Who’s missing heading out to the gym? Making sure you’ve got all the kit you need to bring with you, putting it in your gym bag, heading downstairs to take your pre workout… Heading out to the car before you remember that you’ve forgotten your headphones, heading back inside to grab said headphones, then finally heading off to the gym.
If working up the motivation to go wasn’t an issue, we wonder how many times you’ll have thought about investing in your own home gym when you see the weights lying about, not having been re-racked after use, or perhaps someone is using your favourite bit of equipment to take selfies on.
Love them or hate them, there’s no telling when your local gym will be able to reopen. So there’s no better time to look at investing in kitting out your garage or spare room into your very own home gym!
While it’s important to think about what you’d like to have in your home gym – and what you’d like to use it for – one thing we do suggest is to avoid big, costly cardio machines. These tend to take up a lot of room, and if you don’t have a lot of spare room to play with, it will limit the other things you can invest your cash in.
Not to mention they can be pricey, and that’s not just the one-off cost from purchasing them – thanks to their moving parts, they’re prone to breaking. If the treadmill at your local gym breaks, for instance, they can fix it no problem. If you invest in your own one and it breaks, you’ll be stuck with equipment you can’t use.
If you’re determined to have something relating to cardio in your home gym, opt for something like battle ropes, skipping ropes, or cycle trainer. Depending on the space you have in your spare room, garage, or wherever you plan on building your home gym, you’ll be grateful that you prioritised the space for other things.
Optimise Your Available Space
Once you’ve chosen the space you’re going to dedicate to your workouts, it might be tempting to try and cram it full with as many things as possible to try and create the best possible home gym you can. Depending on your budget, and the space you have available, we’d recommend avoiding packing it top to tail with equipment. If you try and fill every corner with stuff that you need to unpack every time you go to use it, you’ll be less likely to use your home gym at all.
Instead, measure the space you’ve got available, and work smart. You’ll want to give each bit of equipment you’ve chosen enough space so that you can use it comfortably.
It’s very tempting to go for the best of the best, and get the most expensive stuff you can afford so as to create the perfect home gym of your dreams. However, rather than spending an exorbitant amount of money, try and set yourself a budget to stick to. That way you can make sure that you’re only buying stuff you’ll actually use.
If your hypothetical budget is set at £1,000, and your gym membership is about £30 a month, that means you’ll have to use your home gym for around 3 years before it starts to pay for itself. There’s not only that to consider, though – by the time you’ve factored in the cost of fuel to drive to the gym, as well as any other supplements you might buy when you’re there, your home gym will quickly reduce its payback time.
Think about the budget you have available, and you can consider what work you need to do to create your home gym. Buying some weights or a bench will be much more affordable than completely transforming your spare room or garage space into your dream gym, but with a budget in mind, you’ll know what will and won’t be achievable from the comfort of your own home.
What equipment will you need?
When you’ve got a budget in mind, and you’ve measured your available gym space, you’ll have a better idea of what kit you’ll need to get to set up your home gym. It doesn’t need to be as fancy as your local gym – it just needs to be functional, so that you’re able to workout with some equipment at home. These are just a few suggestions of what you might need to get, but you should definitely prioritise equipment that you will actually use.
Bars & Weights
Make sure you check the weight capabilities of the bars you buy. You’ll want to make sure that they can handle the weights you’re lifting, otherwise you could be in a tricky situation. The weights you get will depend on the goals you’re hoping to achieve, as well as your general strength. However it’s a good idea to buy a mix of weights if you can afford it, so that you can adjust the weights on your bar to suit your goals.
Dumbells can be used for an endless amount of exercises, so are definitely one of the first pieces of equipment that you should consider investing in. These can be a bit pricey if you choose to buy new, so definitely check out any decent second-hand sets that you come across on the web.
Adjustable Bench & Racks
A power-rack will be a fantastic purchase if you can afford it, which will allow you to bench, deadlift, squat, and do pull-ups. If a power-rack is out of your price range, think about an adjustable squat rack and a pull-up bar you can put in your doorway. A weight rack will be a no brainer to stack all your weights on, as it will help keep your space tidy. An adjustable bench will be a welcome addition to allow you to use your new set of dumbells.
Bits & Bobs
These aren’t really essential, but are good things to consider if you want to take your workouts to the next level. While we’ve suggested avoiding costly cardio machines, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it at home altogether – consider adding a skipping rope to your home gym so as to get some cardio into your daily workout.
An exercise mat is also a worthy investment if you don’t want to damage your floor or injure yourself, especially if you’re into HIIT or circuit training. Exercise mats will do wonders for your comfort when you’re working out, too! If you’re investing in an Olympic bar and some weights, consider getting some spring collars, too. Resistance bands would be a good idea, too, as they’re a fairly low-cost piece of equipment.
So, you know what you need to kit out your home gym. The best way to get everything you need on a budget is to buy second hand. Remember, your kit doesn’t need to look nice or be particularly shiny and new – it just needs to be functional. There are plenty of places online to start looking for the equipment you need; eBay, Facebook marketplace, and Gumtree are a great place to start, and will have some second-hand gems.
If you’re determined to buy new equipment, make sure that you sign up for newsletters. This way you’ll be able to make sure you find the best deals possible, so you’re not paying more than you should be to get your dream home gym.
Have you already got your own home gym, and have some tips to pass on to those looking into creating one? We’d love to hear them over on our Facebook page!
Lead image: Jason Finn via Getty Images.