Expert Tips For Creating a Home Gym

This week’s theme in the Quarantine DIY Home Projects is all about home gyms. What better place to start than with CrossFit L3 Coach Nick Gifford of Gifford Fitness in Minnesota, for some expert tips on creating a home gym and working out at home during the Coronavirus stay at home orders. 

Nick Gifford coaching
Coach Nick in action (Image courtesy of Kate Jensen.)

Tell me a bit about yourself

My name is Nick Gifford, and I opened Gifford Fitness in 2016 with the mission to provide people the love, care and respect that they need to be the healthiest, happiest version of themselves. At Gifford Fitness, we primarily use CrossFit, weightlifting, and nutrition coaching to help adults and teenagers achieve optimal health and wellness.

I hold accreditation and certifications with CrossFitUSA Weightlifting, and Precision Nutrition. I’m a CrossFit Level 3 Coach (CF-L3) and USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach, and have coached athletes to the national and international podium in the sport of Weightlifting. I also hold other certifications like CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Judge, and a few others. A highlight for me was judging at the annual CrossFit Games. My biggest passion is coaching, I love helping people, and I love seeing people win.

What are some ideal locations for a home gym?

Working out at home can be a fun, but also an overwhelming task that most people put off. To do this successfully you need a space to workout in. A home gym can be anywhere, but it shouldn’t be everywhere. Without structure, you’ll kind of just float around at home. So, you need a dedicated space, or spaces to workout. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Separate yourself from the rest of the house
  • Create ample space to move around in all directions
  • Have the set-up necessary to do the type of exercise that you want
  • Try to have access to natural light

With these considerations in mind, basements, garages, and cement patios are all great options if you’re going to be weightlifting often. If you’re more of the yoga/treadmill type, then a base level room with some natural light and walls between you and the rest of the house will work well.

What’s the ideal layout of a home gym?

For layout, you’ll again want to consider your primary uses for your home gym. Some standard rules that apply to most spaces will be to:

  • Put equipment on the walls wherever possible
  • Leave plenty of free space in the center
  • Leave a wall or two completely free so you can use them for stretches, gymnastics/bodyweight work, etc.

What would you recommend as the some of the best flooring options for a home gym?

Again, it depends on what you’re doing, but a general rule is to have a flat/level ground, ideally concrete, with rubber flooring on top. I recommend horse stall matting, specifically 4’x6′ ¾ inch matting. They’re heavy, durable, and great for weightlifting. If you need something softer to go on top of it for stretching, a yoga mat or Dollamur mat will work great.

How important is storage? And are there any cheap and easy storage tips you’d recommend?

For storage, depending on what you’re storing, you can go a few different ways. Large metal racks are great for storing large and bulky equipment. Bumper plates can either stack up on the floor or go on a weight tree, and dumbbells can stack on the floor. At the end of the day, as long as you have space, you’re good. Storage in a home gym only matters if you have enough equipment worth storing.

If you only wanted to spend $500 or less on a temporary home gym, what are the essential pieces of equipment you’d recommend?

First, I would make a few different sandbags at varying weights of 15-20 lbs, 40 ish lbs, and 60-70 lbs. Below is a great video on how to make sandbags on the cheap. Then, I would get a heavy jump rope, and a few sets of dumbbells ranging from ⅛ – ⅝ of your body weight. Anyone can get an incredible workout with all these different toys, but it’s more about how you use it than anything else.

The last thing I would get is a coach – it’s the most valuable piece of “equipment” that you can get. And if you didn’t have any physical equipment and wanted to get a great workout, a coach can help you to do that. A good coach will also keep you accountable and write workouts for you with all of your limitations and goals in mind. The workouts, combined with the equipment and personal accountability is the best you can do at home if you’re not able to go to a physical gym space.

Looking for a coach to work with you remotely? We can help!

When you first set up your gym, what are some things you wished you’d done differently that we can learn from?

Everyone wants to set up their home gym – it’s fun! But the big thing that I’ve learned is that your workout space has to be somewhere that you enjoy going to. Somewhere where you can separate out everything else that’s going on in your life and just have your personal “you” time. For me, natural lighting, walls separating me from everyone/everything else and a clean space are my top priorities.

How can people find out more about you?

They can find Gifford Fitness on Facebook and Instagram or they can follow me @coach_giffy on Instagram.

Infographic on how to set up a home gym

I hope you enjoyed this blog post, and hope that it inspired you to get up off your sofa and start planning your own home gym. Whether it’s a small area with a few weights and a yoga mat, or a more elaborate space with more equipment. Don’t forget to subscribe for more tips this week on setting up your own home gym.

You can read how we set up our home gym, and the grand reveal.

Thanks for reading,

Jo @britflipper

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How to Create a Home Office for Under $500

This week’s theme has been all about home offices. Something many of us need right now is a healthy, happy space to work from home in. In this post I’ll show you how to create a home office space for under $500!

