Keeping the US Navy Updated on the Physical Readiness Program

Training Tips

Can Home Gyms Live Up to the Hype? Part 1

By Jeremy Carter

Are home gyms a benefit for Navy Sailors? When you think of a home gym, some of the first images you think of are lavish setups with all the equipment you might find in a big box gym. Squat racks, leg machines, dumbbell racks and tons of cardio equipment sprawled throughout the facility. Home gymnasiums like those of Mark Wahlberg or perhaps another celebrity might come to mind. While they are very nice and make one wish they had millions of dollars to stay in shape, the prices of equipment and location to put it comes at a hefty cost which most of us cannot afford. At that point the membership gyms, or if in the military the on-base facilities will get the job done. If owning your own home gym is something you’ve been thinking about for quite some time as a goal, there are many locations you can search on the internet to find excellent advice about home gyms, and what you should and should not have in them. Many companies will offer package deals to help cut the cost or perhaps making the amount of money you’re spending seem ambitious because they offer free shipping. But perhaps the biggest question or questions someone should ask themselves is why they want a home gym and what programming (what is your goal/exercises) are going to be performed in the gym.

Why Do You Need a Home Gym?

There are many reasons why a sailor might feel they need a home gym. “I will be sure to exercise if the gym was at my house”; “I’m embarrassed to exercise in front of others”; “I can save money and earn back time with my family/friends if I had a home gym”. All of these reasons are excellent and a great start to own your own gym. Some have found that their work schedule didn’t provide the time they wanted to dedicate to their workout routine. Others have stated that hitting the base facilities or a big box gym on the way to work, or way home was not ideal considering their family situations. Additionally, although home gyms or home gym equipment can seem costly up front, there are ways to minimize the impact to your bank account when creating your own sanctuary. One final thought to getting started with your home gym journey would be what type of exercises or programs (goals) do you intend to follow if you decide to build your gym. 

Pros and Cons of a Home Gym

A good starting point, is to develop a list of pros and cons of why you want your home gym. Before making the investment you want to be sure that a home gym would benefit you as a Navy Sailor.

Some pros can be:

  • I will save money on gym memberships (some are as low as $19/mo while others can exceed $200/mo)
  • I will not have to worry about equipment being used/sharing equipment at the local base/box gym
  • I will not have a long commute to/from the gym providing me more free/family time

Some cons can be:

  • My base housing will not allow me to put equipment (such as a squat rack) into the floor
  • Initial startup costs are more than I would ever spend on a gym membership
  • I’ve purchased equipment before and it became a place for laundry/tools in the garage and was a waste of money

All of these points are valid but ultimately the choice is yours depending on your goals. Throughout the article you should be thinking about your goals for your fitness. Are you looking to maintain what you have? Do you want to bulk up? Slim down? Become better at a specific weightlifting movement, or movement pattern? Run faster or more efficiently? Be better at high intensity interval training programs? Whatever it is, your gym should tailor to your goals. Maybe a online coach would help?

Up next- Part 2 in our home gym for the Navy Sailor series.

2 thoughts on “Can Home Gyms Live Up to the Hype? Part 1

  • Good post John! I actually have both, some equipment at home and I have a gym in my building. The advantage of having a home gym, a Power Tower and Free Weights are an excellent choice, is that you can work certain parts for a longer period of time at home – no etiquette required as there is no sharing! A good balance is key and of course the discipline to do both, maintain and keep up the steady push. Maintain those USN standards even during retirement and your body will thank you as well as clear mind!

  • When I was active duty, a home gym was absolutely non-essential. Most bases have fairly good fitness centers, and my shop allowed us to work out on our own in the morning.
    Now, as a reservist, a home based fitness is an absolute must for me. Commute time is non-existent. My gym is always open, so I can start working out at o’dark thirty and not have to wait for doors to open. I’m usually done working out by the time anybody else in the house gets up, so i don’t have to sacrifice family time.
    As far as cost, to begin you can do it fairly cheaply if you have patience and keep an eye out on FB marketplace, craigslist, etc. People are always getting rid of their failed fitness aspirations, so you can get some decent equipment for pennies on the dollar. Older Schwinn Airdynes are nearly bombproof and can be had for less than $100 usually, and they are a great cardio machine that you will love to hate.


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