I’ve been asking Chad to turn our garage into a gym for years and 2020 is finally the year I got him to agree. I mean, sure.. it only took a pandemic and the country shutting down for it to happen, but hey.. I’m counting it as a silver lining in my playbook 😉 (pauses to set a reminder to find that movie and watch it again this week).
We’ve had a ton of people (mostly neighbors walking by to see who’s blaring the 90s rap from their garage in our yuppy neighborhood) want to know where and how we found everything in our gym. From the flooring, to the rig, to the dumbbells, to the booty bands, building our gym is something we’ve actually been working on over time for years. Girl, I’ve basically been building a home gym before building a home gym was cool 😉
One of my very first pieces of equipment was a 6 pound medicine ball I bought YEARS ago back when I still lived by myself in my apartment that used to flood. Ahh. The good ole’ days. I never use the thing anymore, but I can’t bear to part with it because at the time it seemed like such a splurge – and definitely a defining moment in my fitness journey from couch potato to 6 pound medicine ball lifter.
Building a gym in its entirety can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’re trying to order equipment in the middle of a pandemic (because dumbbells are the new toilet paper, did you know?) But don’t let it stress you out. There’s zero reason to break the bank when trying to track down gym equipment. Here’s my hard-learned advice for trying to build a home gym without accidentally spending your entire life’s savings.
How to Build a Home Gym on a Budget
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Just like that 6 pound medicine ball I bought 13 years ago. If you don’t have the space, money, or resources to input an entire gym in your home, then buy the equipment that you can afford AND you can store reasonably. Some essentials to include may be:
- Booty Bands
- Resistance Bands
- Yoga Mat
- Medicine Ball
- Stability Ball
- Jump rope
- Bosu Ball
- Plyo Box
I love this inexpensive sandbag from Elite Sports. It ships relatively quick and comes empty so you can fill it with whatever you’d like. (Sand is my option but I’m guessing you could also probably use dried beans or something similar?) It can hold up to 39 pounds.
You’d be amazed at the amount of things you can do at home with just the few things listed above. (Some workouts you don’t even need equipment for, like this at-home bodyweight AMRAP). The best part is, everything in that list above is somewhat small; meaning you can easily store them away in a spare room, closet, or up on a shelf. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a dedicated “gym area” space in your home, or if you’re someone who travels a lot and wants to be able to take some equipment with you on the road. You can totally be that girl who busts out the booty bands at the airport and does walking squats up and down the aisles to pass the time and build your glutes. If anyone judges tell them you’re living your best healthy life. Or just say you’re doing it for the gram and whip out your selfie stick (another item that’s easily stored or packable!)
Buy Second Hand
There’s no shame in buying equipment pre-owned. Places like Facebook Marketplace, garage sales, and even second hand shops are decent places to find gently used equipment. Just make sure if you do meet up with a stranger that you take a can of mace and a second person with you, you know, for safety purposes and all. But I have a friend who has a friend who basically got an entire home-gym system for like $200 from one of those Facebook marketplace sites. And it’s legit. I saw the pictures. Word on the street this friend of a friend might also be moving soon, so who knows – maybe it’ll end up back on the Facebook Marketplace and you’ll be able to buy it all yourself. Funny how the world turns, huh?
If You Splurge, Splurge Smart
Prioritize your wants from your needs. Getting a treadmill may seem cool, but are you going to actually run or walk on the thing? What I’m trying to say, is if you’re going to spend the money on an expensive piece of equipment, make sure it’s one that you’ll get the most use out of right away. For example: I hate biking. So it wouldn’t make sense for me to buy a stationary bike. I may want one, it may be a great addition to our gym, but if I’m going to spend the money on something, it may make more sense for me to buy a squat rack since I’m always lifting and my goal right now is to build muscle. Write down the things you want, and then narrow it down to what would be most essential right away. The rest you can save for later and add down the road (or snag once that guy posts it again on Facebook).
Adding the gym of your dreams to your home may take some time as your gym collection grows. But if you’re wanting to start now, you can definitely find some good deals, trustworthy equipment, and items that are easily storable as you work to build a home gym on a budget, without breaking the bank.