You’ve decided you want to start being more physically active. Good for you! Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or a spontaneous change of heart, if you’re looking to work out, you’re going to have to work out somewhere.
Gym memberships can be a hassle--you often have to sign a contract, and the average monthly cost is around $55 a month. That is a lot of money; especially if you’re not 100% sure you’re ready to commit to a regular workout routine. If you’re not ready to throw down that much cash, then you could look into a home gym. You don’t need the Bowflex, treadmill, and exercise bike style of home gym; you can set up a great workout routine for pocket change with these hacks.
- Water Bottle Hand Weights
Hand weights are an important part of every home gym. They help you add weight to body weight-only exercises and build arm strength. The problem is that to get a relatively comprehensive set, you’re looking at spending at least $35. An easy alternative? Use water bottles. A full 16oz water bottle weighs about 1 pound. For an intermediate weight, fill them with sand.
- Gallon Jug Medicine Ball
For your heavier weights, get a gallon jug. If you fill it with water, the jug will weigh about 8 pounds, and sand takes it up to around 13 pounds. This one is a real money saver. Medicine balls will set you back between $30 and $60. One gallon water bottles cost around $1 a piece and you can find 50-pound bags of sand for less than $5 at your local hardware store. One bag will have more than enough to fill all of your homemade weights!
- Found Object Yoga Mat
Yoga mats are versatile and durable, so they’re definitely worth the investment eventually. In the short term, though, you may not want to spend the money--a quality yoga mat can set you back up to $100. If you want to try yoga, Pilates, or any of a variety of workout routines that would benefit from the use of a stable surface, try out a few alternatives. You can use a beach towel, a folded over flat bed sheet, quilt or duvet, or even a large roll of rubberized shelf liner, which costs less than $10.
- Fresh Air Cardio
There’s no cheap way to actually make an in-home treadmill or exercise bike, but you can always go outside. Running or biking in your neighborhood isn’t going to cost you a thing, while a treadmill or exercise bike will be at least $100. Running outside helps fight boredom and it adds more variety to your workout. It’s all too tempting to set your treadmill incline to a complacent “1,” but you can’t cheat your way out of any hills you come across outside.
These are just a few suggestions, feel free to take them and improvise! For those of you who find that you’re really dedicated to your workouts, by all means, invest in real equipment or a gym membership. For those of you who are more like me, enjoy relaxing on the couch knowing that at least you didn’t waste any money, and tuck away your sand-filled gallon jugs for your New Year’s resolutions next year.