How I Set Up My Small Home Gym 

Farrah's Small Home Gym

Struggling to make it to the gym regularly due to work and family commitments? Or, how about lacking motivation to work out? I can relate to that. Five years ago, I made a life-changing decision to invest in a home gym. Looking back, it was one of the smartest investments I’ve ever made.

In this article, I’ll share the reasons behind my decision to create a compact home gym, the factors that led me to choose Nordic Track equipment, and how my iFIT subscription plays a crucial role in keeping me motivated and engaged in my fitness journey. Additionally, I’ll share important factors to consider when setting up your home gym.

Making the Decision to Invest in a Small Home Gym

As a working mother with three school-age kids, finding time to go to the gym is often impossible. With drama rehearsals, cheerleading games, and swim lessons, not to mention homework and dinner, there are simply too many commitments to juggle.

Although I consider myself a morning person, I treasure the mornings as my personal time. Before my husband and kids wake up, I make it a point to focus on myself. It’s during this time that I indulge in the simple pleasure of sipping coffee while journaling and writing. 

Before having children, I used to go to the gym at 5:30 in the morning for a workout. However, now it’s not practical for me to leave at that early hour. As a result, my exercise habits have been drastically reduced, causing me to gain weight and feel sluggish.

When I get regular exercise, I feel happier and have more energy. I feel good about myself and handle stress better. Once I stop exercising, the impact is always immediate, not only on myself but also on those around me both at work and at home.

After a few years of one-off cardio and yoga workouts, I decided to create my own home gym. If I couldn’t physically get to the gym, I was going to bring the gym to me. My goal would not be to train as a former Navy Seal, but to make it fun and something I look forward to. 

Selecting the Right Equipment


My first step was to select a dedicated workout space. So, I cleared out a small area in my basement (11ft x10 ft) that I had planned to use as my lady’s den. Instead of a room filled with dainty furniture, a library of books, a massage chair, and a tea bar, I was planning to build a gym complete with all the exercise options I needed to get my mind and body right. As a woman in her 40s, this was no longer a nice to have, but a must-have.

I first purchased an inexpensive treadmill at my local Walmart. Both were no-frills. It was small with a timer and basic functionality. 

Though I was excited about having equipment in my new workout room, I quickly realized, that just any equipment wouldn’t do. I didn’t feel comfortable on the machine. I felt like I was just too big for it. Additionally, it was noisy, didn’t incline and didn’t feel stable. It wasn’t long before I got bored and stopped using it.

I’d then gone to my local sporting goods store to try out different equipment and that’s when I fell in love with iFIT. 

Discovering iFIT

Because I love to travel, even though I don’t get to nearly as much as I’d like, an iFIT subscription would enable me to travel the world while I exercise. Score! It was the perfect solution to combat boredom. 

I found myself standing in the middle of Dicks Sporting Goods for over an hour, completely engrossed in exploring various outdoor activities. The options were endless! I came across hiking trails in Chile, running routes in Portugal, intense HIIT workouts in Hawaii, and thrilling bike rides in Jamaica. It was truly unbelievable. Where had this incredible world of adventure been all my life?

The decision was made at that point, whatever home gym equipment I purchased, had to have iFIT. No exceptions!

NordicTrack Front Drive Elliptical

NordicTrack Elliptical

For my next purchase, I wanted a full-body workout, therefore I opted for an elliptical. I’d read numerous reviews about NordicTrack and decided to give it a go as it had my number one requirement, which was iFIT enabled. 

I purchased a NordicTrack Elite 10.9i elliptical with roughly a 7″ touchscreen. It was sleek, smooth and felt sturdy. I loved that the trainers could adjust my incline and resistance leaving me to focus on the experience instead of fidgeting with the controls. It was also the first equipment I’d purchased that had a built-in fan. That fan feature quickly became my next must-have feature.

After a year of using the elliptical, I was still motivated to use it 3-5 days a week. With a fun exercise machine at home, it was pretty difficult to find an excuse not to work out often. 

Learn more about their newest elliptical.

NordicTrack S22i Studio Bike

NordicTrack S22i Bike

The next addition to my small home gym was a bike. A bike seemed like a great alternative to using an elliptical. 

At the time, the Peloton bike was all the rage. I went to a Peloton store to try it out and I have to admit, the bike was smooth. However, at the time, it was missing three key features that I placed on my must-have list: a built-in fan, auto resistance and incline adjust and trainer-led outdoor courses. And so, Peloton was nixed from my list.

Once again, I did research and saw great reviews of the NordicTrack S22i, however, this was a much bigger investment than my elliptical and my rinky-dink low-end treadmill, now turned expensive clothes hanger. 

My husband and I decided at that point to go big or go home. It was at that point we decided to uplevel our investment in our health. This purchase was not a random frivolity; instead, it was a purposeful investment in exercise equipment.

And so, we ordered the S22i Bike. I quickly became addicted to the larger screen. To go from 7″ on an elliptical to 22″ on a bike was a game-changer. And with that, a large screen size was now on my must-have list for cardio equipment. 

Learn more about the S22i.

NordicTrack X32i Treadmill

After 3 years, I had a bike, an elliptical, and an unused treadmill in my home gym. It was time for me to get rid of the no longer-used treadmill and replace it with one that I would use. 

Over the years, I’ve come to understand the value of investing in quality particularly when it comes to machines and equipment. So, based on my satisfaction with recent purchases from NordicTrack, it was clear to me that I wanted another NordicTrack product. 

Of course, I did my due diligence by visiting several local stores to test out different treadmill options. Once again I loved the look and feel of the Peloton treadmill, however, being that I prefer trainer-led outdoor courses over studio courses, Peloton wasn’t a contender. 

