Set up your home gym

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So you’ve decided that you finally want to get fit, but going to the gym wears you out more than you would like. Perhaps you don’t live near a gym and thus have to spend long hours during the commute to and from the gym. Or maybe you find commercial gyms a little too expensive. Or could it be that getting sweaty in front of strangers freaks you out?


Whatever the cause, there is no reason why you can’t still work out to take care of your body. James Mwangi, a fitness instructor who runs Monster Gym in Juja, says that setting up a home gym is a viable option to enable one achieve their fitness goals.

“Setting up a home gym can be relatively easy and does not necessary involve a lot of cash or special equipment,” the fitness instructor says.

To begin with, you will need to find space in your home that can accommodate your make-shift workout area.

“A spare bedroom, the veranda, store, or even the garage can be converted into a space that’s dedicated to workouts,” says Mr Mwangi, who also advises clients who want to set up home workout programmes. He adds that lack of spare room should not be a hindrance as space can always be created by shifting furniture around in the living room or bedroom.

Mr Mwangi advises that you set up your home gym in a place with minimal disturbance to allow you to focus on your routine. To minimise distractions, you can use the living room early in the morning before the rest of your family wakes up.

Installing wall mirrors in your workout space might be a good idea, Mr Mwangi says. “The mirror will allow you to monitor how your body is responding to the exercises. It will give you an illusion of company while working out, besides making your exercising space seem larger than it actually is,” he explains.


If you are keen on using DVD workout programmes, you might want to ensure that your TV is placed at eye-level, which Mr Mwangi says is ideal for following the routine. You can also add music to enhance your workouts.

“I have noticed over the years that people tend to exercise longer while listening to rhythmic music,” he says.

An important aspect to consider when setting up a home gym is flooring.

“The correct floor,” Mr Mwangi explains, “will help prevent injuries and also make your workout equipment last longer.”
A thick, padded and soft carpet, preferably made of foam, is ideal. And a yoga mat will go a long way in ensuring that you can do stretches comfortably.

“Motivation plays a big role in ensuring one sticks to their routine. I usually advise my clients to stick motivational posters and visual goal reminders on their walls,” says the instructor.

At his Monster Gym, motivational posters and workout processes line the wall. “Being fit is the new sexy,” one reads

“A woman at the gym is more attractive than a woman at the club”, and “Every beauty needs a beast,” others add.

Once your workout space is set, you can add the necessary equipment gradually.

“Making your workout plan effective doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a tonne of equipment. You’re better off starting with a few key pieces and gradually adding others when you need them.”

Mr Mwangi says your choice of equipment largely depends on what you want to achieve.

“If your intention is to lose fat or maintain your figure, then you should focus on cardio equipment. A skipping rope is a great tool to start with here. A treadmill, though quite expensive, is a good addition. A stationary bike is another option to consider for cardio workouts,” he says.

However, if you’re looking to gain muscles, you should invest heavily in weightlifting equipment. Here, a gym rack will be key as it can not only be used for weight lifting, but also pull-ups.

Dumbbells can be useful but if you’re already quite strong, Mr Mwangi advises that you go for the relatively heavier kettle-bells. A barbell and plate set is also a great addition as it enables you to exercise a wide range of muscles.

Other key equipment to start you off might include an ab roller, a quality adjustable workout bench, stability balls, resistance bands and, if space allows, a punching bag.

“People are always re-selling gym equipment they haven’t used and gyms are frequently shutting down. You can thus buy cheaper second-hand equipment by looking through online reselling platforms such as OLX,” Mr Mwangi offers.

But irrespective of the equipment, Mr Mwangi insists, the only way it will work out is if you are disciplined and use it.

“Having a home gym is not for everyone,” he notes. “Some people prefer working out in a group at a commercial gym. There you will enjoy classes by instructors, which you might not get if you decide to go it alone,” he points out.

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