Staying fit isn’t cheap. Your gym membership, workout clothes and that Class Pass membership add up. Before you know it, you might be saying bye-bye to the pounds and your paycheck. Instead of spending all your money on fitness, invest in a small home gym. For less than $150, you can make the smallest space into the perfect little gym.
Follow these three steps and before you know it, you’ll be able to torch some serious calories without even leaving your home. Not to mention, you’ll be able to spend all that money you saved on something better than a monthly gym membership.
step 1: Find space for your small home gym
The location of your small home gym is just important as the equipment you put in it. Why? Because the smallest discomfort can become your anti-motivation. First consider where in your current living space you actually have room to store your home gym. If you’re in an apartment or studio, your options might be very limited.
Here are a few things you should consider when picking your perfect gym location:
What else will this space be used for? If you typically use your workout space for sleeping and relaxing, it wouldn’t be surprising if you found yourself ready for a nap every time you’re ready to break a sweat. That’s not exactly the best workout motivation. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice but to double up living spaces (gym/living room or gym/bedroom). If you must double up, give yourself some indicator that workout time is not nap time. Turn up your music or open all the windows. Remind yourself that it’s time to work.
Are there distractions? My number 1 workout killer is a messy kitchen. Even if I can get myself motivated to workout while my kitchen is a disaster, it’s very unlikely that I’ll be thinking about anything else if the mess is within eyesight. While I can’t guarantee that my kitchen will always be clean, I can make sure my home gym set up faces me away from the kitchen.
Consider using an unused space. If you have an extra room or space in your home, it’s not a bad idea to convert it into your small home gym. No, the TV might not be there and you might not have the best sound system. But remember, you need to get yourself into the best frame-of-mind for your workout. Just as if you’d leave your house to go to the gym, you’ll walk into your home gym to work out, and then leave when you’re done.
Find some sneaky storage solutions. I have this awesome end-table that hides all of my gym equipment. It’s been a total space saver and one of my best purchases ever. If you don’t want a new piece of furniture, flat plastic bins are great for sliding under a bed or couch and storing your workout equipment.
If you’re struggling, consider ways you might be able to make extra room in your living room or bedroom. Can you do some rearranging? Do you need all of your furniture? Can any of your furniture be relocated to a different room? You can make this work!
Related: 10 little habits for a healthy week
Step 2: Get The Most versatile supplies
Now you have your space. But the most important part is making sure you have equipment that is versatile and will help you meet your health goals no matter where you are in your fitness journey. The following items will give your small home gym the flexibility to work every muscle group without getting board along the way. Even more important, all of these items are small enough that they can be hidden away while you’re not working out.
Ab mat ($14.53): This piece of equipment is inexpensive and can be used for so many things. You can either get a yoga roll-away mat (which is easy to store and very functional) or you can get a thick ab mat (which feels super comfy when you lay on it!). Why do we think an ab mat is so great? It’s because your number one piece of fitness equipment is YOU. There are so many body-weight exercises that you can do for great results. An ab mat will help you do them comfortably.
Kettlebell set ($29.99): We like kettlebells better than dumbbells for one simple reason: versatility. With a kettlebell, you can do everything you can do with dumbbells plus more! Kettlebell workouts are calorie torchers and muscle builders. That means you can get a killer strength workout while you burn off hundreds of calories. Buy a few different sizes and you’ll be able to work your entire body and hide them in your closet when you’re done!
Resistance bands ($30.75): Resistance bands are super portable and the exercises you can do with them are pretty much endless. In fact, most heavy gym equipment can be replaced with just a few resistance bands! And they’re soooo lightweight which means you can take part of your home gym with you on vacations or to work (so there are no excuses for skipping your workout!).
Medicine ball ($39.68): Our advice to you: get a medicine ball that can be thrown, dropped and slammed; and is still easy to hold on to for core exercises. Handles are nice but they limit the use of the equipment. There are many workouts that utilize medicine balls that can act as your cardio because you’ll need to throw or slam the ball. Investing in one you that don’t have to worry about breaking is key. Plus, they can be a great stress reliever!
Water Bottle ($11.00): I know this sounds silly but it’s so important! Get a bottle that’s easy to drink from and is durable. You may not want to constantly open a cap or be worried about popping open a top. There are plenty of bottles now that have a no-spill straw and are covered in rubber to help with durability. Chances are, you’ll drop it at least once, so make sure you keep that in mind before buying something breakable.
step 3: Make it yours
The last step in creating a really great small home gym is to make it a place you actually want to be. Because let’s face it, you’re not going to develop a fitness habit if you hate your workout space.
Think about things like music, decorations and the view. Are there inexpensive ways you can brighten up the room a bit? Inspirational framed messages are always an inexpensive option and you’re probably going to want some sort of music to cover up the sound of your heavy breathing! Here are a few ideas and considerations:
Music: The great thing about a small home gym is that you don’t have to use your headphones (although you might still want to if you have roommates or family members living with you). If you can get away with blasting some workout tunes, a Bluetooth speaker is always a great option.
If new technology isn’t in the cards (or you forget to charge your speakers), just play some tunes through your phone. HINT: You can put your phone in a glass to amplify the sound.
Journal: I have a thing for journaling. Especially when it comes to my fitness routine, I get a major kick out of tracking my progress. If you’re also a journal lover, keep a note pad in your new gym space so that you always remember to track your progress.
Add a little luxury: Why not stock up on towels, headphones and bottles of water? Hey, it’s your gym, right? Make it feel like a really nice gym and reward yourself with an upscale atmosphere. Buy some cute towels and hang a few pairs of headphones on an adorable key ring holder on the wall.
Keep it clean (or just clean enough): Remember, this is YOUR space. If it gets a little cluttered from time to time, invest in some cute baskets or boxes that you can easily throw your gym equipment into. The key here is that you want to enjoy your time in your workout area. Don’t add another hurdle to your workouts by forcing yourself to clean up pre-workout.
bonus: More small home gym tips
Treat your small home gym like a real gym (aka: put on your shoes!). Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can skip the workout gear. Unless of course, you’re doing yoga or Pilates. Going barefoot can lead to injury. Not to mention, you’re less likely to get in a good workout mindset if you’re not dressed for one.
Show some skin: One of the best small home gym perks is not having to worry about, well, other people. Stay cool in a sports bra and short shorts or workout in your undies if that’s your thing.
Get in and get out (or start, finish and then put the gym away). When your workout is over, your first reward is getting the heck away from your workout area. You should be sweaty, tired and full of endorphins. Leave to go take your shower and avoid going back to your home gym until you’re ready to work out again.
Stick to a schedule: It’s tempting to put off working out when you can go to the gym without leaving your house. Having a home gym is no excuse for not keeping a schedule. Get your workout in at the same time every day. This will help you develop your workout habit and stay motivated.
Do you already have a small home gym? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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