Building the Best Home Gym Setup with a Limited Budget

Home gyms are becoming increasingly popular. Get started with some words of advice on how to start your home gym from scratch.

Why Home Gyms?

Home gyms are becoming increasingly popular for many obvious reasons. These include expensive gym membership fees, overcrowded workout areas, restricted gym hours, travel time to and from the gym and the inevitable chatty acquaintance that bogs down your workout.

The inherent advantages are equally as predictable. Workout whenever you want to by walking through your house to your home gym with all the amenities of being home and maximizing the time you’re actually lifting weights. Prefer your own protein shake formula? No problem. The kitchen is a few seconds away. Need to squeeze in a broken-up workout around other responsibilities at home? You can do that. Privacy? Check. Weird hours. No problem. But how do you get started? (For additional comparisons, check out the pros and cons of a commercial gym versus a home gym including some potential cost comparisons) 

A home gym can be basic and inexpensive or can be hardware-laden and a money pit. The first consideration is space available for workouts and equipment. The classic solution is a garage gym where a one or two car garage is transformed into a permanent or dual purpose gym. Whether you have limited space for your gym or want an unconventional space for your workouts,, every home has its inherent options if you use your imagination.  Also don’t forget that backyards or driveways can be use for a gym setup, or just extra space for flipping tires or pushing sleds.  

Standard basic equipment is user-dependent as well.  Some gyms are built around a full rack or half rack with a bench. 


Another, smaller option is a squat rack that can save money and space. Resistance training obviously requires weights in some form or fashion. This need can be satisfied in a number of ways and are most commonly plates and barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells or sandbags. A complete workout program (for dumbbells, kettlebells, or sandbags) can be accomplished with any of these alone or in combination.

Once you’ve established the location and desired set-up, make a budget and start to identify the equipment you’d like to get started. Buying used equipment, when available and accessible, is cost effective and can result in some fantastic savings. Most accomplished home gym owners would agree that outfitting your workout space is not only a work-in-progress, but also a labor of love. Ideas for creative gyms and wish-list items are abound. Social media is a great resource for newbie gym owners. Instagram hashtags such as #homegym and #garagegym will just scratch the surface of exploration into the abundance of posts and accounts that can prove valuable for a game plan. Blogs and equipment review posts are always useful too. Follow fitness or weightlifting accounts for advice, reviews, motivation and feedback to discover questions to embrace the culture of fitness.

A wise man once said (actually it was my first boss, debatably wise) “Do something, even if it’s wrong.” Dive in to building your dream gym. Don’t let indecision or complacency deter your foray into a fitness lifestyle that will lead to a healthier, longer and happier life.