We have talked about the ways that you can be frugal and still live a healthy lifestyle. One of those was to create your own home gym. This post is going to discuss materials that I use (or have used) and why I recommend them. You can have a very basic home gym or spend a little more for a more advanced home gym. This, much like financial advice, is very personal to what your goals are.
**A reminder, all of the links in this are affiliate links and I would get a small percentage if you were to purchase through the link. These are only items that I would use or recommend and have no conflicts of interest outside of my personal experience with them.**
When you think of the basic supplies that you need to live a healthy lifestyle, bodyweight is the cheapest form of resistance. There are whole books written on the topic and you can live a very healthy life with no equipment. There are a few items that I would recommend making the investment in to ensure a well-rounded program.
Both mini bands and resistance tubing are going to be a cheap way to add some resistance to your exercises, especially if you are unable to perform a full pull-up. They are a good way to add resistance to any “pulling” exercises as well as exercises to focus on your hips.
I think the investment on a good yoga mat is well worth the cost. I do not have a specific brand that I prefer, but one that you can travel with is the best one, in my opinion. It will save your floor as well as your back and knees when performing exercises. It can also be used to increase the difficulty of some exercises that may be more balance focused on the uneven surface.
This is something that you may be able to find at a local tennis club or having a PVC pipe cut at your local hardware store. This is the cheapest way to perform soft tissue work on your body. Using as a warm up or cool down is the best time to utilize these tools.
These supplies will be for someone looking for more than just body weight exercises or increasing the resistance to their current exercise routine. These items may cost a bit more, but they are worth the investment if you are willing to make it.
This is something that I have been using more and more recently. I actually found one at TJ Maxx for a cheap price but the core work is very hard to repeat with another tool
The next step up from the tennis ball or PVC piping. I solid foam roller can change your mobility in ways you never imagined if you stick with it consistently. You just need a plain roller, no fancy knobs or textures to it.
A small set of dumbbells can make huge changes in your body composition and the difficulty of your exercises. External resistance is hard to replicate without a set of weights. Sizes (and pricing) will vary based on your level of experience.
Kettle bells are a fantastic way in increase your repertoire of exercises. The type of exercises and weight added is totally different than that of a dumbbell. If I had to pick one, a complete set of kettlebells would be my preference because of their versatility and ability to be stored.
A cheap way to increase the difficulty of your core workouts. Also, could double as a chair if you are trying to add a variety in this area as well. (although not something I suggest for extended periods of time)
When I say “Advanced” I am referring to the amount of space, time and money that you are willing to invest in this. In the long run, it will be worth the cost, but the up front investment in space and equipment may cause you to ignore these items.
If you have a garage or basement that you are looking to renovate into a gym, this will be a must. A quality rack with barbells and weights can be expensive, but if this is an area that you are willing to splurge, this is a must have.
This may be an obvious one, but I wanted to put it in there for the full spectrum of cost that would be associated with this type of investment.
Medicine balls are definitely a “luxury” item when it comes to a home gym. The variability of exercises that you can perform with these may make them worth the extra cost.
This is more of an advance item due to the ability to do the exercises than it is because of the cost. Usually one that hangs over a door frame will work just fine.
When thinking about being intentional with your spending, health and wellness should be near the top of your list. I hope that this list will help you decide what level of spending you would like to invest in as well as what products our worth your money and which ones may just be another item that will collect dust.
For more suggestions or to discuss these items, follow me on Instagram @moneyandimage. I’d appreciate any feedback or questions!