Creating a Home Gym for the New Year on a Budget

Getting healthy — and staying that way — requires regular, consistent exercise. If you struggle to get to the gym, it might be time to bring the gym to you. Working out at home eliminates the extra time in the car and makes fitness possible, even when the weather outside is frightful. But setting up a home fitness center can get expensive. New year, new you…same wallet? Here are 11 tips to help you create a home gym on a budget.

Assess your space

Most home buyers don’t move into a home with a dedicated fitness area or gauge a property’s value based on whether there’s space for a home gym, but that’s the first step to take when creating your workout area. Before you start buying equipment, determine the available space in your home. It should be enough space to fit whatever equipment you need without feeling cramped.

Decide on a budget

Your budget will vary wildly depending on the exercises you plan to do and how much you can afford. Yoga requires nothing more than space for a mat and a shelf for prop storage, but once you start buying full-size weight benches or stationary bikes and treadmills, the dollars begin to add up. Decide on a reasonable budget for your home gym project. Stick to it and prioritize essential items to avoid overspending.

Start with the basics

You don’t need thousands of dollars to get fit at home. Some basic equipment is enough to get you started. Consider items such as resistance bands, a yoga mat, and a jump rope. Dedicating space to use these essential tools is often enough to get you motivated initially, which gives you time to expand.

Don’t buy new equipment

Secondhand exercise equipment is available online, at local garage sales, and at thrift stores. You might also find deals if a local fitness center is closing.

You’ll likely come across dumbbells, kettlebells, and free weights, but it’s also possible to find treadmills, stationary bikes, and older models of trendy equipment, such as Peloton bikes. Just make sure to inspect used equipment carefully for safety and functionality. 

DIY free weights

If your search for affordable dumbbells or kettlebells is fruitless, make your own. Water bottles and sandbags can be used until the equipment you need goes on sale or appears at a yard sale.

Tailor your exercise to your budget

You don’t need expensive equipment or specialized gear to get fit. Body-weight exercises use your own mass to work out effectively. Pushups, squats, lunges, and planks are remarkably effective and require no special equipment.

Harness technology

Technology can add variety to your workouts on a budget. Workout apps, YouTube fitness channels, and online resources for exercise routines are usually free and can provide motivation to keep you moving consistently.

Avoid equipment with one function

A stationary bike is only good at being a stationary bike. Instead, consider affordable equipment that can be used for more than one exercise. For example, a stability ball builds core strength, is used for stretching, and helps develop better balance.

Make yourself comfortable

Working out can come with a level of stress and strain, but that doesn’t mean your workout space shouldn’t be comfortable. Before filling the room with equipment, invest in a good-quality floor mat or surface, a fan for ventilation, and a fridge or water cooler to stay hydrated. Adding a Bluetooth speaker is also a great way to play music and recreate the vibe of a gym outside the house.

Add to your equipment gradually

You don’t need a fully stocked fitness center all at once. Chances are good you won’t really know what equipment you’ll need most until you regularly use your home gym. Take some time to see what workouts get you the best results. Over time, you can gradually add more equipment or upgrade what you have. This approach also allows you to adjust your fitness goals and makes building a proper gym more affordable.

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