Home Gym on a Budget

by Krantcents · 54 comments

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Would you like a home gym?  All the movie stars have a home gym and you can too!  Do you have to be a movie star to have one?  No, not really!  In fact, you can put one together for very little money.  Over the years, I belonged to a health club and went there regularly during the week and even weekends.  I spent years in the gym, but it was worth it.  It takes a lot of work to keep me fit.

I have had a home gym for fourteen (14) years and use it all the time.  I have a cage, bench, weights, treadmill and mag trainer (for my bicycle).  I keep it close and handy in my office.  Do I use everything all the time?  I use the weights four (4) to five (5) times a week.  This includes a barbell, dumbbells and a lat bar.  I only use the treadmill and mag trainer when I am squeezed for time or in bad weather.  What do you need in terms of equipment?

I think you need aerobic and strength equipment.  Your heart is an important muscle and needs exercise.  Your muscles and bones need weight bearing exercise.  My equipment shares my office so space is limited.  What do you need?  You need a cage or rack, bench, barbell and dumbbell set. I bought mine for less than $150, but that was fourteen (14) years ago.  Used equipment is a good choice or on sale.  A lot of people buy exercise equipment and never use it.  Years later they decide to sell it.

You could be the beneficiary of unused exercise equipment.  Make sure it works and does not need repair unless you are handy.  You can look online, newspaper or just check yard sales.  Find exercise equipment stores in your area or large department stores may have the equipment.  I bought my equipment on sale at an exercise equipment store and the treadmill at Sears.  The treadmill was approximately around $100 fourteen (14) years ago.  This is another piece of equipment you can buy used.

I recently received a mag trainer as a gift that I use with my bicycle to make it a exercise bike.  You can buy that for around $100.  I like the idea of having a choice which aerobic exercise (treadmill or stationary bike) I can use when the weather is bad. If you do not have a bicycle, you can buy one used for roughly $100 or new for $350.  I have had the same bike for twenty (20) years and use it from two (2) to six (6) times a week.

Exercise equipment is generally bought near the beginning of the year and people stop using it in a few months.  Either it gave them what they wanted which was that great summer body or they gave up exercising.  Either way, they may sell it very cheap.  For some reason, exercise equipment does not fetch a high price.  Check your local paper or neighborhood for deals.

The only other thing you may need is a good book for weight lifting.  I bought the Gold’s Gym of Body Building Encyclopedia.  It is easy to understand and use.  If you are thinking I am a very serious body builder, you would be wrong!  I want to keep fit, but not look like a body builder.  I am five (5) foot nine (9) inch male weighing roughly 145-150 pounds. I managed to maintain the same weight through exercise and eating healthy.  Living a healthy lifestyle extends my quality of life.  A home gym can do that for you.

Wrap Up

Just having a home gym won’t make you  healthy, but using it will!  Buying the equipment used or on sale will save you money.  You need to make the time to use the equipment on a regular basis. You can always run, walk or do yoga for exercise!   If you want to have a home gym, you can put one together for $500 or less.  It is not cheap, but cheaper than the typical health club membership.  Would you like a home gym?

Phot by:  freestockimages

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Joe @ Retire By 40 August 8, 2012 at 6:26 am

I think a home gym is a waste of money for most people because we don’t use it. :) Now that I don’t have a gym membership, I just do “boot camp” type of stuff when I go to the park with the kid. (jumping jack, push up, steps, etc…) This is ok, but a gym would be nicer. I had gym equipment at home when I was younger, but I rarely used them. My favorite home gym equipment was a pull up/dip station. It helped my back feel better.

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 6:45 am

You’re right most people don’t use it! That is one of the reasons you can pick it up cheap. Most people start gym membership enthusiastically and never go more than a few times, but that does not stop people from signing up. Everyone should exercise, but many do not. A home gym is an alternative to an expensive gym membership.

AverageJoe August 8, 2012 at 7:29 am

I agree with both you and Joe: the key is using it, so go used, if possible. I bought my equipment at Play It Again Sports for super low prices. I use that stuff regularly. The only thing I’ve ever purchased new, a Nordic Trak, is the best clothes hanger I’ve ever had.

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

I remember trying out the Nordic track at a gym. I didn’t like it. The key to staying fit is finding exercises that you like to do. Then you will do it. During the summer, I ride my bicycle 6-7 days a week (90 minutes), lift weights and walk (30 minutes) with my wife after dinner. I have done most of these things for more than 25 years.

