Before you run out and buy equipment to start building a home gym, consider your needs. There is nothing worse than spending money on equipment you won't use because it's too big, too complicated, or simply too advanced for you.
The first consideration when building a home gym must be space. Having a spare room is a lot different than having to work out in the living room, among the furniture. The same is true of storage space. Foldable treadmills may be more expensive, but they're the perfect choice for small apartments. If you plan on storing the equipment after every workout, you also need to make sure that the machines have wheels. However light they may seem at the store, you probably won't be motivated to struggle with it on a daily basis.
If you're on a limited budget, check the local classified ads in the newspaper or visit garage sales to look for used equipment. Most of that equipment is hardly used and usually in top condition. If you have your heart set on new equipment, check several sporting goods stores to compare prices and try out different models.
When choosing equipment for your home gym, start with the basics. You can always add more pieces later on as your fitness level improves. The basic home gym must include both strength and aerobic workout equipment. This can be as simple as free weights or as sophisticated as a multistation machine with adjustable resistance.
The most popular pieces of aerobic equipment for a home gym are treadmills, stationary bikes, stair-climbers, and rowers, in that order. While the ultimate choice is a matter of personal preference, experts agree that a treadmill tends to be easiest for beginners. For those on a budget, a simple adjustable aerobic step and a workout video can be a great way to get started.
When it comes to resistance training, rubber tubing or rubber bands can be a good way to start building a home gym. The next step is investing on a good-quality set of free weights and a bench at least 36 inches (91.5 cm) wide. Top quality branches like Ivanko and Sonata will give you a good value for your money, including high quality paint that doesn't chip easily and smooth, easy-to-grab surfaces. A multistation machine can be a great addition to a home gym if you know what you're doing. Don't spend hundreds of dollars on something too complicated or too advanced for the kind of workout you have in mind.
If you do decide on a large piece of equipment for your home gym, spend as much as you can. Top quality machines will require an investment of 2,000 or 3,000 US dollars (USD), but are likely to be safer and last longer.