What If You Canceled Your Gym Membership And Used The Money For A New Home Gym?
As of last week, the average monthly cost of a gym membership is $58 per month according to Statistic Brain. And a Google search tells me that most gym memberships cost between $40-60 per month. Obviously, some gym memberships will fall outside of this range, and there are certainly many bargain gyms out there (Planet Fitness, anyone?). In fact, I remember getting in on a deal and paying less than $10 a month at one particular club – the one that kicked me out, ironically.
But let’s just say that the average person pays $50 a month for their gym membership since it falls within the average range. Plus, it’s a nice round number, and Cool Hand Luke would approve. That’s $600 a year for you math whizzes. And let me tell you: you can setup a great home gym with $600 a year. Let me walk you through some possibilities.
Bodyweight Home Gym Option: You could get a weight vest, a suspension training system (e.g. gymnastic rings), some parallettes, and a pull-ups/dips station for a lot less than $600.
Kettlebell Home Gym Option: You could get a premium set of kettlebells for less than $600 (e.g. 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32 kg kettlebells).
Clubbell Home Gym Option: You could get a premium set of clubbells for less than $600 (e.g. a pair of 15s, a pair of 25s, a single 35 and a single 45 pounder)
Weightlifting Home Gym Option: You could get a 300 pound Olympic barbell set, a pair of adjustable dumbbells, a bench, and a power rack for less than $600. No, it won’t be premium grade, but certainly good enough for a home gym.
Miscellaneous Home Gym Option: You could get an ultimate sandbag, a quality jump rope, a full set of resistance bands, a foam roller, a plyo box, an ab wheel, a stability ball, and a couple of medicine balls for a lot less than $600.
Or, you could mix and match some of the items from each list above and get whatever interests you most.
And the best part: with $600 a year, you could get all of this stuff in less than five years and have a well-equipped home gym for a lifetime.
Note: Keep in mind that some of these items are easy to find used for rock-bottom prices (e.g. free weights). So, if you’re willing to do some extra leg work, you could get a lot more for your dollar.
A Darn Good $600 Home Gym
Now, if I had $600 to work with, and I wanted to invest in a great home gym from scratch, here’s what I’d probably buy (in no particular order).
- Heavy-duty weight vest
- Pull-up bar (dip station a plus)
- Gymnastic rings (aka suspension training system)
- Pair of light to mid-weight clubbells (e.g. 10-20 pounders)
- Single heavy clubbell (e.g. 25, 35, or 45 lb clubbell)
- Single mid-weight kettlebell (e.g. 16-24 kg kettlebell)
- Set of resistance bands
- Medium-weight medicine ball OR sandbag
This would fit within the $600 budget and could be easily stored in the corner of a room or tucked away in a closet. Also, each of these tools comes with unique benefits and can be used for a variety of purposes (i.e. for many different exercises and training goals). So, you’ll have a lot of options available to you. And if you have a particular focus that you prefer, like strength training, for instance, then you could easily swap out one item for another (e.g. swap out the kettlebell for an Olympic barbell set).
Now, you’ll notice that my list doesn’t include any machines because YOU are the machine. And let me tell you, if you start training with tools like these, people are going to start calling you a machine!
Note: I’m not anti-machine, but exercise machines tend to be very large (requiring a lot of space), and are usually very specialized in their application (e.g. the leg curl machine) – a combination that makes them a poor choice for a home gym, especially since they’re also expensive. The best home gym equipment is both versatile (i.e. multi-use) and compact. I also think portability is a plus.
I’ve been training (mostly) in my home gym for the past several years. It suits me, and I absolutely love it. It’s more economical. It’s more convenient. I don’t have to commute to the gym or wait for equipment to be available. So, it saves time. I can listen to whatever music I like. And I don’t have anyone asking me for a spot, or for advice, or about who won the latest sports game (I have no clue). I can get my training done and get back to my life. Plus, my kids get to witness first-hand their Daddy modeling good fitness habits at home. And that alone would be worth it.
So, even if you like and make good use of your gym membership, it’s still a great idea to have some equipment on hand at home. And you’d be surprised how far a little bit of money can go to outfit a killer home gym.
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Health-First Fitness Coach