When I tried the NordicTrack X32i treadmill, I was immediately hooked. The powerful built-in fan, the ultra-quiet belt, the sturdy feel, the trainer auto-adjusted incline and resistance, the massive 32″ screen and of course, iFIT enabled were all features that I was looking for. 

Being that my bike had a 22″ screen, I knew that this upgrade would make an incredible difference in my home workouts. And just like that, we invested in purchasing the X32i treadmill. 

Learn more about the NordicTrack X32i treadmill.

For an in-depth review of the X32i treadmill, click here.

NordicTrack RW900 Rower

NordicTrack RW900

Just months after I purchased the treadmill, I bought a rower. I knew I needed a compact exercise equipment that would also target upper body strength. There was no need to test any other brand and I knew I wanted the largest screen they had. Go big or go home!

The NordicTrack RW900 was the perfect addition to my compact gym. It doesn’t take up much space and it’s an all-around fun workout equipment. It works all the major muscle groups while giving me a great cardio workout. 

Learn more about the latest model of the NordicTrack RW900.

Other Exercise Accessories and Equipment

In addition to my cardio machines, I’ve also equipped my home gym with a few other exercise essentials:

Yoga mat: A great way to add some stretching and relaxation into my routine. Additionally, it’s perfect for my new hobby, which is practicing yoga. 

Yoga blocks: Essential to many of the poses I do during my daily yoga practice. 

Resistance bands: These are an absolute must-have for any home gym – they provide a great workout and are easy to store away when not in use. 

Free weights: A great way to add strength training into my routine. 

Exercise ball: Incorporates balance and stability into my workouts. 

Enhancing My Home Gym Decor

To liven up my space and make my home gym feel even more like my own, I’ve added a few finishing touches. 

Mirror: Mirrors are a great way to make an area feel larger. It’s also a staple within any gym. 

Plants: To give the room some life and add a touch of nature, I’ve added a few tall and short plants.

Motivational artwork & quotes: I love surrounding myself with positive words and visuals – it helps to keep me inspired and motivated throughout my workouts. 

TV: Although I have an iFit subscription, I appreciate the flexibility of switching between cable and streaming services. As a result, I have mounted a 55″ TV on the wall.

Towels: An essential addition to any home gym, these towels serve a dual purpose. Not only do they protect my equipment from sweat, but when neatly displayed, they also bring a touch of elegance to the decor, creating a spa-like ambiance.

What’s Next for My Home Gym

NordicTrack Vault: Complete

Currently, I leverage my local gym membership to do strength training and yoga classes. However, I’m looking forward to taking my fitness routine to the next level with the NordicTrack Vault: Complete. The 61.5″ Reflective Mirror coupled with storage for strength training accessories would be perfect for my small space. 

Learn more about the Vault: Complete.

NordicTrack AirGlide 14i Elliptical 

Now that I’ve been spoiled with exercise equipment with 32″ screens, the need for a larger screen on my elliptical is a must. Therefore, I plan to replace my current elliptical with the NordicTrack AirGlide 14i Elliptical.

Learn more about the AirGlide 14i Elliptical.

Deciding What to Put in Your Home Gym

Creating a home gym is an individual decision and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The key is to find items that you’ll use and enjoy. 

Here are a few considerations: 

  • Space – how much room do you have to work with? Do you have a dedicated area or are you using part of a room? 
  • Frequency – how often do plan on using the space? If it’s only occasionally, stick to the basics. But if you plan on using your home gym daily, it might be worth investing in higher-end equipment. 
  • Budget – having a good understanding of what you can afford plays an important role in deciding which items to purchase. 
  • Motivation – consider items that keep you excited about your routine. 
  • Fitness goals – what do you want to achieve? Do you need a treadmill, elliptical, bike or strength-training equipment? Consider items that can help you reach your goals. 
  • Comfort – make sure the items are comfortable and suited for your body type. Pay attention to weight and size specifications. 
  • Subscriptions – Every equipment brand offers various subscription options. Do you lean towards outdoor courses or studio courses? Live classes or on-demand classes? Any specific music genre or selection? These factors are crucial when it comes to choosing your workout preferences. So, make your choices wisely, as they greatly impact your fitness journey.
  • Integration between all machines – Being able to monitor and exchange data from multiple machines is crucial to me. Does it hold the same significance for you? If it does, then this should be included in your list of considerations.

No matter what you choose for your home gym setup, having a space dedicated to physical fitness will help you stay healthy and motivated! 

Final Thoughts

Passing by a gym every day may be effortless, but it’s far more challenging to simply stroll past a designated room in your own home dedicated to fitness.

Each morning, I find myself pondering, “where shall I venture today? The pyramids of Egypt, the volcanoes of Hawaii, or perhaps the rolling hills of Scotland?” The anticipation is genuine. I embark on a virtual journey, immersing myself in different parts of the world, while simultaneously delving into the depths of their local culture and history. It’s an enriching experience that never fails to captivate me.

I’m so glad that I decided to create a small home gym with NordicTrack equipment and a subscription to iFIT. Investing in my health and well-being has proven to be the most valuable decision. It has provided me with a means to alleviate stress, enhanced my overall fitness, and propelled me towards achieving my exercise goals.

Whether you’re seeking a compact home gym that fits snugly into limited space or a more expansive setup, having the appropriate equipment and subscription can truly make a world of difference.

With all the options out there, it’s never been easier to create a customized home fitness setup that works for you!

If you’d like to learn more about iFIT, try it out for yourself. Sign up for a FREE Trial.

I’d love to hear from you! What equipment do you have in your home gym? 

Cheers to our health and fitness! 

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