The stingy fitness fanatic’s garage gym

Minimalist essential garage gym

This is where the magic happens. No, seriously.

I know what you are thinking. Doesn’t look like much.

But here lies the secret. It is precisely the frugal environment of the Stingyfit home gym that exercising becomes all the more gratifying.

Pity your friends. They have paid a small fortune to plonk themselves on a ridiculous machine that builds one muscle. They linger between sets, staring into the abyss. To add insult to injury, they buy an unnecessarily expensive sludge beverage on the way out. Why? Sitting at a desk all day long, it makes sense to consume more protein than the body knows what to do with, right? Cos, you know, adverts and stuff.

In contrast, imagine working out and getting some extra endorphins on the side knowing you are saving time and money by exercising at home.

Burger
Side order of endorphins please.

Here’s the thing. You aren’t even compromising on your workout. You are being more efficient with your time, not waiting for the annoying guy on the leg-extension-machine-thingy. You can do everything you need with a rudimentary setup. And, as you will find elsewhere on this website, there is an endless supply of amazing and motivating free workouts at the click of a button.

Let’s take a look.

Rubber mat

First things first: you need a decent floor or you are on a one-way street to a world of pain. You can get good-looking interlocking flooring relatively cheaply online – just don’t limit your search to ‘gym flooring’ or you may miss out on bargains. I found mine on Amazon.

Rubber mat
Your knees will thank you in years to come.

Weighted vest

For the weedy office worker, a little extra heft is required. Look no further.

I use a 10kg weighted vest I picked up in Argos. I thought I might need a heavier one – trust me, you don’t. Once a heavier version of yourself has done burpees, you will thank me for this.

As a matter of routine I throw this on after my warm up, unless doing so would render me a gibbering wreck.

Kettlebell

I use a simple 16kg cast iron version I found on Amazon. No logo. Just how I like it. If anyone has used an adjustable version, I’d love to hear about your experience!

Adjustable dumbbells

If I had to choose only one piece of equipment, adjustable spinlock dumbbells would be it.

Selectabell dumbbells
10 dumbbells in 1. My favourite piece of kit.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the price tag. I know, how can a stingy penny pinching miser on a budget fitness site justify a few metallic discs that cost over £100 a pop? Well, hear me out.

First, you save both space and time. Press a button, move the dial and select a different weight from 2.5kg to 25kg (in 2.5kg increments). That means you are basically getting 10 dumbbells in one. And save considerable time spent faffing around with weight plates and spinlocks.

Second, you can choose the appropriate weight for what you are doing. No more heavy side raises looking like a pterodactyl undergoing shock therapy. In comparison to buying every single weight known to mankind, this is a bargain.

I can’t stress enough how much these have revolutionised my workouts – saving space, time and money. If you are truly committed to getting fit, DO IT.

TRX / suspension trainer

This comes a very, very close second to the adjustable dumbbells. Who would have thought that two straps with handles at the end would give you such an amazing variety of moves?

The original TRX will set you back at least £80, but you can get a cheaper (and good quality) version from Decathlon, which is the one I use.

Pull-up bar

Simple solutions are often the best. This pull-up bar is a cantilever system that slots above a door frame. This means you just put it there and don’t need to worry about screwing it in – it’s weight holds it in place.

You may be wondering why on Earth there are white foams bits on the end. This will be revealed in a subsequent post!

Cantilever pull-up bar
Use for press-ups & dips as well as pull ups.

Again, this one is from Decathlon and reasonably priced.

iPad/tablet wall mount

So, you have the equipment. Now you need some motivation – some of the best come in the form of YouTube workout videos. If you have an old tablet computer that is gathering dust, put it to work as your fitness instructor.

It took a surprisingly long amount of time finding a wall mount that was reasonably priced and unobtrusive. I eventually found a really simple one on eBay similar to this – it is perfect.

Other cool stuff

Barbell

I have an old York one with some cheap iron weight plates from Decathlon.

Posters

Showing kettlebell and suspension trainer moves.

Gymnastic rings

Super-amazing piece of kit. Slightly more advanced but well worth it. Pull ups and dips will never be the same again. I found some fixing plates in a local hardware store. The shopkeeper convinced me that they would take an adult’s bodyweight. Many ceiling holes later, it was securely fixed to a joist. I am still alive.

Gymnastic rings
Pull-ups and tricep dips will never be the same again.

Hand grips

Because squeezing your mouse every time your boss walks past just doesn’t count.

Ez bar

If, like me, you have feeble skinny-ass wrists that would snap in a strong gust of wind, a normal bar could make you ache. An ez bar is a good alternative.

Yoga block

Mr Stingy is only slightly more flexible than a rubber band in a freezer. This stops him from breaking.

Skipping rope

Think back to your childhood with an old-school method of warming up.

Elastic training bands

Portable and lightweight, these are useful on the go. I also use them for a simple warm-up called band pullaparts.

Space hopper

Use as a swiss ball AND for bouncing around in the garden. Not at the same time though.

And that’s it, I hope you found it useful. I’ll feature some of these in-depth in the future.

Stay stingy.

Equipment List

PROIRON Interlocking Floor Mat Protective Mats Floor Guards

Men’s Health 10kg Weighted Vest

16kg Bodymax Cast Iron Kettlebell

Bodymax Adjustable Spinlock Dumbbells

Decathlon Suspension Trainer

Iron Gym Pullup Bar

iPad wall mount

Pellor Gymnastic Rings

Domyos hand grips

Yoga block

Skipping rope

Space Hopper

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