Here are three essential steps for a beginner home gym. As a personal trainer, I found that those three steps will likely set you up for success.
The biggest threat for home gyms is that the equipment ends up under the bed or in a cupboard gathering dust. This is what I see a lot.
To avoid this trap and get a beginner home gym you will actually use, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Know your outcome
For a beginner home gym you have a lot of equipment to choose from. But before you do anything, first sit down with a pen and a piece of paper.
Write down what you want to achieve with your home gym. Not just as a beginner, but also later down the road. For example in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years.
Is this a long term investment, where you will improve on cardio and strength? Or is it just a temporary step towards being a member of a local gym? What is your situation?
Step 2: Budget for your beginner home gym
Here you have 3 basic scenarios for setting up your beginner home gym, based on your budget and ambitions:
Low budget beginner home gym
A beginner home gym can be as cheap as buying a mat and subscribing to a fitness app for workouts. You do your cardio for free, by running outdoors. With this setup, you can start for 50 dollars or less.
This option is attractive if you have little space. You can always expand later with resistance bands, suspension trainers, dumbbells and other gym equipment.
A con of this option is that it can be hard to stay motivated. Training with just your body weight requires the most discipline, in my opinion. Also, it can be difficult to train with variation with just a mat and your body weight. You tend to do the same exercises every day and not see progress after some time.
Medium budget beginner home gym
You can start your beginner home gym with basic equipment. I would suggest a mat, dumbbells, a workout bench, a stationary bike, suspension trainers and a full length mirror. You could set up this gym for 500 dollars or less.
With this setup, you have more variation in your exercises, which can be motivating. If you give your gym a fixed space in your house, that can also inspire you to work out more. Because you don’t have to set up equipment first.
High budget beginner home gym
If you have the budget, I strongly advise you to look into smart fitness equipment before anything else. Those machines are excellent for a beginner home gym, because they have everything you need and provide feedback on your movements.
Those smart machines optionally come with dumbbells, a workout bench, pulleys, yoga props and more. They provide streaming workouts that keep you motivated and give you feedback on your performance. It is like having a personal trainer or gym class in your house.
Most smart machines have leaderboards, games, and virtual running or cycling tours. They can be engaging and make you want to workout more.
Those smart fitness solutions start at about 1.500 dollars, and subscriptions are about 40 dollars.
For a comprehensive overview of smart fitness equipment, check out our guide on Smart Fitness Equipment.
How to determine your budget for your beginner home gym
As a personal trainer, I know that every of the 3 budget options described above is fine. You won’t necessarily get fitter when you spend more money on your beginner home gym. Because the most important factor is that you actually work out.
With just a mat and good instructions you can get extremely fit. And with the other setups you can also get very fit. It really depends on your performance and preferences.
Step 3: Training advice for beginners
If you set up a beginner home gym, equipment is only half of the story. You also need guidance on what exercises to do and how to do them properly.
Don’t underestimate this aspect of a beginner home gym. The most expensive equipment is useless if you don’t know how to use it.
Also, it is important that you train your body in balance between cardio and strength training.
For training advise you have the following options:
1 – Hire a personal trainer
If possible, hire a personal trainer or physiotherapist to teach you the exercises, correct your posture, and create a schedule for you.
If possible, invite the trainer to your home gym to tailor the workout to your setup and specific needs.
2 – Subscribe to a fitness app
Many fitness apps provide a clear explanation of how to perform exercises. Most also provide workout schedules for specific goals.
Checkout our discussion of fitness apps.
3 – Use a smart fitness solution with an app
When training with a Smart Fitness Mirror, you see yourself in the mirror and get visual feedback on your movements.
Some smart fitness mirrors even offer the option to hire a virtual personal trainer for a 1-on-1 session.
Check out our guide on smart fitness mirrors.
FAQ About Beginner Home Gym
What do I need for a beginner home gym?
For starters, you can start with basic equipment like dumbells, a mat, and resistance bands. With these three items, you can do a lot of exercises that will help you get started.
Is it worth starting a home gym?
Having a home gym allows you to:
•Exercise on your own schedule.
•Save money on gym memberships and commuting.
•Have your family/friends join you.
•Customize gym equipment to your needs.
With these benefits in mind, I think a home is definitely a worthwhile investment in your overall health.
Is owning a home gym stressful?
Owning a home gym can sometimes be stressful because you have to properly maintain it. However, a home gym has benefits like saving money and flexibility that are worth the stress.
What to do next
Make sure to set up your beginner home gym with your fitness goals in mind. Check out our guides on setting up a home gym: