The Gym 2.0

So, as regular readers of this blog will know, I'm a huge LMOD fan.

In September 2019, I had an accident in the gym, and I went through a floorboard. We took the carpet up and found that whoever put the pipes in for the radiator in the gym, didn't take the floorboards up, they cut them NEXT to the joist. Meaning that the section that I was on wasn't on top of a joist and was flapping about (well, not literally flapping) with nothing under it at one end to stabilise it.

I've been assured that it could have happened to anyone, it was waiting to happen, because it had been there for years, just no one had put any pressure on it to find out that it was a problem. But it didn't happen to anyone, it happened to me. And although I rarely have fat days, this shook me and knocked my self-confidence a lot.

The Men assured me that it wasn't my fault, it was the fault of whoever installed the radiator, and that, contrary to my feelings, it was good that I found it, because that meant that they could fix it.

I wasn't convinced.

Since then, I've been dubious about being in the gym, because, to my mind, if there's one, there are bound to be others. I'm not going to lie, as a Plus Size Princess, it knocked my confidence, and I wasn't comfortable about throwing myself around up there, not knowing if I was going to go through another one.

Not being able to work out, or work out effectively not only impacted my physical health and strength, but the toll it has taken on my mental health was extreme. Exercise releases endorphins, we all know this, because I was so used to working out, first thing in the morning, to suddenly have my ability to do that taken away, was crushing.

So fast forward to lockdown and furlough when I literally had nothing to do with myself.

It wasn't too bad when I was working from home, but when I was furloughed essentially there was no routine and my world went to poo. Anyway, I go more in-depth on the Covid-19 page.

So, we suddenly had an overabundance of free time and no routine.

Time to get my Sh'BAM on, but I still wasn't comfortable with the flooring. Every time I went up there, I was hesitant about making all the moves and the jumps and worried about the weights in BodyPump. I weigh a lot, if you add a barbell and weights to that, it's even more weight on 2 size 6.5 feet in one spot.

I couldn't stop thinking that I was going to go through the floor again, no matter what programme I was doing.

So I spoke to The Men, and after a couple of weeks of searching, I found gym floor tiles on Amazon for a reasonable price (linked below). Obviously, during lockdown, everyone was working out at home because all the gyms were closed, meaning that everyone was buying weights and yoga mats and gym flooring for home (not to mention the massive influx of people to the Les Mills On Demand Facebook Group because they wanted to still do their classes). That meant that I had to search around for quite a while for decent tiles for the floor, but I found them eventually!

Then we needed to work out what to do with the floor. We knew as soon as we took the carpet up we were committed. There was nothing we could do but move forward after that.

Long conversations ensued, about the best way to go about sorting out the floor.

Plans were made, the order of actions was hammered out, things were bought (my full list with links is below), mock ups were made, I was prepared to 'loose' the gym for 3-days, but I ended up being without it for longer - see below!

We settled on hardwood plywood 9mm, which would not only strengthen the floor, but also give us a flat base to put the gym tiles onto, and we bought special tape to stick the tiles down (all links are below).

So this is where we started, and what I've been using for the last 2+ years >>>

As you can see, we have carpet on the floor, which was fine for a long time.

But when you're sweating all over it every day, or trying to at least, it's not the easiest thing to clean and keep tip-top.

It also hides all the imperfections in the floorboards (read = ill-advised cuts and flappy ends!) where we could have damaged the pipes underneath without realising.

Carpet also takes ages to dry, so if you properly clean it, it's out of action for days. It's easy to hoover, but you still end up with fluff and dog hair all over it, that sticks to you when you lay down to work out, even if you're on the yoga mat!

Time for...The Gym 2.0

Clear out the room and take the ledge up

Although the floor was completely clear, there was a lot on the white metal unit and behind the gym door.

We've taken a lot of doors off in our house, so we kept them in the gym, on the ledge, behind the gym door. Well, they needed to go somewhere, so we blocked up the bathroom!

Because the ledge wasn't attached to the floor or wall, we could literally just pick it up and move it (which made measuring the tiles really easy!).

All the big stuff went into the bathroom, and everything that had been on the white unit and all the weights, went into our bedroom on the floor

Take the doors off and take the carpet up

Note to self/others - take the doors off before attempting to take the carpet up!

So the carpet came up as cleanly and neatly as it's possible to do, which is saying something! It's always a messy job, even though I hoovered it just before we took it up!

Take the green tile things up

All of our floors have this on top of the floorboards and under the carpet. We think it's sort of like an underlay, or something that was put down because it was cheap to even out the floor, it could even have been the original flooring.

Basically, we have no idea!

But it's gone now, so it doesn't matter anymore!

I'm assuming as we change more rooms, we'll find more!

See which floorboards needed attention

Once we'd taken the carpet up we could see if there were any other cuts next to the joists - there were 3 others.

