Having your own space to train clients is a common goal of many personal trainers.
But finding the space and getting the equipment can be overwhelming.
Don’t be discouraged. This article will explore the options a PT has when considering how to equip a home gym to train clients.
Why Train Clients In Your Home Gym
Operating your personal training business from a commercial gym is the most common path for a personal trainer, especially during the early stages of their career.
It is possible to develop a client base by spending time on the gym floor, interacting with members, and displaying their coaching skills.
A good personal trainer can build a healthy business and make a decent living. However, it is often not as simple as the PT course led them to believe.
Commercial gyms make money from personal trainers. That’s the bottom line.
Most gyms expect something in return for allowing a PT to train clients within their facility. This ranges from taking a healthy percentage of their earnings, expecting the trainer to work as a gym instructor for a set number of unpaid hours, or, more often than not, both.
Some excellent PTs are working in commercial gyms while doing very well.
Unfortunately, many are enduring low-paid, cutthroat, and micromanaged situations with little chance of professional or personal development.
Equipping and operating a home gym for training clients is a fantastic alternative to mainstream personal training career routes.
For a PT with an established client base combined with the experience and confidence to work independently, it can be one of the most professionally and financially rewarding situations a trainer could put themselves in.
A proactive and enthusiastic personal trainer can make the best of any space available, from a simple spare room gym to a fully equipped, top-end garage gym set up.
Key Considerations Before Equipping Your Home Gym
Finding the Right Space
First, to identify the space available for training clients you need to consider several factors.
Look for a space that is accessible and available all year round. For example, your spacious double garage may be perfect for a large gym. Still, suppose you and your partner’s vehicles are stored in the garage for the winter months.
In that case, it means it can only be used as a gym during the summer without significant upheaval. Not viable for a sustainable business.
Equally, it’s probably not worth considering the spare bedroom in your two-bed apartment if you have a baby on the way.
Also, consider the environment of the space you will be using.
The outbuilding at the bottom of your garden may seem like the perfect space. Still, that leaky roof and poor insulation make for a damp environment. Trust us when we say expensive gym equipment does not thrive in the damp!
Weigh up the options of spending money to refurbish the roof and walls to create a useable space.
Or look for an alternative room in the house that may appear inferior at first glance but provide a much more suitable working environment.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking bigger is better when it comes to the space that you will install the home gym. A well-designed set-up and a knowledgeable trainer can make the smallest of spaces work.
Choose the most suitable area for the conversion.
Ensure it is accessible and available and will be a genuine addition to your household rather than hindering the day-to-day life of you and your family.
It is also worth checking your tenancy agreement to ensure you are permitted to have a home gym.
Now, that you have identified your space, now you need to figure out how best to use the space.
Type of Clients
It is pretty easy to equip a home gym to accommodate many types of clients.
However, trainers make common mistakes that can waste money and make their home gym less efficient.
Suppose 90% of your client base are elderly ladies who are new to exercise. In that case, it is probably unnecessary to spend thousands of dollars on a competition-grade Olympic bar, 1000lbs of bumper plates, and a deadlift platform.
Will you be training individuals or groups?
Group training often involves a circuit-style session or a coached session with each participant training in their allocated floor space. If you fill the gym with heavy, immovable equipment, group training will become tough.
We often get dazzled by deals that the fitness equipment dealers are offering. And we can end up buying excessive or inappropriate kit.
Take some time to identify your equipment requirements by analyzing your client’s needs.
Type of Training
Are you a specialist in HIIT?
Or are the majority of your training sessions based around lifting weights for strength or bodybuilding? Will you be performing strength and conditioning sessions with athletes?
Perhaps you will be doing all of the above, plus a weekly yoga session. Consider the type of training sessions you will coaching when designing and equipping the home gym.
Forethought will help you avoid frustrating situations. Such as not having enough weight plates or buying a heavy, expensive piece of equipment that just takes up valuable floor space.
A critical factor is how much you can justify investing in your home gym set-up.
It would be best if you had high-quality equipment. Because you are training clients, the kit should carry a commercial or at least a semi-commercial grade to ensure it is robust enough for personal training.
If you decide to purchase low-quality, non-commercial equipment, the risk of injury increases, and the chances of your insurance supporting you diminish should an incident occur.
Commercial equipment is expensive.
If you don’t have an open checkbook budget, we recommend looking at quality refurbished equipment to seek affordable options.
Although the most up-to-date models won’t be available in the second-hand market, they can be very cost-effective.
Remember, this is a business venture, and the goal of any business is to make money. It is easy to overspend on the initial outlay on equipment. Make sensible decisions based on your business plan.
Often people do not have the resources to pay for an entire home gym set-up in one go. In this case, you can go for loan or finance options.
But make sure you shop around and find the best deal with the most affordable payments based on your financial projections.
Now, that we have the admin out of the way, let’s move on to the recommended set-ups.
Recommended Home Gym Set-Ups for Training Clients
Let’s look at some example set-ups for three different training focuses – HIIT, Strength, and Hybrid (i.e. combination of strength and HIIT).
For each one we provide an essentials or starter set-up and a more advanced, next-level set-up.
Note that the cost estimates are based on buying new equipment. If you are buying used equipment, apply a 20-50% discount.
