If you live in a place where you have access to your own basement or garage, you should invest in a home gym–and by home gym, I don’t mean a couple of 15-pound dumbbells and a yoga mat. To me, a home gym consists of the basic equipment required to perform the basic barbell movements that will help you build a foundation of muscle and strength (i.e. squat, bench press, deadlift, military press, rows, etc.)–that means a squat rack, a barbell, a bench, some weights, and some sort of platform or floor mat to protect your floor.
Below are my top 5 reasons for having a home gym:
I equate training with masturbation. I can’t do it when there’s somebody else in the room–being half-naked, sweating, and grunting is something I enjoy doing privately and I’m sure others would prefer I do it privately as well.
I like to refer to my home gym as my Fortress of Solitude. Void of all distractions, training alone in my home gym allows me to focus on the task at hand. My home gym is my sanctuary. It’s my happy place. In the privacy of my home gym, I don’t have to wait for anybody. There’s no need to wait in line to use the squat rack, there’s no working in, and there’s no need to make small talk with acquaintances. No bullshit. Just me, myself and the iron.
In my home gym, I get to lift however I want, play whatever music I want, use as much chalk as I want, and grunt as much as I want. Most public gyms do not offer this type of freedom to lifters. In fact, some gyms enforce rules that actually prevent people from making gains–rules such as no deadlifting, no heavy lifting of any kind, no grunting, etc.
In most commercial gyms, instead of being encouraged to perform the muscle and strength-building essential barbell movements (which also help burn fat), gym members are provided with ineffective exercise machines and personal trainers who don’t even lift. What’s worse is that these good-intentioned gym members are often misled into signing up for useless aerobic group classes that fail to deliver results. I believe there is a conspiracy to trick fresh naive gym members into staying out of shape–the endorphin rush experienced as a result of excessive aerobics triggers an addiction, making them come back for more, which results in more cash flow for the clever gym owners.
New gym members are never made aware of the wonderful magic of barbells and squat racks. By the time they sign up at the gym, they’re already bombarded with flashy pamphlets and seductive pitches diverting their attention to the fancy group classes and cardio machines, forcing them into a perpetual state of catabolism, muscular atrophy and skinny-fatness.
You see, gyms don’t care about your health or your progress. All they care about is selling gym memberships–and they succeed in doing so by hiring salesmen disguised as trainers, who proceed to talk unsuspecting victims into signing expensive 12-month contracts along with overpriced personal training and meal prep packages. It’s a numbers game for them. They know that most people who join the gym quit within the next few months, and those who do become serious about lifting are often looked down upon by gym management.
You can avoid all this bullshit by setting up a home gym and by doing a simple google search on basic training programs.
If you can locate a hardcore gym or a club dedicated to strength sports and bodybuilding, you should train with their coaches for a while to receive instruction and knowledge on training and nutrition. After that, you may setup your home gym and use said knowledge to continue making gains on your own.
There’s nothing more convenient than having a gym in your own home. NOTHING. When you have a home gym in your basement or garage, most excuses are rendered invalid. The top excuses include:
“I don’t have time”
“The gym is closed”
“The gym is too far”
“I have to work overtime tonight”
“It’s too cold outside to go to the gym”
“My car broke down so I can’t go to the gym”
“I’m too lazy to go to the gym”
When you have a home gym, none of these excuses apply to you anymore.
Do you have a busy work day ahead of you? No problem. Wake up 45-60 minutes earlier and have a quick workout in your home gym before heading out to work.
Also, if you plan on gaining weight (muscle), you definitely don’t want to burn any unnecessary calories walking or even driving to the gym. With a home gym, you expend a minimal amount of energy getting to the gym, allowing you to reserve said energy for lifting.
A lot of people claim to spend 1-2 hours at the gym, but how much of that time is actually spent training? Below is the breakdown of the time spent at a public gym vs time spent at a home gym.
These numbers are based on my personal experiences, so these numbers may vary depending on where you live and where you work in relation to your gym’s location, etc.
Here’s what it’s like when training in the morning before school/work:
As you can see, you save 35 whole minutes by training in a home gym in the morning. Public gyms have too many variables that may distract you here and there; all of these minutes add up.
