10 Clever Ways to Improve Your Home Gym


Gym memberships are expensive. At the same time, staying fit and active is important for your health. Heck — healthy habits, like exercise, can even save you money! Here are some tips for creating a great at-home gym without spending a fortune.

1. Use What You Have

Take stock of any equipment you already have. We have a spinning bike, some kettlebells, a balance ball, yoga mats, and hand weights. Put everything in one area so you're not always searching around the house. If you do nothing else, at least you'll be more likely to use your equipment if it's all in once place.

2. Check Around

Don't have much? You can find gently used treadmills, stationary bikes, rowing machines, other cardio equipment, weights, and more on sites like Craigslist. There are some things you should know about buying a used machines. Experts at Runner's World say you should research the brand of treadmills, for example. Don't forget to ask about the machine's background, obtain any service records, and even test it out before handing over the cash.

3. Calculate

The big price tags on cardio equipment can be frightening — but consider the return. The YMCA where we live charges $80/month for membership. We recently bought a treadmill (on sale) for around $900. If you divide this cost by a year, you come up with $75 a month. No, we won't get all the gym extras, but my husband and I primarily use the treadmill anyway. Plus, the machine will last for years and even comes with a warranty.

4. Think Body Weight

Getting a great workout can be accomplished with absolutely no equipment. If you don't have money to invest in your gym, try first making a dedicated area for working out in your home. You can search for free online workouts, do pushups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, and other basic moves, and even strike a few yoga stretching poses. (See also: These At-Home Exercises Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free)

5. Create the Space

You may not have a dedicated room to make your at-home gym, and that's okay. Carve out some space in your family room or even your garage. This blogger created her at-home gym in a corner of a room by putting a treadmill in the space. The rest — magazines, headphones, towels, a yoga mat, and resistance bands — is organized on a peg board and clip boards.

6. Get Organized

Here's another wonderful way to keep all your gym items neat and tidy. Buy or repurpose an inexpensive book shelf and place it behind your treadmill, elliptical, or other equipment. You can store anything from shoes to water bottles to hand weights on the shelf. If you have even more stuff, hang a wall shelf above that for the rest.

7. Inspire Yourself

Hang some inspirational quotes or posters to help you get moving. Try stenciling words in bright colors on your wall so you can see it while you're working out. You just need paint, tape, a brush, and some patience. Trace the letters and mark them in tape before painting.

8. Jot It Down

I love this idea to paint a chalkboard wall or two in your gym space to track workouts. If you don't want to paint directly onto your wall, try buying a chalkboard or even painting the glass in an old picture frame.

9. Floor It

Making your gym in your garage or basement? You don't have to suffer with that cold concrete floor. Cover it up with some rubber tiles that can be installed like puzzle pieces. You'll find a variety of prices on this type of flooring, so I encourage you to check local discount shops before taking the plunge. Many products I've found are around $1 per square foot.

10. Reflect

What do most gyms have in abundance? Mirrors! You can occasionally find large mirrors on Craigslist when hotels or other businesses are changing theirs out. If you're not having any luck, try buying several of those door mirrors at a big box store and arranging them together on your wall.

How have you gussied up your home gym?

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