Kurt @ Money Counselor August 8, 2012 at 7:49 am

I’d like to have a home gym, but don’t have the space. I do own one of those adjustable dumbbell sets and throw those around a bit, and I have a gadget that lets me ride my bike indoors. Other than that, we walk and hike a lot, and I cycle. Because our immediate neighborhood and region is quite hilly, I feel (hope?) walking is a pretty good cardio workout.

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 9:18 am

You are doing fine. Bicycling is my aerobic activity of choice too. During the winter, I use a mag trainer so I can do it indoors.

Greg@ClubThrifty August 8, 2012 at 7:57 am

Ugh…as soon as my $65/month gym membership is up, I’ll be looking into finding some home gym equipment. I don’t know why I keep making the same mistake by buying a gym membership, but I do. You would think I’d learn after a while.

Another place you can find great deals on equipment is at Craigslist. People are selling stuff on there all the time, especially come March/April :)

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

he reason they sell in March/April is they realize they won’t or haven’t used it. I enjoyed my gym membership, but it is expensive. A home gym is a great alternative.

Jon Rhodes August 8, 2012 at 8:34 am

Just go for a run and do some pressups – it’s totally free!

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 9:22 am

There are lots of free or almost free things you can do, but people either don’t do it or want variety. Setting up a home gym is relatively cheap and convenient.

Darwin's Money August 8, 2012 at 10:02 am

This is pretty bad, but I actually bought a weightbench and some weights off a guy on craigslist for $100 a few months ago and it’s still sitting my garage. I’ve been meaning to clean out my basement unfinished side and get it set up but during the summer I try to spend as much time outside as possible so I never get around to spending a day cleaning up and setting it up. Thanks for the reminder!

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I was fortunate to have room in my office for my home gym. Fall and winter are good times to set things up and use the equipment. That way you can look good in the summer.

Lance@MoneyLife&More August 8, 2012 at 10:03 am

Honestly I know I would buy items with good intentions and then never use them. Checkout Craigslist for cast offs of other people’s home gyms to get a deal.

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Once you get in the routine, you start to form good habits. As soon as you see what those good habits do, you stay with it.

maria@moneyprinciple August 8, 2012 at 11:07 am

We have been thinking about doing this for sometime now. Have only weights for now – and I have not used them even once. But I do work with a trainer (long distance running needs doing stuff that only a trainer can give you) and am a member of a gym (barter arangement).

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Long distance running is amazing! I used to run 2-3 miles a day many years ago, but stopped because I was concerned about all that pounding on the joints. I took up bicycling instead.

Debt Free Teen August 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm

My home gym consists of kettlebells and a pull up bar. I can do a lot with that! And it doesn’t take up much space. The pull up bar is mounted to the patio cover outside. It’s made our of galvanized steel pipe!

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Sounds simple enough! I would want some aerobic activity too. For me, bicycling is my aerobic activity, but I need to bring it inside when the weather changes. Even southern California rains occasionally!

Kathleen @ Frugal Portland August 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I was at the park yesterday with my best friend’s son. The monkey bars SCHOOLED me, it was really embarrassing. We have weights at work, which are also embarrassing.

Krantcents August 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Sounds like it is time to regain your composure or start working out! It is really bad when kids can embarrass you physically.

Brent Pittman August 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I’d love to set up a home gym some day, but that will super expensive since I’ll need to buy a house first! I used to like the exercise at home idea, but I really enjoy getting out of the house and going to a gym. I’d really like to join a cross-fit gym, but those are $100+ a month.

Krantcents August 9, 2012 at 6:16 am

The house connection does add some additional cost! I use bicycling and walking to get me out of the house. I like the convenience of having a home gym because I can work out when I can.

Barbara Friedberg August 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I gave up a gym membership a long time ago. I do tae bo exercise tapes, swim, walk, lift weights, and do yoga…. not all on the same day :)

Krantcents August 9, 2012 at 6:18 am

Sounds good! Very little equipment, but you get aerobic and anaerobic activity too.

Ornella @ Moneylicious August 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

A home gym does sound cheaper than a gym membership. Personally, I need to be out of my comfortable environment. So what works for me is going to a gym membership or signing up for different workouts–like Crossfit. When the weather permits go for a run or do some sprints at a local park.

Unless, I had a big enough place, it would be kind of cool to have a room dedicated for gym usage.

Krantcents August 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

You really do not need much room fro a small home gym. I love the convenience of having it close by and I can use it anytime.

