Add Muscle to New Year's Resolutions with Home Fitness Room

Des Plaines, IL, January 14, 2009 --( A New Year’s resolution to work out and get in shape is only as strong as its practice. To keep a resolution packing a punch, a workout routine is key. According to members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), a home fitness room offers a major advantage – convenience – in maintaining a New Year’s fitness resolution.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association found that between 2000 and 2006, 30% more Americans exercised at home, with baby boomers concerned with maintaining their health leading the way. Backing up this research, NARI member James Bartelme, president of Bartelme Builders Inc. of Oconomowoc, Wis., says his fitness room customers are mostly active adults, rather than families with children at home.

According to Tony Rink, CR, vice president and general manager of Renovators Ltd. in Brookfield, Wis., area homeowners take a practical approach to adding fitness space. “What we find is that people want multipurpose rooms,” Rink said. “They may ask for a basement build-out and utilize a portion for fitness equipment.”

Working Out a Room Design

Converting interior space into an exercise room is relatively easy because little, if any, plumbing or extra electrical work is required. Placement should take into account providing access to a nearby bathroom, offering space to move without disturbing other rooms, and allowing ventilation for fresh air.

The style of the room should match the style of the homeowners, whether it’s quiet and meditative or energizing with music, video, or group activities.

Homeowners are more likely to be motivated to use a home fitness room that is outfitted with quality equipment, thus the room’s overall budget will need to include exercise equipment. A budget plan can be used, with equipment added throughout the year, perhaps quarterly.

Electronic equipment can include a TV fixed on a swiveling, ceiling-mounted bracket, set into a niche in the wall, or mounted on an arm that extends in front of a treadmill during a workout and then tucks away against a wall when not in use. A DVD player or VCR can be added, as Rink mentioned that if homeowners record their favorite TV shows, workout time is often used to view those and “catch up.” He said the most athletic clients have strong sound systems, so that they can work out vigorously to music.

Flooring should be durable; tiles made of vinyl, rubber or cork are appropriate. If selecting carpet, Rink suggested choosing a tightly woven style that cushions without cramping a routine.

A floor-to-ceiling mirror will create the illusion of a larger space and reflect posture while exercising. If extra lighting is desired, recessed can lights may be installed at an exercise station.

Rink recalled one homeowner added space for workouts to an already finished basement. “We adapted the furnace room and maximized their basement. We finished a space that they thought they’d never finish. The resulting fitness space was 11’ x 16’, which held a treadmill and a stack weight set. We re-engineered a beam above and added dense rubber matting,” he noted. Rink said another homeowner who finished a basement under an addition devoted a 12’ x 15’ area to fitness equipment on a painted concrete floor.

He said more elaborate planning came with a master suite added over a garage, where a fitness room joined a master bedroom, a bath, and walk-in closet. French doors were placed at the entrance to the 15’ x 15’ workout room, while Berber carpet was used so the space could be repurposed later, if desired.

Bartelme recently worked with the design of a “sport court.” He said, “It’s an indoor or outdoor sporting arena with multiple game options including basketball, soccer, touch football, pitching, and batting. It requires excavating if basement space is used because the height is between 16 and 20 feet.” Bartelme said customers recently placed a sport court in an addition to a house, under a garage extension.

Editor’s Note: NARI can provide high-resolution digital before and after photos of award-winning remodeling projects to accompany your story. Contact Nikki Golden or Jessica Tobacman at NARI – or call (800) 611-NARI.


The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry. With more than 7,700 member companies nationwide, the Association – based in Des Plaines, Illinois – is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry”TM. For membership information, continuing education opportunities in the remodeling industry, or to find a contractor in your area, visit NARI’s Web site at, or contact the national headquarters office at (800) 611-NARI.
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Nikki Golden