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How to Start a Home Gym

How to start a home gym

In this article, I will show you how to start your very own home gym!  By the time you are done reading this first paragraph, you WILL have a home gym.  All you need to start is You and a 1×1 square meter space.

Tada, home gym.  Ready to go. No more excuses.  

Home Gym Evolution

You might be picturing a replica of a commercial gym, but at home.  Unless you are very wealthy, a home gym doesn’t just appear out of nowhere.  Same principle as the money tree. It would be nice, but it just doesn’t exist.

You should think of starting a home gym as something organic that grows with you.  An organic being that forms to you and your abilities and keeps evolving with you.  Is that too deep?

Seriously though, I want you to really think about it.  If you know anyone with a home gym, they are all different and personalized.  You customize it to your style of training and as you build it you will mold the environment to your personal style and character.  

For me, my garage gym turned into my own personal Sanctuary.   That’s how Barbell Sanctuary was born and keeps evolving to this day.  To me it’s way more than a gym, it’s a Sanctuary (yea yea, corny, whatever). 

A home gym is for your mind and body.  It will evolve into your place of refuge, a place of comfort and safety.

So where and how do you start this beautiful process?  You start with you. Then depending on your budget, you jump into one of the stages and go from there.

Different Stages of a Home Gym

Stage 1 Home Gym

So all you need is yourself and a small space to be able to move in.  This is what we would call a Stage 1 Gym.  

Your first step is to start today.  Don’t wait until you have the “perfect” piece of equipment.  You don’t need it.

There are hundreds of body weight exercises you can do with no equipment.  Add in a simple chair or bench and you’ve just doubled your exercise possibilities.  

Here’s a link to a simple home workout that can keep you busy for a few months until you start picking up equipment.  

Barbell Sanctuary Home Workout

motivation for starting home gym

Stage 2 Home Gym

Now we move into some home gym basics.  You don’t have to spend too much money right away as there is lots you can do with smaller pieces of gear that you are going to use anyway. 

A stage 2 home gym is when you start picking up small pieces of equipment like dumbbells, kettle-bells, a skipping rope and maybe a foam roller and ab wheel.  Things like that.

These Items can all be had for a great price on Kijiji/Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace.  If you are patient enough and can wait. And you should be able to wait, since you have body weight workout options already.  

If you don’t want to wait and want to buy new I’d recommend starting with 1 or two kettle-bells or a couple of pairs of dumbbells.  

If you don’t have a dedicated area to keep big equipment, then this would be a good place to stay.  You’ll be able to store your kettle-bells/dumbbells under your bed or in a closet when not in use.  

At least at this stage you’d always have an option to workout at home.

Stage 3 Home Gym

Finally we move on to the final stage.  This is when you get yourself a grungy old bench and a bunch of mismatched standard weights and maybe a used cardio machine.  

Olympic weights are nice but hard to come by on the cheap.  I trained a good year with just the standard 1” weight plates.  100 lbs weighs 100 lbs.  

used gear for home gym

Most people would be fine just staying at this level.  And I even considered it. 1” standard plates are so cheap when you find them used!  I keep buying them when I see them for under 50 cents a pound, and then I resell them for 80 cents/lb.  More on this later.

So now you’ll really have a good set up.  Think adjustable dumbbell handles, bench, weights, pull up bar and lets say a treadmill.  

Gym’s looking good!  Now you’re all set. Where should you go from here? Nowhere really. You can just keep improving what you have.

And here’s how to do it without breaking the bank.

Home Gym Buy and Sell

What you have to do is keep looking for those online deals and pick them up when you can.  A Lot of people selling gym equipment haven’t used it in years and just want it out of the house.

Always try and get a deal. Then you bring it home.  Clean it up. If it’s better than what you have you keep it and sell your old piece of gear. Either for the same as what you paid or more, because you fixed it up. 

By fixing it up I mean cleaning, painting and repairing torn materials.  If weights are rusty, clean and spray paint. Treadmills can be cleaned, lubed and made to look new.  For benches, clean off rust and paint. Any torn vinyl can be patched up nice with Gorilla Tape. Simple little things.

Then you take better photos and resell for more.   It can be a slow process but it works. Patience is key.

And of course, if you can afford it, skip this step and jump right into a decked out Final Stage Home Gym

Final Stage Upgraded Home Gym

This is where you will get to upgrade your big ticket items.  Such as a squat rack, pulley system and Olympic weights.  Other things you could consider at this point would be specialty equipment such as a GHD or reverse hyper.  

upgraded home gym set up

But in the end, you always need to consider your space.  Make sure you only buy equipment you will use.

Crowding your home gym with stuff you won’t use will be counterproductive.  You should try and stay as minimal as possible.  

Home Gym Conclusion

So in the end I hope that you realize that you don’t “need” anything to start a home gym. I’ve enjoyed every step of the journey so far and hope that you can as well.

If you learn how to train like a minimaliste then nothing will ever get in the way of your training. You will always have an option.

Have you started your home gym yet? If you have any advice to add to new home gym builders, leave them in the comments bellow.

Happy gym building!