When you have a small space, you’ve got to get creative. Many of us figured this out the hard way at the peak of the pandemic when our homes started multitasking like never before. I’ve carried some lessons over from this period. and learned that you can make any space dual-purpose without it looking cluttered. So I decided to turn my 90-square foot living room into a hidden home gym.
Walk on in and it feels like any normal living room–but when I open the TV stand, pull out my gear, and roll in my treadmill, it feels like my own little boutique fitness studio. Shop the products and platforms I use to achieve this duality below.
How I made my living room a hidden home gym
I’ve never liked the way televisions look like black boxes when they’re not on, which is why I was so excited to add Samsung’s Frame into my space. It allows you to choose from thousands of customizable pictures to display when the TV is off, and the 4K resolution will trick anyone into thinking it’s actual art.
I use the Samsung Health app (which is synced to my Galaxy Ultra and my Samsung Watch) to complete a range of workouts from yoga to dance cardio to strength training while tracking my health metrics. It’s like having my own personal fitness team on demand in my living room.
Ob? takes my living room workouts to the next level. The app offers thousands of on-demand classes in an entire range of modalities (Pilates! HIIT! Barre! Yoga! Spinning! The list goes on and on), but I love that I can tune into a live class at pretty much any hour of the day. I can only see the instructor, but hearing them call out other participants’ names makes me feel like I’m taking an IRL group class. The schedule also gives my routine some much-needed structure. If I wanna take Spencer’s dance cardio class tonight at 7:30, I’ve got to make time for it.
The Samsung Frame comes with a free, more limited version of Ob?. But to access the 22 daily live classes as well as over 8,000 on-demand classes, I just stream from my phone to the TV. Get a one-year membership for $170 or pay $25 a month for a more flexible plan.
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I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with cardio. It’s fun, in theory, but my favorite form of aerobic exercise is walking. And when I saw the 12-3-30 (incline 12, speed 3, 30 minutes) treadmill routine blow up on TikTok, I knew I needed to figure out a way to fit a machine into my space.
Considering I only had 90-square feet to spare, I knew I needed a treadmill that could fold away with ease but was substantial enough to incline–and I found that in the Echelon Stride. It’s the perfect treadmill for my small space, because when I store it folded upright in my hallway I hardly notice it’s there.
When folded for storage, the machine’s deepest depth is 10 inches, so it leaves more than enough room for my roommate and I to move down through our apartment. When I want to use it, I simply wheel it into my living room and get going. I not only use it for my workouts but also to get some extra steps in throughout the day–I’m actually strolling as I type this, and couldn’t be happier.
When I first heard of virtual reality fitness, I didn’t know what to expect. But then I tried Supernatural on the Meta Quest 2 ($400) and it is undoubtedly the coolest workout I’ve ever done.
Supernatural is basically the boxing version of Dance Dance Revolution. Floating orbs pop up on the screen and cue you to punch them, and different shapes and colors let you know what type of punch to throw and which arm to use. The headset transports you to all kinds of amazing destinations (think: Mars, the Temple of Horus, and more), and as you look up, down, and around, it truly feels like you’re there. Plus, thanks to curated playlists and energetic instructors, it’s the one workout I don’t have to psyche myself up to do: It’s so much fun, I hardly even realize I’m sweating.
This TV stand from Target is key to making my hidden home gym work. In addition to housing my board games and candle stash, it’s also home to my workout gear. I’ve dedicated one section to gym equipment and it’s perfect. I can keep my weights and booty bands in reach but out of sight. It was really easy to assemble and I love the drama that the black color brings to my space.
When I’m home, I love using lighter weights for pilates, barre, and general strength training (I tend to reserve heavier lifts for the actual gym), and this set gives me everything I need. It includes three-pound weights for low-weight- high-rep routines, plus five- and eight-pounds weights for normal-pace sets.
Bala bangles are the perfect addition to any workout, but I especially love them when I’m short on time. I like to implement them into quicker workouts to make things a bit more challenging, or strap them around my wrists or ankles to add some weight to my daily walks. They’re available in one- or two-pound options and come in eight gorgeous colors.
Squats and clam shells are amazing on their own, but have you ever tried them with a resistance band around your thighs? Resistance bands are one of my favorite tools because they take so many bodyweight moves to the next level. This set lets you choose between five different levels of resistance (from extra easy to extra hard) so you can pick the best option for your workout.
I love going into a yoga studio and getting to play with all the different props because, at home, my collection is much more abridged. Aside from my mat, these yoga blocks are the only yoga tools I have, because I hate practicing without them. They’re incredibly helpful for modifying and amplifying poses, which allows me to make my Asanas both easier and harder depending on where my practice takes me.
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