The idea of driving over to your local gym can sound like a hassle. And sure, you can get by with walking, running, and yoga. But having weights, a treadmill, and other exercise equipment can come in handy at home.
For one thing, you may not be able to afford to continue your gym membership due to the troubled economy. Or, maybe you’re not yet comfortable with sharing a crowded space and equipment that dozens of other people touch before and after you take your turn.
Whatever the case, having a home gym can help you stay fit when fitness centers close, inclement weather keeps you inside or money is tight. Quality equipment can be pricey, however. Don’t run to the nearest sporting goods store before checking out these 7 tips to save money.
1. Shop for used equipment
If you’re a snob about buying someone else’s used exercise equipment you might want to get over that if you’re trying to save money. Keep in mind that many people selling dumbbells, weights, treadmills, or stationary bikes bought the equipment with good intentions and then barely (or never) used it.
Look on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and other online sources for pre-owned equipment in excellent condition. Search for going-out-of-business liquidation sales at gyms that have closed permanently. While you’re at it, call local gyms and ask if they have equipment to sell that they’ve replaced with new stuff. Some of the cardio equipment may even still be under warranty.
2. Put the word out
You could score an impressive haul of much of what you need for your home gym by simply putting the word out to friends, family, and coworkers that you’re looking for exercise equipment.
For all you know, chatting up your neighbor while out doing lawn work could net a treadmill, stationary bike, weight bench, or elliptical trainer he or she is looking to sell at a reduced price – or even give away.
3. Purchase new equipment on sale
Buying new exercise equipment has its advantages. For instance, most cardio machines probably come with a warranty. You know the equipment wasn’t mistreated by someone else, and you can usually have heavy machines delivered and installed, although you’ll pay extra for those services.
If you want to buy new, take your time to comparison shop both in-store and online. You may find excellent equipment on sale at drastically reduced prices, saving tons of money even with delivery and installation fees.
4. Turn your outside bike into a stationary bike
You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a stationary bike if you already own an outdoor bicycle. That’s because you can easily turn an outdoor bike into an indoor exercise bike with a stationary bike stand, also known as an indoor bike trainer.
You can buy a bike trainer stand for under $100 or spend a little more for a better resistance range and a smoother ride.
5. Go for multifunction
When buying exercise equipment, look at the big picture of what you can do with each weight, ball, or other workout tool. For example, you can work your abs, chest, arms, calves, and just about any muscle in your body with resistance bands.
The stretchy bands aren’t expensive, either. You can buy a set for under $50. Not sure how to work out with resistance bands? You’ll find plenty of free instructional videos on YouTube.
6. Do your research
Before you buy new or used exercise equipment, look up online reviews from fitness sites and customers who bought the product. Search out the same model for sale online and at sporting goods stores to get a feel for what constitutes a fair price.
You may find that most reviews say the machine is overpriced or that people complain that the equipment doesn’t function properly. You might also stumble onto advice about a similar cardio machine that’s half the price but just as good.
7. Rest between shopping sets
It’s easy to get so excited about having a home gym that you spend a day shopping like crazy for every possible addition to your workout room. Don’t do that.
Take at least a week or two to research the products you want to buy. Read reviews and find the best price for what you actually need, not just the coolest equipment you saw advertised last night on a TV commercial. The longer you take to shop, the more money you can save.