Building a home gym on a budget: 5 Steps to fitness training at home
March 29, 2024

Building a home gym on a budget: 5 Steps to fitness training at home

Lauren Littlewood

You've heard the story before… you commit and say you are going to prioritize your fitness and jump into a regular training routine. You have some ambitious fitness goals in mind and a newfound drive to achieve them. You decide your next step is to figure out if you need a gym membership or not. 

So you decide to join the gym and test the waters. It turns out you completely forgot that you hate the gym - you struggle with feeling watched while you workout, you detest having to pack up your life to workout for an hour before rushing to work, and you hate how inconvenient it is to get there. 

You end up wasting a ton of money on an exercise routine that you couldn't commit to. Realizing it just doesn’t work for you, you walk away with nothing to show for all the money you dumped into the membership.

Can a home setup replace a gym?

Working out at home sounds great in theory, but maybe you don’t have the space or the budget for a full home gym and tons of equipment. Between the cardio machines that are thousands of dollars and the price of a full weight lifting set, it just doesn’t seem to be something that can work. 

Good news! You can have a great home gym that you can enjoy that fits into your space and budget. Give you the ability to work out whenever you want, hit those fitness goals, and save money in the long run! 

Plus, no more being gawked at while you’re squatting or dealing with grimy gym equipment! No more packing up everything you need and traveling across town! No more stinky gym bag that you forget about a month ago!

Here are all the steps, home gym equipment, and guidance you need for doing your fitness at home. Follow these steps, and you will be on your way to achieving your health goals.  

Step one: Make a plan

Before you can get started on building your home gym, you’ve got some planning to do. To be able to dump your gym forever and have an at-home fitness routine that is going to make everything worth it, you have to answer some questions. 

What is your budget?

A DIY home gym is going to be very different with a budget of $20 vs. $200. This will give you some parameters on what kind of equipment you can buy and how much deal hunting you have to do. Look into Facebook Market Place, Offer Up, Craig’s List, and Mercari for some second-hand equipment. 

How much space do you have?

Obviously, you are not going to be able to have a full set of weights in your studio apartment. Well… unless you plan on sleeping on them. No? Then let's take some measurements.

How much space can you spare?

Can you rearrange your bedroom to make more space for your favorite type of exercise? Your space can also help you decide what kind and how much equipment you need. If your favorite workout is yoga and you can move the coffee table to make the space and require very little effort on your part. 

What kind of movement or exercise do actually want to do?

If you hate weight lifting, buying free weights for your home gym will be a complete waste of your time and money. For your plan to be most effective, it must be centered around a movement routine that actually appeals to you. 

Knowing what kind of movement you’re doing is probably the most critical piece of the puzzle. If variety is the spice in your life, then pick your top five favorites. This way, you can see how to make room for equipment you would need and decide if you can duel purpose some of them. 

If Dance Dance Revolution is the only workout that sounds remotely like joyful movement, then that narrows down the equipment and space requirements for you quite a bit. 

Step two: Set up your space

You obviously have to know how much space you are working with. If your only area to work out is in a 4’x4’ space in your living room, a treadmill will not work. That’s common sense, right? 

So, other than measurements, what other kind of setup would you need to do before buying anything? 

One problem with gyms is that they are not visually appealing. Not only are they inconvenient to get to and often uncomfortable to be in, but they are also very drab.

When you designate a space for your home gym, make it so uniquely you.

Have pictures and colors that make you happy or motivate you. For creative people, this is the most exciting part and one of the most impactful thing you can do to make this work for you. 

Make the area pretty

… this can include your equipment if it’s within budget. If it isn’t, get creative with some cheap or second-hand equipment. Paint your weights your favotire coloe or draw a dragon on your yoga mat.

If you like bright colors you can easily find neon resistance bands. This is your fitness utopia. The more you like your equipment, the easier it will be to get yourself to use it. 

When your space is visually appealing and feels good to be there, you don't have to drag yourself to work out.

Then when you combine that all with joyful movement, good luck getting yourself to leave that space. 

This can turn a tortuous workout routine that you think you should be doing into a time of self-care and happiness. Which is exactly what it should be like. 

Step three: Home gym equipment

Okay, now that you have your plan in place and your space set up, it's time to make some purchases. 

Based on your movement of choice, make a list of the type of equipment you’ll need.

