Home gym upgrade

One of my personal projects during this sabbatical from my usual contract work has been to set up a small gym at home. With exception of a ballet barre, the gym is now complete and today's efforts focused on the technology aspects.

I enjoy a variety of fitness activities from weights and resistance band strength to yoga for flexibility and a wide variety of dance forms and combat for cardio. So it’s important that the “gym” isn’t simply equipped with dumbbells and kettlebells, it also has to have a television for my virtual classes.

The space is small so the TV had to be compact: mountable with no need to have large external devices, such as separate DVD player. I was averse to spending a lot money for equipment with a very narrow usage so despite my partner’s suggestion of purchasing a fully-featured smart TV and not simply getting the cheapest available, I held firm and chose something with reasonable definition, good colour, USB reader, plenty of HDMI ports and built in Freeview and DVD player without requiring a name brand or smart applications.

The Veon 32” high definition LED television met my requirements for size, functionality and cost. A TV mount keeps it flat to the wall when not in use or when watching from the exercycle but swings out for better viewing angle when doing “class”.

The in-built USB and DVD player takes care of a number of “classes” but I also want to use my Les Mills On Demand subscription and the apps available for smart devices such as the Johnson and Johnson’s 7 Minute Workout. A few years ago I’d purchased an Android Mini PC and today it was booted up for the first time in months. As the main television in the house is a Samsung UHD smart TV, it's no loss for the mini PC to be plugged into the gym television on an on-going basis.

I was super excited to plug it all in today and test everything.

Unfortunately the Les Mills On Demand app installed but crashed when opened. The Johnson’s app installed and opened but despite the functionality working as expected, the videos didn’t appear. I expect a little more debugging may solve the problem (I tested straight after installation and wonder if the videos hadn’t fully downloaded locally).

I was, however able to play the On Demand videos using the browser and the Mini PC’s wifi worked a treat even with distance from the router. A bluetooth mini keyboard enables me to operate it from anywhere in the room.

Setup:
  • Veon 32” high definition LED television with DVD player: $299 NZD
  • Ofa 13-32” TV mount: $59.99 NZD
  • Android mini PC: $69.90 USD
  • Bluetooth mini keyboard: $38.30 USD
  • Les Mills On Demand subscription: $19.95 NZD monthly (requires a Les Mills gym membership if in New Zealand)
  • Johnson and Johnson’s 7 Minute Workout: free
I firmly believe that having good equipment and appropriate spaces for various activities enhances both the experience and effectiveness. I love going into "my gym", turning on some sounds on the bluetooth speaker dock that's in there and doing a quick workout with the weights and other equipment. Now that there's some video as well as audio, I'm certain I'll enjoy some dancing, punching, kicking and sun salutations too.
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