Check out this great article from my health/fitness bloggin’ buddies over at Northwest Pharmacy/Health Perch on how you can save money & time by creating your own gym at home! Be sure to visit their site, a digital health magazine, for a variety of topics related to physical and mental wellness as well as how to fight the signs of aging. Access their site here or at the below link.
Long commutes, expensive membership fees, and bad weather are just a few excuses that stall a regular workout routine. Consistent exercise promotes better health, improved energy, and a positive mood, so why not create a space for exercise where it’s most convenient: at home.
Though elaborate at-home gyms sound dreamy, these budget-friendly ideas are sure to keep a body moving without breaking the bank. Home gym equipment doesn’t have to be bulky. Build a killer routine using items that stow away under beds, pack in bags, are portable around the home, and can be crafted using items found at the hardware store.
The Savvy Home Gym Dos and Don’ts
- Make use of what you find around your home. Old gallon jugs can be refilled and used as weights. Chairs, tables, and stools are also great pieces for plyometric, elevated, or decline moves.
- Purchase items that store away so your gym doesn’t take over an entire room. Look for items you can tuck beneath the bed, store in baskets, or tuck on a shelf in the closet. For travelers, look for portable items you can pack up when you are on the go.
- Scour garage sales, online resell sites, and gym closeout sales. Used gym equipment is often just as sturdy as brand new equipment, but at a fraction of the price. Many people get rid of equipment to make more room in their homes or because they don’t want to move it when they relocate. This is an opportune time for a bargain. Additionally, gyms that are moving or going out of business often hold fire sales.
- Splurge on expensive and clunky equipment you may never use. It’s better to start small and work up to more expensive equipment as you expand your home gym. It can be tempting to purchase equipment because it sounds convenient, but it may turn into a bulky dust bunny cavern instead.
- Set up a workout space in a room you rarely visit. When training at home, try to allocate an enjoyable space that feels like a sanctuary. Working out next to the washing machine or in a dank basement has less appeal than a cozy corner in the bedroom or a sunny spot on the patio.
- Get too much too soon. Only purchase items you plan to use in the next few months. Wait to purchase heavier weights and more advanced equipment until you are ready to use it. Home gyms are meant to grow over time as you learn new exercises, increase strength, and become more proficient at training. Think of gym equipment as a reward for all that hard work. It feels great to go out and buy heavier kettlebells or a pull-up bar when those muscles get stronger.
The Home Gym Starter Kit
Resistance bands pack a lot of power into your workout without taking up space in your home. Exercise tubing, loop bands, mini bands, and power bands are just a few types of these affordable exercise tools. These bands are available in different levels of resistance: generally light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy.
Aerobic step benches provide a useful platform that adds variety to your training. These sturdy surfaces aren’t just for step aerobics. Use them for step-ups, box squats, bench press, lateral lunges, incline push-ups, and so much more. For some moves, depending on the sturdiness of the piece of furniture, you can sub in a stool or chair you already have in your home.
Not limited to yoga, a quality mat offers a padded, stable surface to perform floor exercises. Mats also protect your flooring from sweat and dirt that may build up while you exercise.
Kettlebells or dumbbells
Bodyweight exercises alone can build strength and endurance, but adding weight elevates training to a whole new level. Kettlebells and dumbbells each offer their own unique benefits to training, and both have pluses and minuses. Kettlebells require a slight learning curve, but once mastered, they often become a preferred resistance-training tool for many because a single kettlebell can be used for multiple exercises. Kettlebells are also more compact as they go up in weight, so a 30-pound kettlebell takes up less space than a 30-pound dumbbell.
Another versatile resistance training tool, medicine balls can be used for explosive movements, core work, squats, and sports-specific training. Medicine balls come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. It’s best to research which type works best for the exercises you plan to incorporate into your workouts.
Though it can be added, a pull-up bar helps build a strong upper body and core. Bars can be mounted into the wall or hung from a doorframe and easily removed after each workout.