How to Build a Home Gym for Under $500

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Neglecting your health guarantees that you’ll pay for it big time in the future. Not only are you putting yourself at higher risk for various diseases but you’re also decreasing the quality of your life, preventing you from enjoying life to the fullest. With that being said, it is extremely important now more than ever that you prioritize your health at all cost.

Being healthy isn’t only about eating right and exercising. It’s also about keeping a healthy lifestyle that will ensure you are tuned in to your goals for the rest of your life. Smoking, drinking and taking drugs are just some of the biggest hindrances to living a completely clean and healthy life. If you don’t get rid of such bad habits, you’ll suffer from these consequences:

Heart diseases
According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, unhealthy lifestyle choices lead to almost 75 percent of heart disease cases in young women and are the number one cause of one in four deaths every year in the United States. What’s worse is that this rate has increased by 1.3 percent every year since 1997 in women ages 35 to 44.

Cancer
Abusing your body by smoking, drinking too much and taking prohibited drugs could lead to various deadly diseases, especially cancer. Experts have proven that a person’s lifestyle contributes a lot to their risk of cancer. Smoking, for instance, could lead to lung cancer. Too much alcohol intake could cause liver cancer. Dangerous drugs can make your cells weaker and more susceptible to cancer.

Hypertension
Working too much can lead to stress, which can lead to hypertension and other related diseases. Abusing your body to the point of exhaustion by spending too much time at work could cause your system to break down. When that happens, you could suffer from one of the most dreaded diseases.

There are many other effects of keeping unhealthy habits, which could put a toll on your health. If you want to curb such a disadvantageous lifestyle, you can start by following a healthier routine, like working out in your own home gym.

What is a home gym?

For some people, they have this quaint little spot where they can spend a few hours every day to do yoga, do zumba, lift weights, run on a treadmill or do a few crunches or lunges to get rid of flabs and belly rolls. In other words, a home gym is a sweet spot in your abode where you can shed off the excess weight. This room may have a few practical workout equipment, including a treadmill, elliptical bike, yoga mat and maybe a few weights. But what makes a home gym a good idea?

Why build a home gym?

Now, you may be wondering why have a gym at home when you can enroll in a gym and enjoy all the perks. Well, building your own home gym is a lifestyle choice that offers a lot of benefits, including the following:

Save money with gym memberships

Save money with gym memberships

Gym memberships are usually expensive simply because you are paying for all the equipment, space and services they offer. But do you really need all those machines? Depending on your health needs, you won’t always need to use the dip station, power bar, leg press, leg abduction-adduction machine, pro lat machine and the like. This means that it won’t be practical to pay for the full membership fee when you don’t really use all of the gym tools they offer, right? In fact, you can set up a gym at home for under $500.

Have the freedom to work out anytime of the day

Don’t have time to go to the gym because of work or other commitments? Not a problem. With a home gym, you can conveniently do yoga, run on the treadmill or cycle a few miles first thing in the morning or once you get home from work. Because of that, you won’t have to waste any time commuting or driving to and from the gym, giving you more time to spend working out or doing other things that are more important.

Let you decide on the type of gym equipment that you can actually use and need

As previously mentioned, paying for a full gym membership fee isn’t practical, unless, of course, you’re going to use all of the equipment there. But because you won’t really be using everything, paying that much money for use of the gym isn’t really a wise thing to do. So, by building a home gym in your home, you can save money and use it to buy those equipment that you can actually use. Plus, you don’t have to wait in line to use the treadmill, dip bar or bench press because there’s only a few people in your house.

Enjoy a workout environment that perfectly suits you

When you have your own gym, you don’t have to suffer through loud music, which you don’t like most of the time, blasting on the sound system. You can decorate your exercise room with everything that you feel will motivate and inspire you to achieve your dreams. You also don’t have to feel embarrassed whenever you give yourself a pep talk to work harder on your crunches or squats.

Aside from that, being in a place that you feel most comfortable in allows you to be more focused in achieving your goals. You also don’t

Enjoy as much privacy as you want

If you want privacy, you can keep your home gym indoors. But if you want the feel of fresh air while you’re doing cardio workout or practicing on your splits, you can set up your home gym on the porch or a gazebo, if you have one. One of the perks of having your own workout nook at home is that you don’t have to worry about dress codes. You can wear whatever you because there is no one to call you out on what you’re wearing.

Bond with loved ones

Working out can also be a great opportunity for you and your loved ones to bond. You can do couple yoga with your spouse, work out with your girlfriends or teach your kids some basic exercises to keep them fit while still young. And because you are in the comforts of home, you can do whatever you want to achieve your #fitnessgoals.

How to build a home a gym for under $500?

Setting up your home gym can be easier if you have a spare room or extra space at home. That way you won’t have to spend anything for adding a room or area for your workout or yoga sessions. But you can also free up an area in your house that’s not really used for a particular purpose. A study area or home office that hasn’t been used for a long time, for example, would be an excellent option.

Once you have decided on a space for your home gym, you have to take care of the essentials.

Budget

Setting up a home gym isn’t really expensive. In fact, you can have one for under $500. The key here is to know exactly what you need. Buying unnecessary machines will only cost you a lot of money and waste precious space in your house. So, if you want to create a fully functional home gym that does not exceed $500, you will have to consult a personal trainer or physician to help you determine which parts of your body you need to work on and which tools to have. By doing so, you’ll be able to budget for this project properly.

