Barn Home Gym Ideas: Nicholas’s $1,500 setup
- Learn how Nicholas built an awesome home gym for only $1,500 using his savvy hunting skills to snag amazing deals on the marketplace.
- Nicholas’s home gym was born out of frustration when he had to share a tiny gym with 5,000 people on an aircraft carrier during his time in the navy.
Nicholas’s home gym building story began in 2015 when he was serving in the navy and had to share a tiny gym with 5 thousand other people on the aircraft carrier he served on. He would sometimes have to wait hours for a chance to jump on a machine. So, Nicholas began his journey of building his own home gym.
How Nicholas Started His Home Gym
Nicholas began with the Sport 90 Stage One Powerblock Dumbbells from Sears in 2015 and each year, he would buy the next stage using a coupon. The next step was buying a decent adjustable bench that didn’t break the bank. He saw some good reviews for the Flybird Bench on Amazon and decided it would work fine for him. This was enough for him for quite a long time while he continued to build his strength.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, while his ship was out to sea, Nicholas didn’t initially feel the pressure that others felt to complete their home gyms. When he returned home, he realized that it would be in his best interest to acquire more equipment. So, the hunt continued.
Nicholas learned many lifting techniques while serving, giving him a more well-rounded idea of what was truly necessary for full-body home gym workouts. One thing was for certain; he needed some sort of cable machine.
He was initially looking for something used <$200, but he found the quality to be too horrible with some of the cheaper cable machines. Luckily, he caught one on Facebook Marketplace for $375 and it was a dream come true. It even came with most of the attachments he desired! Folks, patience is key when hunting for marketplace deals.
Focus on Recovery – How to Build a Hot/Cold Tub
Nicholas often looked over part of fitness recovery. He learned to start taking this seriously when his lower back started to ache from the hours he was putting in on his ship. So, he started getting more into stretching as well as hot and cold therapy.
He decided he needed to build his own hot tub/ice bath. So, he found a local winery and bought a 55-gallon barrel. He knew he needed some sort of furnace as his heat source, but he was too cheap to just go out and buy a wood-burning fireplace. So, he bought an old steel milk can and converted it into a small furnace.
He then connected the barrel and the furnace via ½ copper tubing. The temperature increase at the coils will cause the water to naturally circulate through the tubing. He based the idea on the nuclear reactor he worked on for 6 years. This was how they maintained temperatures within the reactor while the plant was shut down.
The only thing Nicholas would like to add to his gym would be some olympic weights, a barbell, and a squat rack. Someday he intends to purchase those items, but for now, he is more than happy.
He also left the navy and is currently going to university for a software engineering degree. Once he graduates, he intends to finish his project.
Types of Workouts
Nicholas does a fairly standard push, pull, and leg split. Four sets of 8-10. Once he hits 10 reps of a weight for 2 solid weeks, he ups the weight and goes back to 8 reps. Rinse and repeat. Easy.
Home Gym Challenges
Finding quality equipment on a budget is definitely difficult, probably even more so today. Nicholas has been building his for years.
The home gym is located in the barn, which is insulated, but it does get quite hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Working out with high and low temperatures is challenging but the body acclimates pretty well when you expose yourself consistently.
Home Gym Equipment
- Cable Machine: Dip, Press, Chest and leg extension stations + Bars (lat pull down, V, curl and revolving cuff) $375 (fb marketplace)
- Bench: Flybird Adjustable Bench $150
- Dumbbells: PowerBlock Elite EXP Adjustable Dumbbells (5-90lbs) $450
- Olympic Wood Rings with Straps $37
- IPR Fitness Glute Kickback Cable Attachment $22
- Tricep pulldown ropes (short and long) $35
- Cardio: SCHWINN AirDyne Stationary Bike (Vintage Gold) $25
- Recovery equipment:
- Hottub cold plunge barrel ~$275
- Foam roller $5
- Yoga block $5
Total Home Gym Cost = $1,535