A Basic Home Gym Within Reach

How can a home be complete without a gym?!

Jan 7, 2022
A home gym is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s hands down my silver lining of the last fews years. 
The convenience is perhaps the greatest benefit. 
At any given moment, I’m never more than 10 seconds away from the gym. I have also perfected the gym to “camera on Zoom meeting” transition. My record, with a shower, is 9 minutes. 
As we cruise through resolution season, it’s important to look at habit change science. If we want to succeed in making changes, leaning into the research really does provide answers.
If you want to go deep, I suggest: 
I’ll call out only one factor: stimulus control, which explains that our actions are impacted by situational and environmental cues and stimuli. 
Out of sight, out of mind. Within reach, bound to happen. 
Even if you have access to a gym, there are benefits to dedicating some space in your home to fitness for when you are low on time, but want to do something. We have rooms for sleeping, eating, relaxing… of course we should include space for physical health. 
And if you think you can push yourself with limited equipment and a small space, you haven’t heard my early pandemic fitness story. 
I’ll keep it brief. 
On March 14th, 2020, I went to Worlds Gym in San Francisco for the last time. I could feel in my bones it was going to be my last time in a gym for awhile. Two days later, we left San Francisco by car, not for NYC where we were meant to be moving permanently, but for Minnesota to “ride out this coronavirus thing for a few weeks”.
A couple of days and a few bodyweight workouts later, I procured one dumbbell from a pair my grandfather had given my dad. It was the kind you can take apart and adjust the weight. Some plates had been painted pink when my sister (👋 Tia) was in high school. 
The clamps securing the plates to the little bar weigh ½ a pound each. That’s how I ended up with my pandemic 26-pound dumbbell.  Boy did that dumbbell and I spend a lot of time together. And it kicked my ass. 
Yes, I full intend to be that aunt who never stops telling her niece and nephew about that time in 2020 when I only had one dumbbell but never stopped working out and pushing hard.
My first equipment purchase came in July. I waited “in line” for a sale on repfitness.com. Despite being 12,000th in line, I procured myself two adjustable kettlebells that would become my best friends through October, which is when The Pleasant Box HQ came to life. 
Throughout that time, I worked out 5 times per week. I had a remote coach who would program for me. I was shocked by the variety of movements she dreamed up. I was never once bored. 
Would I prefer a full gym, with all the equipment? Yes. But I learned that you don’t need much to get fit, stay fit, and even improve your fitness. 
I realize that not everyone has the space or funds to build out a fully equipped gym where they live, but there is a way to set yourself up for some kick ass workouts with very little equipment and space. 

If I had very little space for a home gym and $500 here is what I would consider. 

Option 1: ~$517

Option 2: ~$588

Option 3: ~$480

If space and funds are limited, I would avoid buying the following: 
  • Standalone light weights such as 5 or 10 pound dumbbells because these are easy to hack with water bottles filled with sand for example. 
  • A bench would be nice but you can get by with floor presses and using a chair for step ups or split squats. 
If you want a squat rack, barbell and plates, you need $1,000 minimum for a new setup. Rep Fitness has a package, but this requires more space. 

You’ve got the goods, now what do you do?

Over the last year, I’ve learned to write my own fitness programs. 
Here are the books I read to do that. 
But if you want a workout program that blends resistance training and conditioning, I would recommend these two options:  
Limited, even no equipment workouts can be incredibly challenging. Creating a convenient environment for yourself to workout will help you reach your goals. 

The Monthly Challenge App Update

Another factor for successful habit change is social support. We can talk about that more in a future post. But for now, I wanted to share an update on The Monthly Challenge App.
💪 You all are killing it! 💪
We have 162 people signed up, more than 85 daily goals have been met, and we have collectively done 6,496 pushups!
I personally can already tell a difference. My pushup endurance is increasing everyday and I’m 99% sure I can see more shoulder definition! My friend (hi Mark!) has also reported a similar impact. 
It’s not, nor will it ever be, too late to join in. You can access the app for free here. Every month we will have a challenge of some sort. You set your own targets. What should we do for February? 
Dane is working on getting the app into the App Stores and improving the functionality. You can chat with him about it on Discord.
Let me know if you have questions about a home gym set up. It would be a pleasure to share ideas. 
Note: I am not affiliated with the products mentioned here, except for the books, which are an affiliate link. I created a Bookshop.org “store” so I could easily point people to my favorite books in an organized fashion.