How to Build a Home Gym on a Budget

build a home gym

The next time you see one of those expensive, high-tech exercise machines advertised on TV, remember this: You can’t spend your way to fitness.

Sure, that gym-quality treadmill or multi-part weight contraption might look good in your spare bedroom or den. It might even be fun and motivate you to stick with a fitness routine. But in the end your success depends on you, not pricey equipment or steep monthly gym fees. Whether you have money to burn or are on a tight budget, you can build an entire home gym for a fraction of the price of one fancy machine.

First, ask yourself some basic questions. What kind of workouts will you be doing? How much space do you have? (A single treadmill, for instance, takes up roughly 30 square feet.) How much money can you spend? And perhaps most important if you’re a beginner, are you physically ready to start working out? Check with your doctor before starting a fitness program, especially if you have any existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, or heart trouble, or if you are at risk for any of these diseases. Come up with a plan and get your doctor’s approval before you start.

Basic (And Inexpensive) Equipment for Strength Training

Next, compile a list of the fitness equipment you’ll need. No gym would be complete without something for doing resistance exercises. At a health club, that would mean a line of state-of-the-art resistance machines and some gleaming new weights. In your home gym, a little improvisation can go a long way. If you’re a novice weightlifter, you can start by lifting large cans of soup or plastic bottles or plastic milk jugs filled with water or sand.

Whatever you lift, be sure to use proper technique. It’s the only way to get the maximum benefits without hurting yourself. If you don’t want to pay for a session with a personal trainer, rent an instructional video or pick one up at your local library. You might want to sign up for a trial gym membership — some are even free — to get advice on the proper techniques for weightlifting.

As your strength improves, you will probably want to buy real weights. While some weights are surprisingly expensive, you can definitely find some bargains.

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