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FOOD & FITNESS / AUG. 25, 2014
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How to Afford Exercise Equipment

exercise with kettle ball
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Having a full-time job can sometimes mean that going to the gym on a regular basis is a thing of the past. Some gyms are open late-night hours or odd hours, but a lot of them aren’t -- and who wants to drive to the gym at 10 pm, after a busy day at the office? What it all means: if you want to get in a good workout that includes strength training, you’re going to need some equipment of your own.

Before you go spending a mint on that fancy home gym, consider some less-expensive options that won’t break the bank.

Troll the thrift or second-hand stores.

Plenty of people have made New Year’s resolutions to get in shape -- and then have left those resolutions behind before the first signs of spring. That can be a benefit to you now, as much of that well-intentioned equipment ends up getting donated to the local thrift stores. You’ll often find weight benches, dumbbells, barbells, and all manner of balls, bats and equipment at very low prices. Check online or local garage sales.

Like the thrift store option, garage and online sales are often the places where castoffs from New Years resolutions end up. Online garage sale listings on sites such as Craigslist often include detailed lists of the things people are selling -- along with photos. That means you won’t have to drive around town to figure out whether a certain sale has the thing you’re searching for.

Visit a few discount retailers.

While discount retailers won’t necessarily stock a home gym, they will often sell yoga mats, dumbbells, resistance bands and other portable, low-cost equipment at much lower prices than you could get at a regular retailer. Check gyms that are closing or changing equipment.

Gym owners spend a lot of money keeping their equipment updated and looking good. When things start to wear out even slightly, they’ll often get rid of it. That could be your chance to pick up that home treadmill at a very low price, or to invest in that weight machine you’ve always wanted. To find out when they may be selling, call the fitness centers in your area and ask them to put you on their mailing list.

Low-cost options.

When it comes to strength training and cardiovascular equipment, you don’t have to have elaborate options either. A simple jump rope can give you a killer cardio workout, whether you’re working out at home or even at the office. A set of resistance bands, which are lightweight, inexpensive and highly portable, can be stashed at your desk or in a drawer at home, and can offer you a total body resistance workout. You can even fashion your own pull up bar in a doorway of your home -- or use a horizontal beam in your garage to crank out a set of pull ups every day.

In short, putting together a home gym doesn’t have to be expensive. By getting creative and being patient, you could outfit yourself with everything you need to get in that all-important workout every day.

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