How to Build Your Own Home Gym

March 4, 2016

I have not stepped one foot inside of a real gym in over two years. Yup, it is true!

There’s such a misconception that you just absolutely need a gym to get fit and that is soooo not the case. Yes, certain equipment and machines can help speed things up, but I have found that a lot of times, using what God gave you works just perfectly fine. I have been doing bodyweight exercises since before my son was born and I can tell you that many results can result from just using yourself!

However, since I cannot get to an actual gym due to running a business from home and chasing a toddler all day long, I decided to create my own home gym long ago. It wasn’t an overnight thing, but a fun project in the making. I do love having my own gym equipment around the house because it can be so helpful and convenient! Also, I am less likely to make excuses when it’s just sitting there before my eyes.

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It might seem like a big investment right up front, but think of all the money you can save by not having to:

  1. Drive to a gym.
  2. Pay for a gym membership.

I will share with you what’s inside my own home gym with links to each product so that you can easily shop and research at your own convenience!

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First things first, the most expensive item inside my own home gym is my NordicTrack Incline Trainer. This baby ain’t your average treadmill-I actually don’t even call it one. An incline trainer allows you to run/jog/walk up and down various incline levels, torching fat a lot faster than you normally would if you were to walk on a flat surface. This means, less time on the machine! Woohoo. I also love it because even if it’s hot or cold outside, I can still get my cardio in without having to rely on Mother Nature to cooperate. The incline goes all the way up to 40%!!

The second most expensive item I own is the Vicore Core Ab Bench. This thing is LOVELY. Not your average ab bench as it helps prevent back and tailbone pain as you perform your workouts since the seat is heavy duty inflated. You can lift it up to an incline or you can lay the bench flat. I do sit ups, bench presses, and all sorts of things on this bench. Definitely a must have.

Getting into some basic, cheaper staples that you should totally grab for your home gym, this is a fitness stability ball. I used my ball a lot during my pregnancy as it helped to ease my pain while I had contractions. However, it is wonderful for balancing or sitting exercises and for core work as well (I do sit ups on this ball). I love this set and it even comes with a yoga ball! I have the teal one though-loving this pink!!

The next thing you should absolutely grab now is a set of dumbbells. 10lbs is perfect for beginner-moderate level because it is challenging, yet not too terribly hard to use. It will challenge your muscles to make you stronger for sure. This brand of dumbbell is durable and soft on the hands so they won’t cause a lot of callousing. They are also easy to grip. I own two sets of dumbbells: 10lbs & 15lbs

Next on the list are kettlebells. I love my kettlebells and I suggest you having different weights, just as with the dumbbells. They work differently as they have a round handle for better gripping-lots of CrossFit style workouts use a kettlebell. I own a 16lb and a 26lb-definitely not beginner weights so choose something a bit lighter (such as what I linked below) to get you started.  Then you can move up to a larger weight once you get comfortable with the smaller weight. I use my kettlebells to do kettlebell swings, goblet squats, and more.

Another must have that you definitely need for your gym is a medicine ball. Again, I own two at different weights-a 12lb and a 16lb. I love squatting, lunging, passes, and doing ab exercises with my balls. I would recommend at least one for your home gym!

A yoga mat is much needed is you are doing your workout on a hard floor or if you want to travel with your weights. I actually own about 4 mats, but use 2 regularly-the one listed below is one of my favorites. I practice yoga a couple of times per week and this is where my mat comes into good use. I also do my pre-workout and post-workout stretches using this mat!

The next piece of equipment on the list are foam rollers. You may or may not have heard about these, but they are AMAZING. They not only pop your back, but they help to stretch your muscles before and after workouts. Not only that, they help get tight knots out of your muscles by breakng up that tough fascia-which is why massage therapists recommend them often-so if you have any tight muscles you’ll want these. Below, there are two types as you can see (I own both): one is smoother than the other while one has larger ridges to help get into those larger muscle groups. CAUTION: You will be sore the next day.

A set of workout bands or resistance bands are amazing to have on hand as they are portable and can be taken with you wherever you go. Restistance bands use your own body’s weight to create a resistance (much like a dumbbell or weight) to force tension on your muscles causing them to get stronger. You can tie your bands to a door or chair or hold the ends in your hands or attached to your ankles. These are wonderful for booty work!!

Ankle weights are optional, but I do own some. These can be worn on your wrist or your ankles so it’s pretty neat to have that versatility. Basically, it makes any normal exercise a lot harder to do and creates more of a resistance such as wearing the ankle weights while walking or doing jumping jacks, etc.

Don’t feel like spending a ton on cardio equipment? A jumping rope is perfect for you to get you warmed up prior to your routine. They are also highly afforable!

A lot of you have asked me what my pink bars were inside my home gym and they are my Equalizers. These nifty cute bars help make life a lot easier for certain exercises. You can do pull ups, push ups, tricep dips, split lunges, and about 100 more exercises using these bars and you can take them anywhere with you.

Just like you need dumbells, you NEED a barbell with weight plates. I use my T Grip barbell 5 days a week in addition to my dumbbells. It adds weight to my back as I squat which has dramatically lifted and changed my booty over the past year. I also do lunges with my barbell and benchpress with my barbell. The bar comes with different weight plates so that you can adjust the weights to feel most comfortable to you and once you get used to the weight, you just add another plate on!

**UPDATE:** I just added a BOSU Ball to my home gym and I cannot be more excited about it. You can do a variety of exercises on the ball, but it takes things to a whole new level by challenging your balance. This burns more calories and you basically get a lot more out of your workout while improving your balance skills. It also helps enhance your skills when doing the move without the ball.

Well, that concludes my own home gym! Again, it took me about 2-3 years almost to gather up everything, but I did it and now working out is so easy-even with kids running around.

Have any questions, just ask below!

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PLEASE NOTE: Following and/or participating in my blog, daily workouts, meal plans, and any tips or advice is solely your decision. I recommend checking with your physician prior to following any of the workouts or meal plans that I share. I am very open in sharing that I am not a health care professional, personal trainer, nutritionist, or counselor. I provide the workouts, meals, and tips that have worked for me based on my personal experiences.

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