When COVID-19 hit, my perspective on the gym was turned upside down. Like everyone else on the planet, my gym closed… What am I going to do with no gym? I was unprepared and had only a Bowflex dumbbell set and rubber mat. I felt totally screwed, I have been going to a gym for my workouts since I was in middle school… and now… I’ve got nothing!… but I’m going to tell you right now… losing the gym was the best thing that could have happened! Here’s why!
Like most people, I started scrambling for gym equipment when I realized this pandemic was not going to end anytime soon. I could get by with some runs and the dumbbells for about 2 weeks, but here we are going on month 5, and as a US Marine, I’ve got to stay in good shape year round… the smartest thing I did was find gym equipment online and started to build my home gym setup in our cramped one car garage.
I want to use this post to explain why I don’t see myself ever going back to my daily gym time and help show you how I built my home gym setup for under $1500 total cost. I’ll give you the top reasons I think gyms are overrated and what equipment you need to start to build the foundation for your very own home gym.
Gym membership monthly costs are deceiving
Think about this for a minute. $1500 dollars sounds like a lot of money to start building your home gym. It’s a decent chunk of change, however that’s a one time cost.
I’ve paid atleast $50 per month for gym memberships over the past 10 or more years. A family membership used to cost me $70 per month. I’m no math major… but I know that’s $600 dollars a year or well over $6000 dollars over the course of those 10 years.
The math does not lie. It is cheaper to have a home gym than go to a gym. Are you with me?!
Let’s talk about time
My gym used to be about 20 minutes from my house. I always workout for about an hour… So I’m losing nearly 2 hours of my day for a one hour workout.
My gym is in my garage now… It takes me about… 5 seconds to get there! I love this! Throw in gas money… 30 minutes or more in the car. I don’t even want to add up how much gas cost me over the last 10 years!
You are losing time and money when you maintain a traditional gym membership. Call it what it is.
But what about all the benefits of the gym membership Lenny?!?
What does a gym have that you don’t have at home? I can really only think of a few things. Maybe you don’t have a sauna or a pool if your gym had that. The only other thing I can think of is maybe you miss the trainers, but they typically charge you even more. I think paying for fitness trainers is silly. Nothing against personal trainers… but I can find pretty much any workout idea, routine, and advice on youtube or the internet. Just takes a little research!
So I’m not really seeing the benefits of maintaining a monthly gym membership. If you know me… you might think I’ve lost my mind!
I don’t have space for a home gym…
My whole gym setup takes up only a small portion of our one car garage. If you get creative with your living arrangements, I’m sure you will be able to figure out how to maximize space!
How to Start your Home Gym for $1500
This is based on my opinion and over 20 years of personal experience in the gym. Here is a breakdown of what I think are key components of any home gym. No company has paid me to say this or given me anything for their endorsement.
Keep in mind my style of workout as well. I like to lift heavy, but I also need to be able to run and have great cardio. I’m not a cross fitter or a traditional gym rat. I try to stay in “fighting” shape.
The weight bench is the single most important item you should have in your gym. I was really impressed with the quality of this Fitness Gear brand bench. It is as good as any weight bench you will find in your membership gyms. I’m 215lbs and bench press 225-255lbs with no concerns.
I bought mine at Dick’s Sporting Goods
Weights are crucial. Again, this Fitness Gear brand set is perfect for home gym use. Go with ‘Olympic’ weights. This has 300lbs of weights, it’s more than you need. The quality is solid and the bar is the same you will find in your old gym.
Cost: $250… which is a steal!
Again I bought this from Dick’s
Although these are pricey… to be able to get 5-52.5lbs all in this small space is crucial for a home gym! They are a little wider than dumbbells at the gym, but I’m used to them now and use them everyday for all kinds of exercises.
Bowflex makes a great product
Try to get multiple kettle bells from 0-40lbs at this price. You can’t! You can do so much with this one piece of equipment.
Another Bowflex must have!
Battle ropes are an absolute crusher! Just youtube some circuits and include this in your routine and it will kick your butt!
I was actually ‘gifted’ mine from a friend who didn’t use it… he didn’t realize what he had! Don’t be intimidated by the rope!
I LOVE these ladders! No I’m not training for the NFL combine, but this is a fun way of getting in my cardio and working on foot speed for soccer. SKLZ makes all kinds of cool training equipment and solid quality.
Got mine on Amazon but here is the SKLZ site
Cones are another great tool most people don’t think about. There are so many drills you can run in a very small space. These are perfect for any sport or just general conditioning.
I bought mine at target
I have both a speed rope and this heavy rope. I enjoy going back and forth and working these into my routine. I’m sure you will too!
Picked mine up off Amazon
EZ Curl Bar
I’m literally purchasing this as I write this. These curl bars are so versatile. Make sure you get the one compatible with olympic weights. Every day is arm day!
Find it at Dick’s
This is a ‘nice’ to have, but it keeps the gym floor cleaned up and fits in a small space. Holds all the plates listed above along with room for more if you need it.
Picked it up from Dick’s
There it is! Complete Home Gym for under $1500
I’m done wasting my money at the local gym! This list comes out to about $1250 and it has everything I think would be essential.
In the future I may need to get a few heavier dumbbells but that will have to ‘weight’ until we have more room. See what I did there?!?!
Ok, so there you have it. Go out and get those gluten free gains! No excuses! If you need motivation shoot me a message/email and we can connect. I have no issue with talking you through this. There is so much information out there, it can be overwhelming!