A Gym for $5000

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is a 300 acre complex of buildings that once produced enormous warships for the US Navy. No longer commissioned, the buildings and land are being developed for local enterprises in need of industrial space. In charge of developing this expansive property is the non-profit BNYDC.

We were recently tasked with the job of renovating the workout space at the BNYDC office. They already had the room dedicated to exercise, it just needed a bit of work:



IMG_2995The small, rectangular 760 square foot room had broken tile floors, scuffed walls, and duct tape covering a boxing bag and a bench press. The dumbbell “set” consisted of two 5 lb weights, one 25 lb, and two 40 lb dumbbells. There was 1 working treadmill, a pullup bar, and one multi-use stacked weight machine. Everything was randomly placed in the middle of the room.

Given that BNYDC is a non-profit, it’s great that they are able to find room in the budget for a renovation. It was a slim budget of $5000 though, so we had to think hard about the priorities of what to buy.

Here’s what we did:DSC_1118
New floors are a must
. We went with puzzle piece foam mats to cover the whole floor for about $1000. This alone made the space feel like new.

For equipment we set them up with TRX straps, Kettlebells, a set of Dumbbells 5-50 lbs, a new boxing bag, a new bench press, an elliptical machine, a stability ball, and 4 yoga mats. Thanks to our partnerships with TRX and Troy Barbell, along with some savvy shopping, we were able to get all of this for about $3000.

Mirrors are high priority in a gym space. They’re great for checking your form, as well as reflecting light and making the space feel larger. On our budget we opted for acrylic mirrors. They are a little flimsier than glass mirrors, but they get the job done and left money for more important items. . . like a water fountain–  also a high priority in a gym.

DSC_1109When building a gym on a budget, my biggest piece of advice is to look for donations. Here’s what we got for free:

– Painting – excited about the new space, the staff painted the walls with leftover paint from other building projects. They did an excellent job and it makes a world of difference.
– Stationary bike – chances are high that if you ask around enough, you’ll find somebody with exercise equipment they don’t use anymore.
– Body by Jake ab machine – A generous employee loves this machine and wanted everyone else to enjoy it too, so he bought a new one for the space.


In addition to recommending and supplying the Navy Yard with equipment, a big contribution we made was shaping the layout of the space. It’s important to consider different areas in a gym– a weights section, stretching and abs area, and cardio. Simply by moving some of the existing equipment, we were able to make the space feel much larger and give better flow to peoples’ workouts.

We’re excited to be introducing our group TRX and Kettlebell classes to BNYDC this fall. Congrats to BNYDC on making employee health a priority!

Want to build a gym? We’ll survey your employees and your space to create the optimal exercise room within your budget. Even better, we’ll teach your team how to use it!  Get in touch to find out more about our non-profit programs.