the correct mind space for classes. By recreating this experience at home, you can get more out of your practice and may even be motivated to practice more often.

When it comes to the typical things you would expect in a gym, you can make very easy swaps if you do not have the space or resources to have exactly what you want. If you love cardio but don’t have room for a treadmill, try a jump rope or even just jumping jacks. If you need something low impact and do not have the space or means for a full bike or elliptical, you can try an under-the-desk cycle. You may not get the intensity you are used to, but you can always stay on longer to get the results you are looking for. If you would like more information on exercise bikes, look out for our next post where we will be comparing the different types and giving you a full rundown.

Dark-haired woman sitting at a desk with a laptop and large hourglass on top, with a miniature pedal-based workout tool on the floorHand weights are also something that you do not necessarily need to go out and buy. A 16 ounce container weighs about 1 pound, so you can use that as a rough estimate on how much things in your pantry weigh. Just remember that weight does not take into account the container, so a 16 oz plastic bottle of juice and a 16 oz glass jar of pasta sauce will weigh differently in the end. If you have a kitchen scale, you can use it to weigh cans and jars, so you know the exact weight of what you are using. If you are used to using 5-pound weights, you can grab a bag of flour and use that. To squat, you can make a barbell by putting two sturdy bags on the ends of a broom or dowel and equally loading the bags. Being creative is key. If you have a young child or smaller pet, you can also pick them up and squat or do other lower body exercises safely holding them.

Creating a welcoming and motivating home gym environment with a variety of equipment will help you stay motivated and engaged with reaching your goals. Find the platform and program for you, or just get up and move in your new space. If you are still looking for inspiration and direction with your workouts, check out BLAZE for a wide selection of live and on-demand workouts.