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You read it all the time – in every single magazine, Google search, or blog about how to be happy, how to get healthy, how to live longer – the answer these all have in common is always exercise. Not just once a week or once a year, but regular exercise. The message is very simple and cannot be overstated.
Still, why is it that we must hear it time and time again for it to sink in? Our struggle is not that we don't believe exercise is important or that we're just not listening; the issue is the consistent part. Life is busy, no matter who you are, and even when you do find the time, heading to the gym isn't always the first thing on your mind.
Luckily, there is a way to fit gym time in your busy lifestyle in a way that you can enjoy, without the monthly fees, crowded equipment, and gym-timidation.
All the health benefits you would reap at the gym, you can get without ever leaving home – once you build your own home gym, it will become the real workout space of your comfort zone dreams. This article will tell you everything you need to know to build a budget home gym to make exercise both convenient and consistent.
In This Post:
- Setting Up Your Workout Area
- The Equipment Essentials
- The Ultimate Investment Pieces
- More Home Gym Ideas
Setting Up Your Workout Area
Visualize and find a space in your home that you can dedicate to your workouts. This could be in a garage, spare bedroom, office, or basement. It could even be on your back porch or patio. In most cases, a 6×6-foot space will be sufficient for your workout routines. If you don't have a room to spare, create a small area in one of your home's larger rooms, like your living room.
To optimize the space for your equipment and workout routines, you will need to clear the space you've chosen of clutter and any other distractions.
Pump up the Music
Music is a powerful and useful thing when it comes to enjoying our workouts and keeping us focused and motivated, even though the fatigue. Keep a small radio, Bluetooth speaker, or laptop in your area that you can use to play your favorite workout tunes. If you know you will want to follow routines, consider setting up a TV or computer monitor for your workout videos or DVDs.
Add anything else to your cheap home gym space that you think would help you get the most of your workouts. For instance, setting up a mirror on the wall helps you check form, but it can also serve another purpose of making your space seem bigger than it is – this will help you if you're ever feeling a little cramped!
The Equipment Essentials
Once you've found your space, it's time to start building your cheap home gym, and we think there's no better place to start than with the following five essential pieces of cheap home gym equipment:
Every budget home gym needs a yoga mat. It doesn't matter if you are not strictly doing Yoga or Pilates – if you plan to do core work or any fitness programs involving floor work, you need a good mat to protect your joints and keep you comfortable. You can purchase a decent 5mm-thick yoga mat for around $20. Keep in mind that the thicker the yoga mat is, the more cushioned it will be, which is great for floor work, but if you are doing a lot of yoga, you may want to look for something with a good grip instead of or in addition to thickness.
Resistance bands are the simplest, most space-saving, and affordable way to add resistance to your workouts. Plus, you can work them in with just about any strength training exercise, from shoulder presses, chest presses, bicep curls, triceps extensions, and squats. No need for all the dumbbells or heavy weights! You can get a set of three to four resistance bands, each varying in resistance level for under $5.
Stability balls are ideal for improving coordination and balance, but they do more than just that. Because they require more hip, core, and shoulder work and stability, they are great for strength training. You can get a decent stability ball for around $30. Other than that, you just need to know your size and weight to ensure you pick one out that's the right size.
You can build your own pull-up bar or buy one that doesn't require any assembly at all. For around $40, you can hang a sturdy pull-up bar in your doorway. Pull-up bars are an incredible exercise for your biceps, back, core, chest, and shoulders – this simple piece of equipment pretty much has your whole upper body covered!
We applaud you for making it this far into your cheap home gym equipment checklist, but we didn't forget how important quick workouts are for your busy schedule. Having a stopwatch or a timer you can leave in your workout space will help you with interval training. You can buy a stopwatch for under $15, but if you don't need anything fancy, you can also download an interval timer app on your phone.
The Ultimate Investment Pieces
Let's say you've already got the basics or are ready to take your budget home gym to another level. These pieces of fitness equipment are a little bit more of an investment, but the return will be worth it in terms of adding more excitement and challenge to your workout. And remember that you're investing in yourself and a healthy, happy future ahead!
These will become your go-to for all your weight training needs. Investing in a pair of adjustable dumbbells will save you not only money but space. You could easily spend more than $350 (the price of these adjustable dumbbells) on just your basic sets of weights – not to mention the rack that you'll have to put them all on. Or consider ankle weights and dumbells from Mirror – a bit on the pricier side but are great quality.
Every pair of adjustable dumbbells needs a weight bench, of course. This will help you maintain proper posture and form while doing various weightlifting exercises. Of course, you don't have to always use a weight bench with weights – for around $200, you can get a decent bench that enables you to do plenty of other bodyweight and core exercises as well.
Have you ever seen a piece of equipment at the gym and wondered, what is that half of a ball-looking thing? That's a BOSU Ball, and you were right on point. It is half of a stability ball, and it's every bit as versatile as it is unique looking, which makes it the perfect fit for your budget home gym at the price of around $150. Not to mention because of its half-sphere shape, it will stay put as you exercise as well as when you lean against the wall after use.
TRX Suspension System
The TRX Suspension System is the ultimate piece of home gym equipment if you want something you can set up anywhere and get a full-body workout. TRX offers a variety of suspension systems you can use at home, starting at just under $200, and they are great for core strength and balance.
If you are looking to focus on your sports performance or increasing your dynamic strength, not just static strength, medicine balls are perfect for this. Medicine balls come in various weights and range in price depending on how heavy; a five-pound ball is about $20, whereas a fifty-pound ball is around $80. Of course, the latter might be a little excessive for your home gym, but if you have space, go for it! We were just trying to give you an idea of the variety you can have with these weighted balls.
Just because you're building a budget home gym doesn't mean you can't have the variety you need! Unfortunately, you can't buy a real training partner to be available when you want to work on grappling, drilling, and self-defense, but a grappling dummy is the next best thing, and you can buy one for around $500, but that's not including shipping.
By now, you can see that fitness doesn't have to be an impossible feat, nor does it have to take up a lot of money, time, and space. We live in a time where things like this are becoming more and more accessible, but even if you're someone who still plans to go to the gym to switch things up, it never hurts to have a few essentials and space to call your own for the days where you lose time. By creating this space for yourself, you're making a commitment to your health and to bettering your life, and one day it will become a space you never want to leave!