Frugal Fitness: homemade gym!

This is one of those "you know you're an Army wife when ...there are random piles of Army crap all over your house" pictures.

You don't have to buy an outrageous gym membership in order to get and stay fit. The average gym membership per month ranges from $30-50. When my husband and I had a gym membership to Gold's Gym a couple years ago, we were paying over $70/month for the two of us. That's expensive! That didn't even include the gas to get there! I'll be the first to admit that I'm a penny-pincher, so a home gym only seemed rational to me. It's far cheaper, it's MINE and it's a heck of a lot easier to actually get there. Plus, there's free childcare (see below picture-- the toys!)
I tried working out in the living room for a while, but there simply wasn't enough room for high intensity workouts and it was frustrating keeping the kids out of the way. This garage gym provides a safe and effective means of working out and playing for all of us.

Here's a cost breakdown of my own home gym:

Gym floor mats (new, from Dread-mart): $80
15lb dumbbells (new, from Dread-mart): $26
8lb dumbbells (from Goodwill): $5
5lb dumbbells (Goodwill): $4
Yoga mat (Goodwill): $2
Mirrors (Goodwill): $14
Basketballs for homemade medicine balls (Goodwill): $2
Bag of sand for med balls: $7
Gorrilla tape: $3
(2) Steps (Goodwill): $10
Homemade TRX system: free (we already had everything to make it!)
Stability ball: free (already owned; it's my "birth" ball to use with my doula clients. Don't worry, it's clean!)
Total price: $153

Notice there are no machines. No stationary bikes, ab machines, etc. I rely on my own body and some free weights to give me the resistance I need in order to build muscle. It's cheap and effective! If I want to get in some cycling, I strap the kid into his bike seat on the back of my bike and I hop on for a ride (6 y/o keeps up awesomely on her own bike. I'm often having to slow her down.). If I want to get in a run, I put him in the jogger and off we go, with Big Sissy tagging along on her bike. No extra bells and whistles necessary, yet a fully functional fitness gym. Well, I guess it is lacking a pool, but there's always the lake for swimming!

I bought a couple dry-erase boards: one for writing out our circuits and workouts and one for the kids' drawing pleasures. This is a better alternative than having to stop in the middle of a circuit to refer to my tiny fitness notebook.
Occasionally we'll pick up extras here and there for the gym, as we find items we want at different thrift stores. A jump rope, more free weights, mats, etc. I'd like to get some more mirrors for the wall, as well as put up some motivational visuals of goals, like perhaps the huge poster of Mt. Everest routes from a National Geographic magazine that my husband has. It would be motivating to stare at a future goal while working out! The stereo on the shelf provides some pumped-up motivational music for now.

I love me some plankage (as I try to stay ahead of my dad in our ongoing plank contest--I've only got him beat by 30 seconds right now in my 5 minute plank!) on the foam mats; they're perfect for planks, pushups, prone rows and stretching. Foam rolling on the mats is a lot easier than on the carpet, where it tends to slip out from underneath me.

What are your favorite exercises? What does your home gym look like?

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