Corey @ Passive Income to Retire August 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm

We have a few barbells and an exercise bike. It helps me get through the cold winters without going crazy for lack of activity.

Krantcents August 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Sounds like a mini gym! :) I go through withdrawals if I cannot exercise.

Untemplater August 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Hey that’s cool you have a home gym and you actually use it. I knew a woman who had one but she never went in there so it was a total waste.

I do free exercise routines through comcast at home every now and then since I don’t have a gym membership. It’s nice to be able to jump right in the shower after and not have to drive anywhere!

Krantcents August 10, 2012 at 6:49 am

I think convenience makes it more likely you will exercise. Years ago, I used to run on the golf course before it opened every morning. My home overlooked the first hole so it was very convenient.

Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals August 11, 2012 at 4:53 am

Lately, I’ve been doing BodyPump classes at the gym… which is funny, because I could buy the weights for probably under $50 and do it on my own at home. The issue for me is motivation – I need the class setting to keep me moving! (Plus, since I work from home, it’s imperative that I get out of the house every once in a while!)

Krantcents August 11, 2012 at 9:12 am

I understand because in the summer I feel the same way. I bicycle or walk to get me out of the house.

MakintheBacon$ August 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm

People often assume that since I’m a part-time fitness instructor, I work out at home a lot or do a lot of work outs by myself. It’s quite the opposite for me. I need the motivation and need to be in an environment where other people are working out. I get real lazy and slack off if I try to work out by myself. I have done a bit of outdoor cycling with my bf this summer. I don’t think I would go very far if I went by myself. For me personally, a home gym would be a waste of money, rather than a gym membership. But one of the perks of being a fitness class instructor is that I get the gym membership for free. :)

Krantcents August 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm

You’re right, most of us presume that when people select fitness as a career, they probably like to work out wherever. For me, my motivation is the feeling I get from being fit.

Daisy @ Add Vodka August 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Hmm.. I’m unsure. I’ve seen a lot of home gyms go unused, and I also energize myself by getting TO the gym, though sometimes I feel like it would be way easier to just work out at home.

Krantcents August 12, 2012 at 6:01 am

Personally, I like my home gym because of the convenience. I can use it at 6 AM or any other time I wish to use it. The key is using it.

Harry Campbell August 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I’m not a huge fan of home gyms either…I think a gym membership is ok if you use it a lot. If not, just go to the park and go for a run, do push ups, sit-ups, find a bar, etc. Buy some bands, there are literally hundreds of workouts you can do.

Krantcents August 13, 2012 at 6:42 am

Whether you have a lot of equipment or just bands and space to work out, it is a home gym! You need to do aerobic and anaerobic exercise to stay fit.

jefferson August 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

i would love to have a decent home gym, to be honest.. but it is a bit cost prohibitive.. the numbers that you have seem a little low, and i think most folks would end up paying double or triple that, these days..

all i have in my basement is a few barbells (15s and 25s) and a cheap k-mart bench with a 100lb max bar.. i really need more weight, but it is all that i have.

i’ll keep an eye out.. i need to find out if the used equipment stores ever have clearance sales..

Krantcents August 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

Keep an eye out for used equipment and check Craigslist. You don’t need health club quality because you won’t have 100s of people using it.

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter August 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm

This is a big topic the last couple weeks. Seems to be popular. We have a series of videos and small pieces of equipment like dumbbells and such. We love working out at home. It is convenient, takes little space, and saves us a ton. Plus by doing it at home we can workout before work which saves us a ton of time after work when we need to do other things. I like working out on my terms.

Krantcents August 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I agree, I have had my home gym for close to 14 years! It is very convenient and I can do other things as well as work out.

Jen @ Master the Art of Saving August 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I’ve actually been blessed with mainly free exercise equipment because my mom gives me the stuff that she upgrades. Right now, I have an exercise bike, elliptical, treadmill and various weights.

I’m fixing to turn half of our garage into home gym, but of course it won’t do any good if I don’t use it. :-)

Krantcents August 14, 2012 at 6:50 am

Very true! Too many people do not use their equipment. Whether it is the equipment or exercise in general, it is important to do something you will continue.

Benjamin @ Trees Full of Money September 2, 2012 at 6:36 am

LOL, my wife and I spent $2000 on a fancy elliptical that I think we’ve used 10 times (maybe) since we’ve bought it!!

Krantcents September 2, 2012 at 6:59 am

You can start using it now. Besides feeling better, exercise is good for you.

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