January always means more people are joining gyms to shed the pounds and get in shape for the New Year. But how many expect to really put that gym contract to use the entire year? For many, the hassle of finding the time to use their new gym memberships while performing their daily responsibilities is creating unnecessary stress and complications. Eventually, this leads to money wasted on new member fees and a monthly gym membership fee. However, you can save yourself a little bit of money by creating a convenient and affordable alternative to a gym membership: your own personal home-gym. (Check out, how to Get The Best Deals On Gym Memberships.)
TUTORIAL: Budgeting Basics
Cost-Saving Cardio Equipment
Estimated Cost: $5 to $150
Before you walk into a sporting goods store to look for the latest treadmill or elliptical machine, be forewarned - they are expensive. The last thing you want is to drop a couple hundred bucks on a clunky fitness machine for your first piece of gym equipment. It's a better idea to start out with some light cardio training equipment, such as:
- Jump rope: $5 to $10
- Hula hoop: $5 to $10
- Aerobic step platform: $35 to $100
- Mini cycle: $30 to $50
- Mini elliptical trainer: $60 to $150
These are great pieces of equipment for those with a smaller budget who are starting at a beginner level. Consider buying at least two different types of cardio equipment so that you can change-up your workouts and keep things fun. Once you reach more advanced levels of physical fitness, you can decide whether you want to shell out a couple thousand dollars on a stationary bike or new treadmill.
Budget Strength Training
Estimated Cost: $10 to $150
Strength training is an essential part of a good fitness routine. This doesn't mean you have to spend thousands on an Olympic weight set, or a fancy, all-in-one home gym machine. You can easily strength train all the major muscle groups with a few low-cost items:
- Resistance bands: $10 to $130
- Dumbbell set: $20 to $70
- Kettlebells: $10 to $70
When purchasing strength training equipment, the heavier the weight resistance, the higher the price. For example, a 40-pound dumbbell set is approximately $40, while a 150-pound dumbbell set might cost over $200. At a beginner level, you can easily start off with a 40-pound dumbbell set and a 20-pound set of resistance bands. This should keep the cost of your strength training equipment around $50, while providing a great range of weight resistance for your workout. Be sure to search online for proper techniques, and exercises that utilize these pieces of equipment for all the major muscle groups.
Bargain Core Training Equipment
Estimated Cost: $5 to $60
For most people, the midsection is the primary target for their workout resolution. While obtaining slim, sleek abdominals may take strong dedication and hard work, there are a few pieces of affordable equipment that can help you along the way:
- Ab roller: $5 to $25
- Balance ball: $5 to $25
- Abdominal machine: $60
- Abdominal board: $45 to $60
While a workout routine of sit-ups and abdominal crunches might be enough to engage your core, these pieces of equipment are a great way to add some variation to your daily exercise. Items like the balance ball and abdominal board can also be used in conjunction with other pieces of your home gym equipment like dumbbells or resistance bands. (For related reading, see 5 Money-Saving Ways To Lose Weight In 2012.)
Home Gym Tips
- Once you've purchased enough equipment to cover all the major muscle groups and fitness exercises, you can add a few finishing touches for a comfortable space like plants, motivational posters and other décor.
- A full mirror can come in handy to help motivate you and to ensure you are using proper technique. Just think of the inside of a normal gym. Don't all of them have mirrors?
- Don't forget to pick up essential accessories like a yoga mat, gym towels and a water bottle.
- Having a radio or television are great ways to keep you from getting bored while working out in your home gym.
- If you don't have a spare room or space in your garage for your home gym, use whatever space you have available. You can easily turn your bedroom or living room into your home gym when you feel like working out. The great thing about these budget gym items is that you can easily store them when not in use.
The Bottom Line
You can't complain about driving to the gym when it is located less than 20-feet from your bedroom. You can't complain about missing your favorite TV program if your home gym is located in your living room or bedroom. Creating a simple and affordable home gym will help you reach your fitness goals, while avoiding the common excuses people use to duck out of their gym workouts. (To learn more, read 5 Ways To Get Healthy And Save Thousands A Year.)