• Rhia Martine

Building a Home Gym on a Budget

The year before COVID hit, my gym that I had been both a member and employee at since the age of 16 closed down. I was devastated as it was the only gym I had ever felt comfortable at and it was the sole women only gym in my town. I tried out all the local gyms around our area and felt discouraged as I didn't enjoy any of them.

Thats when we decided to create a home gym.

It started out as nothing fancy, just a room with some dumbbells, a Walmart mirror, and cheap Canadian Tire mats, but soon we began slowly add on to our equipment collection, eventually deciding to go all in and create the home gym of our dreams.

Once the pandemic hit and gyms started closing, we became even more grateful in our decision to create this fitness space in the comfort and safety of our own home and took on the biggest portions of the project; a new coat of paint, a shiplap feature wall and complete rubber flooring.

Heres a look at what our gym looks like now and my favourite features and equipment.


The Room

What started out as a big empty bonus room, got a fresh coat of white paint which my husband and I did and a shiplap style wall that my husband built for me using tongue and groove wood. The room was originally a builders beige colour and we went with white both because I am obsessed with the aesthetic of a white room, but it also was a great way to make the space feel larger and brighter since it is a downstairs room that doesn’t get a whole lot of natural lighting.

We added in a corner shelving unit, made from lumber my father in law gave us from some trees he took down in his back yard and black shelving brackets we found at Rona.

This little corner space allows us a spot to keep our workout programming, place our water bottles, keep our tiny bluetooth speaker which is nothing fancy but gets the job done, and can also be used as a work space for any client programming or video creation I need to do for my coaching business.

Above the desk, I added a couple frames from amazon basics, with motivational graphics I made on Canva and printed out!

Our most recent addition to this room is the rubber flooring. After searching high and low for gym flooring that wouldn't cost us an absolute fortune, I managed to find these floor mats on Facebook Marketplace. They were 4'x6' mats for $25 each and 10 of them filled our room perfectly, with a little leftover.

The Accessories

Gym mirrors can be pricey, so we saved money here by using these affordable door mirrors from Walmart for just $10 a piece, hung next to each other. Eventually I'd love to add some larger mirrors, but these absolutely do the trick for now!

A couple hooks from amazon made for perfect spots to hang resistance bands, along with a rattan basket to hold things like yoga mats and blocks. Above we hung a Walmart clock which is great for timing rest periods between sets.

We have a few variety of bands but my favourite are definitely the Orangetheory Fitness mini bands! These can be purchased in any Orangetheory studios and are awesome to add onto bodyweight moves add a little more challenge, or even weighted moves to help focus on form.

The Equipment

Here's where things get a little bit pricier.

When it comes to equipment, finding a good deal gets a bit tough, but spending some time really looking around for what you want and waiting out until you find a good deal can save you a fortune in the long run.

Our dumbbells were the first items we added to the equipment collection, which came from Canadian tire. The dumbbell rack we then ordered off amazon along with the kettle grip which is the coolest invention ever that allows you to turn any dumbbell into a kettlebell!

To add to the free weight collection, I ordered a barbell and weight set from The Step, which I already knew I loved as we used these same sets in a class called Group Power that I used to take at my old gym. Its a lightweight set which is super versatile but mostly used for upper body or full body exercises for us, as it doesn't fit on our squat rack or hold more than 100lbs.

Our Marcy cable system was from Costco which we got for an awesome price. It can be purchased on amazon but for significantly more, so I would recommend waiting it out until Costco has it back in stock. One thing we love about this piece of equipment is it allows us to lift heavier weights, which is great for my husband, as our free weight collection is still pretty light at this point.

The squat rack was the last item we purchased and probably my favourite! We found a good price on Amazon, from the same brand as our cable system. This can also sometimes be found at Costco for an even better price so its worth checking there as well before ordering on Amazon.

We also ordered this Marcy brand barbell to go along with the rack, since our smaller barbell doesn't fit. To be completely honest, I don't love the barbell as it is 2 pieces and you really have to make sure its together tight every time you use it, but the price was right compared to most other options and eventually we will upgrade along with some more weight plates. The bench was purchased used off Facebook Marketplace.


All in all, our gym works perfectly for us and I love the ability to get a good workout in in the comfort of my own home! Putting it together slowly and taking our time to find good deals allowed us to create this space on a budget and we can now slowly continue to add on and upgrade as we wish.

I even have the next purchased planned out already, which will be an indoor trainer for my bike to replace the treadmill we currently have that we rarely use.


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