In one of our previous posts, we discussed the Pro’s and Con’s of working out at home vs. working out in a gym. The article was based on our own personal experiences with both, but we determined a resounding winner for working out at home.

If you are with us on this, then great. So what is the best equipment for a home gym?

If you prefer to workout in a gym, perhaps you would still like to read if you have ever thought about having a home gym. You will be surprised by how little you actually need.

For anyone reading who is a beginner, or you used to workout and have been away from it for some time, let’s hope you are also pleasantly surprised by the short list of ‘must haves’ we will talk about in this article.

We will do our best to give some numbers on cost ranges for all the equipment we mention. We are in Canada, so you can adjust accordingly based on where you live.

This is Advice, Not a Sales Pitch

This post isn’t trying to sell you the equipment, but simply offer advice, along with personal experience as to what you will need to have in your home if you want to start working out.

If you have read our previous content, we hope you have enjoyed it, as much as we enjoy writing it. Our main purpose in creating was to help people filter through all the fitness “advice” you see on the web now in this day and age.

It’s downright confusing to say the least! Should you get a gym membership or a Bowflex? I still remember watching the infomercial for the “Total Gym” with Chuck Norris! That piece of equipment was going to sell no matter what. They had Chuck Norris!!

I used to get confused by all the different infomercials when I was a kid as to what the best exercise equipment was. Now let’s just jump ahead to 2019 and multiply that by a few thousand to be conservative. And the most unfortunate thing is that 90% of it ends up as furniture in our homes, or being sold online a few years later.

It’s time to do things right, and I know we can help.

The Right Equipment + The Right Advice + The Right Mindset

We can help you with the first two parts of this equation, and I mean really help. We will need your help too though, with just one thing.. Mindset.

Mindset is why so much equipment ends up dusty and in the way. Now are you innocent people being taught the right advice? Probably not!

Is the $1000.00 Treadmill or Elliptical you splurged on the best bang for your buck? Absolutely not!

Despite all of this, the number one thing that holds people back from getting the results they want, is their own mind. We will talk more about helping you develop the right mindset in later posts, but for now, let’s just try to help a little.

Shelley and I have worked out together for over 4 years. That’s right, neither has done a workout without the other in over 1400 days. We are also engaged, have two children that are our world, and are each others best friend. Is the reason for all this because we workout together? Yes…. yes it is!

I’m joking of course, but it is a huge part of our relationship that helps us be better parents, and better to each other. So what am I getting at here? Start working out together with your spouse. You have a live-in workout partner! You can motivate each other! And the best part is it will improve your relationship. We promise!

This is what works for Shelley and I. What helps someone get into the right mind-set is completely individual. One thing I know for certain, is having someone to share the journey with, helps… a lot!

The Equipment you will NEED

Let’s not waste any time here. This is what you will need. Make sure to keep reading after as we have a short video of a sample workout using the equipment we recommend.

Adjustable Dumbbells – These are by far the most important item to purchase if you are serious about working out at home. Now if you have the space, and the money, you can consider a rack of dumbbells like you would see in a gym, but I can’t imagine there are many people in that type of situation.

Adjustable dumbbells are compact, convenient, and most importantly adjustable! Shelley and I have two sets (his and hers) that we keep tucked away in our living room.

Shelley’s adjust from 5-50lbs each in 5lb increments. Mine adjust from 5-90lbs each in 5 and sometimes 2.5lb increments.  Our gym is always right next to us!

Cost – These would be your most expensive investment up front. Around $450.00 for a set that adjust from 5-50lbs each. Sounds expensive right? They are well worth it considering the versatility of having a set of 5lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs, 20lbs, 25lbs, 30lbs, 35lbs, 40lbs, 45lbs, and 50lbs dumbbells that can be tucked away in a corner.

Adjustable Dumbbells

Adjustable Powerblock Dumbbells. The one on the left is all the together. The one on the right is separated to see how all the pieces fit in to each other to make it work


Exercise Mat – This one is a little more obvious, but a nice mat to do your kneeling exercises (why kneeling????), as well anything else that will require you to be on the floor. You can get exercise mats of varying thickness. It’s really personal preference. Shelley and I have two standard yoga mats. They are pretty thin, but they are great for folding up for extra cushioning if needed.

Cost – Mats can range from $20.00 to over a $100.00. I wouldn’t break the bank on a mat. $30.00-$50.00 will give you something that should last a lifetime.

Exercise Mat

A plain old yoga mat. Very versatile!


Foam Roller – We have not talked about foam rollers in any of our posts yet, but we consider them to be a must have along with the adjustable dumbbells and exercise mat. A foam roller is used to do self-massage work on your muscles. It is also referred to as self-myofascial release, but in reality, a foam roller simply helps to relax sore/overactive muscles.

It’s the best warm-up or cool down tool you could ever own! Our next post will be all about how to use a foam roller, so stay tuned.

Foam Rollers come in different lengths and densities. We will go in to detail about all of this in our next post.

Cost – A decent foam roller will run you between $40.00-$80.00. I wouldn’t spend more than $50.00 on a foam roller. They should last forever. I bought my first one in 2009 for $50.00.

Foam Rollers

The light blue roller has a soft density, the orange medium, and purple hard



That’s It!!

You may have been expecting a longer list of “must haves”, but with those three pieces of equipment, you could honestly build a solid program that will produce results.

Whether your goal is fat-loss, get stronger, or build muscle to help with your inevitable arthritis, you can do it with what we have listed above.

A Sample Program

Here is a quick example of a simple program you could complete with these pieces of equipment, even if you have little to no experience with working out, strength training, foam rolling, etc.

We know this workout may not look like much, but if you were just starting out, and performed just this 2 times a week (hold plank for 30-60sec, and perform 8-12 reps of each of the strength training exercises), you would start to feel and see results (with some good Nutritional habits too of course). It really can be that simple! 


What’s Next?

Our next post will introduce you to one of the best pieces of exercise equipment you could ever own, a foam roller. You may have heard of them, used one, or even own one. They have become pretty standard in most gyms now, as well as rehab clinics.

If you have not heard of a foam roller, then we will be happy to introduce you them. If you have a sore or painful muscle on your body, a foam roller can be of great help. And if you don’t, it can help reduce the chance that you ever have one.

They are easy to use, inexpensive (around $50.00 for a good quality one that will last forever), and help you feel and move better.

We hope you found this post informative. As always, we look forward to any comments or questions you might have.

Thank you!

Rodney and Shelley

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