The $100 Home Gym Project
If you want to get fit without spending an arm and a leg, we have a solution for you - from FREE up to $100...
Joining a Gym not for You?
Every year hordes of us join a gym and go for a few weeks before giving up. While others simply can't afford to join in the first place.
But it's really not necessary to shell out for an expensive gym membership when you can easily get in shape yourself at home.
If you have been avoiding joining a gym due to the high pressure sales-people, initimidating atmosphere and sheer hassle of making your way there across town then feel free to give it a miss and save yourself hundreds of dollars a year into the bargain.
Cheaper to Get Fit at Home?
Not that it's necessarily cheaper to get fit at home. When setting up a home gym you could actually go to town on equipment and buy the best cardio machines and multi-gyms leaving you thousands of dollars out of pocket.
But you don't need to buy the latest treadmill with built in TV or high-end all-singing all-dancing multi-gym to get in shape.
Introducing ...the $100 Home Gym Project
There are ways to get in shape to suit any budget.
In fact you can put together one of the most effective home gyms for less than $100 - probably less than the joining fee or first month's membership at your local gym - and none of the inconvenience of having to get there.
Such a kit will take up little room and you can easily store it under your bed or in a small closet. In fact, there are also options which you can pop in an overnight bag and maintain your routine wherever you go.
Remember, however, that one of the advantages of gyms is that they have all the equipment in one place for every aspect of getting in shape so it's important that you put together a kit and a program to cover all you need :
- cardio fitness
- strength training
We have a few suggestions for great low-cost equipment for you here. In truth you need very little to get in shape.
If you are a bit unclear about what to do with your equipment take advantage of the many instructional DVDs and books around which will help you put together a top-to-toe plan.
For Cardio Fitness
If you have a small budget or no space avoid looking for the usual choices of home cardio exercise equipment - a treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical trainer. You simply do not get the quality you need for effective exercise on a small budget (if you can get anything at all for $100)
Instead here are 3 suggestions which will meet your needs for cardio training at low cost:-
1. Jump Rope
You can buy a jump rope for very little outlay and become fit in a small space in your lounge or back yard. Remember and get a rope which is right for your height (or choose an adjustable rope) and wear decent athletic shoes (skipping is a high impact activity). Here's our suggestion for a good quality low-cost adjustable jump rope
"Great product. Quality materials. At first grips seemed a hair too big but now I don't even notice. Good for beginners/experts. Great rope for the price."
If you are not sure what to do for your jump rope workout then you may also benefit from a pre-defined program to get you are on your way. There are some great titles by Ropesport including books and DVDs and you can also get a combined rope and double DVD pack for around $30. See products by Ropesport
2. Rebounder (Mini-trampoline)
A rebounder is absolutely great for getting fit in a small space. You can start off gently and increase your effort as you get fitter. You can get expensive models which are sturdier and may be ready-assembled. But our suggestion for a low-cost trampoline if you don't have much money to play with is
"As a massage therapist I need to keep in top form but with a injured ankle this is difficult. The low impact workout of rebounding was just what I needed to strengthen my ankle so I can continue my workouts. I also enjoy being able to workout in front of the TV at home."
Note : This trampoline says it is folding but it really means you can reverse the assembly - easiest way to store is to unscrew the legs and slip it under your bed if you have any room to put it away.
If you are a little less steady on your feet or you are unclear what to do on your mini-trampoline it's a great idea to pay a little more and get a rebounder with handlebar and workout DVD. This one is great value and I have sometimes seen this one with free shipping which makes it cheaper than the basic model
3. Walk yourself Fit
With fitness walking you can get by without any equipment at all other than a comfortable pair of shoes and clothes to protect against the weather. But if you want to walk seriously (and even progress to jogging) then a heart rate monitor would be a really good investment and you can buy a decent heart rate monitor for very little these days. This is one of the simplest and least expensive but will give your fitness program a boost:-
"Have now had the product for a month, works great, good price, easy to use and acurate. If you are looking for a reasonably priced HRM then you can't go wrong with this one."
For Strength Training and Toning
For strength training you can get a great workout without any equipment at all, simply using the weight of your body. If you would like to explore this take a look at the following book which has fantastic reviews - and you'll get superb results without equipment.
