Setting Up A Home Gym

I know people who enjoy going to a health club or workout center and who will more likely stick to a fitness routine if they have to pay a fee. That’s not me for sure! I had no problem setting up a home gym in my house a few years ago.

Space – Make What You Have Work

Since my children are grown and out of the house, I can dedicate a space for my home gym. I do find I use it more if it’s readily available.

My workout area is only about 400 square feet and that’s more than enough space to accommodate the equipment I chose. The height of your room is probably more important that the square footage. If you plan to do cardio workouts that involve arms over your head – such as jumping jacks, etc. – you need to make sure you don’t hit the ceiling.

The Easiest way to check your space is to run through your most physical workout routine and see if your area restricts your movements in any way.

Equipment – What’s a Priority

Years ago when money was not readily available for unnecessary expenses, I made do with substitutes. Several sizes of cans worked great for weights and the coffee table my Dad made me worked for a bench.

Now that my budget has some room for extras, I have acquired actual pieces of workout equipment. I found it useful to make a list of what I thought I would use and then start with my first priority and build from there in the future.

  • Treadmill – I started with a used one. That gave me a chance to see how often I would use it and what options I would get the most benefit from. Then when it’s life was over I was better informed when looking to buy new. I bought a ProForm ZT4 with the ability to change the incline and speed on the go which is a feature I use every time I walk.
  • Weight machine – this was vital for my husband but I have to say I use it more than he does now.Golds Gym This one – is a Golds Gym – is very versatile and easy to use and the cost was mid range for these types of machines. I haven’t mastered using all the pulleys and attachments but eventually I’m sure I can. This piece of equipment takes up the most space and is not easily moved so placement had to be looked at as permanent.
  • Floor – I spend considerable time on cardio and flexibility so a floor in this area was a must. I chose the interlocking cushion type of flooring mats and am I using enough squares to cover a 4 ft by 8 ft area. I have a good yoga mat that I also use which provides additional cushioning for floor exercises. This was definitely money well spent.
  • TV – obviously this is not a necessity. Many people use their smart phones to stream exercise videos, live workouts and podcasts. I guess it’s an age related need for me – I find it difficult to watch and hear using only my phone. The screen is just too small so I cast the program to my television and can see and hear from any spot in the room.

Cost – $$$ Set a Budget

Here’s where the accountant in me comes in handy. Do some basic research on equipment you have interest in and start there. Just as you would, or should, when starting any project involving money, set up a budget. If you did your research first, you will already have an idea of the cost associated with each piece of gym equipment. This helps to give your budget weight in that it should be achievable. If you pick high cost equipment and try to fit it into a low based budget you are simply setting yourself up for failure at the start.

Here’s an example: Pick several treadmills that have options you think you would use. Do the same for each item you want to use in your home gym. Then pick the item out of each group that best matches your choices and your budget. When you actually go through the steps and put it in writing, you can see all the results at once and this equipment should fill your fitness needs, your space allowance and will stay within your budget.


All healthy lifestyles need room for adjustments. Life is never perfect and the same will be true for any home gym you set up. Always leave room for changes – equipment upgrades can be useful when you’re ready or new types of equipment if you change your focus.

I found I needed a cool down – meditation area after my workout. This was something I never even thought about when setting up a home gym. I had to use it awhile before realizing I wanted to be totally finished with my exercise routine before re-entering my family space. This included clearing my mind.

I always feel energized after working out. Every session is different – maybe a 30 minute cardio session, a couple of miles on the treadmill, a weight machine routine or just a five-minute glute exercise. Whatever you choose to do it will be beneficial to your health if done correctly and on a regular basis.

Setting up a home gym can be fun and rewarding. Let me know if you have questions that I can help with.



  1. This is the BEST post I’ve read about a home gym! Very good advice on thinking through and really achieving what you need AND keeping on budget! I never even considered the possibility of a cool down-meditation space. It’s GENIUS! Thank you for your honest advice and relatable posts – you definitely keep me inspired!

    • Tara – setting it up took some time but it was worth it. Yes – my cool down space is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Penny

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