If strength training is where it’s at, resistance bands are generally inexpensive or an interchangeable set of dumbbells require very little space. 

With the right guidance, you can build a great muscle-building routine with just a few types of resistance bands and dumbbells. 

If yoga is your jam you get all the basics for under $50. Find a yoga mat that works for your favorite type of yoga. A soft mat might work better if you tend to do more floor poses. This will give you a softer surface for your downward dogs and savasana. If you like to kick it up a notch and prefer a vinyasa practice, a mat designed for a sweaty practice will work better for the power yogi. Add on a couple blocks and strap as budget your allows. 

If you have a kid with a video game system, it is amazing how many fantastic games there are to increase your movement from dancing your heart out to battling a monster by doing squats and burpees. 

Don’t worry about getting everything brand new.

When you are on a budget, second-hand is your best friend. People sell their barely used old equipment on every major sell-your-own-stuff kind sites. Plus, there is always your local second-hand stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army that can have equipment at ridiculous low prices. Don’t be afraid to track down a deal!  

But keep in mind, once you buy your equipment, that is all the money you’ll spend on your home gym. Unlike paying for a gym membership for a year costing at least $120 only for you to go10 times, the $20 for a yoga mat or the $25 for the pack of resistance bands is all the money it takes and you get to keep what you invested you money into. 

Step four: Upgrade as you go

As your home gym fitness routine takes flight, you might want an upgrade. This is great because that means your routine and home gym are working like a charm. All your planning paid off, and t’s worth investing in. 

There are also some great YouTube channels and websites that offer free classes. This would give you an idea of other things to try and decide if you want to expand your home gym to include that exercise. 

A rowing machine is a great upgrade

They often fold up easily and strengthen your heart, legs, and posture muscles at the same time. It’s easy to find used rowing machines online.

A doorway pull-up bar is also a handy and inexpensive tool

You can buy this to boost your upper body work with very little space requirements. Some are even equipped to cover several types of upper body exercises in the same small space. 

Now that you see what you like doing the most and what works the best in your space, you can start budgeting for better quality or different types of equipment. 

Maybe your space needs an upgrade. That corner of your room is working for your home gym, but you know you can kick way more butt if you rearrange the spare bedroom and make half of it your home gym. 

Step five: Fitness support

No matter your movement style, there are plenty of options to find a community to keep you inspired and videos to follow. 

You don’t have to doing everything by yourself or be lonely in your home gym. If you need a fitness buddy that can help you build your dream routine that will help you hit your personal fitness goals, take trainwell (formerly CoPilot) for a spin. 

Your trainer will build an at-home fitness plan tailor made to your goals and the equipment you have on hand. All trainwell trainers are certified personal trainers and Precision Nutrition coaches.

They will help you get started on the right foot, reduce the risk of injury, and make fitness easier (and fun). But don’t take our word for it…

Check out Rob’s Journey and how trainwell helped him become a workout person…

“At first, it felt weird having a little face on my phone screen telling me what to do when I was at the gym. But that part didn’t last long. Before I knew it, I was not only comfortable with it, but I looked forward to the challenges Max had for me that particular day.

Suddenly, I found myself looking forward to trips to the gym. Varied and always interesting, his workout plan kept me engaged in exercising in a way I didn’t think was even possible. 

It was to the point that near the end of my workday, I was already fantasizing about what exercise Max had for me today. That was a big change from the days that I would think about fantastical digital worlds waiting to be explored. I liked the change.

A couple of weeks into Max’s program, and I stopped feeling tired all the time. That sick fatigue feeling started to fade away. To my delight, those improvements translated to my work as well. I felt good, felt healthy, and confidence was through the roof.

That old lazier part of me was tempted to stop when I managed to get in good shape. But then a new voice in my head (Max’s voice weird enough) urged me to continue.

To this day, I still work with my personal online digital trainer. And I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. As they say, work smarter, not harder.”

Get started today

See how trainwell can help you fall in love with movement and be your guide towards your fitness goals. You can meet with your personal trainer and discuss your goals, time, budget, and what kind of movement you like and dislike. Whether you prefer strength training exercises, resistance training, aerobic exercise, cardio workouts, yoga, or anything in between, trainwell personal trainers are there to support you.

If you aren't sure about how a home gym or trainwell would work for you, try trainwell's 14-day free trial

Start your fitness journey today!

Written by Lauren Littlewood

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