"7 Amazing Exercises That Slim, Sculpt, and Build the Body in 20 Minutes a Day"
If you prefer to use equipment, choose from the following options for a low-cost workout at home
1. Fitness Bands
One of the best kits you can buy to improve your strength is a set of fitness bands. They are great for travel too - you can pop them in your bag without using up too much space or weight and carry out your fitness routine anywhere.
The following set includes bands which can be set up for 7 different levels of resistance and you get an instructional DVD too.
"This is so simple and easy to use. It is a great way to keep toned without a lot of equipment and costs so little. I could not believe how this enhanced my program."
A set of dumbbells or hand weights is great for toning your arms (but you will need to do additional isometric (body-weight only) or other strength-building exercises for your legs).
Take care when ordering online because dumbbells are heavy (that's the whole point!) and shipping charges can be high (sometimes as much as the equipment).
These neoprene dumbbells currently come with free shipping from Amazon (if you have a total order of at least $25) and you can get them in various weights. This means you can get one set when you start and buy a heavier set as you get stronger...
"good product. easy to use. good price. like having the neoprene cover over the metal...makes it softer to hold."
3. Chin-up bar
A bar fixed into your doorway is a great solution for doing many exercises including pull-ups, chin-ups, hanging leg-raises, hanging knee-raises and hanging side-twists.
This one fits into two different positions using the supplied brackets which you screw into your door frame. The chin-up bar gives you the capability of carrying out a whole range of exercises on different parts of the body.
"These fit between the door jambs pull up bars are a good concept for an economical way to get pull ups in your home exercise routine."
For flexibility you need to incorporate stretching into your routine. Technically you don't need any equipment for that - just a good routine - although you might find a that a cushioned gym mat is a welcome addition to your home gym equipment collection for any floor work you want to do.
Find a stretching routine online or take a yoga class and continue to practise at home. You can buy an cushioned gym mat for carrying out floor exercises for very little. Here's one example:-
"This is very soft mat and offers lots of padded support for your exercise. The mat curls a tad at the ends yet this can be worked out. Good product!"
No Money at All?
Remember you do not NEED to buy anything - fitness equipment just allows you to exercise in different ways to make exercise more varied - it helps beat the boredom factor - as well as making some muscles easier to target.
If you have a very limited budget you can get in shape without any equipment whatsoever - just your own comfortable shoes for walking, isometric exercises for strength and a stretching or yoga routine for flexibility.
And you can learn what to do from library books if you can't afford to buy a book/take a class. There are also some fitness sites which can help but do be aware that not all the advice on the web is worth following so choose your fitness site with care.
If you have no money now, you can always get as fit, toned and flexible as you can without equipment and then add fitness equipment, piece by piece, as you can afford it.
Our Choice for $100 budget
It's difficult to decide on a single set of fitness equipment costing less than $100 because a lot depends on personal preference and how you like to exercise.
But if you have just a little money, our choice from the above products for a complete home gym kit costing less than $100 would be :-
- Harbinger Skipping Rope
- Go Fit Ultimate Pro-gym with DVD
- Valeo Foam Exercise Mat
From this you would have the ability to add skipping to a general walking program to ring the changes for cardio, be able to do a whole range of exercises to strengthen and tone every part of your body and have the comfort of a padded surface for stretching and floor work.
These purchases will leave you some change out of a $100 budget giving you the chance to take a class or get a book or DVD to help you create your ideal workout routine.
You might like to add some of the other elements from all the above options to your fitness equipment collection as and when you can afford them - this will help prevent you getting bored with your routine. In truth, every time you add a new piece of equipment you will get a little boost of motivation.
There are some excellent workout programs available for when you are really serious about transforming your body, such as those at extremebodyworkout.com. These programs, though costing a bit more than the equipment above, are still a great budget alternative to an expensive gym membership.
A few other low-cost options you might like to consider adding to your home gym for the future are:-
- a Valeo fitness (Swiss) ball - great for stability training and available for very little online
- a weighted medicine ball and medicine ball handbook
- a non-slip adjustable Aerobic Stepper