An annual gym membership can cost $500 or much more a year depending on where you live. Not to mention the time and motivation it takes to get there, find parking, and then battle other gym-goers for equipment and floor space! I find it especially hard to get to the gym on chilly, dark winter mornings. Not sure about you, but I’d certainly rather stay in my warm cozy bed another hour.
Wouldn’t it be great to exercise right in the comfort of your own home whenever you want for free?! It is easy to do without spending a fortune. No need to succumb to those crazy infomercials or QVC ‘home gym’ gimmicks.
Here is how to build your own starter home gym for under $100:
You’ll want 16 to 24 square foot Interlocking Gym Floor Mat to have ample space to move around. Splurge and get a thicker tile if you want more cushion! (Cost $25-35)
Invest in an 8 to 12 rung agility ladder to keep yourself from cardio boredom. (Cost $15-20)
Get a fun and colorful exercise stability ball to round out your new gym. (Cost $10-15)
An aerobic step can challenge your legs in different ways and it can also double for arm exercises such as bench press and triceps dips. (Cost $25-50)
A yoga mat is a nice addition for stretching and floor work. (Cost $10-20)
A jump rope is also helpful to have. (Cost $5-10)
*TIP: Skip the yoga mat and keep some old towels on hand to throw down on your mat for floor work.
If you’re a beginner, get a set of 5 and 8 pound vinyl or neoprene dumbbells to start off with. (Cost: $30)
For intermediate exercisers, go with a 12 and 15 pound set. (Cost: $85)
If you are advanced, use your judgment on how heavy to go. This would be a steeper investment. For instance, 20 pound dumbbells start at $90 and it is best to have three different weight sets at an advanced level so you can do drop sets and tax various muscle groups.
*TIP: Once you gain strength, you can double up and hold two dumbbells in each hand.
I tend to find the best prices on Amazon, Walmart, or Target. Sometimes I even find some of these items at discount stores like Marshalls or TJ Maxx.
Another way to save money is to buy used equipment and trade yours in when you are ready to upgrade. Play It Again Sports is a retail chain that buys and sells used sports equipment. I have also found some nice gym buys on Craigslist.
Now that you’ve built it, what do you do? Here is a sample workout to get you started. If you are not currently active, it is advised that you consult with a physician before starting any new exercise program and slowly work your way up. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
This workout should take roughly 25 minutes. The key is to go slow on the weighted exercises to feel the burn and then get your heart rate up with the agility drills.
*TIP: Before you begin, set out your water bottle and equipment to eliminate downtime and find an upbeat mix on iHeartRadio or Pandora to keep you energized!
Weakling to Warrior
If you are just starting out, getting back into the groove, or need a light day, this is the workout for you!
March or jog in place for 1 minute
20x Left Side Knees to Waist
20x Right Side Knees to Waist
20x Left Side Hamstring Curls
20x Right Side Hamstring Curls
15x Left Arm Weighted Rows
15x Right Arm Weighted Rows
15x Push-Ups (against a wall or on floor resting on knees for beginners)
2x Agility: Run through agility ladder stepping through each box one way and then return to start by keeping both feet outside agility ladder and jumping outside each box.
REPEAT ROW/PUSH-UP/AGILITY CIRCUIT
15x Left Arm Weighted Bicep Curl
15x Right Arm Weighted Bicep Curl
15x Left Arm Weighted Triceps Extension
15x Right Arm Weighted Triceps Extension
2x Agility: Start with both feet outside agility ladder. Step left foot into box, right foot into box, left foot out of box, right foot out of box. Then repeat in each box as fast as you can down and back.
REPEAT BICEP/TRICEP/AGILITY CIRCUIT
15x Dual Arm Weighted Lateral Shoulder Raise (raise weights to each side of body just to shoulder level)
15x Squats (keep knees behind toes and bend knees no more than 90 degrees)
2x Agility: Stand on one side of ladder and zigzag in and out of each box – through ladder to front, through ladder to back.
REPEAT SHOULDER/SQUAT/AGILITY CIRCUIT
20x Exercise Ball Crunches (Lay on ball with curved part of back resting on ball. With hands gently holding head for support, but not pulling, lead with your chin towards ceiling. Keep abs tight and exhale when you raise up. Inhale on way down.)
20x Back Extensions (Lean over ball with knees on the ground and hands behind head. Extend chest and upper back up from ball and then lower to start.)
As you build up strength and endurance, go through the entire workout two times. To up the intensity, increase your speed and double the number of repetitions for the agility drills, up the weight once you feel comfortable with it, and/or add 30 seconds of jump rope between each set. Get creative and mix it up!
Stretch all major muscle groups after you are finished to avoid injury and ward off sore muscles. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Never stretch at the beginning of a workout when your muscles are cold because it could lead to a pulled muscle. Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated too!
More fitness tips: 5 Reasons You Should Sweat Every Day
Check out Workout at home tutorials on Your Dream Body
Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photo: manu campi via Instagram; Darla Slade