Whether you’re a diehard CrossFitter, a regular gym-goer or looking to take some steps to get in shape, having some gym equipment at home is never a bad idea. In fact, CrossFit was born in garage gyms.
As far as home gym ideas go, a small space in your garage, a guest bedroom or a back yard can turn into the perfect area to practice and perfect certain skills and to get extra work in when your WOD just wasn’t enough.
However, building a home gym can be expensive, especially if you’re already paying a monthly membership fee to use a facility.
The total cost will depend on the equipment you need, but we’ve got some tips for how to build your own garage gym for less money.
6 Home Gym Ideas for the Fitness Fanatic on a Budget
1. Do It Yourself
The first option and my personal favorite option is to build equipment yourself.
Now obviously, certain pieces of equipment are going to be more difficult to create. However, with simple tutorials like ours on how to build a DIY Pull Up Bar or this one on building your own jump box at home, anyone can start building their own garage gym.
Next time you have a Saturday free, have fun creating something with your hands and thus laying the foundation for lots of homestyle fitness.
2. Take Advantage of Your Competitive Nature
I don’t know about you, but most CrossFitters love to compete. In fact, it’s what attracts a lot of ex-athletes to the sport — it’s a way to get fit and stay competitive in adulthood for the majority of people who didn’t have the option to go pro in their respective fields.
Not only are competitions a lot of fun, but they often include equipment, money or gift cards as a part of the prize package. You pay anywhere from $50 to $200 to sign up to compete and have a blast, get a free shirt, and sometimes walk away with a new rower or a $1,000 check.
Winning is a great way to get your hands on some big price-tag equipment without a huge hit to your bank account. Plus, who doesn’t like to win? And while you’re at the competition…
3. Capitalize on Used Equipment Sales
Whether you’re competing or attending a competition as a spectator, always ask someone in charge what equipment they’re selling off after the competition.
Often times, companies will provide bars and weights for a competition and then turn around and sell them at a discounted price. This is a great way to get your hands on barbells, weights, kettlebells and more in almost brand-new condition at a decent and sometimes steep discount.
Think bigger than just equipment as well — are they selling their stall mats? What about their fans? These are things that aren’t essential for a garage or home gym, but definitely make things more pleasant.
4. Look for Coupons and Discounts
Always be on the lookout for coupons! Some good ways to get your hands on fitness-type coupons is by signing up for e-newsletters from your favorite brands, checking your competition bags — especially if it’s a big one! — and following online communities on forums like Reddit, where people often times will share good deals that they’ve taken advantage of.
Larger chain stores like Academy or Dick’s will often run sales depending on the season that they announce and advertise heavily. The end of the year is always a time to grab a great deal if you have money leftover after holiday shopping.
5. It Doesn’t Have to Be A Name Brand
Obviously, there are certain products that are worth the investment. For example, I’m very picky about the barbells I use. However, some smaller things don’t have to be the best in the business to work effectively.
Larger stores like Target and Walmart frequently carry items like mats, kettlebells, small dumbbells,
and even small weights. Other things to consider buying for a cheaper price include weight clamps, abmats, medicine balls and foam rollers.
6. Get Innovative
If you can’t yet afford certain products, get innovative. Recently, I started training for a competition where one WOD required all four teammates to lift a worm effectively. Since we didn’t have one laying around to practice with, we built one using medicine balls, garbage bags and duct tape.
Use a basketball to do wall balls. Use a seat cushion to do abmat sit ups. Next time you see an old big tire going to waste at your local landfill, grab and it and take it home. Grab your grandparents’ old exercise bike to use in place of an Assault bike until you can afford one and give it all you’ve got.
Fitness isn’t about perfection, it’s about determination. Working out with subpar equipment can be frustrating, but the only one who determines how good of a workout you get is you.