Getting fit doesn’t have to mean shelling out thousands on Bowflex machines, Pelotons, or fancy treadmills.

In fact, all it takes is a few hundred bucks, a little creativity, and an empty room, and you’ll be on your way to that six-pack in no time.

Want to build your own home gym without busting your budget? Here’s how to make it happen:

Stick to the basics.

You don’t need the fancy stuff to get fit. As long as you have the foundational pieces, you can devise a workout routine that covers all your bases (and parts of the body). 

Here’s what you may want to invest in:

  • An adjustable flat bench (for bench presses, crunches, kickbacks, etc.)
  • A jump rope (for easy cardio and HIIT workouts)
  • A barbell (with variable weights for versatility)
  • A pull-up bar (for arm and ab exercises)
  • A stability ball (for ab work, balance training, etc.)
  • A yoga mat (for ab work, cardio, stretching, etc.)

Most of this can fit into a small bin that can tuck under your flat bench when not in use. All you need is room for the bench and a few extra feet for movement, and you’ve got the bare bones ready to go.

Think dual-purpose equipment.

To keep your spending in check, try only to buy equipment that can double-up in use. Resistance bands, for example, can be used in all sorts of workouts, as well as on their own and during cardio. Yoga balls are also pretty versatile, as are the flat bench, weights with interchangeable plates, and ankle weights.

Remember you don’t need equipment for cardio.

Since you’re short on space and on budget, consider ditching the huge treadmills and ellipticals, and reserve your cardio for the great outdoors instead. Go for a run, walk the dog, ride a bike, or go for a swim at the community pool. If the weather doesn’t cooperate with your plans, bust out the jump rope and get that heart rate up in your home gym or garage. Other options for low-cost indoor cardio include Hula hoops, a mini cycle or stepper, or an aerobic step platform.

Look beyond the athletic store.

Getting exercise equipment at big-name athletic and department stores is always going to cost you more. If at all possible, steer clear of these popular spots, and get more creative when sourcing your equipment. If you want new items, head to discount stores like Sam’s Club or Costco, or if you’re okay with gently used items, head to the Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, or a resale app like OfferUp or LetGo. You can also post to social media and see if any friends, family members, or colleagues have any equipment they’d be willing to part with. Garage sales and estate sales are always good options, too, so stay tuned to local newspapers and postings and be on alert.

Have a plan — and stick to it.

The best way to rein yourself in spending-wise is to have a plan going in. What will you use the gym for? What areas of your body do you plan to work on? What abilities or muscles do you want to improve? Use this to guide your equipment purchases, and buy only what you need to achieve your goals. Buying equipment that you might use down the line is just a waste of money. If you end up needing it later on, you can buy it then. For now, save your cash for the must-haves you absolutely need to meet your fitness goals.

Build your own equipment.

If you’re the handy type, you might be able to craft some of your gym equipment with your own two hands. Check out this DIY for creating your own adjustable pulling blocks or try one of these ideas for homemade pull-up bars, weight racks, leg raises, and balance rails. Most only require a little bit of wood and some piping to get right. If they seem outside your wheelhouse, ask a handy friend if they wouldn’t mind helping you build it. (Maybe throw in a free pizza as payment?)

Remember electricity costs money, too.

Do you really want to keep your home gym costs low? Then focus on non-electrical equipment. Treadmills, ellipticals, trainers and other tools that plug in with cost significantly more in the long run than manual ones — even when they’re not actively in use. Think old school, and keep your purchases to non-electrical tools whenever possible.

Want to Boost that Gym-Building Budget?

Do you need help covering the costs of your home gym build-out? Just don’t want to pinch pennies too much? A cash-out refinance may be able to help. Contact an Embrace loan officer to learn more about your options and see if you’re eligible today.