Everything You Need to Know About Creating a Home Gym On a Budget!
First, let's set the scene: You want to do some strength and cardio training after work. The thing is, the gym closes at half-six, and you don't finish work until at least five. By the time you get out of the office, say your goodbyes to everyone, and gather everything, you're rushing to your car.
Now time to tackle the after-work traffic, which makes what should be a short journey twice the length. Two traffic jams and one mental breakdown later, you finally get there at twenty-five to six. Then it's straight in, change into your workout gear, put your bags in the locker, and race to the gym. You run up, and the gym is packed! You barely get to use the squat rack before they're giving you the five-minute warning that they are closing soon. Sounds stressful, right? To be honest— I felt stressed writing it!
Now, imagine this: You've had a long week at work and know you need to work out to unwind, but the weather is awful! At five o clock, you leave work, get into your car, and fight the Friday traffic. You’re only getting home at quarter to six, but no worries— you leisurely change into your gym gear, put some music on (90s hits all the way!) and begin your workout in your home gym, no time constraint, no fighting for a machine, and best of all, no stress!
If the first one sounds like something you would enjoy, then no judgment here, but if it sounds like a nightmare to you, this is the article for you! Keep reading for all the tips we have for creating the perfect home gym.
But first, let's look at some of the benefits of a home gym.
Workout any time
No travel time
No equipment wait time
No Membership costs
Choose what music you like
Don't have to leave your house (We're looking at you, Covid 👀)
More and more people in Ireland are changing over to home gyms in recent years instead of attending a commercial one because of these benefits, and in fairness, it's a pretty strong argument. The only snag for many is the cost. You google a treadmill and start seeing from €800-€1500 and begin to sweat; no workout needed! Don't worry though, here at McSport, we've put together the best ways of building a home gym as cheap as possible.
Best quality for the lowest price — Buy Once, Cry Once
When starting a home gym, a common mistake is finding the cheapest equipment—or worse, trying to build your own at home. As with anything in life, if you purchase something cheaply, it most likely will be made cheaply. The phrase 'Buy Once, Cry Once' is well known for a reason. It's better to pay a little bit extra for something you know will be of good quality— that way, you know it won't fall apart on you after a single use. Making your bench may be a cheaper option but using a wooden bench with no support or cushioning will end up doing more damage and cost you in the future. It's best to spend the money now rather than having to pay more down the line because of a cheaply made product.
Buy equipment that can do more than one thing
Nearly all fitness equipment is multipurpose—the problem is finding one that suits you. You may have gone on Pinterest for some fantastic home gym inspiration and found that they all look like a commercial gym. No matter what online tells you— there is no need to buy every single piece of equipment out there for your home gym. That set of dumbells you have? You can use them for various exercises— we've even have 10 dumbbell workouts for beginners if you are struggling on where to start! Simply buying a squat rack with a barbell and weight plates will give you a great workout. All you need is a bit of imagination and motivation to get the workout best suited to you!
Avoid 'on trend' Items
We've all seen the ads for the Shake Weight, and it seems like a great idea— but what if we told you that they're just a fancy version of a dumbbell? For one Shake Weight, you can get two dumbbells with little to no difference in the cost and, in the process, get a wider variety of exercises.
This goes for any 'on trend' items you may see online as 'The Next Best Thing'. Typically, what you are being sold is a gimmick version of actual equipment. If it is advertised as something you must have to lose weight, chances are it's not the real deal. Even if a celebrity is promoting it, there was probably a nice cheque to go with it. There's a reason you will never see items like these in a commercial gym. Sometimes staying with the standard and reliable equipment is the best way to go. Don't fix what's not broken, as they say.
Buy reconditioned or refurbished equipment
Going off the point above, we know everyone is using a Peloton, and it is splashed all over our social media with celebrities using them. Remember, you can get a reconditioned exercise bike that does the same thing without the hefty price tag to match. If you want the same variety of programs on your equipment, why not try an incline treadmill? It comes with a year free iFit membership, and with over 1400 program choices, you'll never be bored! There are so many excellent options out there that are just as good or even better than those you see on social media.