These were fixed by adding a section of timber, screwed into the joist and then the floorboard was screwed into that, to make sure it was stable again.

The floorboards needed to be 100% stable and secure because the hardwood was going to be screwed into them and we couldn't have anything underneath not fitting properly, or laying flat.

Mark out on the floor where the pipes are

We needed to do this so that we didn't screw the plywood into a pipe because the pipes were recessed into the joist.

The Men examined all the places where the boards had been cut, to see if there were pipes under them that needed to be accounted for when we were screwing the hardboard down into the floorboards and marked them on the floor.

Measure and cut the wood

The wood needed to be measured so that the joins were on a joist.

Doing this meant that all the edges could be screwed into a joist, no matter which section of wood was being screwed down. They were measured a few mm in from the edge of the joist to make sure that both edges overlapped the joist, for easy screwing!

This meant that all the edges and corners were the same height, which is useful if you're putting something down on top of it!

Can you tell that this was important!

Mark on the plywood where the joists and pipes are

We needed to do this so that we knew where we could screw into the joists and where was out of bounds.

We used a massive spirit level as a ruler to make sure that these were straight - and marked on the wall at either side of the room to make sure that we knew exactly where they were

Screw the wood into the joists

The Men screwed the 4 sections of wood into all the joists, so each section had about 30 screws in it!

This was overkill, and it was intentional. The Men know how worried I was at that point that there would be bounce in the middle of the 4 plates, so they made sure to put in 4 screws across each line and each edge, so that it wouldn't move a mm

Measure and cut the tiles

We started in the far left corner with one square and worked along from there.

The tiles were really easy to cut (once Hubster had put a new Stanley blade in!).

It was a bit fiddly to go around the door frame, but it wasn't the end of the world. What was even trickier was that we have 2 door frames virtually next to each other, but they're not the same, but we managed it!

Put the ledge back in and cut the tiles around it

Next we put the bottom of the ledge back down and cut the tiles.

We wanted the ledge to sit on the hardwood and not on the tiles, and as the ledge wasn't screwed into the wall (at this point, it is now!) we put it onto the floor and marked the line with chalk.

If you do something like this, make sure that if the ledge is on top of tiles at the front, that you put exactly the same tiles at the back as well. We had the edges that came with ours, so we put those along the wall to make sure that the ledge was straight and therefore, so were the chalk lines. If we hadn't have done this, the ledge wouldn't have sat flush on top of the tiles at the front and the line would have been off.

Again, we made sure that the Stanley blade was sharp, and then cut them to fit.

Screw the ledge to the wall and put the top back on

Because the ledge was made out of a frame and then a white shelf on top, it wasn't previously attached to the wall. We didn't know this until we took it apart, and I was nervous, now that we'd got it out, that it was essentially free standing.

Because of how I still felt about going through the gym floor, and something happening, it was decided that the frame would be screwed into the skirting boards to prevent it from moving around. As we had it out, now was the time to fix it to something!


Move everything back into the gym

Because all the doors and white metal unit were in the bathroom, this had rendered it out of action for a couple of days (thankfully we have a separate WC!), we needed to get the shower back!

All the spare doors were put behind the gym door on the ledge, where they had come from, and the white metal unit was put back in place.

Everything that had been on the white metal unit was scattered around the floor in our bedroom which meant it was like playing Jenga to get into bed at night, so all that went back in there again. It was starting to take shape!

Using off-cuts of the tiles for the weights

I decided to use the off-cuts from under the ledge to stand the weights on.

This might seem silly, but I didn't want to wreck the brand new floor by stacking weights on it, and creating dents!

We had off-cuts that were exactly the right width for the weights, so I put them underneath, butted up against the ledge - jobsagudden!

it also helps that our weights have flat bits, meaning that they stand up straight and don't roll all over the place!

Put the doors on, take the doors back off, put them on, take them off, put them on, take them off...

To be able to have the doors on properly we had to take the tiles back up again and put an off cut of the tiles on the floor to see if the door touched the tiles as it was opening and closing.

There was no point in screwing everything down and sticking everything, only to find that the door scrapes on the brand new flooring every time you open it!

Because we did this, we knew we needed to plane some off the doors, they came off.

We planed them, they went back on, they needed a smidge more, they came off, they were planed again, they went back on.

Then, when we were happy, they had to come back off because we couldn't put the tiles down when the doors were on because we had to stick the open edges to the hardwood. If the doors had been on, we would have had to have pushed the tiles under the doors which would have meant that they would have stuck to the tape before we wanted them to!

Then we stuck all the tiles down, and the doors went up for the last time.

Phew!

At this point, everything was done!

The floor was 100% finished, the doors were back on, everything was back in there where it should be.

Then the waiting came - which I'm not very good at, I don't mind admitting!

The sticky tape we got takes 72-hours to fully set!

Seriously?!

The gym is ready to go and I can't step foot in it until Friday night?

