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Cover image for Tips for Building a Home Gym

Tips for Building a Home Gym

kpwags profile image Keith ・3 min read

Given the state of things and the rising number of COVID-19 cases (at least here in America), many people are foregoing the gyms (if they're even open) in lieu of doing their workout at home.

If you're like me, you might want to improve upon your setup at home. I built my gym at the end of July or so and figured I'd share some tips that I used to build mine. Because I was looking to build a lifting gym, it's a little skewed towards lifting, but the process can be applied to any gym.

Decide What You Want for Your Gym

Are you more focused on cardio? Is strength training more in line with what you're looking for? It may seem rather obvious, but some people can tend to just think "I want to get fit, let's get some stuff to help me achieve this goal!" They don't ever think about what they're actually looking to do, what they want to do, and most importantly, what they're actually GOING to do. If you're more of a cardio person, buying and building a power cage probably would end up being a waste of your money and time. Make a list of the things you would like for your gym and make sure you'd use them.

Determine Your Budget

It'd be nice if all of us could have anything we wanted, but with just about everything, sticking with your budget is important. Determine what you're willing to spend and see what is in your list from above that fits within the budget. You can always buy more later.

Check Craigslist and/or Facebook Marketplace

Look around on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone has what you're looking for at a reasonable price. Because of COVID, many people are looking for home gym equipment so prices can end up being a little inflated (I found some items in my search with prices raised by 300%), but you can still find some steals. It might be worth checking out what the prices of the equipment are new as well because if the price isn't that much higher, it might be worth it to buy new in case something breaks.

If you're buying something large and need a truck to pick it up and haul it home, Home Depot and Lowes often have trucks you can rent by the hour.

Reddit Can Be Your Friend

This mostly applies to those looking to purchase barbells, plates, etc., but when building my gym, I found /r/homegym to be very helpful.

Because so many stores are often out of inventory, it can be hard to find what you're looking for. Every Friday, the subreddit starts a new pinned post where users post when the various online shops have items in stock. If you sort by 'NEW' and refresh regularly, you can see when stores drop more inventory and can hopefully pounce.

Stock Bots

Many stores also offer to alert you when items come back into stock. You can use these to have them shoot you an email when they restock. The downside to this is that sometimes the inventory is gone by the time you get the email or before it registers that it's back in stock. For ROGUE lifting equipment, someone made a Bot that will message you on Facebook as soon as the site is updated. From a tech perspective, it scrapes the site frequently to see when stock levels change.

Plate Prices

One quick note on prices for plates. The ideal price for plates is no more than $2 per pound. Obviously fancier bumper plates will cost more, but if you're just looking for basic iron plates, you don't want to spend much more than $2 per pound.


Those are some of the tips that helped me build my gym. Anyone have any others that I missed?

Discussion (6)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern 🌱

Great post!

Determine Your Budget

It was hard for me to know where to go with this, so I tied my budget to progress goals. I can justify better equipment when I get strong enough. πŸ˜…

I got a few pieces on Craigslist and FB Marketplace, including a really great bench, and then some stuff just didn't seem to be hitting and I got some less cheapish stuff from box stores.

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Keith Author

I ended up buying all new, which felt like kind of a waste πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™‚οΈ. Craigslist markups around me were just so high that new ended up being cheaper and faster.

Prior to COVID, I had been making major gains at the gym...was even on pace to join the 1,000 lbs. club...so I decided the expense was worth it to me. Spent a little more than I had planned for, but still within what I was expecting. Plus I'm now saving money from no gym membership & not driving to the gym.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern 🌱

I think it is worth it no matter what.

Craigslist markups around me were just so high that new ended up being cheaper and faster.

I found this a lot of the time, but also held out for gems. Certain categories of things were basically the same on the marketplaces as new. Definitely feel that.

My bench is soooo much better than what I'd have bought new. It was about finding the right value.

IMO the most important thing is just making sure I buy stuff I use, and use consistently.

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kpwags profile image
Keith Author

IMO the most important thing is just making sure I buy stuff I use, and use consistently.

Bingo! The best equipment (and gym routine) is the one you stick with!

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lee profile image
Lee

Totally. I have fallen foul to this in the past, buying equipment I thought I would use but didn’t. It takes a while to learn about yourself and what you enjoy long term, especially when buying your own kit, one advantage of gyms is that you can change up your routine fairly easily. From a cardio perspective that’s why I like Les Mills so much, all the variety.

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Lee

Great post. Good advice on the plates, also worth getting a standard size bar so it’s easier to find future plates that fit, mine is a pain to buy for.