The term “home gym” used to refer to a dusty treadmill in the master bedroom that remained buried under a pile of dirty clothes.
Today’s home gyms are dedicated rooms that have everything from rubber flooring, massive, industrial ceiling fans, added circulation and roll-up garage doors to upgraded internet for connected devices and outdoor access.
Aaron Holladay, director of sales and marketing for Grove Park Construction, said he attributes this increase in the focus on the home gym to the perfect storm of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing fitness at home, evolutions in home gym equipment, availability of commercial gym equipment and broader internet capabilities allowing classes to be livestreamed into the home.
“This transcends just the pandemic,” Holladay said. “There were always fitness-minded people who wanted a home gym, but today, even casual exercisers have found a way to exercise in their own space. When we are working on a new build, this is something that comes up.”
He said brands like Peloton have changed the game because now you don’t have to go to a gym to have the experience of being at the gym.
“For a lot of years, we did gym equipment in homes with carpet and pads on the carpet and put the gym equipment on the pad,” Holladay said. “Then we started going to low-nap industrial carpet with pads on it. Today, we lay the rubber floors. Today it’s more like a gym than it ever has been before. Commercial products used in workout settings are available to the retail customer for residential applications now.”
Home gym rooms are being planned to not only have easy access to the outdoors, but also are being located in areas of the home where loud noises of weights being dropped and music won’t be easily heard.
“Architectural design meetings often include a conversation about what the view from the seat of the Peloton will be, or what is underneath my fitness room, because my workout includes free weights and kettlebells that get dropped,” he added. “We have to take the client’s lifestyle and cross training workout routine into consideration.”
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McClain Franks with Tennessee Valley Homes said they recently custom designed a home that included a full gym space and also had some specific considerations about where in the home it would be located.
“The homeowners wanted to ensure it was far enough away from living areas and bedrooms,” she said. “The garage door was added to give great light and allow for workouts to be both inside and outside around the pool deck. It was also important for these owners to have tall ceilings in the gym, which we incorporated into the design of the space. They finished it off with mirrors, an oversized fan, TV and industrial gym flooring.”
Holladay added that as a developer, post-COVID, shared amenities in a community are being re-thought. Community pools will still be an important amenity, but he said the idea of neighbors all sharing a Stairmaster or treadmill is going away.
“The liability for an HOA to minimize the risk of spreading germs and viruses through workout gear is a game-changer,” he added.
Parks Realtor Amy Pappas agreed the market is demonstrating homeowners want a dedicated gym space.
“One of my current clients has made a home gym a priority as well,” Pappas said. “After using and enjoying their home gym for the past year, they want to be sure they have this smart space in their next home, too.”
Holladay said he knew a physician who said her discipline for exercise was that she could only watch her favorite streaming shows while on the elliptical. In her home, great internet service in the exercise room was a must.
But healthy-minded decisions in the home are even transcending the gym space and bleeding into kitchens and butler’s pantry areas.
“The combination of an undercounter freezer and refrigerator drawer, in a space we previously may have called a butler’s pantry, becomes the family smoothie station,” he said. “Add some fresh fruit and greens on the countertop alongside the mixer and you are ready to go.”