The whole idea of a ‘home gym’ can be a daunting thought because of all the equipment you need, space restrictions, cost of acquiring quality equipment, thoughts like ‘will I be motivated’ etc etc… I could go on.
But what I found when I started looking into alternative options for a gym membership is that I really didn’t need a whole lot to make a home gym work. I mainly perform compound movements that I can easily do with dumbbells and a bench, and plus, paying over $1000 a year on a gym membership wasn’t an ideal cost structure either.
So in a way, my main motivation for throwing in my gym membership was initially the cost factor.
BUT (there’s a but)… this was only the initial motivation. There were actually a lot of reasons why I wanted to start training at home as opposed to the gym, and all I had to do was justify the upfront cost, which was easy enough as overall a home gym cost me less than the price of a gym membership for 1/2 a year.
I purchased a few things that I’ve listed below that currently make up my home gym. I am happy with them, they are definitely doing the job and I feel so much better having saved time, fuel, money and the dread involved of going to the gym. It doesn’t (for me anyway) take any more motivation to use my home gym and in fact I find I am more motivated to use it.
There are a few reasons why I gave up the gym and opted for a home gym.
Main reasons why I quit my gym membership
It’s funny because at first, this was the main reason why I was turned off having a home gym. I did not see the point spending money on my own equipment when the cost of my gym membership was seemingly small and only a fortnightly cost. Having said that, my membership prices were actually pretty high. My membership fees had increased to $45 a fortnight, and most of the services I didn’t even use.
There are cheaper gyms around my area (something like $35 a fortnight) but they were too small and intimate for me to really consider, and there was no point if there was only one rack of weights with one guy hogging it, plus going to a new gym takes a while to get comfortable with.
What I knew for sure was that I needed a pair of dumbbells (since I wouldn’t have a bench press stand/ power rack) and I wanted the dumb bells to have a fairly high weight. I needed a suspension trainer (for core work), a good quality bench and a pull up bar. I can confidently say that I feel like I have everything I need with these few items, and you can definitely get by on these items alone. I am legitimately having better workouts at home than I ever did at the gym.
I paid $396 for a pair of Adjustable Dumbbells.
The dumbbells have capacity for 200lb (100lb each) and are cast iron as I wasn’t a fan of the click change ones (whatever they’re called). I wanted the dumbbells to be adjustable to a relatively high weight as I will be relying solely on them for weight training.
I paid $40 for a Megoal Suspension Trainer.
I know, I know… Not a TRX. The idea was cost cutting here people! And anyway, its actually a really great suspension trainer (I will write a review on this soon). I wanted a suspension trainer for core work, and I would recommend one to anyone looking to increase overall core strength and posture.
I paid $130 for a good quality adjustable bench.
The bench I purchased is 21.3lbs heavy, stable and inclines and declines so is very useful for everything I need to do. It also has a huge 600lbs maximum load/user weight.
I paid $22 for a pull up/ chin up bar.
The bar that I purchased in particular is the HPF Portable bar which can be mounted to a door frame. I didn’t want one that needed attaching to the wall because I’m terrible at attaching things to the walls and would likely kill myself.
Total cost = $588. For pretty much everything that I used at the gym anyway. Crazy.
I had already spent $500 on my gym membership this year so for this to at least get me through to the end of the year is money well spent in my opinion.
I expect to be using this equipment for many years to come so realistically the savings are continuous. I had spent $1,170 a year on a gym membership, and less than $588 on equipment that I will use for years to come and have the option of upgrading… It was pretty simple to me.
Well, at least I do go to the gym. I can’t be THAT lazy. But ironically, this was a major reason for me to convert to a home gym.
I’m just a lazy person in general. I can hardly write this sentence. I’m a damn good procrastinator too and would often leave off going to the gym until it was too late at night, feeling sick about it all the while. I know I’m a catch.
I would think up almost any excuse not to go. Even when I did get to the gym, I would sometimes sit in the car for about 30 minutes dreading going in. Of course the majority of times it was fine but something about the drive there, the walking in, the people. It made me dread something that really needs to be enjoyed for overall success.
With a home gym, I don’t have any excuses. All my equipment is here ready to use, and when it is staring you in the face is becomes hard to ignore.
And plus, I’m comfortable. Which leads me on to my next point.
Don’t get me wrong. You can find some really great like minded people in gyms, and also really inspiring fit people who care a lot about their health and their body.
But on the other end of the spectrum, you can find some #$%^’s. I would get irritated about people hogging the equipment when they were hardly using it. I would see guys surrounded in 10 dumbbells. There were show offs that hop around the gym like a bunny. I applaud their enthusiasm, but it was odd nonetheless.
Sometimes there were sweaty bum stains left on a machine/bench (and sometimes that stain was mine!).
Also, this might have just been my gym, but it stank. I held my breath when walking in a few times whilst people walked past me. I can deal with my own smell but this place was just not very well ventilated. I think that ‘gym smell’ will haunt me from ever stepping foot in a gym again.
For some people, the atmosphere of a gym really works. They are surrounded by their friends, and can use whatever equipment they need when they wish to, and they just enjoy being red and sweaty whilst communicating with strangers.
Good luck to them. I am not one of these people.
The convenience of having a home gym is probably something I didn’t altogether realize until I actually had one, however I have found that it has definitely become a major reason why I enjoy having a home gym.
Obviously, I’m at home. I’m comfortable. I can work out whenever I want. The equipment is mine (no hogging!) and I can perform any exercise at any rate that I want. I can perform an exercise as slow or as fast as I wish, and I can concentrate on really perfecting my form. There is no worry of judgement from anyone else.
There’s the trivial but all too important aspects too. I never leave my headphones or towel at home. I’m never without a drink bottle or tap to refill it. The change rooms are never closed and there is no commute back and forth.
Oh, and I should mention that my gym was only operational from 5am (which I can tell you was not going to happen) to 8pm most nights. I generally prefer working out at night, and the drive, in combination with peak hour gym traffic wasn’t ideal for me. I know there are 24 hour gyms around, but gyms are scarce in my area and this was the closest to home (albeit a 15 min drive away).
Should I switch to a home gym?
Obviously this is a personal decision, but if i can put my 2 cents worth in. If you’re anything like me, I would say definitely do it. I save so much money and I can do absolutely everything I did at the gym (with a few optimizations) with dumbbells and simple equipment. And anyway… there’s no reason I can’t upgrade to more equipment if this becomes too limiting.
If gym is your escape from home then by all means stay. Or, perhaps you actually use the facilities you are paying for including the pool, sauna, classes and trainers (all things that my gym offered but I never used).
My major concerns about starting a home gym were really non-issues in the end. The initial thing that stopped me were space limitations. I live in a tiny house…. like, tiny. My bedroom hardly fits my bed, and I obviously do not have space for a power rack and fully functional commercial blah blah machine. And anyway, what do we REALLY use at gym? I found keeping it simple works best for me.
It is also inspiring to me that I have enough motivation to workout at home. It allows me to push harder and stay on track. I also have more time on my hands as there is no fussing around with the gym, time that I use to run about 5 miles each day. So for me, it works.As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.