A lot of things happened over the course of the last year that you never could have predicted, like that you’ve become an expert at bread baking, or that you’ve actually been able to motivate yourself to work out from home. If the latter describes your proudest pandemic accomplishment, you may have found that creating a space that’s designated for your fitness routine is helpful in sticking with your goals — and now that warmer weather is around the corner, having your own outdoor home gym sounds especially dreamy. Not only that, but it’s also a great option for anyone who’s short on space inside.
If a chic outdoor home gym sounds like a decor goal only celebrities (looking at you, Gabrielle Union) can achieve, designers would say to think again. With some clever furniture pieces, equipment that’s great for a variety of workouts, and accessories that make you feel like you’re in a spa-like studio, your outdoor space (backyard, patio, porch, or even garage) can transform into a meditative and motivational sweat sanctuary — even if you don’t have a whole lot of room to work with.
And you don’t need much, either. “A thick yoga mat, hand weights, and a phone for a timer and music inspiration can go anywhere you may find space — I do it all the time,” shares Sarah Latham of Latham Interiors. But if you want some suggestions beyond those basics, read ahead for more designer-approved tips for making an outdoor fitness studio at home.
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Outdoor Home Gym: Embrace The Environment
Some types of workouts feel especially suitable for the outdoors, so if you’re fortunate enough to have some space outside where you can create a fitness zone, this is a great opportunity to try equipment and accessories that require a lot more movement. Think a mini trampoline (Eva Longoria’s fave), a punching bag, or even a weighted jumprope. Does your outdoor area get a good view of the sunset or sunrise? That ambience is perfect for a mini yoga studio, so invest in a resilient mat, a weatherproof poof for meditating and setting intentions before practice, and so on.
Outdoor Home Gym: Pick Multifunctional Pieces
To keep your outdoor home gym looking chic and personal — in other words, more livable than just space crammed with bulky equipment, look for furniture pieces and fitness accessories that can be used a multitude of ways — a tip that’s both practical and design-focused. “A backless bench can become a multi-use piece of furniture for both additional seating and a fitness bench for arm and ab exercises,” says Founder and Principal of R Johnston Interiors. Another useful piece could be a tiered plant stand where you can display light sets of weights, recovery tools, speakers, and some stylish accents all in one spot.
Outdoor Home Gym: Make It Spa-Like
It’s all in the details, according to Johnston, who suggests a few decorative accessories to make your outdoor gym feel a bit more meditative and inspiring. “Take your fitness space to spa level by adding a decorative table tray to hold your water bottle, towel, and vase of fresh flowers,” she suggests. And Brianne Bishop of Brianne Bishop Design says adding candles and
even an outdoor sculpture can also make the space more beautiful and motivating. Another other ideas? A mini fountain could add to the zen environment.
Outdoor Home Gym: Add Some Plants
Speaking of ambience, if your outdoor space is lacking in greenery, Johnston suggests investing in a few plant babies. “Plants can go a long way towards making your fitness equipment blend into the surrounding scenery,” she explains. “I recommend selecting a few beautiful pots to fill with colorful flowers and, if you have room, adding a dwarf tree to help separate your fitness space from your lounge space.”
Outdoor Home Gym: Incorporate Technology
“Think of design as a way to engage all your senses and use a bluetooth speaker to play music and set the mood for your workout,” Johnston says. Other tech tools to consider for your outdoor gym include a smart kettlebell (it saves you space by offering multiple weight options in one device) and even a large screen (ie: not just your phone) to keep up with your favorite virtual workouts. “We've been installing outdoor televisions for our clients to use for outdoor fitness classes and have been crafting outdoor spaces around that need,” explains Kalah Talancy, Principal of KT2 Design Group.