Consumer Watch: Building a home gym for cheap

Working out at home can be an inexpensive way to get in shape with the help of a few too. (photo credit: Bob Pennell)

You can still get a good work out in when you are tight on time and money. When it comes to getting fitter, though, expert help can be pricey, but Fox 25 Consumer Watch reached out to an Oklahoma City fitness expert to find the top five things you need to get the most out of a home gym.

Myobrain founder Greg Farris says there is no need to spend thousands of dollars on a home gym, especially if you are just starting out. Here are his five favorite items to get a solid work out in a short amount of time:

1. Yoga mat: prices can vary on these, but this one online is 10 dollars.

2. Dumbbells or kettlebells: You should move a little iron for bone and muscle health, and a pair of these will do the trick. No need to be a whole rack with different weights. Farris says you can do a lot with one set at the right weight.

“Try to make them medium weight-- like women 20-30 pounds, men 40 to 50 pounds. Things you can use for a variety of different exercises, so squats, and dumbbell press, rows, and things like that, “says Farris.

This 35-pound dumbbell on Amazon costs 40 bucks, so 80 for the pair. If you have very little experience with dumbbells or kettlebells, you might want to go to a sporting goods store and feel out the weights. Going to light will not be effective, but to heavy will make them difficult to use.

“If your baseline is 0 maybe a 5-pound or 10-pound overhead press or a squat is enough resistance to really challenge your muscles, but overtime that is not really going to be enough for anyone except maybe our grandparents who want to have healthy bones, “says Farris.

3. Pull-up bar: Farris says these are useful even if you cannot go pull ups yet. These can be used for core workouts, or you can do back exercises but decreasing the difficulty of a pull-up by using a chair you already have at home. Fox 25 Consumer Watch found this pull-up bar that attaches to a door frame for 15 dollars.

4. Gymnastics rings: You don’t have to be an Olympic gymnast to own these. They are relatively inexpensive at about 25 dollars, and Farris says they can add more difficulty to push ups. You can also do rows and dips to build upper body strength.

5. Cardio machine: This is the one splurge item on Farris’ list. Something like a rower or an air bike can help get your heartrate high when the weather makes for an easy excuse to skip a run outside. Don’t go spending thousands though. Farris recommend checking with used equipment retailers or local CrossFit gyms to see if they are looking to sell their older equipment. Buying used will mean spending hundreds instead of thousands on this splurge piece.

If owning a garage gym feels like a solution to your workout problems, don’t feel pressure to buy everything right away. While you save up for the more expensive items, like a cardio machine, you can continue going on jogs around the neighborhood or buy a high-quality jump rope for 40 dollars.

Exercise is good for your health, but be sure you check with your doctor first if it’s been a while since you've worked out, and remember to check on proper form every time you try a new exercise. That's as easy as looking up the movement on YouTube.

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