Start a home gym for less than $100

January 9, 2009 4:41:03 PM PST
It's time to shed the holiday fat and get in shape. Gym memberships usually spike in January. With an average membership costing hundreds of dollars a year, perhaps it's time for a home gym. But you don't have to buy a lot of expensive equipment. You can set up a home gym for less than $100. Gyms can offer some great classes and there's no shortage of fancy equipment. But memberships can easily cost hundreds of dollars a year. Consumer Reports' Gayle Williams says one way to save is to set up a home gym for less than $100.

"You can get a great workout at home with just a few key pieces of equipment," Williams promised.

First, get a cushy floor mat. It can save you from hard floors and itchy carpets. You can use it for sit-ups, yoga, and stretching. The cost is about $15 to $20. Think you need fancy machines to tone muscles and do strength training? Consumer Reports says not necessarily!

Williams said, "Dumbbells and elastic bands are great for improving and keeping muscle tone."

You want to get at least two sets of dumbbells -- one for regular use and a heavier pair for more challenging workouts. A set should cost about $15 each. Consumer Reports recommends buying two pairs of elastic bands as well -- ones that have different levels of resistance. The cost is about $10 to $15.

For core workouts you can do sit-ups or invest in a stability ball. It can add a variety of new moves to improve your core muscles. A stability ball costs anywhere from $20 to $40. For a cardio workout, a treadmill can be great. But Consumer Reports says you can save money and space!

"There are so many good workout DVDs out there and they only cost about $15," Williams explained. "You want to make sure you're looking for one that has a combination of strength, flexibility, and cardio routines."

Bottom line, you can get a great work-out without spending big bucks. But once you're set up at home there'll be no more, "I can't get to the gym" excuses!

Consumer Reports also tested treadmills and says the Proform Crosswalk 580 is great for walking work-outs. It costs $500. If running is more your speed, the Pace Master Platinum Pro VR is a Consumer Reports best buy at $2,000.

Houston Consumer Blog | Consumer channel | Angels | Green Team | Stretch Your Dollar| Headlines at a glance