A full at-home gym for $100 or less? It’s possible with Goodwill!

Okay, I admit it, I’m one of those weird people who enjoys working out and staying active, but that doesn’t mean I’m into gyms. Actually, my favorite workouts are ones I can take outside or do from the convenience of my own apartment. That has meant investing in workout equipment that I can easily store and transport. Thanks to Goodwill, in less than a month and only a few visits, I gathered the equipment for pretty much any kind of home workout for less than a couple months’ membership fee at a lot of gyms! If your New Year’s resolution is to get fit, why not add saving money? Check out some of the great gear I’ve gotten from Goodwill! But remember, before starting any new diet and exercise program, please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them before beginning!

Weighted Jump Rope

Forget all those fancy machines and fab fitness routines, if you want to burn between 100-200 calories in ten minutes while toning your legs, butt, back, and shoulders, then stick with the classics! In addition to being easy to store (I can fit mine in my purse!), jump ropes can be used for an effective warm-up or for a quick total body workout when you’re strapped for time. Grab a weighted rope for additional resistance and more calorie burn. And check out this easy jump rope routine: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/arms/express/jump-rope-workouts/

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands give you total strength training without clunky machines or space-eating free weights. They’re easy to store and cost less, but they can provide the same level of strength training, with additional benefits. Unlike weights, resistance bands strengthen at a full range of motion, meaning your muscles continue to work when you’re not fighting gravity, and they provide resistance at multiple directions for a more natural activation of the muscles involved. Can’t resist getting started? There are lots of exercise guides online, but here’s one to learn more: http://www.fitnessrepublic.com/fitness/exercises/10-resistance-band-exercises-you-can-do-anywhere.html

Stability Disc

You don’t need to invest in an expensive (and large) stability or BOSU ball to do stability exercises – a stability disc works just fine! My chiropractor recommended I sit on one to keep my spine moving while working for long periods. Stability training is essential to improving balance and preventing injury. Stability tools can increase the effectiveness of traditional exercise moves by forcing your body to make constant adjustments to stay stable. I love using mine for squats and core!

Check out these workouts to get started: http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/15-minute-total-body-stability-workout

Medicine Ball

Have a ball while getting strong! Medicine balls are another great alternative to traditional weights. Use a medicine ball for a solo full body strength-cardio combo workout when pressed for time, and for power workouts with a partner (i.e., throws and tosses that build the chest, shoulders, back and arms). I lead a group workout with friends once a week, and the medicine ball plays a heavy (ha) role in our routine. And you don’t have to go too heavy for great results. I have a 10lb and 12lb ball (both from Goodwill) and they’ve worked perfectly with partners.

Get the ball rolling with these great workouts:

(SOLO) http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/medicine-ball-workout-9-moves-tone-every-inch

(PARTNER) http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/the-med-ball-revolution

Hand Grips

Get a grip! Seriously, grip strength is critical to any strength-training routine. Improving your grip strength will help you keep proper form as you increase your weight during training, allowing you to get the most out of your workout. And there’s a certain satisfaction that comes with never having to ask someone else to open jars for you! Since I like to rock climb, improving my grip strength has helped me take this hobby to new heights. This article can help you grip what I’m talking about: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson114.htm


Ah, the old standby. They don’t travel well, and they take up more space then resistance bands, but I still like to keep some around. Whether you’re trying to slim down or tone up, there’s no substitute for weight training. Use slow reps with heavier weights to build strength, or lighter weights with combo moves to maximize the strength and cardio benefits of strength training. Above all – be safe! Use proper form and take it slow.

Goodwill has all the above, and more. Last time I shopped, they had wrist weights, ankle weights, Yoga mats, pull-up bars, bikes, plus lots of other exercise equipment.

And last, but not least, are you new to strength training? Here are some guides for beginners:

After you’ve saved all that money scoring fabulous deals on your workout equipment, get some workout outfits! Look good and feel even better!

Now get out there and make it happen. Here’s to the New Year and your New Gear!