I pay $40 a month to belong to a local gym where I run and lift weights with a group of training partners. When I lived in rural Nevada, though, I didn’t have access to a gym. Here’s how I built an at-home gym that gave me a full-body cardio and strength training workout for the cost of one month’s gym membership. Really, there’s no need to pay for a gym membership when everything you need is right at home.

Exercise Ball

An exercise ball can be used to support you during ab and leg strength training exercises. They also are great for stretching your back muscles at the end of a workout. Walmart carries the Gold’s Gym exercise ball in three sizes starting at $8.77. If you’re less than 5’3" tall, go for the 55 cm size. For those between 5’3" and 5’11", 65 cm is the right size. Those 6 feet tall or taller need a 75 cm ball, which Walmart carries for $16.77.


Hand weights, or dumbbells, are small enough to store in a cupboard but are a powerful tool in your home strength-training arsenal. For most women, 5 pounds is enough weight to get started. Walmart carries the Bell Fit Emotion Dumbbell in the 5 pound size for $5 each. You’ll want a pair, for $10. If you need more weight, try the Champion Hex 10 pound hand weight for $10.39 a piece on Amazon.

Exercise Step

Stepping is one of the most effective and easiest cradio exercises out there. The most inexpensive way to step is to build your own by duct taping two big phone books together side-by-side. Aim for a 4-inch height. Even easier, use your front step or an indoor step. Simply step up with one foot and then the other, then back down again.

If you want a commercial step, and it fits your budget, try this 4-inch step available on Amazon for $38.77!

Exercise bands

An exercise band is a great all-around strength training tool. It helps you use your own body weight and the resistance of the strap to work all of your muscle groups. The ProSource Stackable Exercise Resistance Band is a great starting system, with a resistance tube, door anchors and a manual full of exercises. Best of all, it’s available on Amazon for only $1.99, marked down from $9.99.

For $15, the Gold’s Gym Total Fitness Kit from Walmart comes with a more advanced resistance band system and a jump rope. It also has a DVD and a CD with exercises to help you get started.

Jump Rope

It doesn’t get more fun, inexpensive, or cardio-intensive than a jump rope. You probably learned to do it in elementary school, and it stores away in a much smaller space than most other cardio equipment. Try the Gold’s Gym lightweight jump rope for just $2.77.

Yoga Mat

The best part of any exercise is the stretching at the end when your muscles are loose and warm. A yoga mat is great for stretching and, of course, for adding yoga to your workout. Amazon sells the Bally’s Total Fitness Yoga Mat for $8.99, including shipping on a $25 order.

If you want to add yoga to your home fitness routine, consider adding the Danskin yoga blocks and strap from Walmart to your home gym for just $8.77.

There you have it. For as little as $38.52, you can get started with your own home gym. Add the step and the more extensive resistance band set, heavier weights and yoga equipment as your wallet and fitness level allow.

Don’t forget that one of the best exercises available only requires your own two feet and a pair of tennis shoes, so get out and walk!

This has been a guest post by Shaunta from Reno, NV
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