Spare bedroom before the home office makeover

We’re lucky to already have a home office, but since the Coronavirus lockdown both me and my husband have been working from home. Usually one of us will work on the kitchen island, which is fine for a day or two, but for a long period of time it just doesn’t work. I created a makeshift temporary home office in our downstairs bedroom / TV room for a while. But eventually we bit the bullet and decided to convert a spare bedroom into a multi-purpose bedroom / home office space, and here’s the result.

Multi-purpose bedroom / home office

Given that we weren’t sure how long we’d need a second home office, we didn’t want to spend a fortune doing it. So I’ll share my 3 top tips on how to create a home office for less than $500.

Tip 1: Recycle What You Already Have

We already had a spare desk stored in our basement from IKEA. It was pretty old and battered up, and the black didn’t really work with the light and airy look I was going for, so I sprayed the legs white. I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Semi Gloss Spray Paint in White. I used about 2 cans on these legs to get a nice solid finish over the black. It cost me about $8 to complete this makeover.

Desk legs being sprayed white

Tip 2: Shop on Facebook Marketplace

We decided that a daybed would be the ideal solution to a multi-purpose bedroom / home office, as it takes up less room when folded away, but can open up to a full sized bed when needed. I loved the IKEA Hemnes daybed, but at $599 it was beyond our budget for this particular makeover. So I scoured Facebook Marketplace (you can also use other reseller websites like eBay or Craigslist) for a second-hand one. Second-hand they tend to sell for anywhere from $150-$300 depending on the condition. I managed to find one in great condition with one mattress for just $150! Remember no contact pick-up and wipe down with disinfectant afterwards.

We also managed to get a cane chair for $40. I’ve loved cane chairs for ages, and when I saw this one I couldn’t resist! I have zero upholstery skills, and right now I don’t even have a sewing machine. So this one with off-white cushion appealed to me as I could re-use the seat cushion without added expense of getting it reupholstered.

However after washing the cushion, and painting the chair, the cushion color just didn’t work. So I decided to find someone that could make me a new seat cushion cover. All in, the chair cost $110 – $40 for the chair, $20 for the fabric and $50 to get the chair cushion made. A little more than I wanted to pay, but it turned out so well I think it’s worth it. Stay tuned for a full step by step post on how to makeover your own cane chair in the coming weeks.

Tip 3: Get Your Paint Roller Out

Originally I wanted to do a whitewashed wood feature wall, similar to our master bedroom. But when I priced it up, it was going to cost around $400. So I searched for ideas for cheap feature walls and found ideas that cost nothing more than a bit a tape, paint and time.

You don’t need any artistic skills to do this easy DIY feature wall, you just use the painters tape to map out the trunks and branches. I’d recommend stepping back and looking at it from further away before you commit to painting, so you’re 100% happy with how it’ll look. I’d also recommend doing a few trunks at a time and peeling the tape off, as the tape makes the trunks look like they’ll be a lot thicker than they actually are, so evaluate them before doing more. I’ll be posting a full step by step guide on how to achieve this look in the coming weeks.

If you don’t want a birch tree mural, you could just paint a wall a different color to add some interest. Or try painting bold stripes using a level and painters tape, like this stunning design by LollyJane.com

Grey and white painted feature wall by LollyJane.com

I also decided to change the wood windows and trim for white to give it a more modern and fresh feel. I’ll be talking more about paint transformations in week 3 of the 10 week quarantine DIY home projects.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these three tips for creating a home office for under $500. You really don’t need a huge budget to create a nice room. You need to be savvy and roll your sleeves up! Happy decorating!

Thanks for reading!

Jo @britflipper

Quarantine DIY Home Projects – 10 Part Series

As many of us find ourselves quarantined during the Coronavirus pandemic, we’re all spending way more time staring at the same four walls we call our home. Whether you’re working from home, furloughed or laid off, this situation probably has you thinking “What cheap DIY home projects can I do while I’m quarantined?”

Man doing DIY during quarantine
Photo by Bidvine on Pexels.com

If money isn’t tight yet, you’re probably worried about it becoming tight in the future with record numbers of unemployment in many countries. Now probably isn’t the time to splurge $30,000 on that brand new kitchen you’ve been dreaming of.

There’s also the aspect of safety. Having multiple contractors in to your home means potentially more germs exposed to you and your family. So now is a good time to start learning some DIY skills yourself.

With all these challenges, you’re probably wondering what you can do for just a few $100 and basic DIY skills to make your house feel more like ‘home’. Luckily there are plenty of projects that you can tackle yourself with just basic DIY skills and some small change.

If this sounds like you, subscribe to my blog to receive 10 weeks of easy and affordable home projects, with a different theme each week. There should be plenty of ideas to keep you busy during quarantine, and as a bonus you’ll come out of it with better DIY skills and a refreshed home!

Here’s what you’ll get:

Happy DIY-ing!

Jo @britflipper