This post is sponsored by Kohl’s.  I received the included fitness equipment as compensation.

Hello! I’m working with Kohl’s to share tips on making the BEST home gym without spending a ton of money. I have created home gyms for myself in places of all sizes – from one room in college to a whole garage at my parents’ to a corner in my condo. You don’t need a ton of space  or money to put together a great space to get in a workout. No excuses – let’s do this!

5 Home Gym Must Haves for Every Budget

1. Cardio machines.

A big treadmill, elliptical or rower are the most expensive items in a home gym.

You can keep it low cost by:

  • buying on sale
  • choosing ONE main cardio machine and adjusting incline/resistance to switch up your workouts
  • choosing the lowest price model of your favorite / reputable brand

Plan B: You can skip a big cardio machine if you’re able to get outside for cardio. Your cardio workout can include a run, walk, hike, jump rope or bike ride.

If weather requires you to stay inside exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, burpees, walking lunges, high knees, butt kicks, ski jumps and more can be combined for a great cardio session at home.

This is the Easy Strider Elliptical. It’s a great option if you want non-impact cardio. This is ideal if you’re coming back from an overuse injury that’s exacerbated by pounding and/or want to get your sweat on without high impact running or jumping.


2. Strength Equipment.

There are so many different types of strength training equipment options! This is great because you can add to this part of your home gym as you get stronger (or as your budget increases).

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Strength Equipment from low to highest priced options:

  • resistance bands
  • dumbbells
  • kettle bells
  • weight changing dumbbells
  • weight bench


3. Stretching and Yoga Mats.

It’s important to have a good mat for stretching, yoga, abs and floor exercises. This is an important part of your home gym because you might end up skipping important moves if the floor hurts your knees or back. And balance and a strong core are very important for fitness, health and injury prevention – especially if you participate in sports.

This Geo Feather mat is super cute, but any simple mat that had enough cushion for your needs can work.


4. Fitness trackers.

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘home gym’ but fitness trackers are a must have when it comes to getting in shape on your own.

Keeping yourself accountable and tracking your progress is directly related to whether or not you’re going to stick with it. Get a fitness tracker that records the information that’s most important to your goals. It doesn’t matter if it measures steps, heart rate, calories burned, how many miles you ran, how you’re sleeping… the main thing is to use it as a tool that motivates you.

Fitness trackers can be anything from a low cost pedometer to Fitbit that tracks your every move, step and sleep patterns. You don’t have to get a fancy tracker – but you do need to pick at least one way you’re going to track your fitness goals.

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Other options are:

A chart on the wall with your cardio workouts and strength routines – ideally increasing them as time goes on.

A tape measure to record inches gained/loss depending on your goals. Get a journal to record this info and update it regularly to stay on track.

A training plan that guides you through building up your cardio stamina like a beginner 5K plan or Half Marathon training plan. You can find free training plans online or pay a coach to create one for you.


5. Moves and Music.

If you are motivated to workout, but just don’t know what to actually do … a guided workout might be your best bet. There are workout DVDs,  online tutorials  and workout guides that lay it out step by step!

Find a plan that works for you and stick to it. It will get easier and more fun as you keep going.

Make your home gym as inviting and motivating as possible with music that pumps you up and gets you going. This can be fairly cheap if you stream Pandora online music for free on your phone. Or you can invest in speakers and create a playlist of your favorite songs to sweat to.

Bonus: If you have room in your budget after putting together a great gym – get some motivational posters and signs. Find a sign with you mantra or a quote that really moves you and… get moving!

Overall, it’s important to set a budget and then break it down based on YOUR needs. Sure a huge home gym machine is awesome, but if you prefer to do Zumba for cardio and strength train with kettle bells – that’s where you should spend your money.

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I recently got the Desk Bike from Kohl’s and am really digging it. This is a perfect way to switch it up, move more and still be able to get work done at home.

Vegas thinks it’s less a desk bike and more a cat scratching bike though…


*Bonus: Shop at Kohl’s and use these discount codes to save more money on your home gym!

  • 1/29-2/3 $10 off $50 home purchase with Promo Code HOME10
  • 1/29-1/30 20% off using promo code FORYOU20 (2 days only)


Question: What is your favorite way to workout at home?

Me: Go for a run outside and then do some strength moves or abs at home while catching up on TV.

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Kohl’s. All opinions are my own. “My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies. These affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.


Run Camp Day 8 – Check out the email or Facebook group to chime in with this week’s min-goals.


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