Have you ever skipped a workout? Let's be honest, that's a silly question – of course, you have. All of us have for one reason or another. For many, one of the main explanations for skipping a workout is due to time constraints. Whether it's a long day at the office, the need to study for school exams, or family schedule conflicts, the struggle can be real at times. Not to mention, 2020 wasn't exactly ideal for fitness enthusiasts who frequent the gym. For those reasons, one of the best investments you can make for your health and fitness is building a home gym.
When you think about building a home gym, the major concern holding people back comes down to two reasons – money and space. Not everyone has the financial means to dump money into building a home gym while others may, but wish they had the room in their home to dedicate to a gym. Maybe it's both in your case?
There's some good news for those who suffer from either (or both) of these issues, and we're going to help you choose what's right for your specific circumstance.
Building a Home Gym on a Budget 101
In this article, we are going to look at and recommend a few different pieces of equipment at a variety of prices that (hopefully) will fit your budget and space constraints when building a home gym.
First up on our list are resistance bands. Now, I know what you may be thinking… "Those things don't provide enough resistance for me." You may have even thought that while puffing out your chest or flexing your biceps. Sure, resistance bands may not be the same as throwing 315 on the bar for bench, but they provide you with a different kind of resistance – one that can still ensure you are sore in the following days. And not to mention, more resistance than you'd put your muscles under if you couldn't make it to the gym at all.
Resistance bands allow you to hit every body part, and even better, you can even hit angles your muscles generally aren't used to being worked.
The key when looking for a resistance band set is just that – get a set. If you try to buy this band and that band, you'll eventually spend way more than you need to. Look for a good quality resistance band set that also includes various attachments, handles, and a bag to keep everything tidy when not in use. Spend the extra money on a good quality set of bands that will last. The cheaper quality bands risk breaking fairly easily.
Quite possibly, the best selling point for resistance bands is their ease of travel. You can toss them in your car or suitcase and take them with you on business trips or vacations. Or, if you wish, take them outdoors and get in a great workout while enjoying the weather.
Next on our list of things to consider purchasing when building a home gym on a budget are adjustable dumbbells. There are several brands out there that manufacture high-quality adjustable dumbbells that can go up to weights over 100lbs. Depending on your strength level, the price of these dumbbells will go up the higher the weight you want to purchase.
With adjustable dumbbells, you can do everything in the gym that you'd do with dumbbells, only in the privacy of your own home. There's no need to get behind the windshield if there is bad weather, there's no traffic to fight during rush hour, and you just gained yourself all of the travel time back to do whatever you want with.
While adjustable dumbbells are slightly larger than the footprint of a resistance band set, if you prefer dumbbells, they can easily slide behind furniture, under a bed, or sit in a closet when not in use. One downside is that, unlike resistance bands, they aren't something you'll be able to travel with.
If you wanted to keep things on a tight budget, there's really no need to even purchase a bench. Doing chest presses off the floor will do the job, plus being one less thing sitting around taking up space that you may not have.
Power Rack, Bench, and Barbell Set
Moving up the scale when it comes to price and space is a power rack, bench, and barbell set. If you have the room in your home, such as a garage, basement, or extra room not currently being occupied, it's hard to go wrong with a power rack, bench, and barbell set when building a home gym. You literally have all of your bases covered with this option. The only downside is this option will not be the friendliest on your wallet, but if you look at it as an investment, it's truly hard to beat.
When you think of squats, deadlifts, bench press, and even the military press, most people are doing these exercises in a rack at the gym. With one at your home, you can safely do all of your major lifts in the power rack with the safety bars in place.
Where Should You Purchase Workout Equipment?
Now, for the most challenging decision… Where do you purchase the workout equipment from when building a home gym? While you could go to a retailer around where you live or even a retailer online, there's one place I recommend you check first if you want to stretch your dollar a little further.
Check Craigslist as well as Facebook Marketplace. These two places are goldmines for gently used fitness equipment. People have good intentions of using the gym equipment when they buy it but fall off the wagon or need the extra space back in their home and figure it's just better to sell the items and get rid of them. Their loss is your gain (literally).
People are willing to part with their equipment for a fraction of the cost just to get rid of it. While most of these sellers are not willing to ship anything, if the item you are buying will fit in your vehicle, you just saved A TON of money. Even if you can borrow a buddy's truck and toss him some money for helping you out, it's still going to be cheaper than buying the equipment new.
And don't forget! Everything is a negotiation. If you aren't willing to pay what the seller is asking, simply give them an offer and the ability to say no (which would be the worst-case scenario). The best-case scenario is that they agree, and you just saved even more money when building a home gym. You could even use the money you saved to invest in more equipment if you wish or simply put it back in your pocket.
How Much Is Your Health Worth?
Building a home gym is something many people should consider – even if you currently have a gym membership. There are plenty of people who utilize both depending on what their schedule looks like for the day or week and by having equipment at home is a huge convenience.
Can you really put a price on your health and fitness? Or even your mental sanity for those who exercise to relieve stress?
While you don't need to drain your retirement fund when building a home gym, having the option (even with something as simple as resistance bands) can be well worth the investment.