Practice What You Preach: The Home Gym Part II
DDave has written before about the advantages of having a home gym, from the perspective of convenience, as well as saving time and money. Who are we if we don't follow our own advice? Now I didn't explicitly make the decision because of Dave's article, but it added some fuel to the fire and pointed out some things I didn't consider. I'll discuss those and some other factors in this post.
My yearly membership was up at my local gym on June 21, 2017. I had a choice:
1.) Pony up the $299 for another one year pass
This is a tempting option because the facility has a heated Olympic pool, various dojo style rooms where lessons from everything spanning from fencing to dance to martial arts to yoga are taught ($459 a year for an all access pass and a private locker). There are racquetball courts, an indoor track, a bunch of basketball courts, a boulder for rock climbing, the list goes on.
You also have PILES of people, because it is a university gym. Essentially unless you go at 6AM, you're going to be waiting for equipment, even though the facility is like 60,000 square feet. There is a 50/50 shot that I will wait for a squat rack or bench, even though there is almost a dozen of each at the facility.
Stack that with paying $1.50 per day to park within a reasonable distance, and it adds up to not necessarily being super stoked to get up and go every day before or after work. Which brings me to option 2.
2.) Build a home gym
The advantages are clear, as you can read in Part 1 Here. I will personally corroborate and add to the following features highlighted:
The convenience of having a gym in your back yard is huge. On the days where I usually talk myself out of going for a reason such as "I haven't even made dinner yet" can be quashed by throwing something in the oven and lifting while you prep, and flipping your fish fillets between sets.
I no longer have the added cost and inconvenience of paying for fuel to go to the gym and back, the time it takes out of my day to drive there and back (20-30 minutes depending on traffic) as well as the cost to park unless I show up at unreasonable times that do not suit my life. Assuming I lift 3x a week, I'm spending $4.50 on parking, and probably $3.00 on gas. Add that onto my yearly membership of $299 and we come up with $689 for 52 weeks. That's assuming my willpower is that of a gods, and I actually lift that frequently all the time. Let's not give me the benefit of the doubt and say I only make it there half the time. I'm still in for $495 a year and a bunch of wasted time driving.
Now before I keep going, I didn't explicitly factor in the cost of parking, the value of my time, or extra gasoline into the equation when I justified my expense initially. I looked only at the yearly membership rate of $299 and weighed it against the cost of my potential gym: $350.
I was able to get a bench that doubles as a squat rack (no safety bars, so no super heavy stuff quite yet) and about 500 lbs of free weights for the low price of $350.00. I no longer have the pool, machines for isolation, or any of the other amenities that came with the membership. I also no longer have wait times, people curling in the squat rack, people dropping weights (they always think they're super strong - free advice: if you have to drop it, you shouldn't be lifting it). I'd say that's a fair trade! I'll take my home gym, thankyouverymuch!
Combine my simple setup that with a set of Bowflex adjustable dumbbells I found in the trash, and I've got all I need to get pretty massive except for protein!
I topped off the build by purchasing a brand new UV proof sun canopy, so I could stab this thing outside and keep the sun and other undesirable elements off of it.
All in, I spent $515 for what I consider a 90% complete home gym. That's the cost of under 2 years at my gym before, and I also can sell all of my equipment for 400 or 450 in a heartbeat if I needed to. So after 3 months, I effectively lift for free.
Can you say no brainer? The only reason I didn't do this sooner is because I was waiting for my existing membership to expire.
From a financial perspective, if you have the space in your home, I highly recommend it. If you go to the gym to be social, good for you. I go to lift heavy ass stuff, and as DDave said - I don't need people wandering around in order to do that.
Now go lift heavy stuff, and maybe someday you'll need it to lug all your cash to the bank!