Making Your Own Gym

Gym fees are ridiculous, and the personal fitness industry may be one of the biggest moneymakers in history -- no one wants to take the time to leave their house just to go get sore.  However, if you find that you need to start working out, but don't want to pay a membership fee just to have the card languish in your wallet, you can always construct a home gym or fitness center using only items purchased from garage sales.

An inside look of a fitness gym.

Fitness equipment is a pain to move.  That's why many moving sales will feature weights or other large equipment of some sort, if the host owned them, because it's sometimes easier just to buy new equipment than to pay all the hauling fees.  That said, if you are going to drive equipment home to a nearby location anyway, you may as well get a good deal on it!  Barter for weight sets, dumbbells, and any useful items like exercise bands.  Even a set of gloves for weightlifting will be much cheaper at a yard sale than brand new.

But maybe you haven't any luck with finding real used fitness equipment.  In that case, it's time to get creative and make your own!  Look around for large, heavy items for cheap -- car parts, bags of soil, metal pieces that don't belong to anything anymore.  You'll have to be careful and keep safety in mind, but you can likely rig some of these up to become weights in your backyard or garage.  Find items that the host is really looking to get rid of because they don't want to deal with hauling it, then barter low.

Stopwatches are an essential part of timed fitness training, and kids use them so often in sports that basically every 25¢ box has one.  Tell yourself that if you can find a stopwatch for under $1, you'll work out a certain amount per day, or get your time on some event down to a certain level.  If you do find one, stick to your goal!  Sometimes saving money is one of the best motivators for anything, including fitness.

Used sporting equipment, like croquet wickets, orange cones, nets, poles, and heavy balls can all be integrated into a homemade obstacle course.  Even if you don't have a large backyard, you can still lug some more portable items to a nearby park and set up something on which to train.  At least it's better than going to the gym!  Even if you end up using the sporting equipment for its intended use, you'll still likely be exercising some sort of motor skills or athletic ability, and that's a good thing!

Okay, so you've struck out so far in finding items for your homemade gym.  You can always look for rewards at the garage sales you shop.  Find items you'd love to have, buy them, and take them away from yourself until a fitness goal is reached.  Maybe that's to drop a certain number of pounds, to reach a certain time for a mile goal, or bench a certain amount of weight.  Whatever it may be, you should post the item somewhere in your house where you can see it, but don't give in to the temptation to take it.  Work until you win!

Need to find or list a garage sale for free?  Come on over to -- we're the perfect resource for you!

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