Build Your Own Home Gym For Cheap With Craigslist

Getting in shape this year needn’t require a gym membership. A reader over at the New York Times Bucks Blog sent in info and pictures about the home gym he built almost entirely from equipment scavenged off Craigslist.

Here’s the gear he picked up:

$175 stair machine
$145 weight bench with hex dumbbells
$450 treadmill they upgraded with laptop stand
$15 exercise bike

For people looking to jump in, he recommends that you don’t try to do it all at once.

First figure out what equipment you want to get and how much it’s worth. Check in to Craigslist on a regular basis to get a feel for where the market is at. Some of the better stuff may be harder to get because more people are after it so be patient and only buy when you’re getting a good deal.

Most people’s New Year’s Resolutions are dead by February, so now is a good time to start looking as people start to offload the equipment they bought hoping to get in shape.

The Craigslist Gym [] (Thanks to Howard!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Kat@Work says:

    You can buy things other than random sex with strangers on craigslist? Well hot damn!

  2. Hotscot says:

    But I have all this and it hasn’t made a difference.

    (What do you mean I actually have to use them?)

  3. TheReij says:

    I’ve found that Play It Again Sports is also a decent place to get used exercise equipment.

  4. Alvis says:

    Paying for a treadmill on Craigslist is dumb. I see them free all the time.

  5. ClemsonEE says:

    Really? $10/mo. at Planet Fitness. Using the gear he picked up totals $785, will give you 6 years of gym membership where it has better equipment than the secondhand stuff you bought and more equipment as well. What are the odds of the used equipment you bought breaking inside those 6 years?

    That and not having the space for all the gym equipment in your house, this really does not seem like it’s worth it…

    • aloria says:

      Where the heck can you get a gym membership for $10/month? Lowest I have seen in my neck of the woods is $35/month, and that is after some MAJOR haggling.

    • denros says:

      he’s WAY overpaying for that stuff. You don’t need anything fancy as far as weights; a couple dumbells and 100 lbs or so in plates is pretty much all you’ll ever need. You don’t even REALLY need a bench or barbell but I see them on CL all the time for $20. Add in 30 bucks for a good quality pullup bar.
      Also, I consider a bike to be far superior to all the cardio stuff. I can NOT do indoor cardio, I’d rather bike in the freezing cold (and I do)

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        He could have paid less. I bought the P90X DVD boxset on ebay two years ago for $15.00. I bought a new set of dumbbells at Wal-Mart this past weekend for $19.99.

      • jurisenpai says:

        Agreed – a brisk morning bike ride definitely wakes me up and gets my blood flowing!

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Convenience costs money. Some people want to work at home.

    • TheGreySpectre says:

      It depends on what you want. I prefer working out at home because I hate the shitty music they blast at gyms and I like being able to watch a movie while exercising on something bigger then my phone.
      Also your calculations are a little off because over 6 years gas starts to be a decent expense. Consider if your gym is 2 miles from your house and you go to the gym 3 times a week every week then after 6 years you will have traveled 3744 miles which if your car gets 30mpg is almost $400 on gas during that period of time for travel costs associated with going to the gym.

  6. Ted3 says:

    All I have is a weight vest I purchased at wall mart for $45, a set of dumbells (40 lb) i’ve had for years and an ab wheel. I also built a pullup bar on the rafters in my garage, probably for under 10 bucks.

    I personally hate the gym atmosphere and prefer to workout solo and outdoors, weather permitting, and with minimal equipment as mentioned.

    If you have access to a decent set of stairs, that will benefit you much more than a bulky stair machine.

  7. DWMILLER says:

    No shake weight?

  8. NORMLgirl says:

    We were going to the YMCA for 2 years and I didn’t lose any weight. We quit our $60/month membership and bought an elliptical from Craigslist. I lost 15 lbs. Now we have bought a treadmill from Craigslist. I also use it regularly. I tried both pieces of equipment out at a sporting goods store to make sure I liked them. Then, I kept an eye out on Craigslist and bought them used. Yard sales are also a great resource. We got a total gym for just $10!

    I lost the 15 lbs because I found that I could get more of a workout if I could roll out of bed and walk down the hall to exercise. Exercise in the morning wakes me up and I love getting it over with early. Going to the gym after work was a pain and I was always coming up with excuses.

