If you enjoy working out, chances are you’ve often dreamed of designing and installing your own home gym. No more membership fees, long drives, standing in line for machines, or getting frustrated when someone hasn’t reracked the weights!
For many of us, though, the idea of a home setup seems out of reach – home gyms are expensive, right? Well, good news, your dream might be more affordable than you think. Read our tips to discover how you can set up a fully-featured gym at home, even if you’re working within a limited budget.
Plan for your needs
You’ve probably all seen pictures on social media of people with more money than sense showing off their home gym setup. Rows of machines, bikes, rowers, steppers, stretching into the distance. And we’ve all thought, “how often does any of that expensive-looking gear actually get used?”
If you’re setting up a gym at home, you shouldn’t be trying to replicate your local mega-gym. You just need the right equipment for your style of workout (and maybe your family!), So in this article, we’re going to look at the basic setup you’d need to focus on weights. If you’re more of a cardio person or more into CrossFit, the equipment you focus on to begin with will be different, but the principle is the same – you don’t need what you won’t use.
Start with the essentials.
To begin with, you need to draw up a list of the must-have items for your gym. As far as possible, you want only to pick multipurpose items – don’t go for gimmick products, which can only be used for one particular exercise.
The first five items which we would recommend you look for are:
- Flat bench
- Jump rope
- Olympic barbell
- Squat rack (if possible including a pull up bar)
- Weight plates
Depending on your budget, you could also add a couple more items to your startup list: dumbells or kettlebells and a resistance band or pull up band.
Focus on quality
Although you’re operating on a limited budget, there is such a thing as paying too little for your equipment. We’ve all heard the phrase “you buy cheap, you buy twice,” right? Cheap gym equipment is almost always an unfortunate investment, and when it comes to items like barbells or racks, if your equipment fails, you could be looking at a severe injury as well as a financial loss.
Take the time to research the most reliable brands relevant to the equipment you intend to purchase. You can use Google to get an idea of how much items are selling for and browse customer reviews, or you can talk to fellow gymgoers, some of whom may have their own home set up and will be able to give you informed advice.
Keep an eye out for bargains.
You can still save money while focusing on quality if you’re prepared to do a little bargain hunting. Much of the equipment needed to fit out a home gym can be bought secondhand – after all, it makes no difference at all if the 10kg plates you’re lifting used to be attached to someone else’s barbell before yours.
You should be careful when buying used goods, especially online, and make sure that what you’re purchasing is the genuine article. Don’t opt for products that seem too good to be true, or you may end up with damaged or rebranded goods. It’s usually better to inspect the equipment in person, so check your local classifieds, garage sales, flea markets, or even local gyms, which may be upgrading or replacing equipment.
Set a development goal
Building a gym is exactly like building muscle. While you may be starting small, if you put in the effort over time, you’ll soon see the results. It would help if you kept a development plan for your home gym, noting down the next few purchases you want to make. Now you have a target to work towards in terms of saving and a reminder to stay alert to any upcoming deals.
Remember, if you’re moving from a gym membership to a home gym, you can save not only the cost of your membership each month, but also the price of gas used traveling there, and any food or drinks you would usually buy on site. Invest this spare money back into your home gym, and you’ll have all the extras you need in no time.
Keep a detailed record of your gym sessions, and if you find you’re not using one or more pieces of equipment or using them very infrequently, it might make sense to sell them and spend the money on something you will make more use of.
The tips above are a perfect starting point for anyone looking to set up a home gym or workout space. But as we’ve said above, there’s no substitute for personal contact, so chat to the people at your local gym, and you might be surprised at how many of them have useful tips on sourcing equipment in your area. Good luck and happy building!