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  • Sierra Rathbun

Embrace Fitness as a Lifestyle: Edition 9

Welcome to the 9th edition of the Embrace Fitness as a Lifestyle blog! In this edition, I will be giving you tips & tricks that I've used to slowly upgrade my home gym to where it is now. I will be mostly focusing on how I was able to work my way up to a 3 x 3 power rack. Also on the menu, is an interview with Jay from "MyFreeGym". He shares a lot of great information on his journey building his gym space for free.

My Tips & Tricks

Building a home gym on a budget can be challenging, but Facebook Marketplace offers a great opportunity to find affordable gym equipment. Here are three tips to help you make the most of your purchase:

  • Negotiate Prices/Look for Deals: You can save a lot of money by negotiating prices with the seller. Make an offer that is lower than the asking price and be open to negotiating. Remember to be respectful and keep in mind that the seller is likely looking to get rid of their equipment, so they may be more open to negotiations than you think.

  • Don't Be Afraid to Travel: Traveling to another city or state in search of deals on gym equipment can be a great way to save money. This is especially true if you are looking for high-end equipment or specific brands that are not readily available in your local area. By traveling to a different location, you may have access to a wider range of equipment at a lower cost. I usually travel up to 1.5 hours to pick-up equipment that I find at a fair deal.

However, it's important to keep in mind the cost of transportation and the potential for added expenses, such as accommodation and meals, when planning your trip. This strategy is not advantageous unless you are willing to put the time into searching Marketplace and have the desire to travel.

  • Essential Equipment: When building a home gym on a budget, focus on purchasing essential equipment first. Make a list of what you think you need based on your needs. A powerlifter is going to need different equipment then someone who does CrossFit. For example, a set of adjustable dumbbells, a weight bench, power rack, plates, and a barbell will get you started. These items will allow you to perform a wide range of exercises, and you can always add more equipment as your budget allows. Remember that quality should be a priority, so make sure to check the condition of the equipment before making a purchase.

By following these tips, you can create a home gym on a budget using Facebook Marketplace. Happy shopping!

My Real Life Example

For the last few years, I have been working on slowly building up to a 3 x 3 power rack in blue. I was finally able to make this goal a reality recently after coming across Grind Fitness Equipment based out of New Jersey. I wanted a blue and purple power rack that was made in the USA.

Disclaimer: I did not totally get this power rack for free. I was able to minimize costs and slowly flip marketplace equipment deals to cover the final costs over the 3 year span. I invested my own money in beginning and began to save any profits made to put towards my final purchase.

Here's How I Did It:

I bought my first squat rack Summer 2020 from Walmart. It was a cheap CAP squat stand that I paid $100 for. I had no intentions of this being my forever power rack but something to get me by that was not being priced gouged due to the increased pandemic gym equipment need. I ended up selling this in Spring 2021 to upgrade to a Rep Fitness PR-1100.

Rack #1

I sold the CAP rack for exactly $100 to a women who was looking to start lifting. After the sale was complete, I ordered the Rep Fitness PR-1100 (in blue). I bought a few accessory equipment to fit this rack like lever arms and a lat pulldown. I absolutely loved this power rack but sold it due to it feeling unstable. I was getting more serious about powerlifting and wanted a power rack that I could comfortably lift in. I felt so crammed every time I did a lift. I lost $200 selling this due to Rep Fitness not having free shipping when I originally purchased this. I still have the lever arms in my basement that I probably should list on Marketplace soon. Anyways, I held onto this power rack for about a year until I found a Rogue R-4 on marketplace.

Rack #2

Here's where I was able to recoup some of the costs lost selling my PR-1100. I picked the R-4 up on Marketplace for $650 and recently sold it for $900. I would've kept this rack for a lifetime if it wasn't so difficult to find attachments for being that it is a 2 x 3. Most power rack attachments that I wanted were meant for 3 x 3 versions. I had plans to DIY and come up with ways to retrofit attachments to fit but the cost didn't make sense. For the cost of parts, I would be able to buy a 3 x 3 rack. I ended up listing this for $900 and said if I could sell this, then I can finally upgrade. Within two days, I had multiple offers. I sold it to an Athletic Trainer who wanted to start a home gym to spend more time with his family.

Rack #3

Now this is definitely my final power rack as i promised my partner. Rhyan asked me how many more power racks I was going to get after this one. I had already gone through 3 upgrades since we began dating.

Rack #4 - My Lifetime Power Rack

I have some really cool attachments coming that I was able to purchase thanks to other equipment I've recently flipped. My best advice is to start small, especially since the home gym market is less competitive. I can finally say though after 3 years that I am where I want to be with my home gym.

Interview with Jay from MyFreeGym

Before diving into the interview with Jay, let's take a moment to see the space that he has been able to create for free. Jay did this by flipping equipment and using the profits to slowly build his space.

What was your strategy to build your home gym?

When gyms closed, originally the plan was to buy one Body Solid multi machine and call the gym complete. That morphed into buying a Fitness Reality rack on Amazon, finding some used Rogue bumpers, a Titan bench and using a pipe as a bar. Then things escalated…

I started with whatever I could find and then upgraded piece by piece as I found a better version. Since I shopped for all used deals, I was usually able to resell for a profit each time. Doing that hundreds of times ended up paying for everything I kept.

What is your favorite piece that you have acquired?

This is hard to say because my equipment changes so often based on my needs” at the time. The Sorinex Apex is definitely the jewel of the gym, but I eventually sold off the cable columns from that, so now it’s more of a giant rack instead.

How do you know if you got a "good deal"?

A good deal to me is when I buy at a price that I can use it for as long as I want, and if I ever want to upgrade, I can sell for the same or more than what I paid. I’ve been fortunate to have that happen on every deal except for my Peloton, which is why stubbornly, I won’t sell it despite it being unplugged for a year.

What items would you recommend people avoid when looking for used fitness equipment?

Don’t be like me and avoid getting caught up in the name. Buy what fits your space, training style, and budget. I sold a lot of good equipment because I thought a slightly better name brand would be better for my gym. I had a great Rogue Monster Lite but wanted Sorinex. I had Inspire functional trainer but wanted Hoist. Etc. In the end, I really just wasted a ton of time searching , dismantling and rebuilding machines that effectively do the same thing as what I had.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Make friends in your local network and work together. In every area you are competing against not only everyone else with home gyms, but dozens of full time companies who resell equipment. They will usually be able to show up faster, pay in cash, and empty whatever size building is available. As an individual, you often need to work around your job or getting a truck or having help. Where you can make up time is by telling your network what you are looking for and having them message you (or even the seller) when they see it. Getting a good deal is partially based on knowing the market, but also based on luck of seeing a listing first and acting quickly. The more people you have on your side looking, the better chance you have to beat the resellers. I’ve found many of my best deals this way.

Here is my quick disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

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