Your Frugal Home Gym

family_stretching1It’s hard enough to summon the will power to stick to an exercise plan, and not fall victim to the myriad of excuses to “skip it” in favour of less active activities.  When you combine that with being short on time and short on cash, paying for a gym membership and then etching out the time to make the trip becomes super challenging.

If you have a spare corner in your home (whether in your bedroom, basement or even in the garage), then you have room, means and the time management to set up a home gym.

Make the Space your Own

Actually doing exercise is only part of the activity. Mustering up the motivation is a major part as well. As with anything you do at home, you run the risk of worlds colliding. Make sure the space in which you set up your gym or exercise plan belongs to you- literally and figuratively. Remove yourself from visual cues of chores that need to be done, like laundry, cleaning, etc.

By the same token, communicate to your family the sacredness of your space. To focus successfully on exercise you need a few uninterrupted moments to concentrate on you and on the task at hand.

One step at a time

Just like getting in shape, assembling a full gym (if that is what you are after) can take some time. Concentrate on a few key pieces of equipment, and pick things up as you go.

Post wanted ads on used sites for things like cardio equipment or free weights. Keep your eyes open for clearance and going out of business sales. (Note: a lot of pool and spa places turn to fitness equipment sales during the off season, and often have huge deals when the seasons change to move older stock).


What is your cardio preference? Stair climber, maybe or the treadmill?

Believe it or not, the stair climber is modelled after- actual stair climbing– which you likely have access to in your home.

Treadmills can be pricey, but opt for a manual version, which are often in the $100-$200 range, as opposed to over a thousand dollars. They are a little harder physically to operate, and don’t come with the bells and whistles of their electronic cousins, but they work – and work you out- very well.

Weigh it out

Any fit person will tell you that strength and weight training is an important component of any exercise program. Perhaps you don’t have the space or the cash to buy a whole weight system, and that’s ok. Concentrate on picking up a few free weights. Consider buying exercise bands too- they are generally less expensive, but still provide very good resistance.

Depending on the amount of weight you are lifting, household items can even be substituted, like canned goods or books.

Get the Ball Rolling

An exercise ball is versatile and inexpensive. You can use them for numerous strength, balance and agility exercises. They are the cornerstone of numerous abs and lower body workout programs.

Bring the Class to You

Are you a fitness class person? There is no reason you can’t do classes, just because you don’t go out to the gym!

Purchase DVDs with yoga or cardio classes (hint- discount bins are often full of these). Pick ones with numerous workouts on them (for variety) and that offer varying levels of difficulty (to meet your needs as you progress).

Invite a friend over to do your class with you, and you get the social benefit of class exercise too!

Cyberspace and the Library: Your Personal Training Team

While hiring a personal trainer is a costly exercise, for those with basic knowledge already, you can build and tailor your own program with free (or nearly free) resources.

Check out online tutorials, classes or suggested workout routines that target specific areas or types of exercise. The library is a great place too, to seek books and multi-media resources in support of this.