It may be argued that it is more time-efficient to go to a commercial gym after work/school because the gym is in the vicinity of your workplace/school. In this case, it would make more sense to save time by going to the nearby gym. That way, you can avoid rush hour traffic (save commuting time), get your workout in at the gym, and go home. In this situation, going to a public gym after work/school will surely save you more time than going home to train… or will it? Let’s look at the data below:
You will notice that although you save time commuting, the increased population of members in the gym during peak hours (evening) will result in an increased duration of all variables. At least in the morning, the gym is less crowded, saving you some time. Ultimately, you will save time by training in your home gym regardless of whether you train before or after school/work.
You will also notice the added variable in the evening (PM) data: “Time spent looking for weights”. During PM/peak hours at the gym, weights will often go missing due to lifters taking weights from each other’s squat racks; most commercial gyms do not have enough plates to go around so you end up wasting 10 minutes looking for enough weights.
And of course, there are situations like this that don’t help either:
A home gym is a worthy investment that will save you lots of money in the long-term.
First, we’ll take a look at the costs of setting up a home gym, and then we’ll compare that with the costs of a gym membership.
Below is a breakdown of the basic equipment you’ll need to set up a home gym. This includes a power rack (with a pull-up bar attached), a flat bench, a barbell, and a floor mat:
|Atlas Power Rack||$249.99|
|Adidas Flat Bench||$79.99|
|Body Solid Oly Power Barbell, 6ft||$90.76|
|XMark Fitness XMat Ultra Thick Gym Flooring||$97.82|
|Shipping & handling:||$140.07|
|Estimated tax to be collected:||$44.32|
If you purchase similar items at your local fitness equipment store instead of online, you’ll save a lot of money on shipping and handling! You can also find some great deals on Craigslist and Kijiji!
Of course, you’ll need weights/plates for your home gym. For this, I recommend buying them from your local fitness store because ordering hundreds of pounds of weights online can cost you a lot on shipping.
Most stores charge anywhere from 85 cents to 1 dollar per pound, depending on the brand. Below are the figures for 535 pounds worth of weights. For the sake of simplicity of this example, I have the weights cost $1.00 per pound:
|Plates||$1.00 per pound|
|10 x 45 lbs||$450.00|
|2 x 25 lbs||$50.00|
|2 x 10 lbs||$20.00|
|2 x 5 lbs||$10.00|
|2 x 2.5 lbs||$5.00|
|TOTAL (before taxes):||$535.00|
Once you add up the cost of the power rack, bench, barbell, floor mat, and weights, you get a total of:
|TOTAL ESTIMATED COST:|
Now, lets take a look at the costs of an annual gym membership:
In my area, the annual membership fee for a decent gym costs $650 for the first year (for new members), and $600 annually for membership renewal.
Let’s see how many annual gym membership fees it would take to set up your home gym:
As you can see in the above example, it will take only 2 years of annual membership fees to pay off your home gym! As serious lifters, fitness is part of our lifestyle; we’re in this for the long-term, so 2 years is a very small period of time compared to the rest of our lives. Lets look at how the gym membership fees add up over the course of 10 years compared to the cost of your home gym:
In the course of 10 years, you will have accumulated over $6,000.00 in gym membership fees. In this same timespan, a home gym would have cost you only $1,237.95
The advantage of a home gym is that you only pay one fee, and you’re set for life. When you join a commercial gym, however, you must continue to pay a fee every year. After many years, these fees add up and you end up wasting a whole lot of money.
A home gym may seem expensive at first, but when you put into perspective the long term costs of yearly membership fees compared to the one-time payment of a home gym, you will see that a home gym is a better investment.
|TOTAL ESTIMATED SAVINGS, 10 YEARS:|
In 10 years, you will have saved nearly five-thousand dollars, which could have been used for other things such as expanding your home gym with new equipment like a rowing machine, airdyne bike, some kettlebells, a set of dummbells, etc.
Also, if for some insane reason you decide you don’t want to lift anymore, you can always sell your equipment on Craigslist or Kijiji and make most of your money back–whereas with a gym membership, you can’t exactly ask for a refund.
I would like to conclude by saying that having a home gym is pretty awesome. If you have the space and the means, you should set up a home gym; it’s a great investment that will last you an entire lifetime and is something cool you can pass down to future generations.
Some may ask why I use the term “investment” when referring to the purchase of a home gym. Afterall, an investment is something you spend money on that brings about a powerful return on said investment; in the case of a home gym, considering the fact that gains are PRICELESS, I’d say a home gym is a pretty damn good investment.
I’ll finish this article with some pictures I’ve collected from google images, as well as photos submitted by our facebook fans. This will give you a rough idea of how little space you need in your basement or garage to set up a complete home gym! Man, just looking at these pictures gives me a hard on.