My first set of weights was from Canadian Tire. After seeing them on sale in a flyer, I decided to invest. They weren't the highest quality but it was a start. Over the years, I continued to grow my mini home gym. I purchased resistance bands, a kettlebell, foam rollers, ankle weights and stability balls. Even when I moved around to different cities, I always had a mini gym where ever I lived in case I couldn't get to the gym.
If you're interested in purchasing equipment so that you have more workout options, you're in the right place. If you're looking for a review on different cardio or strength equipment, you will be disappointed but I know you'll still learn something! Here are a few questions to consider to start building your own home gym.
What is your budget? This question may seem obvious but it's still worth asking. If you have a couple of hundred dollars to spend then you may want to do some research to see how you can make your money stretch. A bosu, for example, can cost anywhere between $140- $200 while dumbbells can cost anywhere between $30 - $100 and more depending on the weight you're buying. Other considerations may go into your decision (see what is your goal? and Be Strategic sections below).
What is your goal? Knowing the answer to this question will help you determine what equipment to buy. If your focus is to train for a marathon but you're still wanting to keep up with your strength training, light to medium weights may do the trick. However, if you're looking to build a lot of muscle, then perhaps you want to invest in a bench and heavier set of weights. If you don't have a specific goal in mind and you just want to have some equipment around for a DIY (do it yourself) workout or when you join an online class, you may want to go for a variety of equipment like light dumbbells, resistance bands or a medicine ball.
How much room do you have? I've lived in apartments for most of my young adult life, therefore, having a ton of heavyweights, a bench and heavy cardio equipment did not work for me. Before purchasing anything, think about where you can store the items so that they don't become a hazard in your home. If you live in tight quarters but you're interested in doing some intense training and building significant muscle mass, then here I would recommend joining a club or a gym because they will have the heavier weights and equipment you will need to attain your goal.
Do you like to stay active when you travel? If you've answered YES to this question consider investing in light, low-maintenance equipment that is easy to pack. When I travel I never leave home without my resistance bands or my jump rope, this makes it easy to do cardio and strength training when I don't have access to a gym.