Why It’s Worth the Cost to Build a Home Gym

If you’re dedicated for life to your fitness, paying for a gym membership might be a foolish decision. You pay them money every month to use their facilities, but you get no payoff from it. Unless your gym offers equity for long-term members, you’re paying them in perpetuity. Someone who makes a lifelong commitment might want to consider buying home gym equipment.

No, you probably can’t buy all the equipment that your gym owns. Not only does the average home lack the space, but all those cable machines can add up. Still, you can start with some versatile equipment and build off of that. Here’s what you’ll need if you want to turn your basement into a workout center.

1. A Line of Credit

Let’s face it: most people cannot afford to outright buy enough equipment to start a home gym. Even the basics cost a considerable sum, so unless you’ve been saving up for years you’ll need a line of credit. Yes, that means interest charges and monthly payments, but put into perspective it’s not all that bad.

[box type=”note”]Think about it this way: how much have you already spent on your gym membership? How much will you spend if you stick with this gym, or a similarly priced one, for the next 10 years? Living in a semi-urban area, I pay $65 per month, including taxes, for my gym membership. That’s nearly $8,000 for the next 10 years. Surely I can build a home gym for less than that.[/box]

Instead of paying monthly to the gym, you’ll pay monthly on a credit card or to the bank if you need a small loan. The payment will likely be bigger than your average gym payment, especially if you want to save on finance charges. But you’ll also save money in gas that you used to consume driving to and from the gym. You’ll also save time, which is your greatest asset.

2. The Basics

When starting a home gym, you’ll probably have to stick with the basics. Depending on your immediate workout goals, those basics might differ. Some might see an elliptical machine as the lynchpin of their workouts. Others might focus more on dumbbells. Still others might want to do full-body barbell workouts. Your basics will determine the equipment you need at first.

Here it becomes important to make sure your immediate goals are firmly in mind. If you want to burn fat and don’t care about bulking, chances are you’re not going to buy a power rack. You might go for that elliptical machine or a dumbbell set. You can choose to add the power rack later, of course. Just make sure it’s after you’ve paid off the initial costs.

3. The Extras

If you’re into barbells, you don’t want to be dropping that weight onto a concrete floor. You don’t want to be dropping the weight at all, but we all know it’s sometimes unavoidable when working with heavier weights. For that you’ll need rubber mats. The same goes if you’re doing plyometrics. You’ll probably need mats to cover the floor, and perhaps even more mats to make floor work a bit more comfortable.

Want to keep your muscles loose? You’ll probably need a foam roller. Want to try different kinds of resistance? You’ll need thick rubber bands. Pull-up and dip bars are pretty essential. Depending on how your house’s heating and cooling works, you might need additional thermostats to keep the climate reasonable.

If there’s any downside to building a home gym, it’s these extras. We might not think of them as we dutifully install dumbbell racks and set up our elliptical machines. But they’re necessary, and they can add up quickly. It’s another reason that planning is the most important step here, and yet another reason why a line of credit is absolutely necessary.

Are you ready to make the jump from your current gym to a home gym? For some, of course, it’s not possible. But if you have the determination and the funds, building a home gym is an investment that can pay for itself and then some. Not only will your monthly payments go towards something you own, but you’ll save plenty of time in the process. If you can handle the above three factors, it should be a no-brainer.

Joe Pawlikowski

Joe Pawlikowski writes and edits several blogs across the web, including his personal blog, A New Level.

One thought on “Why It’s Worth the Cost to Build a Home Gym

  • September 4, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Don’t forget your most important piece of equipment–your body. Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, anytime and are less taxing on the joints when done correctly.


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