As a fitness enthusiast, I have always dreamt of having a home gym so that I can work out at the comfort of my home.
And without blowing my budget, of course.
Fortunately, I managed to realize this dream of mine in March, earlier this year, before circuit breaker had begun. This allowed me to stick to my workout schedule without having to worry about covid restrictions or the closure of gyms.
In this Opinion, I will share with you how you can also set up your home gym without compromising on your budget or the space in your house.
All of the equipment that I currently own was purchased over a span of 3 years. I will include both the purchase price and the up-to-date price (accurate as of 30 December 2020) to avoid any confusion.
All photos in this Opinion are taken by me and may be of horrendous quality. I am by no means a professional photographer.
The product links included in this Opinion are non-affiliate links and all of the products that I recommended are part of my current home gym set up. Feel free to look for alternatives that suit your budget, fitness goals and strength.
20 kg Dumbbell Set (~$50)
Straight Barbell ($39)
Additional Weights ($200)
Foldable Workout Bench ($49.90)
Yoga Mat ($19.90)
Door Frame Pull Up Bar ($16.90)
Dip Belt ($9.89) + Carabiner ($1.20)
Resistance bands ($14.99)
How much I spent in total: $401.78
A 20 kg dumbbell set was the very first equipment that I purchased when I first started working out with weights. Likewise, I would recommend getting this as the first addition to your home gym setup as you can train most of your muscle groups with a pair of dumbbells.
I bought a set of chrome dumbbells from Qoo10 at around $50 - $60 a couple of years ago. At the point of writing this Opinion, a similar set is priced at $72.90 if you purchase it from Jiji.sg on Qoo10.
Chrome plated - Long lasting as it does not rust easily.
Versatile - You can choose to adjust the weights according to your current strength and workout needs.
Free extender bar and gloves - The extender bar can transform the pair of dumbbells into a barbell, expanding the range of exercises that you can perform (These gifts were not available when I first purchased the set).
Although there are dumbbells that can convert into a barbell with the aid of an extender, a solid barbell would definitely be more sturdy and carry more weight. Some of the exercises that you can perform are deadlifts, barbell rows and curls.
The barbell that I purchased was a 1.2 meter straight barbell (weighs around 5 - 7 kg) with a max load of 100 kg. You can get it from dumbbells.sg at $45 (It was $39 when I bought it a few years ago).
Do note that the bar diameter is around 2.40 cm, which is not your standard Olympic bar measurements. However, it would be compatible with the chrome plates mentioned in the previous section.
Easy to store - Since it is lightweight and relatively short
Does not rust easily
With progression in your training, you would require additional weights to step up your training intensity.
For my setup, I got 4 5 kg ($16 each) and 4 10 kg plates ($34 each) from homegym.sg, which costs $200 in total. The 15 kg and 20 kg plates are priced at $51 and $68 respectively.
Rubberized coating - Long lasting; prevents damage to the floor and reduces noise when weights are dropped.
Tri-Grip design for weights from 10 kg onwards - Ease of picking up from a flat surface and holding for certain exercises
A workout bench is definitely an essential equipment that is present in most commercial gyms. Enabling you to perform exercises from bench press, to dumbbell rows, to seated shoulder press, a workout bench is a versatile equipment that I would highly recommend to everyone.
I bought mine at $49.90 (UP $69.90) from the I-Running.sg shop on Shopee during a flash deal. (This is why you should keep a lookout for flash deals!)
Easy to assemble - It takes a few locking pins, nuts and bolts to fix it up.
Space-saving - By simply removing 2 locking pins, it can be folded up for storage.
Multiple angle adjustment - Allows a broader range of exercises, such as incline bench press, flat bench press and decline bench press.
Relatively lightweight - Gross weight of 10 kg
If you practice yoga or incorporate floor exercises into your workouts, a yoga mat would definitely be an essential equipment.
Personally, I also use it as a gym mat for weight training, to cushion the impact of the weights on the floor.
The yoga mat that I currently use is the 10 mm mat from Fitness Activist on Shopee, which is priced at $19.90.
Relatively thicker than typical yoga mats.
Easy to clean and maintain.
Comes with a strap and bag for carrying.
With this installed, you no longer have to go downstairs to your nearby fitness park for your calisthenics exercises!
For an affordable yet sturdy pull up bar, you can purchase one from sportsco.sg on Lazada. The variation that I got was the standard one (62 cm to 100 cm and priced at $16.90), which fits most doors without much issues. Alternatively you can get the long edition (82 cm to 130 cm and priced at $24.90) if your door frame is much bigger.
No drilling required - Bar can be extended/ tightened by rotating it.
Rubber studs and screws provided - For additional security if you choose to drill into your door frame.
Foam grip - Reduces the likelihood of getting calluses and blisters.
Maximum weight load of 100 kg - Limits the amount of weight you can carry for weighted pull ups.
May remove the paint off your door frame if uninstalled.
A dip belt would be a good addition (but not necessary) to your setup if you intend to perform weighted pull ups or dips to improve on your strength and endurance.
I got mine from HiQuuen on Lazada for $9.89, which is no longer available. Alternatively, you can get a similar product from Gethome12 for $13.84.
Resistance bands are a great alternative to expensive cable machines, especially if you are running on a tight budget.
You can get a set of 7 bands with varying resistances from imporking.sg on Shopee for $14.99.
It also includes a door anchor that allows you to use the door as an anchor point to perform cable exercises such as the cable crossover.
Easy to set up and use - It only requires a door to set it up.
Suitable for everyone - There are bands with different resistances and they can be used together for greater resistance.
The total cost of my home gym setup amounted to $401.78.
So how does it compare with gym memberships?
If you are looking at Energia Fitness’ monthly membership of $98, it would take only 4 months to break even.
Alternatively, if you are looking at budget-friendly options such as The Gym Pod (monthly membership of $9.90), it would take 40.58 months (3.38 years) to break even.
Now, you may be concerned about the possibility of wear and tear of the equipment over the years.
Well, I believe that if you take proper care of your equipment (not throwing the weights, for example), it would still be in good condition for use or even resale.
In my opinion (pun intended), it is worth it if you workout regularly over the long term and value convenience and hygiene.
If you are someone who works out once in a while, you can consider getting a gym membership or a few basic equipment such as dumbbells and resistance bands to supplement your training.
Let me know in the comments if you are more likely to get a gym membership or set up your personal home gym!
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