Building Muscle @ Home

Home gyms for every budget and space

By Micaela Whitworth

Juggling the responsibilities of a fulltime job and a family can often make it difficult to find the time and motivation for the gym. According to one study, the average monthly attendance of a gym member is only 4.3 times per month. With yearly membership fees reaching $1,000 mark, you might as well quit making promises of going back to the gym and invest your money in a more permanent solution: your own home gym.

What you buy depends on how much space you have, your budget, your typical workout, and your current fitness level and experience. Rest assured, regardless of the size of your space or budget, there is a solution for you.


SPACE – Where can you set up your equipment for usage and storage? How much space you have will affect what equipment is available to you. Spare bedrooms, basements and garages are all good options for home gyms; however, if you’re new to exercise, space for a yoga mat may be all you need.

PLATFORM – What surface do you plan on performing your exercises on? If you’re on a budget and space is an issue, a yoga mat and stability ball may be your best solution.  If space permits and you’re working with a larger budget, you may want to consider buying interlocking foam or rubber tiles to protect your flooring, as well as an exercise bench and squat rack.

RESISTANCE – What type of resistance do you require or have space for? Narrowing down what type of resistance to use in your home gym will inevitably vary based on your current strength level and budget. If you’re new to training, “resistance bands” are an inexpensive and space-saving choice. If you’ve already trained with weights, make an investment in a TRX (suspension training), dumbbell or barbell set to serve you better in the long run. If you’re tight on money and space, adjustable dumbbells can save you both.

CARDIO EQUIPMENT – What type of cardio do you enjoy doing, and what do you have space for? The most inexpensive piece of cardio equipment you can purchase is a skip rope or a good pair of runners. But with Montreal’s long, cold winters, you might want to consider purchasing an indoor piece of equipment as well. Spin Bikes are a great option for home gyms since they’re light, portable and don’t take up much space.

(“New Trainee” with minimal space)
  Yoga Mat $25
  Anti-Burst Stability Ball $40
     TRX Suspension Training System $200
     A Pair of 10-20 Lbs Dumbbells $16-32
  Bosu Half Stability Ball $150
     Skip Rope $10

(“Intermediate Trainee” with a small space)
Interlocking Foam Tiles $360
     Bench $150
  Boflex Adjustable Weights $400
  Spin Bike $200

(“Advanced Trainee” with basement or garage space)
Rubber Flooring $360
  Squat Rack $400
  Adjustable Bench $200
  Dumbbells and Rack $1400
  Barbell and Plates $450
  Treadmill $700


Micaela Whitworth is a personal trainer and certified medical exercise specialist. Catch Micaela extol the virtues of physical fitness on Montreal’s Global TV news affiliate.

Fall 2014, Vol 6 N°4

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