Getting fit at home has never been easier. In fact, many of my readers realized how easy it could be in 2020 when gyms across the world closed down for months on end.
Today I'm sharing everything you need to create a simple home gym and get AMAZING results with effective home workouts. This post is relevant to both beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts, so fear not - there's something here for you!
Check out the latest Fit Habit podcast for a deeper dive into home fitness equipment and workouts for amazing results.
The Benefits of Investing in a Home Gym
Time and motivation are two of the biggest roadblocks that prevent my readers from getting to a gym on the regular. There seems to be this misconception that fitness can only happen in the confines of a big box gym which is completely untrue.
A well rounded workout program is doable in a spare room in your house, your garage or a corner of your bedroom. It doesn’t have to be complicated or take up a lot of space.
When you workout at home, you not only save time commuting back and forth to the gym, but there's also no waiting for class to start, or for equipment to be available. Everything is there for you the minute you're ready to get started. If you're short on time, I can think of no better way to get your fitness in than to do it at home.
How much does a home gym cost?
A home gym can be as simple as a few sets of dumbbells and a couple of workout bands (see the full list below). Sure, you can completely deck out a dedicated room in your house with all the best equipment, but you don't need to go that far to start out. A simple gym can be outfitted for less than $200. That's less than a three month membership at most gyms here in the US, so the savings is unquestionable.
What I have in my home gym
My own home gym is something I've built up over time. It started with just a few core pieces (3 sets of dumbbells and a workout band) and it grew from there. The more I realized how effective it is to workout at home, the more I invested in additional equipment.
So here’s my basic equipment list for a simple at-home gym. I’ve also included my recommendations for home workout plans for both beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts.
Basic Home Gym Equipment Everyone Should Start With
Note - you don't need all these sets of dumbbells to start. Just get three pairs - a light, medium and heavy, and you'll be good to go.
- 5lb dumbbells (pair) - best for beginners
- 10lb dumbbells (pair)
- 15lb dumbbells (pair)
- 20lb dumbbells (pair)
- 25lb dumbbells (pair) - best for advanced
- Workout bands (a set that includes light, medium and heavy resistance)
- Sliders (omg, these are the BOMB)
- Yoga Mat (cheap mats suck, so spend a little to get one that won't disintegrate)
More Home Workout Equipment I've Added Over the Years
- Pull up Bar - I recommend (and own) this bar because it doesn't require that you drill into your wall. It simply hooks onto your door frame.
- TRX System that can fit in any door (doesn't require a drill or hammer) abd here's a TRX workout you can try!
- Bosu Ball (great alternative to a workout bench and just fun to do bounce work on!)
- Workout Bench - I just bought this bench and I love it. It's light, it folds away for storage and the bench has adjustable heights.
- Aerobic Step - perfect for Transform 20.
- Ab Roller - a small piece of equipment that delivers works your abs!
- Kettle Bells - these are a ton of fun to workout with
- Bar Bells (I LOVE this pink one)
- Squat Rack - if you're going to commit to a full home gym and you've got the space, this rack is helpful!
Home Cardio Equipment
Home cardio equipment can be a huge investment, so it's best to be really sure that you will use what you're buying, or else you'll be out of a lot of money and these things take up a lot of space. They are also really difficult to sell if you decide you want to get rid of it.
However, if you're hellbent on indoor cycling or running on a treadmill, then these are the brands I have used and love. Of course, shop around for the absolute best price or even second hand options!
Keep in mind that cardio doesn't have to be done on a machine. You can run, power walk, grab your bike or do a fun HIIT workout and get even better results than doing a repetitive motion on a machine.
- Spin bike (you don't need to spend $2000+ on a Peloton!).
- Treadmill - treadmills are huge, so be sure this is what you really want.
- Stair-master - Offers a great, low impact workout.
- Elliptical - ideal because it has a smaller footprint than a treadmill or bike.
Home Workout Program Recommendations
Right now, I'm in the testing phase of a home workout program that only calls for minimal equipment. Until that's done, I recommend using Beachbody programs. They are an industry-leading producers of high quality programs for all fitness levels.
I especially love their weight training programs that provide a ton of guidance on everything from proper form, to how hard you should be pushing. They are very motivational and deliver amazing results (provided you're doing them consistently!).
How to Purchase a Beachbody Membership
I always recommend readers purchase the Beachbody Annual Membership with the pre-workout and post workout supplement. It also comes with a month of nutrition training that's going to help you shred fat and get lean.
I recommend this selection because it gives you access to ALL the workouts and the best quality supplements I've found in the industry. There are no weird artificial ingredients which are commonly found in a pre-workout drink.
Best Beachbody Weight Training Workouts to Sculpt Lean Muscle
The following programs are available on Beachbody on Demand. This is just a small sample, but they are focused on weight training & cardio which provides the best results across the board, especially for women over 40.
- 21 Day Fix (beginner)
- 21 Day Fix Extreme (advanced)
- 80 Day Obsession (intermediate)
- Hammer and Chisel (intermediate)
- Muscle Burns Fat (intermediate)
- Muscle Burns Fat Advanced (advanced)
- 6 Weeks of the Work (advanced)
- P90X3 (advanced)
Best Cardio Workouts on Beachbody on Demand
Now, you've probably guessed by now, I think weight training is SUPER important for women, not just to build a lean, sculpted physique, but also for longevity and health.
A well-rounded strength training program will improve your bone density, metabolic health and your posture. It will improve your hormone profile, help you tolerate carbs better and yes, it will transform your body! Also, if you want to get rid of cellulite or saggy skin, weight training or surgery are your only two options.
That said, cardio can be a great fat burner, and a HUGE stress reliever. The following programs are my recommended picks from the Beachbody on Demand App, but also note that cardio can be done the old fashion way with hiking, biking, running and sprinting.
If you love group fitness classes, then you will love these options from the Beachbody on Demand app:
- T25 - intermediate
- Turbo Fire - advanced (but SUPER fun)
- Insanity - advanced
- Transform 20 - intermediate
- Cize - Beginner/intermediate
Want More Home Gym & Workout Inspiration?
- The BEST fitness and wellness apps to track your health journey (for women)
- The Best home workouts for results
- 21 Day Fix Home Workout Results
- Piyo Home Workout - no equipment required!
- Best home workouts of 2020
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, low carb recipes, quick home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.