How to Build a Home Gym: Planning, Budgeting and Setting Yourself Up For Fitness Success
A national survey conducted by OnePoll recently found that 64% of Americans are more interested than ever in at-home fitness options. That same poll noted that 72% of people said they preferred home workouts because it made it easier to hit their fitness goals.
This news comes as industry analysts predict that one in four gyms will close over the coming months as Americans spend record-breaking billions of dollars on exercise bikes, weights, and home gym equipment. Are you interested in joining the trend, but you don't know how to build a home gym? In this guide, we'll explain the basics of planning a home gym, the necessities you need — don't forget your floor mats and dumbbells! — and budgeting for the average costs of starting a home gym.
Your Gym Startup Budget: How Much Does a Home Gym Cost?
The average gym membership costs $58 a month, or nearly $700 a year. This number skyrockets if you live in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles or New York City.
In contrast, an international study found that setting up a home gym costs an average of $3,141. Compared to a gym membership, you can likely expect to break even in approximately four years — even faster if you factor in parking, commute times, etc.
However, exactly what you plan to put into your home can dramatically increase or reduce this overall cost estimate. For example, if you only need a bench and some free weights, you can often outfit your entire gym for $500 or less. But if you're seeking to replicate a commercial gym experience with squat racks, a cardio machine, and a functional trainer, you can easily hit the five-digit mark (a functional trainer alone can easily cost $5,000).
It all comes down to your fitness goals and what you want to get out of your home gym.
4 Steps to Build a Home Gym
1. Focus on Your Fitness Goals
Where do you see your fitness journey taking you? Most people can boil down their overarching exercise goals to three key categories:
- A balance of strength-building and cardio
Consider what areas of the gym you currently visit the most and how your home gym aligns with your physical health and mental health goals. This will help guide your choices as you choose a room in your home, pick out your exercise equipment, and set up your home gym.
2. Choose a Workout Space
At a bare minimum, you'll need a nook or den with enough space for a workout mat, your water bottle, and some basic free weights or exercise bands. This gives you just enough space to do basic bodyweight movements (e.g., burpees, pushups, etc.), plus foundational strength movements and stretching.
More realistically, you should set aside an area that:
- Gives you enough horizontal room to do full-body movements, such as kettlebell swings and lunges, without hitting a wall or furniture.
- Provides enough vertical room so you can complete movements like high box jumps and overhead presses.
- Shields you from household distractions, such as a messy kitchen that needs cleaning.
If you're planning a serious cardio space complete with an elliptical or treadmill, or if your goals involve heavy lifting (e.g., a squat rack, Olympic barbells, etc.), you'll want to set aside an entire spare room for your home gym.
3. Build Your Home Gym Equipment List
The "best" equipment to furnish your home gym varies depending on the fitness goals we discussed in step one. However, there are a few basic pieces of equipment that are fundamental for most workouts. Consider stocking your home gym with the following:
- An exercise mat
- An exercise bench
- Resistance bands
- One lightweight and one medium-weight kettlebell
- A set of medium-weight and heavyweight dumbbells
- A jump rope
- A mirror (optional, but beneficial for checking your form)
These basics will help you accomplish all the fundamental movements that are essential for improving your cardiovascular and muscular strength and endurance. Nearly any home workout can be adapted to use these tools with great results.
If you're an intermediate or more experienced fitness enthusiast, add on to the above list with a few more advanced pieces:
- A versatile bar, such as an Olympic bar or power bar
- Weight plates
- A Bosu ball or stability ball
- A portable, adjustable squat rack
Finally, if your budget or space allows, invest in cardio equipment like a treadmill or elliptical. Keep in mind that this can easily add a thousand dollars to your home gym costs, and it takes up a lot of floor space. They are not necessary for a home gym, but they are convenient when you don't feel like running or jogging outdoors.
4. Source and Set Up Your Home Gym
Every home gym is unique, but the following ensure a space-savvy, budget-conscious, and efficient home workout space:
- Weigh the pros and cons of buying used equipment versus new equipment. Used equipment can save you a considerable amount of money, and tools like weights and dumbbells are exceedingly durable and last for years.
- Store all plates, dumbbells, bands, and other accessories in a corner or on hooks securely attached to the wall. This keeps your floor space free of tripping hazards and lets you maximize your movement area.
- Arrange your workout equipment in a clear flow from warmup to workout to cool down, if space allows.
Tiger Fitness Fuels Your Home Gym Workout
Whether your home gym is just a rolled-up exercise mat in the corner of your living room or an entire basement converted into your own fitness utopia, one thing remains the same: You need to fuel your body with the proper pre- and post-workout nutrition. From energizing pre-workout drinks to muscle-building protein recovery shakes, Tiger Fitness' best-selling collection of health and wellness supplements powers millions of home gym enthusiasts around the world.