Robb Report's 21 Ultimate Gifts: Gentleman's Gym

  • Sheila J. Gibson

Build a man a gym, and he will exercise for a day; build a man a custom-tailored workout environment, and he will exercise for a lifetime. That twist on an old axiom explains why Mark Harigian is a giant among home gym designers. He creates personalized workout areas that encourage even the most reluctant exerciser to return again and again, and he will build an environment in your home—complete with a gentle waterfall flowing from the back wall into a Plexiglas-covered koi stream winding through the walnut plank floor—that is sure to inspire your inner athlete.

The customized treadmill, which faces a 42-inch retractable plasma screen, will be one of many machines that will allow you to engage in a clever bit of virtual reality: As the screen shows images of your favorite running route, the treadmill track will incline to simulate its steepness. While swimming or using the rowing machine in the sunken pool, you will be able to adjust the speed and intensity of the flowing water by remote control, and a pair of screens will rise from the floor and flank you with appropriate scenes, from tranquil lakes to rough seas. Hovering over a third machine that simulates the experience of rock climbing is another screen, which will project images of cliff faces as you claw your way up the slowly rotating, tilting treads. A stationary bike and an elliptical machine, each with their own 32-inch screens, will round out your workout choices.

A total of nine custom-built weight-training machines, customized to your exact measurements, will do much more than improve your overall bodily strength. Controlled by Harigian’s patented computerized system, these sophisticated machines will note your progress, remember your last workout, and change the weights. A smart-looking set of laser-cut stainless steel dumbbells completes the array of strength-training equipment.

The reward for a session well spent is an opulent shower room that includes a redwood sauna, a combination steam room/hydrotherapy room, and a 50-gallon copper soaking tub. If all that is not incentive enough, Harigian will also accompany you on a weekend sport/adventure vacation—from mountain biking to white-water rafting at Lake Tahoe or Lake Isabella in California or Sun Valley, Idaho—and follow it up with two weeks of personal training.

Price: starting at $750,000.
Contact: Mark Harigian; 818.243.5132; www.harigianfitness.com.

To build the gym, Harigian will require at least 800 square feet of space (about the size of a three-car garage).

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