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        Homeowners are pumped to create a space in which they stay in and work out. If you're warming up to having a workout space at home, you're not alone. Retail sales of exercise equipment in America topped $7 billion in 2018, according to the Sporting Goods Market report released by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) in Mount Prospect, Illinois.

        While those retail dollars are enough to get hearts racing, impulsively buying expensive equipment for a home gym doesn't guarantee fitness -- either physically or financially. Los Angeles-based certified instructor Cassey Ho is a fitness phenom with more than 4.6 million worldwide subscribers to her workouts posted on her YouTube channel, Blogilates.

        Ho says the first step to creating a personalized workout space is to make a commitment to working out and making it a priority. "My philosophy toward fitness is that it shouldn't feel like a chore," she says. "Fitness is a part of life that should bring you joy."

        Specializing in equipment-free Pilates interval training, Ho says a healthy workout environment first starts with the individual. Ho's fitness philosophy is to keep it simple in her home workout studio, which features a large-screen television in a spacious room decorated with live plants. "Creating an inviting, open place in which you have space to move around is important if you want to have a workout center inside your home," she says. "Plenty of floor space for a yoga mat and access to a screen with internet service is all you need to work out with me."

        Being dedicated to an exercise plan means dedicating space in your home to exercise, whether you're converting a first-floor playroom or creating a space in the basement, says Bryan Sebring, owner of Sebring Design Build in Naperville, Illinois. For 20 years, Sebring has designed hundreds of home gyms for clients through his home construction and design business.

        "When designing a space for a home gym, it should ideally be located away from areas where people sleep," Sebring says. "We will often add soundproofing to a home gym's walls, so those using the exercise equipment won't disrupt others in the home."

        The workout space should be highly personal and created to accommodate specific exercise equipment or a fitness routine. "No two home gyms are exactly alike," Sebring says. "Before you move anything into the room, you need to create a floorplan to know exactly where each piece of equipment goes."

        Motorized treadmills are the most popular piece of exercise equipment, with sales of $3.7 billion in 2018, according to Nick Rigitano, NSGA research and information manager. Retail sales in stationary exercise bicycles, yoga mats and free weights/weight sets also increased from the previous year.

        Sebring says a workout space should feel open and bright, with natural light and high ceilings when possible. "The home gym should be a place that is inviting and a space that motivates you to spend time in it," he says. "When designing your home gym, you should not only look at what machines go on the floor, but take into account vertical measurements, to ensure there's enough head space for a taller person using the exercise equipment."

        -- Design From Ground Up

        The type of flooring sets the stage for a good workout. A home gym requires a durable surface that can withstand repetitive wear and tear from exercise equipment, but is forgiving enough to cushion a floor routine.

        "You want a flooring that is hygienic and easy to clean," Sebring says. "A rubber flooring or mats can ensure the floor is also nonslip."

        Luxury vinyl tiles are also an option, with a thick, textured wear-layer that simulates hand-scraped woods or a weathered stone floor. These tiles can be installed in below-grade spaces and can have the appearance of a hard floor, but are soft with a cushion underneath.

        -- Support System

        A home gym's lighting, air quality and climate control all play supporting roles in a successful workout. When planning the space, make sure there are targets for technology usage, including electrical outlets for exercise equipment, Wi-Fi-connected television/computer and sound system.

        "Many people are doing workouts that involve being connected to the internet," Sebring says. "That means your home gym should be both high-tech and high-touch."

        Large mirrors can ensure a person's form is correct and also create a feeling of light in the space. Windows provide the best form of illumination -- natural light -- and can also open to fresh air outside.

        -- Equipped for Exercise

        While the treadmill is the most popular piece of exercise equipment, other contenders include the stationary bike, elliptical cross-trainer and multipurpose equipment, which can include bands for resistance or weights for strength training.

        Today's exercise equipment can be programmed to calculate pulse rates and the number of calories burned as you step, pedal or stride. Staying connected through the internet is essential as those working out live-stream classes and fitness routines.

        Most exercise machines will allow you to modify the weights and difficulty, but choose equipment that isn't too complicated to alter. Before buying, make sure you understand the equipment's setup, guarantees and maintenance requirements.

        -- A Healthy Lifestyle

        Sebring says a home gym and spa-like bathroom go hand-in-glove and are often adjacent to each other. "After a good workout, you want to cool off and pamper yourself a bit," he says. "The person who invests in a home gym is often self-motivated and leads a busy lifestyle."

Fitness Business

        Subscribe to Cassey Ho's YouTube channel, Blogilates, or go to Blogilates.com.

        Contact SebringDesignBuild.com or call 630-369-6829.

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