What kind of travesty is this?

It's sitting there, calling my name, and I can't touch the floor because the damn sticky tape isn't stuck!

Grrrr!

Doesn't this look amazing?! >>>

I can honestly say that this has changed my life - I'm not joking!

Knowing that I can work out on a proper floor and not worry that I'm going to go through the floor means that I can Sh'BAM all over the room, fully throw myself into the moves, jump and kick as much as I want to, without fear.

Being able to sweep it clean, brush it all out onto the landing carpet then hoover it up before a workout, so that there's nothing on the floor that I could stand on and damage the flooring.

Don't use a hoover on the tiles - the hoover is too heavy and will leave track marks, or pull the tiles up because they're not stuck down.

Being able to sweat and drip all over it then get the Flash PowerMop out and attach the microfibre pads and just clean the floor properly, is wonderful and really quick with virtually zero effort!

When I say that this room has changed my life, I mean it.

I've tried setting my alarm for 0500 before, and it never worked, it doesn't work all the time at the moment, but as I'm still on furlough for another couple of weeks, it doesn't matter, it works most of the time, and that's the important thing.

My alarm now goes off at 0500, I get up, set a 45-minute alarm (there's a post-it-note on the inside of the toilet door at eye height reminding me to set an alarm!), come downstairs, let the girls out into the garden, have a coffee, close down my Trello card for yesterday (adding the screenshot of my activity for the day before), add all my stats into my habit tracker & my sleep stats and generally start my day.

When my alarm goes off, I go up to the loo, then grab my gym clothes, go into the bedroom, get changed, then head into the gym (the room next door).

I have Sony bluetooth headphones connected to my iPad, meaning that I can work out at twat o'clock without waking anyone else up, which is a game-changer. Don't get me wrong, I love working out in the middle of the day when everyone is awake so that I can blast my music (the neighbours don't mind), but there's something about the solitude in a morning workout, where it's just you and the music in your ear, that's invigorating.

I work out first thing so that I know I've closed at least one ring on my Apple Watch (Exercise ring) before the world gets in the way and I have to be a wife, mother, colleague, daughter, daughter-in-law, granddaughter & friend.

My time in the gym is my me-time, nothing else matters, no one needs anything, I'm not letting anyone down by not being available for an hour, simply because no one else is awake to need me for anything! I get in there, bottle of water on the windowsill, headphones on, LMOD on the iPad blaring in my ears, and I give the best I've got for however long the video is.

This was our shopping list, in case anyone is interested!

  • Hardwood Plywood from Totem Timber
    • We bought 3 of the 9mm x 2440 x 1220 (probably could have got away with 2, but it's always better to have more than not enough!)
  • Wood screws from Amazon
    • This is kind of obvious, but if you're screwing wood into wood - you need wood screws!
    • Yes we bought a lot of them, but in all honesty we had no idea how many we'd need.
  • Gym Tiles from Amazon
    • We got 24 mats for 96 sq. feet - and we had 2 packs left over
    • This was intentional;
      1. To make sure that if we had to cut odd pieces we'd have enough and;
      2. Because I wanted mats for the bench to go on for BodyPump (on top of the ones on the floor), so that the feet on the bench don't mark the floor.
    • It also meant that there is an additional square under the fan in the far left hand corner, as well as another square in the left hand front corner, where I put additional weights when I'm doing BodyPump (for hand weights etc) without marking the floor
    • The off-cuts we had (from cutting in under the ledge) I stacked up in the right hand far corner and these have the additional weights on them that won't fit on the unit, and these don't mark the floor either
  • Sticky tape from Amazon
    • We bought 3 rolls because we thought that we would have to stick down each tile to the hardwood underneath. But ended up using about 10 inches!
    • As it turns out, because a lot of the tiles run edge to edge, nothing actually moves, because it's between a wall and a wall, or a wall and the ledge. There are only 3 that end on an open section; the door to the gym and the built in wardrobe door opening, so these are the only ones that are stuck down!
    • But on the plus side, if I do worry about the tiles slipping (which they haven't so far, I have to say), then we have plenty to be able to stick each tile individually to the floor should we need to
  • Wood plane from Tool Station
    • We didn't have one, so we bought one!
    • This was used to take a little off the bottom of the gym door and built in wardrobe door, so that the door didn't rub across my nice new floor!
  • Flash Power Mop from Amazon
    • I already have one for downstairs, but this is awesome on the gym flooring
    • The normal Flash PowerMop pads don't work on the tiles because they're ridged, but if you buy the microfibre pads (the next link), it works a treat!
  • Microfibre heads for the Power Mop from Amazon
    • We also have these for downstairs and I swear by them - use them, stick 'em in the wash, job done!
    • Because I bought a second PowerMop for upstairs and the gym will need cleaning either every day or every 2 days, I wanted to make sure we always had enough to be able to do the whole house without worrying about whether we had enough!