1. HIIT Focused Home Gym Set-Up
Essentials – Starter Set-Up
Cost: U$8,000 – 10,000
This gym was designed for a personal trainer looking for a HIIT set-up in a small bedroom to train individual clients.
The folding, wall-mounted rack is an excellent piece of kit for this set-up. You can use it to perform rack-based exercises such as squats and bench press.
The unused rack can then be stored tightly against the wall to create floor space for other activities. The weights bench is stored on a wall-mounted hanger to make space.
The bumper plates are stored on a moveable toast rack to be easily moved into place or tucked out of the way.
The dumbbells are adjustable as a space-saving option. We also recommend exploring adjustable kettlebell options.
The SkiErg, Spinning Bike, and Compact Treadmill are space-saving options. They can be picked up for reasonable prices on the refurbished market.
Next Level – Advanced Set-Up
Cost: U$14,000 – 16,000
This gym was designed for a personal trainer looking to train individuals and small groups in HIIT sessions.
The space is an exterior garage with plenty of floor space.
The power cage, bench, and deadlift platform can be left in place.
A full rack of dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls are a perfect addition for multiple users.
There is a full-size Treadmill, SkiErg, and Air Bike. There is also a rowing machine that is wall-mounted and is easily movable to any position.
There are excellent multi-function choices such as soft plyometric boxes, parallettes, and rings, as well as a GHD machine.
2. trength Training Home Gym Set-Up
Essentials – Starter Set-Up
Cost: U$ 4,000 – 6,000
This gym was designed for a personal trainer looking to provide strength training sessions for individuals.
The folding rack is once again used as an option for squatting, bench pressing, etc., but can be stored flat against the wall and the bench mounted on a wall hanger.
A commercial-grade multi gym includes a wide variety of upper and lower body strength exercises. A full rack of dumbbells complements the set-up nicely.
Next Level – Advanced Set-Up
Cost: U$25,000 – 28,000
This home gym was designed as a next-level facility for providing individual and group strength training sessions. A high budget funds the equipment.
We have included a lot of excellent equipment in this set-up. The heavy-duty power cage is multi-functional, enabling a wide range of strength/powerlifting activities, and acts as plate storage.
There is a full rack of dumbbells with an area allocated to dumbbell exercises. However, the entire floor space is covered with 15mm rubber matting allowing weights to be handled safely throughout the room.
The cable crossover machine is a fantastic inclusion.
This model can also be used as both a high and low pulley option for exercises such as lat pull-downs an
d seated rows.
There is a selectorized leg press that can be used for a wide range of machine-based leg exercises. However, there is also a combination leg-extension / hamstring curl machine. On the opposite side of the room is a combination chest/shoulder press machine.
These machines allow us to have almost all the options of a much larger strength gym in a relatively small space without compromising quality. A quality personal trainer would be in their element working with clients in this set-up.
There is a treadmill and exercise bike for warm-ups, cooldowns, and cardio work.
3. Combination of Strength Training and HIIT Home Gym Set-Up
Following the guidance we have provided so far in this article, you should have a good idea of how to equip a home gym for training clients. The examples we have provided are quite specific.
You may wish to create more of a hybrid facility to train different types of clients or run various group sessions.
Considering some of the equipment options we have suggested, you should come up with some fantastic designs.
If your floor space enables you to run small group sessions or circuit-style sessions, consider putting in the kit we have recommended for the smaller-sized rooms. This will utilize the area the best.
Putting a foldable squat rack and a movable toast rack enables you to have clients squatting bench pressing and other strength exercises and allows you to free up space for circuit stations or floor exercises.
Traditional cardio machines like treadmills and cross trainers tend to very heavy and take up quite a bit of space.
For your hybrid gym, consider lightweight and easily movable cardio options like rowing machines, SkiErgs and Airbikes.
The mindset towards these machines is often all about high-intensity sprints. Still, they are easily adapted to lower-level cardio training if necessary. You can also move them around your home gym to create a variety of exercise stations.
Multi gyms are fantastic, but it is amazing how many exercises you can perform on a basic functional cable machine, which takes up far less space.
We also recommend positioning anchor points around the room for suspension trainers and training bands.
Other Considerations When Training Clients In Your Home Gym
To ensure your clients are comfortable and your gym is operational all year round, you need to install suitable cooling and heating equipment.
It is well worth investing in a decent fan to keep air circulating in your home gym, helping keep you and your client cool in hot weather.
Interestingly, a low-powered fan pointed at an angle towards the ceiling can encourage the warm, risen air to increase the comfort level during cold weather.
During very warm or icy conditions, you may want to consider an air conditioner or heater to make sure your clients are comfortable.
There are two factors here, hygiene and protection. A carpeted floor may be warm and comfortable underfoot. However, it will soon become unsanitary if your clients are sweating all over it.
Easy cleaning rubber matting is a great option, especially if you plan on using weights that may be dropped and damage the existing floor.
You must check with the companies who insure both your home and you as an instructor. They will advise you if any changes need to be made to existing policies.
Training clients in your home gyms can be an advantageous method of personal training. With a little planning, investment, and hard work, it is possible to establish a business where you are your own boss, manage your diary, and enjoy all the profits.
We hope this article has inspired you to consider setting up at home. Or perhaps it has given you some ideas for the type of equipment you could use when thinking of how to equip a home gym to train clients.