Building muscle without a gym membership

Bulk up without a gym membership

Building muscle without a gym membership can be a little bit of a challenge, but it certainly isn’t impossible. In fact, it can be better for your health!

Gyms can be costly and the budget gyms are exactly that – budget! I for one, like to work out when it’s nice and quiet so I can focus on my workout and not worry about when I’m going to be able to grab the next weight, platform or machine that I need.

Well, here’s the good news. You can actually build a great physique without actually stepping foot in a gym. However, it’s worth considering the following questions before you forget about gym memberships:

  1. What am I training for?
  2. Can I buy the equipment that I need or is it wiser to use the facilities in a gym?
  3. Do I have the space to perform my exercises at home?
  4. Can I motivate myself to exercise at home?
  5. Is it going to harm my mental/social health?

If you’re happy that your answers pointed you in the direction of working out on your own terms then consider the following options.

Skip to the bottom if you just want to hear how to do it!

Gym-free options to gain muscle

There are a couple of ways you can take on this challenge. You can either work out with your own weights in suitable space or, you can head down to the garden/park and start performing some body weight exercises. Each option has its own benefits – let’s look into these with a little more detail.

Building muscle with your own weights


  1. Plenty of options when it comes to exercises, especially with the shoulders and back
  2. You can add or remove weight easily
  3. It’s like you’re in your own little gym
  4. You can stay at home


  1. You’re going to have to invest some money in weights
  2. You need somewhere to store the weights
  3. Exercising at home can be difficult and often requires genuine thought about exercises
  4. To get the most out of your weights you will have to get a bench (likely) at more expense

If you’re happy getting your own weights and maybe a bench too, you’re going to have to invest a bit of money but it will certainly help you work the entire body. With simple dumbbell and barbell exercises, you can build a tremendous physique by training 4-5 times per week in your own home/garage. However, if you plan on keeping the budget down, you might find yourself getting stuck.

Bodyweight training for muscle


  1. You can really enjoy yourself by getting out and performing impromptu workouts
  2. Conditioning will be a major part of your training (keeping you healthy & fit)
  3. You can train anywhere so long as there is plenty of room


  1. After a while, you will find it difficult to grow
  2. Creativity is required to work all areas of the body
  3. You can’t easily change the weight of your body
  4. More creative methods of decreasing/increasing resistance will have to be used

Bodyweight training is great for conditioning your body. It will take time and patience to get to the body you want, but with every rep, your body will be forced to create more muscle fibres that can deal with the workload, just like you would with weights or at the gym.

Muscle building techniques

It’s worth noting that all muscle building techniques will work. How fast they work depends on the type of training your doing.

More importantly, however, is what you want the muscle for.

For example, if you want to look fitter and be able to impress your mates down at 5 aside, then you would be better off sticking to body weight and conditioning your body for long bouts of work.

If you would just like to get strong and have a great physique, getting weights and your own mini gym is probably a better idea as you’ll be able to perform many more exercises – allowing your muscles to grow evenly and quickly.

Here are a few instructions for you to make sure you build enough muscle for your needs:

  1. Be in a small calorie surplus e.g. if you need 2,000 calories, consume 2,100 calories per day – this ensures you have the energy to repair the micro-tears created in your muscles and build more muscle fibres.
  2. If you can’t increase the weight, increase the reps or time performing the exercises. This ensures that you’re working to your full potential and forcing your body to grow.
  3. Make sure you are consuming at least 1.2g of protein per KG of body weight per day
  4. Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night – This is going to help give your body the rest required to repair your muscles and grow. It’s also important to keep your hormone balance right for muscle growth and general health
  5. Drink plenty of water – this helps transport vital nutrients to the muscles to help them repair and grow.

I hope today’s blog post has helped you in some way. For more advice, look at my other health and fitness blogs.

If you would like to get some more direct advice or would like to enquire about personal training, send me a tweet at @CalvinWPT or reach me on Facebook.


From your local Online Coach and Personal Trainer in Stockport, Manchester. You can do this and good luck!

Calvin W PT
Personal Trainer & Online Coach

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