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Building a Budget Friendly Home Gym

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GymIf you’ve ever priced gym equipment you know that it’s expensive. Like other products, there are economy priced models but when you’re purchasing something that will inevitably take a beating over its life, the cheap equipment is rarely a good value. Once you put a price on the equipment you think you need, that $40 per month gym membership doesn’t seem so expensive anymore.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on home equipment and you don’t want to pay a monthly gym membership fee, there are ways to put together a home gym on a budget.

A Ladder

You’ve probably seen a fitness show on TV where somebody is running or jumping in and out of a layout that resembles a ladder lying on the ground. Fitness professionals all over the world use this simple setup to teach agility, speed, and produce a calorie burning work out that is heart friendly. Looking for a cheap way to do it? How does $42 sound? Check this out.

Adjustable Dumbbells

Luckily, dumbbells aren’t expensive but they’re versatile and able to target just about any muscle group on your body. For about $70, you can purchase adjustable dumbbells allowing you to place 2.5 to 12.5 pounds on each. Other adjustable models allow for higher amounts of weight and come at a slightly higher cost but there still cheap compared to other equipment.

Training Ball

Training balls cost about $25 and are great for abdominal or core workouts as well as other applications. Along with this 8 to 10 pound hand held ball, you may even receive a workout DVD or exercise chart with it. Training balls, along with the larger balls used to gain better balance, have a variety of uses at very little cost.

Yoga Mat

Don’t fancy yourself the yoga type? If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out on the full body workout that is underestimated by far too many workout enthusiasts. A mat costs $25 or less and makes the workouts a little more bearable especially when you’re on the floor.

The latest Fitness Fad

Fitness is like fashion. It’s always changing and what was loved yesterday may be hated tomorrow. If you’re somebody who likes to purchase the latest workout DVD only to have it go out of style months later, don’t feel bad. The truth is that although somebody people may be looking for an ultra efficient and scientific workout, most people just need to get moving.

If you’re purchasing these videos and using them as a workout, you’re getting positive benefits regardless of how stylish it is today. $45 for a DVD could burn just as many calories as a multi-thousand dollar machine over time if you stick with it longer than you did the elliptical.

Bottom Line

Although some of the expensive equipment is well worth the cost, there’s no reason you can’t get healthy without shelling out thousands for the machines. Use these budget friendly tips to get started and as you gain strength and conditioning, a more sophisticated setup may make sense later on.

Finally, don’t forget that the best workouts are often free. As long as you have a road, you can walk, jog, sprint, bike, or jump rope with little to no expense.

(Photo: elliottcable)

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11 Responses to “Building a Budget Friendly Home Gym”

  1. PFM says:

    We purchased a treadmill in ’02 for $800, we use it 2-3 times a week on average and it’s never had a problem, we certainly got our money’s worth out of it, much cheaper than the $60 month gym membership.

  2. Art says:

    Thats a nice precor!!
    DOnt think its very budget friendly though..

  3. Ryan says:

    Walking outside is free.

    • partee875 says:

      But not always worth it in the blinding heat, blistering cold, thunderstorms, and areas where it’s dangerous (especially at night with people that don’t get home until sundown).

      • Ryan says:

        Those weather conditions don’t happen every day. It won’t kill you to take a day off if it’s too hot/cold or raining. You can walk inside somewhere for free too.

        What I’m trying to get at is using a treadmill does not mimic walking and doesn’t tax the muscles in the same way. A treadmill moves under you without a required force on your part. Walking (not on treadmill) requires you to actually use your muscles to propel you forward.

    • Jim says:

      So it running :)

  4. skylog says:

    i am trying to detemine my plan of attack on this very issue. i would prefer to do all of my work at home, but i find the act of paying for the gym membership is motivation enough for me to go…

  5. Ryan says:

    Don’t pay for a gym membership if all you’re going to do is use the cardio machines.

    That’s the equivalent of paying for bottled water (municipalities are held to higher water quality standards than bottling companies by the way).

    Pay for a gym membership to lift heavy weights (or work up to heavy weights) to build muscle.

  6. Steven says:

    I am a recent home gym builder after being a traditional gym member for many many years and have a few tips to share.

    Use Craigslist for your big ticket items. There are always people trying to unload treadmills/elliptical machines that bought them thinking they would use them and ended up using them for clothes hangers. I purchased a mint condition $1200 elliptical for $500. I also purchased a set of adjustable dumbbells from Craigslist at a deep discount from a personal trainer that had recently upgraded his equipment.

    If you want rubber flooring, a great option I went with was purchasing “horse stall mats” from a local Tractor Supply store. I was able to purchase 6 4′x6′ mats to cover a 12′x12′ area.

  7. Peter says:

    I’ve built a home gym that essentially consists of some free weights – dumbbells – as well as a treadmill and heavy duty exercise bands. I also spent $100 or so on the P90X program. All in all i spent a few hundred dollars for a home gym that’ll last as long as I need it.


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