Work with the space you have
It is a common misconception that you need to give up a room in your house to even think about a home gym. Working with the space you already have will do the job just as well. If you have an office that is the only host to a single desk and chair? Utilize the rest of the room for your home gym. That shed you have outside with good insulation— put your home gym in there. There are so many options that you don't need to dedicate a whole room to it. Just be sure that the room inspires you. Set the right mood for the room your gym is going to be in. Make it appealing with a bright feature wall— even a set of multicoloured LCD strip lights that will allow you to set the colour to whatever mood you're in or to match your playlist will change the atmosphere of the room.
Look, we know — Amazon is a great and wonderful place, filled with everything your heart desires, but a lot of the time, it's not the cheapest place to go for products. Shopping local has a few advantages that online doesn't. Shopping local means, you have a click and collect option, which will save you on shipping costs. You get a more personal experience— meaning you'll get the chance to talk to real-life people and interact with them. Shopping local also has the added benefit of redirecting money back into the economy, which is always a win!
Home gym essentials
All home gyms are different and will have other products that are deemed 'essential'. However, there are a few items that, while we won't say should be in every home gym, we highly recommend them. If you are looking to do a full-body workout, you will need to buy equipment to help you. Here is a list of the essential items we think will benefit you in getting that full-body workout.
If you are creating a home gym, likely you are not focusing on just one aspect of your fitness. Dumbbells are a great multipurpose piece of equipment that can give your whole body a workout. There are a few different options to go with when you are looking for a set of You can choose from a range of different weights, but that can quickly start adding up if you're not careful. Instead of buying all different weights—getting an adjustable dumbbell set will save you money in the long run.
While it is true that you can do exercises on the floor or using home furniture, it is less than ideal. Getting a proper exercise bench that can move into different positions will go a long way in reducing injuries and helping you in your fitness training.
These are highly versatile, and what's best is that they take up very little space! Having a heavy kettlebell can be used for unilateral work, increasing muscle mass, and solving weaknesses between your body's right and left side.
Resistance bands are a must-have for any home gym. They come in a variety of resistances that will give you a tough workout, every time. Even better if you get a door anchor to go with them. Combining the resistance bands and door anchor will simultaneously help you with any injury, while increasing your strength and conditioning training.
This is an often-forgotten part of home gyms. Getting the right flooring is essential if you want to avoid any falls that can injure you or another. There is the added benefit of it protecting your flooring from any equipment accidentally falling. A kettlebell is sure to damage a wooden or tiled floor if it doesn't have the correct padding. Rubber flooring has an elasticity to it so that if something were to fall, it would bounce and roll instead of breaking the floor.
Every commercial gym you go to always has a wall lined with mirrors. There is a reason for that beyond taking a sneaky selfie. Some exercises require a particular pose or movement. To make sure you're getting the proper movements, it's best to be able to see it. By not having a mirror, you are increasing the risk of an injury. There's no need to buy the most expensive mirror, though; any full-length one will do the job as it's only for one person. You may already have one in your bedroom that you can use. They are easily movable if you don't want to pay for a second one.
We priced up how much all the essentials above will cost in starting your home gym, with the total price coming to around €700, and all these items have more than one use to them. You can do countless different exercises, with just four of these items in your gym.
Of course, we know that not everyone's goals are the same when they are kitting out their gym— you may want to focus more on cardio with strength and conditioning. In that case, it is easy to swap some things out for others. You can try keeping the kettlebell and change the adjustable dumbbells out for a Hit Fitness G7 Indoor Cycling Bike. They both have the same price point, and the indoor bike will give you a cardio workout along with strength and conditioning.
Power Racks, Barbells, and Weight Plates— Oh My!
But what about a barbell and weights?! I hear you cry in outrage, and I get it. Many people find these to be the most essential in a home gym, and they are to some but what it comes down to is if you need them for your workout. If they are, and you have a larger space dedicated to a home gym, we recommend buying a power rack with the barbell and weights to get that entire workout done safely. There is also an option of a half rack if you don't want to take up as much space.
The most important tip we can give you in getting a home gym is this: put the work in. There's no point in setting up a fantastic home gym if it gets no use. Happy shopping!