Setting Up Your Exercise Space

Starting a new workout routine this year? Don’t just make the decision. Make it real.

The best way to do that is to establish what you will call My Space. No, not the failed online precursor to facebook. You need physical space. Unless you belong to a gym, you’ll need some room to grow…or shrink, whichever the case may be.

Most of us can’t afford to build a private gym onto our home, complete with 50” TV and full compliment of free-weights and machines. But most of us do have a 10’ by 10’ square of empty space in the house somewhere. The basement, the garage, a spare room, the living room—any of these will do the trick. If you’re using the living room or any other room that is multi-purpose, you’ll also have to establish My Time. More on that in a minute.

A workout doesn’t have to involve a lot of equipment or space. All you need is the space mentioned above, a few free weights or bands (I love the bands and they travel nicely as well), and any old TV and DVD player. The beauty of living in this day and age is you can pick up a small TV and DVD player from a garage sale for $10. I’m now up to three old TVs in my basement. So if you need one let me know! I’m always happy to pawn off space-consuming stuff onto my friends.

The only other thing I’d recommend is a soft place to land. Most of us will be doing some type of plyometric or aerobic exercise. If your space is a concrete basement or garage floor, you’ll want to hit the Home Depot or sporting goods store for a set of interlocking foam mats. They’re inexpensive and expandable should you decide you need more room later (because you’ll be jumping farther in a few months). Your knees will appreciate it, trust me.

I like a yoga mat, too. Mostly because my foam floor gets dirty and I like a clean place to lay when doing yoga or floor exercises.

That’s really it for equipment. You should be able to set yourself up for less than $100. The routines I like are video format and, of course, cost extra, but you’ll find that the cost is still far less than a gym membership and you can’t beat working out in the privacy of your own home. Trust me, I did the gym membership a couple of times. By the second month, I’m sick of driving to the gym and waiting on equipment. If your “gym” is in your living room, you’ll eliminate one more excuse that will keep you from the healthy body you deserve.

Like I said, if you need to use the living room or another space that is used by the rest of the family, you need to establish Your Time. If your workout is from 5 to 6pm every day, make sure the rest of the family knows that this is Your Time in Your Space. It’s okay to be a little selfish here. If you can’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to be much use to anyone else. Keep imagining how much fun it will be for the whole family when you’re playing in the backyard with them or biking some trail and they are begging you to slow down. Trust me, it will happen. And it’s a blast.


I am a husband, dad, Christian, and writer. Not necessarily in that order. It took me thirty years to turn my life over to my Redeemer. It's taken another ten to figure out what it is He has in store for me. My first novel, Now I Knew You, will be released in March, 2015. I pray that God will allow me to write many more before calling me home.

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