Ever wanted to get a workout in and then realised you have to…
…go upstairs, get your gym kit out, get out of your clothes, get into gym kit, get your gym bag, take a pre-workout, walk to car, realise you have forgotten your earphones, walk back to the house to get earphones, walk back to the car, get into the car, drive to the gym, park, put your kit in the locker, and then, workout? Then do it all in reverse?
Wouldn’t it be easier if you had a gym at home? Well, let’s take a look.
The most obvious thing to do first is to work out how much money you have. For ease, we will say that your gym will cost you around £1000, and even though we have said “for ease”, it is important to go a bit more granular in your budgeting.
Let’s say your gym membership is £30 a month. That means in basic terms you are going to have to use your home-gym for three years in order to get a return on it. You also need to think about fuel, the running of a vehicle and extra costs like supplements purchased at the gym and locker hire. With those extras in mind, your payback time should reduce, but you should be honest.
Buying a bench, or some weights is one thing, but converting a garage or spare room into a full on gym is a bigger financial commitment, and one you should only undertake if you can afford it.
Say “no” to cardio
Cardio isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, though it is fairly important for your general health, and indeed for fat burning if you are into HIIT. However, when it comes to gyms, cardio machines can be costly, space-greedy and as there are moving parts, prone to break.
If the treadmill at your local gym breaks, they fix it, if your machine breaks, you have a useless pile of metal, plastic and rubber. This doesn’t mean you can only use your gym for building muscle, as you could get yourself a cheap rowing machine, or a second hand piece of kit that will do you for a while, if nothing more. You could also look at simple kit like a skipping rope, battle ropes or a cycle trainer…if you have space for a bike…or a bike in the first place.
And with that, we get to our next point.
Measure the space and optimise it
Most blokes (sorry female readers) like to be in charge of packing boots, or trolleys or anything that resembles Tetris. So as a word of warning, it is all well and good measuring up a garage and trying to fill every space, but remember you aren’t packing cartons of orange juice in a hessian bag after a trip to Aldi. You need to measure the space, and allow comfortable movement.
If your homemade-gym is one that you have to get out, you will use it less. So try your hardest to keep all kit as accessible as possible.
The challenge of a gym in the home is that your home is normally full of stuff, so this is where you could get creative and re-live your Game Boy Colour days. (For the younger readers among us, it was an early handheld console).
Pick the kit
What you are after is the most functional gym possible. You want to work of your body as possible with as little kit as possible. So with that in mind, we priced up a gym for you.
Now we haven’t shopped around that much, and this is all from large online retailers, so you may be able to find it cheaper, but this should work as a general guide.
What weights you buy will depends on what you are looking to achieve, and of course, your general strength. We have put in this selection as it should cover most gym-goers. Remember that an Olympic bar will weigh around 15-20kg also.
• 4 x 1.25kg = £9.96
• 4 x 2.25kg = £17.99
• 4 x 5kg = £34.76
• 2 x 10kg = £31.99
• 2 x 20kg = £63.99
Total cost = £158.69
You may, in time, want to add a tricep bar, but to start, you can skip it. The bars you purchase should be able to handle the weights you are lifting, so make sure you check that. It could end badly otherwise! We’ve gone for varying load capacities based on the bars, and of course, cost.
• Olympic Bar (272kg capacity) = £44.79
• EZ Bar (100kg) = £32.99
• Total cost = £77.78
Racks and Bench
If you can afford it, a power-rack is a fantastic purchase. You should be able to bench, squat and deadlift with them, as well as perform pull ups. If you can’t afford a power-rack, get an adjustable squat rack, and a door hung pull up bar for £20-30. A weight rack keeps what limited space you probably have nice and tidy!
• Power-rack = £249.99
• Adjustable bench = £119.99
• Weight rack = £75.99
• Total cost = £445.97
Bits and bobs
You can add all the extras you want depending on budget, but here are three things we think can really up your game…and save a collar-less weightlifting disaster!
• Spring collars = £1.80
• Big Bar Grip = £14.99
• Skipping rope = £4.99
• Total cost = £21.78
Grant total = £704.22
Things don’t need to look nice, they just need to work. So if you see something in a clearance section because it is adorned with Jodie Marsh’s face, then don’t be afraid to go for it.
Likewise, if someone is selling something second hand, then you should also consider it seriously. Gumtree, eBay and if you can hack the absolute crap, local Facebook selling groups can throw up some serious second hand gems.
If you have to go for all new then make sure you sign up to email lists. In just the same way as with our newsletters, this is the best way to get deals.
Up for it?
If you already have a gym, we’d love to know what it is like. And if we have encouraged you to make your own, then let us know how you get on! Either way, we hope this has been helpful, and after publishing why gyms are disgusting, we’d like to once again reaffirm that we don’t hate gyms, we just like saving money!