Woman working out in a home gym with expensive equipment

Hacks For A Budget-Friendly Home Gym

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.