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As much as I enjoy having a gym to go to, I still love having a home gym.

Some people dislike going to a gym and it could be for any number of reasons. Maybe you feel intimidated. Maybe you feel like it’s packed with meatheads. Maybe you’re self-conscious because you don’t know your way around it.

And I’m here to tell you that you definitely do not need a gym membership to get healthy and fit. In fact, with just a few pieces of equipment, you can outfit a home or garage gym and do very well.

First, there are a couple of good reasons to have a gym at home:

  • One of the keys to success in fitness and sustaining it is doing exercise you actually enjoy. Having a home gym allows you to incorporate things you like, with the equipment you like using.
  • It’s more costly upfront but can save you money on membership fees in the long run, not to mention gas/time getting there. The average gym membership is $600-$700 a year.
  • You never have to wait around for some knucklehead to finish up with the equipment you want to use.
  • It’s open 24/7. And you have no excuses either. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing, or traffic is bad. It’s right there.
  • There are no rules (well, just YOUR rules). No lunk alarm or time limits on the machines.
  • It’s way cleaner. Gyms are a hot bed of bacteria and germs and most gyms aren’t sanitized nearly as well as they should be. I know because I worked in them for years.

As far as equipment, you don’t need much and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are the top 8 things I’d add if I were building a home gym right now.

1. A flat/incline bench. Buy this used on Craigslist or a similar site. I’ve found tons of used equipment online and paid a fraction of retail costs.

2. Dumbbells (2 sets should work well). I suggest getting a pair of moderate ones and then a pair of heavy ones. More is fine too if you have the cash.

3. Jump rope. Probably the cheapest conditioning tool I have and it’s one of the best by far. I use this one and for $15 it’s an incredible investment. If you want to throw down for a higher quality rope, this one is solid and it’s much smoother than the other. Buddy Lee, who is the king of jumping rope, created this. You can seen some of his magic here.

4. Suspension trainer. This is one of my personal faves. I don’t use the TRX brand because it’s really pricey, but it’s a high quality product. This one works just as well costs about a third of it.

5. Slam balls. I prefer the sand filled balls for two reasons. First, it won’t come back and hit me in the face. Second, you have to pick it up off the ground, making me work harder. These are the balls I use and a good place to start is with a 20 pound ball.

6. Pull-up bar. The king of all upper body exercises! If you aren’t doing pull-ups right now, start. If you can’t do them, use one of these heavy resistance bands to help you (the green band is a good one to start with). This video shows you how to use them while you build the strength to do regular unassisted pull-ups.

7. Kettlebell. Love these! Just a single bell works wonders and is super functional. If you have a choice between light and heavy, opt for the heavy one. These are the kettlebells I use at home. If you can spring for a pair, even better but they are pretty expensive.

8. Tire sled. I made mine for like $20 and have used it extensively. You can watch this video demo of me building it and then do the workout and the end of the video with it!

As a side note, I use affiliate links, so if you buy any equipment with them, I’ll get a small piece of it. I appreciate your support, every little bit helps!

Don’t Waste Your Money

These are the things I think are overpriced and under useful and don’t recommend wasting your time or money on them.

1. Treadmill or elliptical machine. Are they better than nothing, yes. But if your main goal is fat loss, and let’s be honest, it’s is, then you’re far better off using short, intense circuit style training instead of walking or jogging on a treadmill. Not only is it far more efficient at burning calories (and fat) but it saves you a ton of time.

2. Any type of assisted ab contraption like the Ab Rocker. Don’t need it and it can do more harm than good. Instead, try a good ol’ fashioned plank.

3. Light resistance bands. I’m not a big fan of the small tube resistance bands because I never feel like I’m actually dong anything. They can be marginally OK for things like lateral raises but for anything heavier than that, stick with weights.

4. Bosu ball. This does have a few functions but most use it as a way to train in an “unstable” environment. Instead, try using single leg exercises on the floor and get really good at those! The Bosu is completely unnecessary.

I hope this show and article have been helpful and if you have any questions about this stuff, just drop a comment below. And please don’t forget to subscribe and leave a 5 star review!

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