How to Build a Home Gym without Breaking the Bank

cheap home gymIf you are on a budget, you already know how costly gym memberships become over time. Why not invest in your health with a home gym?

First, answer the question – What are you training for?

Are you looking to lose weight, build muscle, gain fitness or a combination of these things? Weight loss won’t be achieved through cardio alone. As your body adjusts, you will need to change up your routines to prevent you from getting in a rut. Generally for overall health you should aim for a combination of cardio and resistance training. Cardio is great for burning through calories as well as boosting your cardiovascular health. The resistance training will help build lean muscle which supports your metabolism, helps burn off fat and increases your strength. Sometimes women are weary of resistance or weight training as they don’t want to add bulk to their frame. The opposite is normally true – you’ll see your body tone up and become defined.

Big ticket pieces that you will find at your local gym – like treadmills, spin cycles or elliptical are the pricey items that you might want to avoid while starting out with your home gym experience. The last thing you want is to commit to a piece of equipment priced up to $10,000 when you are trying to save yourself some cash. Home gyms aren’t for every-one; some people need the experience of a gym for motivation. Until you know that you can stick to your fitness goals at home, hold off on the expensive gear.

Once you know your new habit is going to stick around, perhaps reward yourself with a fancy toy. The best time to purchase fitness gear is a month and a half after Christmas – you guessed it, when unwanted Christmas gifts or unused New Year’s resolutions start to appear for sale on website –for much less than full retail price.

To build a home gym that will let you explore your fitness goals, start with:

A Mirror – Being able to see yourself head to toe is important for form. When you are working out solo at home, you’ll need to keep an eye out on proper form to avoid injury and make the most of your workout. $20 can get you a simple long mirror to affix to your workout space. Just be careful that you are focusing on the right goals. Mirrors can lead people to work only on the muscles that they can see while ignoring important ones like the back or triceps however this can lead to imbalances and injuries. When choosing the area for your mirror, keep in mind this will be your work out space. Is it free from distractions? Ideally you want a room that you can close off from the rest of your living area so that you know it’s a space for exercise.

Dumbbells – Dumbbells are a must have for your home gym. They are small enough to store easily but versatile enough for a range of workouts. Either go with a set of three common weights like five, ten and fifteen pounds or better yet, pick up a set of the best adjustable dumbbells which can add plates with a simple flick of a switch. These are popular as they are an all in one item.

A good quality stability ball – A stability ball offers the chance to work out your core and improve balance and strength, think abdominal crunches, squats, hamstring curls, body bridges – just so many options. These are another small and easy to store piece of equipment for the home gym.

Resistance Bands – These are simply elasticised bands that you use to add resistance to body weight training. Strapped to a door, table or bench, resistance bands become the home gym version of the universal machine. You can achieve a full body workout by using them for lat pull-downs, standing chest presses, squats, shoulder-related exercises.

Remember, it’s not about having the most up to date or trendy (read – expensive) gear. A home gym with the most basic equipment will help you reach those fitness goals as long as you are putting in the hours and the sweat.

Or you could even make your own gym equipment!