How To Save Money On a Home Gym

How To Save Money On a Home Gym
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If you’ve been a reader of the Frugal Feline, you’ve probably already come across my article on why I think gym memberships are a massive waste of money. And, I say that as someone who’s had one for most of my life so call me a hypocrite if you must. The truth is, quitting your gym membership just won’t work for everyone. But for those who are serious about getting their financial life in order, it’s a heck of a good way to free up some time and money very quickly. So in this article I want to talk about how to save money on a home gym.

Can I Really Save Money On a Home Gym?

If you’re wondering what your gym membership is really costing you, then boy do I have the article for you. I estimate that the average gym membership really costs us well over $500 a month to have. Now, I know there are exceptions. And I know there are special circumstances where having a gym membership is a core part of your career or what not. But I’m speaking to the average joe here. Not the exceptions.

Yes, you can absolutely save money on a home gym. Exercise shouldn’t be expensive! We don’t have to have the hottest, latest yoga clothing to go run a couple miles outside. Nor do we have to go sit in the sauna and climb the rock wall every Wednesday and Friday. If you’re wondering how you can maintain your fitness without all the bells and whistles of a gym, let’s talk about how my wife and I have spent the last year without a gym membership and are in the best shape of our lives.

How To Stay In Shape Without a Gym Membership

1. Kettle Bells

Kettle bells are probably the single most important part of my home gym. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, they look something like this.

3 kettle bells with rubber coating

Kettle bells are an amazing way to stay in shape and build muscle without taking up a massive amount of room in your home or garage. My wife has a 25lb one and I have a 55lb one. [Worth noting here that I recently threw out my back by not warming up and trying to do one handed swings. So please don’t think you need a 55lb one if your a man. I probably should have bought a 45lb one.]

Kettle Bell Exercises to Check Out on YouTube

If you don’t believe me that a kettle bell can be the solution to all your home gym problems, then please get on YouTube and check out all the different things you can do with these things. Here are some of my staples:

  • Swings (two handed and one handed)
  • Dead lifts
  • Suitcase Pickups (personal favorite)
  • Lunges
  • Rows
  • Cleans, Snatches
  • High Pulls
  • Squats

I purchased my kettle bell 2 years ago on Facebook Marketplace for $60 cash and it will literally outlive me. Yes, they are expensive new. And yes they are almost impossible to find in 2020. But excuses are kinda like arm pits, everyone has them and they all stink.

2. Cardio

There are actually quite a few ways to get our cardio for free. Here are a few that I use.

  • Running on my local park trails
  • Riding my bike along the bike paths
  • Riding my mountain bike on local trails
  • Skating to the skate park and skating for half an hour
  • Going for a brisk walk during lunch and admiring houses
  • Throwing a football with my friends
  • Going to my friend Jordan’s house to box with him and use his heavy bag

There are 7 examples of free things I do to get my cardio. The only piece of advice I would give here is try to do something you enjoy or else you won’t be doing it for very long. Personally, I’d much rather go for a bike ride than run. And I’d much rather ride my bike to the skate park to skate for a bit than anything else. Find a way to exercise that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be ‘working out’ to stay in shape. Just go be active.

3. Body Weight Exercises at Your Local Park

My wife and I typically throw our kettle bells in the car and drive to a nearby park that has monkey bars and grass. We swing kettle bells, do pull ups, jog around the park, and enjoy being outside instead of in a nasty gym full of bacteria and wasted money. Here’s our typical routine:

  1. Jog around the park to warm up (1/2 mile)
  2. Body weight pull ups
  3. Body weight push ups
  4. Lunges holding our kettle bells
  5. Kettle bell swings
  6. Repeat (2-5) 4x and go home.

4. Find a Favorite Podcast and Walk an Hour Every Day

Do this and you’ll be doing more than 90% of America. Ever heard of the 80/20 principle? Well, here’s your 20% of exercise that will give you 80% of the benefit. We all over complicate staying in shape to the point where we just give up all together. The real trick is to find something we enjoy doing and just do it. For me, I know it would be better for my health to go to a spin class 5x a week instead of going to the skate park. But, I wouldn’t last a week because I HATE going to spin classes. Doing something we love consistently is much better than trying to force ourselves to do something we hate.

Final Thoughts

More than anything, I just wanted to show how I have kicked my gym membership habit in 2020 and never regretted it once. [Okay, I’ll admit that I miss the sauna. But that is it.] There are so many things we can do to stay in shape at home whether it’s in our living room, garage, or neighborhood. And trust me, the savings justify the change in behavior. A kettle bell is a one time purchase. And if you’re really wanting more, I’d recommend buying a TRX Go for $125 as well. [I read all the reviews and that’s the one I’d get.] Or knock-off version for $50.

Seriously, I go to the local park to do pull ups for free. I have used my $60 kettle bell 3x a week for the last 2 years and it’s in just as good of shape as when I bought it. And heck, I bought a bicycle on Offer Up for $30 that I ride 3x a week for my cardio. Saving money on a home gym is easy. And staying in shape doesn’t have to be expensive. It does however need to be pleasant or we won’t stick with it.

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