Atmosphere

What’s so satisfying about building a small gym in your house is being to decide how the space will look and feel like. You can decorate your workout nook with everything that motivates you. You can mount pictures and posters of your inspirations, be it popular health buffs, gurus or inspirational quotes. If you are creating an area for yoga, for example, you can use décor pieces that imbibes a Zen ambiance to help with your meditation. It would also be a good idea to set up a TV and digital player set for when you want to play workout videos or music.

Equipment

For safety purposes, it’s important to know that lifting heavy weights at home may be dangerous, unless you’re an experienced weightlifter. But if you just want to tone your muscles, a good set of weights of up to 100 pounds would be a great start. Buying different weights would help give you more crunch time for different workouts.

You will also need a bench to make the most of your barbells, as well as for doing your crunches. But be sure to go for one that is specifically design for home use and one that is of high quality to ensure you’ll be able to enjoy it for a long time.                              

It’s also wise to consider proper flooring when planning for your home gym. This is to protect the existing flooring as well as ensure your equipment last longer. The right gym flooring will also help minimize noise, especially when it’s located on the upper floor. Most people use commercial grade foam flooring as it is more affordable and longer lasting.

As for cardio, you can spend a couple of hundred dollars for a treadmill or elliptical bike. But if you want to save money, you can do your cardio outside by hitting the pavements. You might also want to consider buying second-hand equipment for a cheaper price. But make sure they are in the best condition. Alternatively, though, you can opt for skipping ropes that can also help tighten your muscles and strengthen your core. For a much cheaper way to do cardio routines, you can buy an aerobic stepper instead. It helps increase your heart rate while you work on your hams and gluts.

A good quality stability ball is what modern trainers would recommend. This is because a lot of people have poor balance and core strength. Using a physioball, you can do tons of different exercises, including crunches, hamstring curls, body bridges, squats and more. Be sure to choose a good quality ball to avoid any injury when it pops on you.

Resistance bands are also great alternatives to expensive gym apparatuses. For one, they can replace dumbbells for various exercise routines. You can also do lat pull-downs, shoulder exercise, squats and chess presses with them. What’s even more amazing about these bands is that they are very light and compact, which means that they don’t take up a lot of space. Plus, they don’t cost a lot.

Mirrors are also important in a home gym. Notice how gyms have mirrored walls? These will help you track your progress, and motivate you to work harder.  

The key to setting up a home gym that does not cost you a fortune is to stick to the essentials. Keep in mind that you’re trying to get fit, not go bankrupt. Check out websites that sell refurbished gym-grade equipment at lower prices, if you really want a fully equipped workout area so you don’t spend a lot. But you can go with stability balls, yoga mats and a few sets of weights for a start. After all, a simple gym with only a few tools work just as well as a fully equipped gym if you put in the same work.

you might want to expand your home gym

After some time, you might want to expand your home gym. Here are some of the most essential items to outfit your workout area at home.

Punching bag

A punching bag is a great tool for an intensified cardio workout. Plus, it’s an excellent way to relieve stress since you get to hit something and use your strength to blow some steam whenever life becomes too much to bear.

Rowing machine

If you want to take your fitness to a whole new level, you can add a rowing machine in your home gym. It’s great for toning and building muscles, working out your cardiovascular system, burn calories, solve joint problems and more. It’s like an all-in-one workout system that can definitely help you lose weight and keep you fit.

Elliptical machine

Aside from having a treadmill, an elliptical machine is another tool you should have in your home gym. It’s a low impact workout, which is perfect for those with joint and back pain problems. A lot of people claim that an elliptical machine is well worth the hassle and cost of buying one.

Medicine balls

If you’re one who enjoys a machine-free workout, a medicine ball would be the perfect gym buddy for you. Make the most of lunges, curls, squats and sit-ups with a medicine ball as it involves your whole body while sweating it out.

Ab wheel

Want to work on your core and achieve rock-hard abs in no time? Well, all you need is an ab wheel.

Elliptical trainer

This is a good alternative to the elliptical machine, which is perfect for those who want to enjoy its benefits but don’t have the space (or money) for one. It offers virtually the same perks, especially when it comes to helping you maintain your balance and engage your cores.

Power tower

Also known as body tower, it is an excellent home workout device to help you develop your strength. You can build one with a pull-up bar, dip station, adjustable bars, cushioned back pads and more. With this type of fitness tool, you can do pull ups, dips, push ups, ab workouts, squats and the like.

Roman chair

This is a must-have if you have lower back problems. It’s also great for dips, abdominal exercises and more. Plus, it can be used as an ab bench, too.

Foam rollers

Trainers recommend using these tools after an intensive exercise session to stretch out your muscles, including hams, quads, calves, lats and more, as well as prevent soreness.

Weight bench

For the best chest and back exercises, you will need this equipment, as it can help maintain your stability and avoid strains while lifting weights or just working on your upper body.

Additional Tips

Before buying anything though, it is best to consult health experts. Talk to a personal fitness trainer to help you determine which body parts you should work on first. By doing so, you’ll have a better idea on which machines to have in your home gym. Plus, you’ll be able to ensure the best results if you consult a professional.

If you aim to lose weight, it is recommended that you focus on cardio exercises and strength training to burn fat faster. For muscle building, you will need to strengthen your muscles by using dumbbells, pull-up bars, etc. But if you just want to stay in shape, you can opt for free weights, resistance bands and an ab wheel.

Lastly, no equipment can help you achieve your fitness goals if you do not push yourself to work on those dreams. So, first and foremost, have the heart and mind to work out and keep yourself in shape.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.