    Another way that I keep my interest in exercise is to occasionally buy something new to change my routine. I have added wrist weights, some kickboxing DVDs and some Wii games. And I mix up the music. Gotta have a good beat!

  9. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    I hate how much dumbells cost, but I can understand it from the shipping perspective if not necessarily a manufacturing an materials perspective. Fortunately, I have a bicycle and I like to walk for my cardio. I live in a place where it doesn’t really get too bad outdoors though.

    Most people’s New Year’s Resolutions are dead by February, so now is a good time to start looking as people start to offload the equipment they bought hoping to get in shape.

    <rant>People have unrealistic goals and expectations of exercise, i.e. they want it to make them “attractive” rather than healthy. (Actually the way a lot of people exercise and diet can be considered unhealthy.) People think that if you weigh 250 pounds, all you need is a little exercise and diet. That’s not true, even on a near starvation diet (unhealthy), with moderate exercise, it can take you up to a year to lose that weight, and “get thin”. It’s also counterproductive to exercise and take up a near starvation diet because you risk malnutrition and therefore injury which will only set you back further. If you want to do it the “right” way, it takes more than a year, and a lot of patience and perseverance that really, really isn’t worth it in the end when you consider the promises of “thinness”. What’s the promise? That you’ll be happy. Well hell, what if you’re already happy now? People act like all your problems go away when you’re thin. The only thing that happens is that people stop acting like asses towards you and it’s harder to separate the jerks from the herd. Meanwhile, your always-thin friend is still eating Doritos without thinking about it, and you’re still somehow a slave to calories in-calories out. Which is why you’re just going to gain the weight back within a year. You’re pretty much the same person with the same life, just a different lifestyle. If you’re exercising to be thin, stop already. Do it for your health, and don’t worry about the damn scale. (Or, don’t do it, who’s gonna make you?)</rant>

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      “it can take you up to a year to lose that weight”. BTW, that is considered normal weight loss. I wouldn’t believe all the hype about losing 30lbs in 30 days. And in fact, I have heard doctors on TV/Radio say that is it dangerous to lose weight that fast because it damages the heart and causes stress on your entire system. I have read that losing 1lb per week is safe.

      It takes time to gain weight, it takes time to lose it.

      • AnthonyC says:

        If you’re very large, it can sometimes be safe to lose faster than that- I’ve read either 1 lb or 1% of body weight per week.

        Needless to say, those “biggest loser” people are doing it wrong. Also, their skin will be saggy for the rest of their lives…. eww.

  10. MB17 says:

    In the interest of saving money, the “$450 treadmill they upgraded with laptop stand” can be replaced with the 0$ ground outdoors.

    • Holybalheadedchrist! says:

      I thought that, too, but it is tough in North Dakota to make that commitment. It was 40 below with the windchill a few days ago.

      • Brie says:

        In my neighborhood it is arguably not safe to walk, and the scenery is INarguably ugly. I used to feel weird about driving to walk, but the (free) trails I use are lovely and removed from car traffic. Now I’ve grown to crave the quiet time. Treadmills in front of TVs don’t do it for me.

  11. Holybalheadedchrist! says:

    Another way to work this is post the ad stating your top dollar for a product. Recently I was looking for a treadmill and had $100 to spend. I had 3 offers in 24 hours and was able to score a decent, $450 treadmill, only a year old, from someone who wanted the cash more.

    Bundling also works, by posting an ad asking for 2-3 items in good condition you can often get someone who wants to just unload a few things and sees it as a bargain, which it is.

  12. Clyde Barrow says:

    No, I am not bragging, but I thought about this last month because I like to work out and to save money, I am dropped my gym membership after two years. On Craigslist, I found a very nice treadmill for pennies because the owners just wanted to get rid of it. Also, you can buy a very nice bowflex for pennies on the dollar because a lot of folks buy them, get bored, and all the machine does is take up space.
    I love to ski and I am looking at buying a nice “used” pair also.

  13. Mcshonky says:

    but of couuuuuuurse

  14. human_shield says:

    It will cost me a lot to buy a new house to fit all that stuff.